There was a point Monday when the University of Saint Mary men’s basketball team faced serious danger of losing control.
Following a first half where it amassed a 13-point advantage over visiting Haskell Indian Nations University, the Spires found themselves in a slump halfway through the second half.
Shots weren’t dropping, the defense was slipping and the Fighting Indians had clawed back to trail by just two points.
But then the scare seem to melt away when Jordan Wilcox floated in a silky 3-pointer off a Saint Mary inbounds play. USM went on a corresponding 10-2 run and never looked back, taking the contest 85-71.
“When they cut it to two, we just really buckled down defensively,” USM coach Jon Bishop said. “When we are a really good defensive team, it usually leads to our best offense and that’s what happened when we pulled away.”
The victory improved the Spires record to 4-4. Chip Schneider was the team’s leader in scoring with 17 points while Wilcox added 15 and Matt Heydman chipped in 14. Schneider also snagged seven rebounds. Shiron Williams and Kevin Harvey racked up six assists each.
“When we get out and play defense like we are capable of playing, we are always at our best offensively,” Bishop said.
On Saturday, Saint Mary avenged an earlier loss this season by beating the College of the Ozarks 69-62. On Monday, USM will go to Peru State for a 7 p.m. contest.
Lady Spires’ slide continues at home
A rough weekend bled into Monday for the Lady Spires basketball team.
After starting the season off 4-1, the University of Saint Mary women have now lost three straight following Monday’s 77-69 defeat to Haskell Indian Nations University.
On Saturday, USM fell to Central Methodist College 78-66.
Saint Mary, 4-4, will play an exhibition game at Rockhurst University, a NCAA Div. II school, 6 p.m. Monday.
Versus Haskell, the Lady Spires held a slim one-point advantage at half.
However, a poor defensive second half, wherein the team allowed 45 Haskell points on a near 60-percent shooting clip led to the eight-point loss.
Kendra Mattox led the team in scoring with 23 points while Korbynn Stallbaumer had 17. Each collected five rebounds.
Shelby Watson collected five assists for a team high and also contributed 11 points.