Despite a fourth quarter buzzer beater by Lance Williams to send the game into overtime, the University Cubs pulled off a tight 75-70 win over the St. Michael Warriors on Tuesday night.
With the Warriors holding a 58-55 lead as the fourth quarter minutes dwindled, the Cubs dialed up the intensity and were able to go on an 8-2 run fueled by defensive pressure to seize control of the game. Trailing 65-62 with 14.5 seconds left, a buzzer-beater from Williams sent the game to an extra period.
In overtime, the Cubs were able to get into the paint and convert on four free throws to edge out the win.
“You’ve gotta recover quickly (in that situation) and play the next four minutes,” U-High coach Joe Spencer said. “I thought halfway through the fourth quarter we started to play better and pick up the pressure a little bit.”
U-High had the obvious size advantage in this one, pounding the paint with junior big man Roman Pitre, who finished with 15 points on the evening while Zaren James poured in a team high 21 points. Of the first 18 points for the Cubs, 16 came under the goal, a strategy U-High would continue to take advantage of throughout the game.
St. Michael utilized the explosive quickness of its guards to counter the interior presence of the Cubs. Guards Wesley Fields and Derrick Morris dictated the fast-paced, up-tempo offense while forward Anthony Igiede was the clear cut No. 1 scoring option.
Igiede came out on fire, knocking down his first three shots using a pretty dribble drive pull-up a couple of times to spark the Warriors' scoring effort, finishing with a game-high 30 points.
The two teams exchanged blows for much of the first half with neither leading by more than five points. With the Warriors carrying a 31-29 lead into the break, it was St. Michael who came out looking to quickly separate.
The Warriors jumped out to a seven-point lead early in the third with big jump shots from Igiede and Fields and were able to neutralize Pitre for much of the second half. Instead it was junior Collin Coates who took over in the second for the Cubs, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the final 16 minutes.
“We went into a 14-day quarantine and this team, ever since then, we haven’t been clicking,” Warriors coach Drew Hart said. “We worked the last two days in practice to run better offense and they did it. So I’m proud we took a step forward today.”