(Notre Dame, Ind.) The Saints returned home to McKenna Arena on Saturday afternoon to close out the season series with the Olivet Nazarene University Tigers. After a solid start for the Saints, the Tigers offense began to take off en route to a 103-74 loss for the Saints evening the season series at 1-1.
Five straight points for Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, Cali.) gave the Saints an early six point lead before the Tigers responded with their own 13-to-0 run to open a seven point lead.
An Austin Davis three-point shot extended the Tigers lead to double-figures for the first time at the 9:20 mark of the first half. The Saints would cut the lead to nine points on two occasions before the Tigers offense really took off.
A shooting foul, paired with a technical foul by Holy Cross, gave the Tigers four straight free-throw attempts. The Tigers took advantage of this opportunity knocking down all four attempts and extending their first half lead to 19 points with the score at 47-28 with 2:34 left in the half.
With just seconds remaining, Dane Okuda (Huntington Beach, Cali.) took the ball full court and hit a three-point bucket a few steps past half court to cut the Tigers lead to 15 points. The saints trailed at the break 51-36.
Olivet's eight first half three-pointers, paired with their 15 points off of 6 Saints turnovers, had their offense rolling.
The second half for the Saints, unfortunately, didn't bring many breaks. Olivet shot 57.9% (22-of-38) from the floor on their way to a 52 point second half.
Three Tigers players scored at least 20 points in this contest: Ben Worner had a game high 31, Torey Laferney had 21, and Aaron Larson finished with 20. All three players scored in double-figures in the second half.
Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) recorded a 14 point and 12 rebound double-double leading the Saints in both categories.
Dane Okuda (11) and Zoe Bauer (Culver, Ind.) (10) each scored in double-figures off the bench for the Saints.
"We struggled to slow down their efficiency on offense," said head coach Bob Schermerhorn. "I thought we came out solid in the beginning but when those three players (Worner, Laferney, and Larson) got going, we had difficulty slowing them down. We need to play a lot better on both the offensive and defensive ends if we want to win these types of games."
The Saints, 10-10 (6-9 CCAC), will return to the hardwood on Wednesday, January 13th with a road contest against Roosevelt University and return home on January 23rd against conference leader Cardinal Stritch University. That home tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.