Pilots come from behind to defeat St. Thomas
January 07, 2012HOUSTON, Tex. - Saying the Pilots got off to slow start this afternoon would be a major understatement. However, their poor shooting percentage (36%) and turnovers in the first half set the stage for one of the best halves of basketball the Pilots have played all season long. The fourth consecutive victory moves the Pilots to 7-5 overall and 5-2 in conference play.
In the early going, the Pilots struggled to find the bottom of the basket which included a scoreless first half from Derrick Parker. The Pilots also were horrendous from the free throw line shooting 5 for 11 (45%). The combination of shooting woes and nine turnovers created a halftime deficit for the Pilots 36-26. "We didn't shoot the ball very well at all during the first half," commented Head Coach Chad McDowell. "We were more disappointed with our nine turnovers and awful shooting from the free throw line than we were with not making shots."
While the Pilots were not making shots, the Celts of St. Thomas were doing just the opposite. The Celts finished 6 for 14 from the 3 point line in the first half. The Celts had balanced scoring in the first half with 8 different players getting a basket. The rebounding battle during the first frame was barely won by the Pilots 21-19.
The next 20 minutes fortunately for the Pilots would be the tale of two halves. The Pilots were much stronger with the basketball and much more efficient offensively. Almost every Pilot got going offensively and picked up their intensity on the defensive end and on the boards. The Pilots ended up with a rebounding advantage of 16 over the Celts (46-30). After a scoreless first half, NAIA All-American and Pilot's leading scorer Derrick Parker came through with 16 points and 9 more rebounds allowing him to get his 8th straight double-double to bring his season total to 10.
Greg Shyne finished the night with 16 points which included two big 3-point baskets in the second half. Aubin Young join the scoring party as well with 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting.
Isiah Bazile finished with 11 points but 6 of those points came at big moments. On two occasions in the last 5 minutes of the game, the shot clock was under 10 and Bazile managed to knock down two 15 foot jumpers. Bazile's biggest two points came with 14.3 seconds to play. The Celts had the ball down 2 and missed their 3 point attempt to take the lead. After a fierce battle for the ball, Bazile was able to pick it up strong while being fouled immediately by two of the Celts players. Bazile made his way to the charity stripe calmly knocking down both of them. Those two points gave the Pilots a four point cushion and prove to be the difference as the Pilots held on to win 69-65. "Those were two big free-throws for sure," commented McDowell. The Pilots made good during the second half from the free throw line finishing 11 for 12 (92%).
"Today's win was much needed for our team," stated McDowell. "We got contributions from a lot of guys and today was a great team victory. Two guys that played big for us but may not show up on the stat sheet was Cody (Walker) and Rydell (Harris). But really, everyone played well in the second half. Their efforts and no quit attitude are to be commended."
The Pilots will be back in action at The Dock this Thursday night, January 12, 2012, against Jarvis Christian College. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Pilots!