(Notre Dame, Indiana) The Holy Cross College men's basketball hosted the visting Andrews University Cardinals tonight in McKenna Arena at the Pfeil Center.
Looking at last year's results against Andrews University this game was a highly anticipated match-up between the two schools. Last year the Saints played Andrews University very tough in two tightly contested matches. They lost to the Cardinals 71-70 and 67-62 which was margin of 6 total points in the two games. Tonight, however, would be a different story as the visiting Cardinals proved to be too much for the Saints as they defeated the host Saints 68-43.
It was a very sluggish start for the Saints as the Cardinals opened the match 7-2 in the first 6 minutes of action. The Cardinals 2-3 zone proved to be very stifling for the Saints offense early on as they were only able to score 3 points in the first 8 minutes of action. The Cardinals also had some early success on two breakaway lay-ups by Tyler Woolridge and Matthew Little that put the Cardinals up 16-3 midway through the 1st half.
After a timeout taken by Head Coach Bob Schermerhorn the Saints finally settled down as Sophomore Dane Okuda (Huntington Beach California) hit back to back 3 pointers with six and half minutes remaining to cut the lead to 20-9 late in the second half. Another 3 pointer by Junior Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, California) cut the lead to 20-12 with 5 minutes remaining. Unfortunately, that is the closest the Saints got all night as the Cardinals rattled off 5 points in the final thirty seconds to close the half out up 17 points with the score 32-15.
The Cardinals rode the hot hands in the first half of Tyler Woolridge and Matthew Little as they combined for nineteen of the Cardinals 32 points in the first half, and they were 3 for 5 from behind the 3 point line. As a team they shot 52 percent from the field, and the Saints could not find the bottom of the basket as they went 5-26 from the field finishing the half shooting nineteen percent. The Saints were led by Okuda who had 6 points, and Senior Taylor Williams would chip in 5 rebounds in the opening half.
"We just came out very flat to start the game. You can't spot a team like Andrews a lead like that and expect to be successful early on in the game. We just did not come ready to play," said Head Coach Bob Schermerhorn.
The second half started the same way as the first half as Woolridge scored 5 straight points in the opening 2 minutes as they maintained their distance with a 39-22 edge with 16:42 left in the game.
The Saints would make a run midway through the half as Williams hit 2 free throws with 12:44 remaining cutting a twenty two point margin down to eighteen points as the Saints trailed 47-29. Kader would cut the lead down to sixteen after hitting 2 free throws at the 12:00 minute mark.
That would be all the Saints could muster as Little would hit two straight 3 pointers that seemed to be the daggers in the Saints run widening the gap as the Cardinals led 57-35 with seven and a half minutes to play in the game.
The game would stay around that margin for the rest of the half, and the Cardinals would finally prevail 68-43 when the buzzer sounded ending the game.
"We got outplayed. It is that simple. It is a long season though, and we need to understand that and bounce back. I have full confidence that we will be better on Saturday. Sometimes you have games like this, and it is important that we learn from this, and apply it to our next game on Saturday," said Coach Schermerhorn.
Williams and Kader would lead the Saints with 8 points a piece. Williams was very close to a double double as he led the Saints with 9 rebounds as well. There were some bright spots on the defensive end as Senior Guard JT Breveard (South Bend, IN) had a nice game on the defensive end as he recorded 5 steals, and Senior Forward Adam Dobrzykowski (South Bend, IN) had 4 steals as well. The Saints shooting woes continued in the second as well as they went 6-28 in the second half finished the game 11-54 for a shooting percentage of 20.4.
The Cardinals were paced by the hot hands of Woolridge and Little. Woolridge finished the game with 19 points going 8-13 from the field and 3-5 from behind the arc. Little would finish with 16 points going 6-8 from the field and 4-6 from the behind the arc. The Cardinals went 13-23 in the second half and 27-50 for the game for an overall shooting percentage of 54 percent. The telling stat would be behind the arc as the Cardinals went 7-11 as they hit 67 percent of their shots from the 3 point line.
The Saints did create 26 turnovers on the defensive end, and they only had 16 turnovers of their own, but they were outhustled on the boards as the Cardinals outrebounded the Saints 46 to 27 on the night.
"You just can't allow a team to shoot that well, and outrebound you like that if you expect to win. Our job is improve on this for Saturday, and luckily we have 3 days of practice to address the deficiencies that happened in tonight's game. I have a great group of guys, and there is no doubt that we will be better on Saturday," said Coach Schermerhorn after the game.
The Saints are now 0-2 on the season, and there next game is at home at 3:00 p.m. against Great Lakes Christian College this Saturday at Mckenna Arena at the Pfeil Center. They will be playing after the Women's Basketball Team in a double header. The women take on Indiana University Northwest at 1:00 p.m.