When sophomore Robert Hughes led the No. 24 Steel City Ballers onto the court against The Legends of Notre Dame, the crowd expected a blowout. While the Ballers did prevail 21-18, they did not blowout The Legends by any means.
The Ballers opened in a 2-1-2 zone, of which the Legends took advantage by hitting two jumpers for a quick 2-0 lead. Soon thereafter, the Ballers' more physical style of play yielded a few layups and rebound put-backs.
At halftime the Ballers led 11-8, with Hughes leading the effort with four points, despite only shooting 3-9 from the field. The Legends would have fared much better if they had done better than their 0-for-3 showing from the free throw line in the first half. The underdogs went 2-for-9 from the charity stripe for the whole game.
The Ballers began the second half by missing their first four shots, and The Legends drew close.
"We couldn't buy a basket," Ballers senior Doug Susco said. "It had a lot to do with the court too. We couldn't get our grip on the ball."
With the Ballers up 18-17, the court was lined with spectators from baseline to baseline. The pressure seemed to get to both teams, as they both turned the ball over several times before?Hughes ended the game on a free throw.
"We let the game get real tight," Ballers captain John Dillon said. "We should have made the free throws but next game we'll hit them."
No. 18 We Didn't Go to Jared's 21, The Smurfs 13
Jared's got off to a slow start but eventually lived up to its lofty ranking to beat The Smurfs by eight.
The Smurfs opened the game strong as freshman Grayson Duren seemed to make every shot he took. Duren scored The Smurfs' final seven points of the first half, as well as the team's first point of the second half.
"We rely on skill a lot more than size or athleticism, so anytime we can make a couple shots we'll keep running and hoping to knock them down," Duren said.
But Jared's closed the first half strong, as Andrew Cavanaugh scored six of his 12 points in the half, and Jared's led 11-10 at halftime. Jared's would then score the first seven points of the second half.
"[Duren] looked like [NBA legend] Pete Maravich so we put our own little Pistol on him on defense," Cavanaugh said. "And we came out like gangbusters in the second half."
Before long, Jared's had scored enough inside buckets to procure the necessary 21 points, and The Smurfs' hot hands went cold.
"They were a lot bigger and a lot more athletic than us," Duren said. "Really, they were a better basketball team, so we were lucky to hang in there as long as we did."
Going Pro In Something Other Than Sports 21, 3D Monkeys 16
Going Pro pulled away at the end to defeat 3D Monkeys in a game that seemed to be tied for the majority of play.
Both teams played competitively, never allowing the other to get on a run or gain any momentum. In the first half, junior center Kevin Brooks dominated the boards and tallied key put-backs to keep his team close.
3D Monkeys broke the 10-10 tie to take the slight lead into halftime, but with the score knotted up at 15-15, Going Pro turned to its defense. The man-to-man pressure forced turnovers that led to lay-ups at the other end.
"I think we performed at a high level, the other team played real strong, but we came back at the end and finished them off real tough," said Going Pro captain Dave Crowley, a senior.