“ABOVE: Lorenzo Marinez, junior center, dunks the ball during Southwestern’s game against Saint Mary. The Builders won 89-77 (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer).”
By Cale Eirich
The Builder men’s basketball team continues to pile up numbers and wins, defeating the Saint Mary’s Spires last night 89-77. The eighth ranked Builders (13-1, 7-1 KCAC) shot better than 50-percent from the floor, led by guards DJ Wallace and Cameron Hunt. The duo scored 20 points each on the night, creating nearly half of Southwestern’s scoring offense.
Back court scoring led to a multitude of opportunities beneath the bucket for the Builder’s two big men Brent Smith and Lorenzo Marinez.
“The way they drive attracts a lot of attention,” said Brent Smith, junior center. “Everyone comes to help them, so sometimes my man leaves me and that leaves me wide open underneath the basket. All I have to do is catch the pass and finish.
The Builders ability to drive and run against the Spires led to ten points in the paint for Smith.
Southwestern was able to build on a 44-34 advantage going into the second half, going on a 19 to 7 run that gave the Moundbuilders their first 20-point lead of the game.
“I thought our passing was good when we pulled away,” said head coach Matt O’Brien. “DJ Wallace made some really nice passes down low, and I think that freed things up.”
Despite building a large lead, the Spires took advantages of their opportunities to cut the lead within 9, going on a 9-0 run late in the second half with 5:18 remaining in regulation.
“The game just wouldn’t end, they kept hitting three’s at the end,” said Coach O’Brien. “Every game in conference, for the most part, is going to be possession by possession towards the end.”
Nonetheless, the Moubuilders were able to answer by going on a 9-2 run of their own to have a comfortable 81-65 lead with 1:49 remaining in the game.
“We locked in defensively, on the scouting report we knew they shot a lot of three’s, they shot about 72-percent from three last game,” said redshirt freshman Kenyatta Sewell. “We started running them a lot and they got tired easily.”
Southwestern’s ability to close the Spires out is a positive sign considering the last two conference games, one giving the Builder’s their lone loss on a buzzer beater.
“Conference teams are pretty hard to beat because they just don’t go away,” said Smith. “We haven’t been doing a great job of finishing out a game, we get a lead and we can’t finish, but today we did a good job of finishing it out.”
The victory places SC at 13-1 overall, and 7-1 in conference play. Southwestern will get a much needed holiday break and come back Dec. 29th, where they will face Central Methodist in the opening game of the Rib Crib-Kansas Wesleyan Coyote Classic, in Salina.
Cale Eirich is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org