San Antonio – Black Friday turned in big deals for the Rattlers as they cashed in on their new talent in a 22-point victory over Angelo State.
Newcomer Daryell Taylor (Jr., Houston) proved to be one Rattler that was a must-have tonight, banking 14 points as the team’s second-leading scorer in a statement performance.
“Coach brought me here (because) of toughness, you know, defense – defense, first,” says Taylor, who led the team in steals with two. “And I find a way to make some shots.”
The now 2-0 St. Mary’s men’s basketball team took hold of a quick five-point lead over the Rams (3-2) and never looked back as it maintained the upper hand for the entirety of the game, peaking at 27 points and ending with a final score of 83-61.
“I’m real happy that we all just come together for one cause and one cause only, and that’s to win,” said Taylor, who has been a starter for both of his first two games as a Rattler.
Taylor is one of the Rattlers’ three new transfers his season who are working to become comfortable with St. Mary’s court. Moses Sundufu (Jr., Hopkins, Minnesota) hit double digits in his first game as a Rattler last Saturday and did it again Friday with 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Hitting 100 percent from the floor was newcomer Shavon Scott (So., Milwaukee), who added another six points to the Rattler scoreboard.
Remaining the force of the Rattlers as he has for the seasons past, familiar leading scorer Kevin Kotzur (RS-Jr., La Vernia, Texas) put up 18 points from the paint. The 6-foot-8 center was 8-9 from the floor to go along with five rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
While St. Mary’s was 70.8 percent from the field to Angelo State’s 38.5 percent, the Rams gave the Rattlers trouble as they turned up their ball pressure in the second half to force some periodic offensive struggles for the Rattlers midway through the frame.
The Rams outscored the Rattlers in the last half 41-38, a vast improvement from the first half, which St. Mary’s led 45-20. St. Mary’s had 19 turnovers overall that cost them 20 points, with 14 coming from the second half.
But St. Mary’s kept its head to seal the victory, and head coach Jim Zeleznak wants the victory over the Rams to be a stepping stone for the Rattlers to overcome pressure once it’s turned up this season.
“We had a little bit of a stretch there in the Incarnate Word game that, kind of a similar type of stretch (as tonight’s game), that we didn’t function very well and got a little loose with the basketball,” Zeleznak said. “Just like I told them, just as long as those stretches get smaller and smaller that’s what you’re looking to get to – that we don’t have long stretches of that.”
The St. Mary’s men’s basketball team has its next chance to continue to work on its chemistry Saturday against Missouri Western State at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.