The First Basketball team hosted Ridley College Saturday morning for a critical CISAA league game.
The race for the playoffs in D1 competition will come down to UCC, Ridley, and SAC battling it out for the final two spots, and so the Saints are hoping to not be the odd one out.
In the opening quarter, the Saints did a good job of handling Ridley’s full-court pressure and attacked the rim hard in transition. Bryce Neil and Noah Hulton earned themselves tough buckets in the paint, while Oruese Erivwo got himself to the free throw line. Unfortunately, defensive transition for the Saints was too slow and allowed Ridley's guards to build a head of steam in the open floor. After one quarter, the Saints trailed 18-10.
The second quarter saw the Saints slow Ridley with their zone defense while working the ball quicker around the perimeter on offence. Oliver Ingram knocked down two big three's in the quarter to close the gap, while Bilal Mahmood and Owen Shuttleworth made it hard for Ridley to attack from the post position.
Neebeesh Elliott was big on the boards and in the paint for the Saints, and they got themselves close, but Ridley's point guard knocked down two very deep three's late in the quarter to stretch Ridley's lead back to six at the half, 26-20.
The third quarter got off to a rough start for the Saints. Ridley brought back their full-court pressure, and this time the Saints were out of position and did not stay composed. Ridley smelled blood and went on a 9-0 run to stretch their lead to 35-20 within two minutes of play.
To their credit, the Saints continued to battle and chipped away possession by possession from that point on. Isaac Bradbury had a tremendous game on both ends of the floor, scoring 10 points in the half while defending with tenacity.
The Saints went to a trapping defense in the fourth quarter and started to create turnovers, and Nate Falconi turned the turnovers into fast break buckets. Unfortunately, the Saints ran out of time on this day, but there were a lot of bright spots to focus on as they move into two critical games versus UCC on Monday and Wednesday.
Game results: SAC 43, Ridley 51
Story by Sean Ludwig, coach