T-Birds No Match for Saints Red Hot Offense

KSCB News - January 17, 2016 9:47 am

Quite simply put, the Cloud County Thunderbirds had no answer on the defensive end for the Seward County Saints Saturday night in the Greenhouse. Three Saints reached the 20 point mark and Seward shot 69% in the first half against the T-Birds in route to a 101-73 Seward County win.

The Saints followed the blueprint that their comrades, the Lady Saints put together two hours earlier, getting off to a red hot start, opening up a 10-2 lead on the T-Birds less than two minutes into the game. Seward kept pouring it on, a red hot Charles Beauregard connected from three and Niem Stevenson followed suit moments later and just like that the Saints were on top 18-4. Cloud started to pick things up from that point, but there was no slowing Seward down on this night. A pair of Marcus Mathieu free throws off a T-Bird technical pushed the Saints lead to 15 and a three from the wing off the left hand of Delwin Young made it a 37-19 game midway through the first half. Mathieu splashed home threes on the Saints next two trips down the floor and after James Bryd and Stevenson made acrobatic shots, the Saints pushed their lead over 20 at 47-26. It didn’t matter who Bryan Zollinger shuffled into the game, Seward scored at will and finally a bucket on a putback from Matthew Lewis closed the half for the Saints and at the break they led Cloud 60-40.

The Saints shot an unbelievable 69% from the field in the first half, connecting on 10 of 15 three pointers to shoot 67% from there as well. Cloud was also good on offense in the half, but certainly off the Saints pace, scoring their 40 points on 44% shooting while also hitting on 7 of 11 from deep. Mathieu led all scorers with 14 first half points while Stevenson and Beauregard added 13 each.

The 60 point first half wasn’t enough for the Saints as they immediately added to their advantage as the second half began. Seward scored the first 11 points of the half, all coming from the right hands of Stevenson, Beauregard, and Mathieu to blow their lead wide open to 71-40 with 17:00 to go. With 13:27 remaining, Beauregard found a cutting Delano Jones to give the Saints their largest lead of the night at 80-44. With the game well in hand, things got a little bit sloppy on both sides late, leading to a parade of players back and forth to the free throw lines. In the final 6:08 of the game, each side managed just two field goals, but scored plenty of points at the charity stripe before the final horn mercifully sounded with the Saints coming away with a 101-73 win.

The Saints slowed down to 41% shooting in the second half to finish the game at 55% overall from the field. Cloud shot 40% in the final 20 minutes to end the night at 42%. After being forced to sit with early foul trouble in the Saints last game against Coffeyville, Mathieu took advantage of his 28 minutes of court time Saturday, scoring a career high 23 points on an efficient 6 of 9 from the floor and a perfect 7 of 7 from the foul line. Beauregard had 21 in the win while Stevenson hit the 20 point mark for the 14th time in the 2015-2016 season.

The win is the 15th of the year for Seward who improves to 15-4 overall and 5-3 in conference action. Cloud’s rough 2016 continues as they fall to 8-12 overall and 1-8 in league play.

Next up for Seward is a huge week of Jayhawk Conference action on the road. The Saints will first travel to Hutchinson Wednesday to take on a Blue Dragon team that was ranked #1 in the country two weeks ago after a 15-0 start. Then Seward goes into the Cougars Den in Great Bend Saturday to take on Barton who is tied atop the league standings with Neosho at 6-2.

SEWARD COUNTY/CLOUD COUNTY BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/mbkb/2015-16/boxscores/20160116_1qjs.xml?view=boxscore>

Roy Allen


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