Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Despite trailing for nearly the entire game, the Holy Cross men's basketball team wrapped up 2013 on Monday evening with their final non-conference meeting of the season against the IU Northwest Redhawks with a buzzer beater finish at McKenna Arena courtesy of senior point guard Dane Okuda (Lakewood, Calif.). Parker Dominguez (Santa Clarita, Calif.) scored a career-high 23 points while Darrell McIntyre (Indianapolis, Ind.) added his first double-double of the season as the Saints rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat the hot shooting Redhawks 85-84 while improved to 11-5 through the first half of the regular season.
The first half in Monday night's non-conference meeting with IU Northwest could not have gone more difficult for the Saints. The Redhawks were hitting shots, specifically three-pointers, at an incredible rate. After finding themselves down 11-points five minutes into the game, Coach McBride went to his bench early. With the reserves on the floor, the Saints put together a 12-3 run to cut the Redhawks lead to 18-16 following the driving basket from Michael Ognar-Pettersson (Kalamazoo, Mich.). However, as was seen in the early stages, the Redhawks hot shooting picked back up again as they extended their lead to as many as 15 points following a three-pointer from Devin Ellis.
Brandon Grubl was extremely effective in the first half as he hit 6-of-9 shots from the field, including 5-of-8 from distance, to lead the Redhawks with 17 points at the break. Collectively the Redhawks knocked down 10-of-20 shots from distance as they built up an 11-poin advantage over the Saints.
The Saints struggled from the field in the first half shooting just 9-for-23 (39.1%) but got to the foul line 22 times, making 13, to keep the game within striking distance.
A reenergized team took the floor in the second half as the Saints opened up the first three minutes with an 8-0 run to make it a three-point game. The Redhawks continued to knock down shots at a high clip, but the Saints were firing back and able to keep the deficit under 10 points. A continued second half rally, led much by senior Parker Dominguez, helped the Saints take their first lead of the game with 7:31 left to play.
But once again, the Redhawks were not done knocking down shots. IU Northwest knocked down six more three-pointers, three coming from Quentin Palmer, in the second half as they shot 57.1% from the floor. With the score knotted at 82-82, Brandon Grubl drove into the lane with a layup to give the Redhawks an 84-82 lead with just 18 seconds left to play.
The Saints were down to one final chance. Darrell McIntyre pulled down a big offensive rebound to extend the Saints hopes of a comeback but missed the floater in the lane with five seconds remaining. Devin Ellis of IU Northwest pulled down the rebound and tried to throw the ball up court to let the time expire, but Dane Okuda came up with the steal. As the clock ticked down, Okuda had to throw up a 35-foot shot from straight on that hit nothing but net as the final buzzer sounded, completing the Saints comeback and securing their 11th win by a final score of 85-84.
The Saints were able to fight off the incredible offensive performance by the Redhawks and head into 2014 with their best 15-game start in program history.
Parker Dominguez had his best game scoring the basketball while an athlete at Holy Cross as he finished with a team-high 23 points, setting a new career- high. Dominguez also finished with nine rebounds, seven of those being offensive. Darrell McIntyre gave the Saints great energy off the bench finishing with a 15-point and 12 rebound double-double in 28 minutes. McIntyre hit 5-of-10 shots from the field while also knocking down 5-of-8 free-throw attempts.
Dane Okuda will head to the New Year with fond memories thus far in the 2013 portion of the season, hitting two game-winning buzzer beaters as well as knocking a clutch go-ahead three-pointer in the exhibition victory over NCAA Division II opponent Saint Joseph's (Ind.).
Holy Cross (11-5) will enjoy some time off before returning on Wednesday, January 8 to kick off 2014 with a home meeting with CCAC opponent Calumet College of St. Joseph. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 following the conclusion of the women's game.