SMU Saints Vs. CWU Wildcats, Feb. 27, 2021

Brody Sodon, Staff Writer

The last Saint Martin’s men’s basketball home game of the season was certainly entertaining. Because this is Saint Martin’s second game in as many days, the Saints had a tough order to complete on Saturday. Matched up against their GNAC rivals, the Central Washington Wildcats, many believed that they were in for a high scoring affair, but instead we got to see a tale of two games.

The first half was close, with no team leading by any more than five points, but the final score of the half was very low, at a mere 25-25. The rather uneventful first half was capped off by an absolute bomb directly into the net for three by Ty Velasquez, and a foul set up a free throw for the Saints to snag one more before the half to tie the game. In the first half, Alex Schumacher and Ty Velasquez combed for an incredible 16 of the Saints’ 25 points in the first half.

During half time, analysts reported that the Saints averaged just 32% of their shots while the Wildcats averaged just 33% in the back and forth first half. These low numbers were not due to ineptitude on offense by any means, but by a surprisingly staunch defense for both teams.

To open up the second half the Saints played well, forcing a shot clock violation on the Wildcats, but let the Wildcats score on their next possession on a long three-point shot. Schumacher reached double digit points on the night following an incredible spin move setting him up for a two point shot, bringing his subtotal up to 11 points on the night, but before I could finish typing the sentence he got another two points, but had to go back to the bench after he committed his third foul on the night. This would go on to set the tone for the second half, which saw significantly more offense while being much more physical than the first half.

Valasquez earned his second three pointer of the night with about 16 minutes to go in the second half, putting the Saints back in the lead. He then scored again just two minutes later, setting the Saints up for the largest lead of the night up to that point at six points. The lead was increased even more when Tyke Thompson drilled a three pointer, extending the Saints lead to seven points after giving up two to Central. The Saints lead 43-37 with twelve minutes to go, and momentum strongly in their favor.

The Saints found much more success early in the second half, especially with their three-point shots which seemed to work in their favor in their double header weekend. Rather suddenly, however, the Saints lead was abruptly diminished as Central rallied for nine points in just one minute, three quarters of the way through the game, eventually taking the lead by one point at 50-49, making the score look more like a basketball game and less like a football game. Central ended up rallying for thirteen unanswered points, keeping Saint Martin’s off of the scoreboard for over four minutes until Seth Coddington earned two points on a lay-up shot with 6:45 to go. 

The Saints retook the lead with an Alex Schumacher steal, setting him up for a lay-up shot that brought his subtotal up to 20 points on the night, but the Saints almost immediately found themselves in a three point deficit after giving up back-to-back two pointers to the Wildcats, but Velasquez tied the game with another clutch three point shot.

Velasquez attempted a game saving shot as time expired, but was rejected as the ball bounced off of the top of the rim, ending all hopes of sending the game into overtime with the Saints losing by two. 

The second half was much more entertaining, as both teams brought up their shooting average to over 40% for both teams over the course of the game, much higher than their subtotals of just over 30% at the half.

The standout players of the night for the Saints were Alex Schumacher and Ty Velasquez. Velasquez finished the night going an incredible 3 for 6 on the night in three-point shots, totaling fifteen points on the night. The real star of the night though for the Saints was Alex Schumacher who was a stat sheet stuffer, earning himself a three-pointer, three rebounds, two assists, three turnovers, three steals, and twenty-two total points on the night.

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