McMain defeated Newman in the first round of last year’s Newman Invitational on the Greenies’ home court and Peter Drennan waited an entire year to exact his revenge.
The senior guard scored 28 points to help Newman rout McMain 58-34 in the first round of the Newman Invitational Tournament on Wednesday night.
“Last year, we lost to this team in the first round and it felt kind of like we were embarrassed in a way,” Drennan said. “We just wanted to get the win for our fans and get off to a good start in this tournament.”
Newman (3-5) jumped out on McMain (5-7) early, outscoring the Mustangs 16-2 during the first quarter in dominant fashion. Drennan scored 12 of Newman’s 16 first-quarter points, which included three 3-pointers from the Greenies’ sharpshooter.
Drennan added six rebounds to go along with his 28 points for the night and Elbert Thomas threw in nine points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Greenies.
“Peter is a really skilled player, and he’s a huge positive influence for our basketball team,” Newman coach Jimmy Tillette said. “We need him to be on task for us to win games.”
McMain began to do a better job getting into the lane during the second quarter and saw its offensive production grow because of it. After being outscored by 12 points in the first quarter, the Mustangs outscored the Greenies 11-8 in the second quarter and a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot by McMain guard Rashaad Jones cut the Greenies lead to 24-13 heading into halftime.
Jones and McMain guard Juwan Javers combined for 20 points and 12 rebounds, but struggled with their shot through the night, going a combined 9-of-32 from the field.
“Some of our lull in the second came when we gave some football guys a chance to play and they were just a little confused out there,” Tillette said.
The Greenies were able to get back to their formula that worked in the first quarter — strong defense and a 12-point quarter from Drennan — to extend their lead back to 42-21 by the end of the period.
Newman utilized a 13-0 run during the third quarter to put the game out of McMain’s reach, which included Drennan going on a 8-0 run of his own.
“I thought we had open looks all game, and if we stuck to our offense we could get good shots,” Drennan said. “We just need to focus mentally because we still are making a lot of mental mistakes.”
A lack of size and depth along the Mustangs’ frontline proved to be a detriment for McMain the entire night.
Newman, a team that Tillette acknowledges “rebounding isn’t our strength,” beat the Mustangs on the boards by a 33-17 margin and almost shot twice as many free throws (12-7).
“We rebounded well,” Tillette said. “They’re kind of a small team, but that’s not our strength. Our strength is ball movement and playing like a team and I think we did a good job of that. We’re a skilled team and that’s how we’re going to win games: by out-skilling our opponents.”