(LaPorte, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints men's basketball team opened up Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play Wednesday night on the road against the Panthers of Purdue North Central. A battle from the first tip, the Saints and Panthers were close from start to finish.
Entering Wednesday night's matchup between the two programs, the Saints had held a 4-1 series lead over the Panthers including four straight victories.
After trading baskets early in the half, the Panthers were able to go on a run and build up a 9 point lead on the Saints. As the half went on, the Saints were able to chip away and ended up cutting the deficit to 36-31 at the half on 40% shooting.
Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, Cali.) led the Saint sin scoring at the break with 8 points on 3-9 shooting.
The Saints were able to get off to a quick start in the beginning of the second half and opened up a 6 point lead at 45-39. Turnovers ended up getting the better of the Saints and the Panthers were able to storm back and tie the game at 47.
A 7-0 run from Purdue North Central halfway through the second half put the Saints in a whole that they were not able to get out of. They would go on to get within a possession, but that was as close as they could get. The Saints fell to the Panthers 74-70 and drop to 0-2 (0-1 CCAC) on the young season.
Senior guard Yama Kader led the Saints with 19 points on 7-22 shooting. Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) finished the game with his first career double-double at 14 points and 12 rebounds. Evans also recorded a season high 4 blocks.
"Tonight showed that we're just a young team right now trying to compete in a tough league," said Saints head coach Bob Schermerhorn. "The guys had some great moments where they dug themselves out of a deep hole, then followed by some missed opportunities that ended up hurting us."
The Saints did a great job scoring the ball inside tonight outscoring the Panthers 50-26 in points in the paint.
Foul shots were hard to come by as the Saints only got to the line 13 times and making only 6 of those for 46.2%
Conference play continues for the Saints on Saturday, November 10th as they take on local conference rival IUSB at McKenna Arena for their 2012-2013 home opener. Tip-off is set for 3:00pm EST.