JOLIET – The University of St. Francis’ men’s basketball team extend their win streak to three this Wednesday evening as the Saints claimed an 82-75 victory over Missouri Baptist at USF’s Sullivan Center. With the win over the Spartans, the Saints improve to 3-1 overall this season.
The Saints and the Spartans traded baskets to begin the game. The first thrilling 10 minutes featured five ties. The game was tied at 15 until Aitor Anabitarte (Fr/Lasarte-Oria, Spain) converted a layup giving the Saints a 17-15 edge with 9:14 left in the game. The Saints never looked back from there and controlled the first-half outscoring Missouri Baptist 36-27. The Saints shot 14-29 (48.3%) from the field, 4-9 (44.4) percent from the field, and 4-4 (1.000) from the free-throw line.
The Saints opened the second off strong offensively and continued to hold their lead over the Spartans. A three-point field goal from CCAC Conference Player of the Week, Joey Buggemi (Jr/Frankfort, Ill), put the Saints up by 15 and gave them their largest lead of the game. The Saints were in control with 6:56 left to go in the game but, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the Saints as the Spartans attempted a late comeback. A jump shot from Spartan forward Daishaun Woods would pull the Spartans from within three with 2:07 left to go in the game. However, the Saints would finish the game knocking down clutch free-throws, and fighting off the comeback despite being outscored in the second half, 48-46.
It was a balanced attack by the Saints with five players scoring in double figures, led by Joey Buggemi’s 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field. He also netted 5 free-throws and pulled down four rebounds. Eric Ting (Sr/Taoyuan, Taiwan) added 15 points and contributed with four assists. Carlos Tovias (Sr/Corsicana, TX), and Carter Fayhee(Jr/Macomb, Ill) added 12 points off of the bench, and Deandre Johnson(Jr/Watts, Calif) added 10 points. The trio combined for 34 of USF’s 42 bench points. Russell Tillery (Sr/Portland, Ore) provided a team-high five assists in his Saints debut.
USF shot 51.8% (29-56) from the field, 41.2% (7-17) beyond the arch, and 89.5% (17-19) from the free-throw line. The Saints outrebounded Missouri Baptist 36-33 which included a 27-20 edge in defensive rebounding. Deandre Johnson led the team with seven rebounds and Reihana Maxwell-Topia (Fr/Aukland, New Zealand) added 6. The Saints held the Spartans to one three-point field goal throughout the game.
John Yaeger was the star for the Spartans finishing the game with 32 points and 15 rebounds. Yaeger was one of two Spartans players in double figures. The Spartans shot 47.6% (30-63) from the field, 12.5%( 1-8) from beyond the arch, and 56.0% (14-25) from the free-throw line.
After starting the season 3-1 at home, the Saints are scheduled for their first road game of the season taking on Governors State in a non-conference matchup this Saturday (Dec. 12) in University Park, Ill. The non-league tilt against the Jaguars is slated to tip-off at 3 p.m (CT) from the Athletics and Recreation Center (The ARC).