(Elgin, Ill.) After going just 2-8 in the month of January, the Saints got off to a refreshing start on Saturday night with a 67-52 win over the Judson Eagles. After a tightly contested first half, the Saints took control in the game's final twenty minutes outscoring their opponent 37-23 en route to their 12th win of the season, and second straight CCAC win.
Judson, however, was quick to respond themselves, answering with ten straight points to put the Saints behind by five.
With the Eagles in control for most of the first half, the Saints used a 6-to-0 run to regain a two point lead. The Saints would extend their lead to five points with 3:41 to play in the half.
After trading baskets down the stretch, the Saints held on to a 30-29 lead.
Mike Vander Ploeg (Kalamazoo, Mich.) knocked down 4-of-6 from the floor in the first half for 10 points to lead all scorers.
As a team, the Saints hit 13-for-26 from the field and 4-for-10 from long range. Only two free-throws were attempted in the first half, both by Judson.
The Eagles would score the first points of the second half after Luke Labedzki knocked down a three-pointer within the first minute.
With both teams posting a threat early in the half, the Saints were able to find separation at the midpoint after a 10-to-0 run gave them a 53-43 lead at the 8:37 mark. At this point, the Saints had taken control of the game on both ends of the floor.
Clinging to a 60-52 lead with just over five minutes left to play, the Saints went on to hold Judson scoreless for the remainder of the game en route to a 67-52 win, their second straight.
The Saints outscored the Eagles 37-23 over the game's final twenty minutes.
Bench production was key in the second half as the Saints outscored the Eagles 12-2 with only two bench players seeing the floor.
For the game, the Saints took advantage of their opportunities as they knocked down 29-54 (53.7%) from the floor and 8-for-18 (44.4%) from long distance. An interesting note is the Saints did all of this damage offensively while shooting only one free-throw the entire game.
Four players for the Saints recorded at least five rebounds paving the way for a 33-31 advantage over Judson.
"This was a huge win for us to start off the final month of the regular season," coach Schermerhorn said. "We fought hard in the first half to hold on to a slim lead, and completely took control in the second half. Credit to our players for holding Judson scoreless for the final five minutes. It was another solid team effort and we look forward to playing at home on Wednesday."
Saturday night's win over Judson gives the Saints a sweep on the season.
The Saints (12-14, 8-12 CCAC), return home to McKenna Arena on Wednesday, February 6th with their series finale against Purdue University-Calumet. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.