San Antonio – Jeff Campbell understandably called it “tiring” to play against Our Lady of the Lake’s constant full-court-press defense.
But the St. Mary’s junior did not look the least bit tired with 5:42 left in the first half Monday night.
Then, taking off from what seemed like miles away from the basket, Allen soared above the Saints’ defense, even appearing to use one of the players’ shoulders as a launching pad toward the basket.
The attempted one-handed slam hit the back iron, but the tone was set. This was St. Mary’s night.
Matching the Saints’ aggressive defense with a high-flying offensive attack, St. Mary’s beat Our Lady of the Lake 81-74 at Bill Greehey Arena in the first-ever meeting between the programs.
Josh Orta (So., San Antonio) scored a game-high 26 points to go along with 10 assists, while Kevin Kotzur (So., La Vernia, Texas) and Lamb Autrey (Jr., Cibolo, Texas) added 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Campbell (Jr., Allen, Texas) also chipped in eight points and six rebounds, while Gordon Ward (Sr., Galveston, Texas) had his best showing of the year with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
“Their energy, you’ve got to match it,” Campbell said. “You can get kind of tired out there, but you’ve just got to keep focused and do what you’re good at.”
The Saints’ high-risk, high-reward defensive approach forced the Rattlers into turning the ball over 29 times, but St. Mary’s (3-2) also forced 30 turnovers on the other end. The teams combined for 55 personal fouls and 66 foul shots.
Still, even with some room to improve moving forward, the Rattlers had to like what they saw from their squad.
OLLU jumped on St. Mary’s early, leading 8-2 moments into the game before the Rattlers got their feet under them. St. Mary’s took the lead for good midway through the first half and led by as many as 17 points late.
St. Mary’s was just 2 for 8 from 3-point range, but shot 25 for 38 from the charity stripe.
The Rattlers host Southeastern Oklahoma State University at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the St. Mary’s River City Classic.