San Antonio – St. Mary’s University used strong post play and tough defense to roll past Dillard University, 87-59, on the first day of the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic Friday night at Bill Greehey Arena in men’s basketball action.
Behind some strong shooting early Dillard took a 15-6 lead with 15:11 left in the first half. But that would be the lone highlight for the Blue Devils. St. Mary’s responded with a lineup change and a philosophy change. They started going early and often to the post and that resulted in an 18-3 run that gave the Rattlers a 29-21 lead with 6:38 left to play in the first half.
The Rattlers took a 40-34 lead into the locker room at the break. They started the second half by putting the game away. A 29-8 run turned a close game into a rout as the Rattlers went up 69-42 with 10:24 left in the game. All 13 Rattlers who entered the game scored, with four reaching double figures.
Jawan Bailey (Sr., San Antonio) came off the bench to lead the way for the Rattlers with 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double this season in just 20 minutes of action. Latez Williams (Jr., Hamilton, Ohio) nearly matched that with 12 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Also reaching double figures was Robert Owens (So., Oakwood) with 14 points and Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) with 10 points. Lee also led the Rattlers with seven assists.
As a team the Rattlers shot 54.4 percent from the field (31-57) and hit on a season-best 71.9 percent of their shots from the free throw line (23-32). They outrebounded Dillard 50-29 and had 23 assists. The St. Mary’s bench accounted for 53 of the team’s 87 points.
Dillard was led by Gordon Meadors and Dupree Fletcher with 13 points apiece. As a team the Blue Devils shot 33.8 percent from the field, but just 11.8 percent (2-17) from three-point range.
With the win the Rattlers evened their record at 2-2 this season, while Dillard fell to 1-2. St. Mary’s will wrap up play in the Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they host Texas A&M University-Commerce, an 89-65 winner over Paul Quinn in the first game on Friday. Paul Quinn and Dillard will meet in the early game on Saturday at 5 p.m.