The First Basketball team hosted UCC in a rematch of their recent battle in Toronto.
After a solid practice yesterday, the focus for the Saints was to limit UCC's high-low action, and three-point shot attempts, and to handle ball pressure.
In the first half, the Saints executed their strategy flawlessly and played their best half of basketball so far this season. Defensively, the Saints were active and vocal as they rotated well and picked up steals by stepping into passing lanes. When UCC did get a shot, it was a challenged mid-range jumper and the Saints were able to control the boards.
Oruese Erivwo and Neebeesh Elliott played well in the paint and protected the rim, while on offense Oliver Ingram and Owen Shuttleworth were aggressive on the break and attacked the rim. Isaac Bradbury and Noah Hulton pushed the ball in transition, and as a result the Saints were rewarded with easy buckets in transition.
UCC tried to make several adjustments throughout the half, but Nate Falconi and Bryce Neil closed out on shooters well and helped on post entries to disrupt UCC's flow. At the half, the Saints held a 27-22 lead.
Unfortunately, the second half was a familiar story from earlier this week as UCC eventually wore down a depleted Saints lineup due to foul trouble, injury, and illness. UCC substituted lines of five players at a time who all had fresh legs, and showed a combination of man and zone pressure that flustered the Saints. In the end, the game got away from the Saints, and it was a disappointing finish after playing to well throughout the first half.
The Saints now have the next week off and a chance to regroup and refocus on the Small School Showcase tournament in Burlington
Game results: SAC 37, UCC 54
Story by Sean Ludwig, coach