If there aren’t any lights on at New Haven, it might just be because Pacific shot them all out Friday night.
The Indians (6-2, 2-0) knocked down five three point shots in the third quarter as they steadily pulled away from the Shamrocks (5-3, 0-1) at New Haven.
Pacific led 25-14 after the first quarter and held New Haven to just five points in the second period to cement a 38-19 advantage at halftime.
“We played pretty well,” Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer said. “We came out and tried to do something we don’t do a lot — press. That got us a little lead, but then it got us in foul trouble and they kind of got back in the game when we were fouling them. Then we went to our staple of half-court man and they really struggled to do much on the offensive end. ...Our defense is pretty solid when we get all five guys on the floor locked in at the same time. There’s a few times where we didn’t, but for the most part we were pretty locked in defensively.”
The Indians shot 6-14 from three-point range in the contest, but did a lot of damage from beyond the arc in the third period to put the game away. The first of the six came from Jordan Cowsert in the final seconds of the second quarter.
Then, in the third, Pacific got two three-balls from Joey Casey and one apiece from Cameron VanLeer, Tom Hennessy and Ryan Sauvage.
The third quarter effort gave the Indians a 67-29 advantage and the bulk of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock as a result.
“When they’re making shots, it’s hard to go with them,” New Haven Head Coach Aaron Peirick said of Pacific. “You’ve got to score every possession because they’re going to score dang near every possession, and they’re going to get extra possessions because their defensive pressure is so good. I thought we did some good things, for sure, at times, but we can’t be good one out of every three or four possessions and expect to beat good teams and they’re a really good team.”
“We had a variety of people score and went on a run there and put the game out of reach for them,” Coach VanLeer said. “I thought Tom Hennessy and Ryan Sauvage really battled their big kid (John Fleer). I thought they really battled him well. He’s big and physical. There’s not a lot of kids that post up like that any more and keep posting and posting. He pretty much stayed around the lane and posted up the whole game and we made it hard for him to get the basketball.”
Pacific snagged 19 steals away from New Haven in the contest while turning the ball over just six times. Transition baskets off the takeaways were a key part of the Indians’ success.
“That’s what they want to do,” Peirick said. “They want to get up in you, pressure you and make things hard on you — get steals, get out in the open floor and that wasn’t a secret. It may have looked like it was to us, but we knew that’s what they were going to do and you can’t throw the ball to them over and over because they’re going to convert points.”
Cameron VanLeer led all scorers with 23 points. He also filled up the stat sheet with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a blocked shot.
Trey Boyer was the only other Pacific player to break double digits, posting 11 points. Boyer added two rebounds with two assists and three steals.
Cowsert, Hennessy and Sauvage each tallied nine points apiece. Casey finished with eight.
James Illiff, Don’TA Harris and Nicholas Hoerschler each netted two points, all in the fourth quarter.
Hennessy pulled down five rebounds with three steals.
Sauvage finished with four boards and two steals.
Mason Fleming and Hoerschler each grabbed two rebounds and Fleming dished out one assist.
Cowsert and Harris both had one rebound. Cowsert had two steals as well, and Harris snatched one.
Matt Strong grabbed three steals with one assist. Casey had one steal and one assist as well.
Ethan Groner was New Haven’s leading scorer with 12 points.
Fleer posted nine points and Trent Kormeier scored five. Abe Madden and Jay Eichelberger finished with four points each.
New Haven hosts Montgomery County Thursday in its final game before the new year. Peirick said having played Pacific first will benefit them in that contest as they play a Montgomery County team that will press and try to run up and down the floor to get an abundance of quick scores.
Pacific is off until Dec. 28, when the Indians will face Rockwood Summit (1-7) in the first round of Rolla’s Holiday Tournament. Other teams in the tournament include Hogan Prep, Springfield Catholic, Warrensburg, Hickman, Rolla and Mexico.