Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Sunday afternoon's meeting between the visiting Peregrines of Purdue Calumet was the most anticipated game on the Saints schedule early in the 2013-2014. Both teams entered the game with a combined 14-game winning-streak with the teams tied atop the CCAC South Division with perfect 3-0 records. Someone was going to atop the standings at the conclusion of the game. Thanks to a fast start, the Saints were able to hold on after a tough 40-minute battle with Purdue Calumet to extend their winning-streak to seven games and improve to 10-4 overall and 4-0 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).
The significance of the game was handled incredibly efficiently for the Saints in the early stages on Sunday afternoon. The offense was productive and the defense was tough as the team opened up the game with a 15-0 run in the first four minutes. Junior Drew Moore (Dayton, Ohio) knocked down three three-pointers during this stretch as the Saints were riding high with confidence. They would extend their lead to as many as 23 points following the tip-in by Darrell McIntyre (Indianapolis, Ind.), but the Peregrines were not going to go away quietly. Despite the slow start on the offensive end, Purdue Calumet outscored the Saints over the final 11 minutes 23-13. The good news, however, was that that the Saints still held a 13-point advantage at the break.
Drew Moore scored 16 of the Saints 39 first half points with five made field goals, four of them being three-pointers. Holy Cross shot a productive 42.9% from the floor while holding the Peregrines to just 32.1%. Purdue Calumet also turned the ball over 10 times in the half which the Saints turned into 12 points. The Saving grace for the Peregrines in the first half was Roddy Richardson, who led the team with 11 points off the bench.
The Saints opened up the second half in good shape after Drew Moore knocked down a pair of free-throws to extend their lead to 16 points. It was the ensuing four minute stretch where things started to get interesting. Over this four minute stretch, Purdue Calumet outscored the Saints 12-2 to bring the Peregrines within 46-40. What was a 23-point lead had now turned into a two-possession game.
Clayton Webb (Dallas, Texas) came up big for the Saints in their next two possessions with a basket, a big defensive rebound to end the Peregrines opportunity and a second basket to bring the lead back up to 10 points. Following the heroics of Webb, Zoe Bauer (Culver, Ind.) and Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) contributed with a combined six points to put the Saints up 14 with 7:50 remaining.
Five unanswered points from Purdue Calumet cut the Saints lead to single digits once again before Dane Okuda (Lakewood, Calif.) drained a big three-pointer to make it a 59-47 score with 6:15 remaining.
Similar to before, however, the Peregrines came clawing back. Kaspars Brencans was relentless in the second half, getting to the foul line 10 times and knocking down each one of them. Following eight straight points by Brencans, Noah Allen knocked down two free-throws to close the gap to just five points with 2:49 left to play.
After the late run by the Peregrines, it was Brandon Evans who bullied his way inside to draw a foul. Evans knocked down both free-throws and the Saints got a big stop on their next defensive series. On the ensuing offensive possession, Evans finished off the pass from Parker Dominguez (Santa Clarita, Calif.) to put the Saints up nine points 1:41 left in the game. The Saints would extend their lead to as many as 13 points in the final minute after knocking down their free-throws before Noah Allen rallied off seven straight points. Fortunately for the Saints, time was on their side. After a successful inbounding of the basketball, the Saints pulled off their biggest win of the season with a 70-64 victory over divisional-foe Purdue Calumet, ending their current eight-game winning-streak.
Drew Moore led all scorers with a game-high 22 points. Moore knocked down 4-of-8 shots from distance and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Brandon Evans also reached double figures for the Saints finishing with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
With the win, the Saints improve to 10-4 overall, 4-0 in the CCAC and currently sit in first place in the CCAC South Division. The team has now extended their program-best winning-streak to seven games. In addition, the team reached the 10-win mark for the first time before the Christmas holiday.
Holy Cross (10-4, 4-0 CCAC) will resume CCAC action on Thursday night in Joliet, Ill. as they're set to take on the University of St. Francis (Ill.). The game is scheduled to being at 8:00 p.m. EST.