The First Basketball team squared off against UCC in an important league matchup this afternoon.
After “playing possum” and losing to UCC in tournament play a couple of weeks ago, the Saints were hoping that they could surprise UCC in the early going and capture a big win in the CISAA playoff race.
In the opening quarter, the Saints survived an opening barrage by communicating and rotating well on defense. Despite losing the battle on the boards, they were able to keep the damage to a minimum and the game was a back and forth battle in the early going.
The Saints handled UCC's pressure well, as Isaac Bradbury and Bilal Mahmood were dependable in the backcourt and they found Noah Hulton on the wing for a couple of key three-pointers. Defensively, the Saints played well throughout the entire first half. Oruese Erivwo and Neebeesh Elliott patrolled the paint, while Nate Falconi and Bryce Neil contained penetration from the top of the arc. Transition defense was solid as well, as the Saints limited UCC's fastbreak opportunities. At the half, the Saints had the lead 23-20.
In the third quarter, the Saints continued to get good open looks on offense; however, they weren't able to finish and scored only three points in the entire quarter. Meanwhile, UCC chipped away with a couple of big shots from the perimeter, and the Saints turned the ball over in the open floor and this led to fastbreak buckets for UCC. Suddenly, the Saints saw themselves down 10 heading into the final frame.
The Saints found their shooting touch during the first couple minutes of the fourth, as Isaac Bradbury and Oliver Ingram connected from beyond the arc and at the rim. Oruese Erivwo was a force in the paint with a couple of key blocks to keep hope alive heading into the final two minutes of the game.
Down the stretch, the Saints had their opportunities but could not score with enough consistency to close the gap, and they were forced to foul and put UCC at the line. In the end, a tough loss for a Saints squad that played very hard and tried to do the right thing on every possession throughout the game. Next action for the Saints is a rematch versus UCC, this time in Bedard gym, on Wednesday afternoon.
Game results: SAC 37, UCC 49
Story by Sean Ludwig, coach