Basketball - MS Blue
|Date:||January 23, 2020|
In its final game of a 4-game homestand, the Blue Basketball squad took on the Eagles from McDonogh in a Thursday afternoon Pollock Gym showdown. The visitors came out on-fire scoring 24 first quarter points and hitting a variety of tough shots from long-distance to take an 8 point lead into the second quarter. The Crusaders clamped down on defense in the second quarter thanks to terrific on ball defense from guards Andrew Cooper and Landan Blue. Steady passing from Ryan Nelson, Luke Bair, and Khalil Taylor – along with an early three from Bryce Matthews--helped St. Paul’s run effective offense against the Eagles’ matchup zone. Trailing by just 4 heading into the second half, the Crusaders hoped tough, smart, and unselfish play on both ends would allow the hosts to emerge victorious. Excellent play from reserves Michael Richter (with a clutch 2nd half drive), Tyler McGill (numerous steals and good hands), Ire Olasupo-Ojo (big rebounds), and CJ Brock (excellent energy and physicality) helped the Crusaders keep things close against the Eagles who continued with the hot-hand throughout the third quarter.
The Crusaders entered the 4th quarter determined to storm back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Iain Kennedy offered great interior passing, and multiple stops on defense allowed the Crusaders to cut the Eagles’ lead to one with 30 seconds remaining. St. Paul’s kept its composure, moved the ball patiently against the Eagles’ zone, and found the younger Matthews brother (Bryce) in the corner for an open three. As the ball bounced off the rim, his older brother (Quinn) exploded through the air for a go-ahead put back to push the Crusaders ahead by one. The Eagles mistakenly called an immediate timeout, but because they did not have any timeouts remaining, they were assessed a team technical foul. Cooper hit 1-2 free throws, and a desperation three from the Eagles fell short allowing the host Crusaders to celebrate with a victory by the score of 55-52.
Ernest Willor led the Crusaders with 28 points thanks to strong play around the basket. The Crusaders next head to Loyola for a Monday after rematch against the Dons.