(Notre Dame, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints men's basketball team hosted the IUSB Titans in their 2012-2013 home opener Saturday evening. Coming off a tough loss at Purdue North Central, the Saints were looking to get back on track with their first win of the season against their cross-town rival.
A slow shooting first half had the Saints fighting to keep pace with the Titans. Shooting only 8-24 from the field (33.3%), the Saints found themselves only trailing 28-20 at the end of the first half.
The start of the second half had IUSB get a quick layup from Jordan Burton that increased their lead to 10 points. The Saints, however, were refusing to let any deficit keep them out of the game. As the second half went on, Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, Cali.) began to look like his 2011-2012 1st team All-CCAC self. Kader began to get his shots to drop and the Saints began to cut into the Titans lead.
Trailing 8 with 7:45 remaining in the game, the Saints got a big boost from junior college transfer Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) with a big time slam that got the Saints and their home crowd back into the game. The dunk from Evans cut the Titans lead to 6. Back-to-back three-point shots from Yama Kader would tie the game up at 49-49 with just 6:22 remaining in the game.
Two free-throws at 5:55 from Kader gave the Saints their first lead of the second half and first since 14:22 of the first half where the Saints led 6-4.
The final five minutes of the game were as intense as you could ask for in a cross-town rivalry game. The Saints built their lead up to 4 points just to see the Titans get the lead back with 2:04 remaining. Parker Dominguez (Santa Clarita, Cali.) hit one of two free-throws with 27 seconds remaining to give the Saints a 1 point lead.
IUSB had the ball with one final chance to win the game with 2 seconds left. Steven Heatherly went for the floater on the right baseline that went over the rim and into the hands of Parker Dominguez as the time ran out. The Saints had come back to beat the Titans for the third straight time.
Yama Kader stole the show in the second half scoring 17 of his game high 24 points on 7-24 shooting. Junior Brandon Evans had another big game for the Saints scoring a career high 18 points on 8-14 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds.
Parker Dominguez did an excellent job cleaning up the glass for the Saints with 8 rebounds (3 offensive), none bigger than the final one to end the game.
"I'm really pleased with how the guys stayed composed over the course of the game," said Saints head coach Bob Schermerhorn. "I feel that each game the guys are becoming more aware of what we expect of them, and tonight really showed. IUSB is a great program and we had to fight until the very end to get this win. It feels good to get the first one of the year, but now we need to get back to work to prepare for Great Lakes Christian on Monday."
Despite only shooting 39.2% from the field, the Saints were able to make the most of their opportunities down the stretch shooting 44.2% from the field in the second half. Bench play was also key as the Saints outscored the Titans 11-7 in bench scoring.
The win for the Saints is their first of the season and brings their season record to 1-2 (1-1 CCAC). They will continue play on Monday, November 12th on the road at Great Lakes Christian College, and return home on Saturday, November 17th against Roosevelt University. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.