Marcus Taliaferro, Athletics Communications Assistant
DAVENPORT – The University of St. Francis men’s basketball team battled St. Ambrose in a hard-fought game in this Wednesday’s (Dec. 18) non-conference game, but the Bees would manage to come away with a 61-56 win despite a comeback attempt from USF in SAU’s Lee Lohman Arena.
The Saints struggled to find the basket tonight connecting on 37%(16-43) of their shots from the floor and 38%(7-18) from beyond the arch. USF found success at the free-throw line shooting 85%(17-20) from the charity stripe. Eric Ting(Sr/Taoyuan, Taiwan) had a team-high 21 points connecting on 55% of his shots and knocking down four three-point free goals. Ting also found success on the line, nailing seven free throws to add to his 21 point total. Russell Tillery (Sr/Portland, Ore) also scored in double figures adding 11 points to USF’s 56 point total. The Saints pulled in 31 defensive rebounds with Carter Fayhee (Jr/Macomb, Il) led the way with six defensive rebounds. USF, who have played three games in five days, fall to 4-2 overall and are scheduled to face St. Ambrose again on January 13th.
On the other end, SAU’s John Kerr scored a team-high 21 points and pulled in a game-high nine rebounds. Kerr connected on 62% (8-13) of his shots from the floor. Warren Allen was the other Bee in double figures scoring 10 points from off the bench. St. Ambrose would claim a 35-32 rebound advantage over the saints including an 8-1 offensive rebound advantage. The win gives St. Ambrose their fourth win of the season as they improve to 4-0 overall.
The Saints would never see the lead in the first 20 minutes of play as the Bees went on an early 7-0 run to begin the half. St. Ambrose would push their lead to 17 with 9:52 remaining in the half it was their largest lead of the night. The Saints were outscored 37-25 in the first half of action shooting 30% (6-20) from the field and 2-6 (33%) from beyond the arch.
Despite being down by 12 at the half, the Fighting Saints were not finished. A lay-up by Russel Tillery would put the Saints within six points with 14:43 remaining in the half. The Saints would continue to battle throughout the second half. A late 3-point field goal from Joey Buggemi (Jr/Frankfort, IL) would cut the lead down to three with a minute remaining in the game. After a clutch defensive stop, the Saints had one chance left to tie the game but, would miss a last-second jumper. The Saints outscored the Bees in the second half 31-24 shooting 43% (10-23) from the floor and 5-12 (41%) from beyond the arch but, would ultimately fall on the road.
The Saints will get set to host the Huntington University Foresters this Saturday (Dec 19) a 3 p.m (CT) inside the Sullivan Center. This will be their first meeting since 2012 where USF defeated the Foresters 86-60 at home.