(Deerfield, Ill.) The Holy Cross Saints men's basketball returned to the court for the first time in 2013 on the road at Trinity International University in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Thursday night. In their first game in over two weeks, the Saints struggled to find consistent momentum in the game and fell to the Trojans 87-77.
Coming into tonight's game, the two programs have had a competitive history with both teams splitting the series total a two wins apiece. With their first meeting of the season, the Saints looked to continue their strong late December push and get off to a winning start in 2013.
A layup from sophomore Clayton Webb (Dallas, Tex.) gave the Saints the first points of the game but unfortunately their only lead of the game. With 14:19 left in the half, the Saints found themselves trailing by nine to the Trojans.
Trailing by just three points at the halfway point of the first half, a 9-to-2 run by the Trojans extended the lead to ten points. The Trojans were able to extend their lead to as many as thirteen points before the Saints came storming back and trimming the deficit to just one point with 1:25 left in the half off of two free-throws by Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.). A 6-to-0 run by the Trojans, however, extended their lead to seven points at the break leading the Saints 43-36.
Senior point guard Mike Vander Ploeg (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was instrumental in keeping the Saints in the first half scoring 9 points and dishing out 3 assists.
A quick 11-to-4 run out of the gates in the second half gave the Trojans a 14-point lead after Demontay Robinson three-pointer. Despite shooting a good percentage from the field in the second half (53.1%), timely shots by Trinity International kept increasing their lead over the course of the half. Clinging to an 18-point lead with 9:34 left to play, the Trojans were putting the pressure on the Saints offense to match their stellar shooting performance. The Saints trailed by as many as 21 points with 4:24 left in the game.
The Saints used an 11-to-0 run over the last four and half minutes to cut the Trojans lead to 10 as they would go on to fall 87-77, dropping their first game of 2013.
"They made a lot of shots tonight and we were unable to match them at some key moments in the game," said head coach Bob Schermerhorn. "Every time we would cut into the lead they would either get a big shot to extend it, or get to the foul line. We needed to be more aware on the defensive end tonight. It's tough to come back after two plus weeks off from game action, but we will get back in the gym and prepare for a tough Saint Xavier team on Saturday."
Parker Dominguez (Santa Clarita, Cali.) scored 12 second half points for a team-high 18 on the night. Brandon Evans (13), Clayton Webb (12), and Mike Vander Ploeg (11) were the other Saints players to reach double-digits in scoring. Vander Ploeg also finished with a team-high 5 assists.
The Saints, 9-7 (5-6), will return to the court on Saturday, January 5th as they continue CCAC play against Saint Xavier University. This will be the first meeting between the two teams on the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. EST.