St. Gregory’s came out of this weekend on a strong note, winning its first two games against ranked teams on a neutral site pretty for home.
SGU took down the No. 2 LSU-Shreveport Pilots in commanding fashion on Friday night, 107-93. Five players reached scored in double digits for the Cavs, led by junior guard Tilford Thornton with 29.
St. Gregory’s coach Martin said he knew his players had it in them to light up the scoreboard.
“We weren’t surprised by any of the players who got to double figures,” Martin said. “We were surprised how many of them were in double figures.
“We have six or seven guys that can score in double figures. But for our entire team to score 107, that may be a St. Gregory’s record, at least in the last six years since I’ve been here.”
The Cavaliers brought an intensity to south Texas to take on the highly ranked Pilots, a team that Sporting News College Basketball Magazine had placed at No. 1 in the country.
We were so anxious to play,” Martin said. “We had scrimmaged only one time and that wasn’t quite enough. We had been going up against each other since the middle of September, so getting to play against a real opponent was great.”
Marty Wilkerson also put in 21 and went 3 of 5 from behind the arc on the night.
Josiah Campbell added 16 for the Cavs, and Jaron Vierra and Dylan Lemley each had 11.
And it’s tough to say which of the two wins this weekend for SGU was the bigger one.
The Cavaliers’ win on Saturday was much more dramatic, defeating No. 24 Our Lady of the Lake, 87-84, on a last second three-pointer.
Wilkerson’s game-winner from the wing capped off another hot shooting night as the junior guard scored a game high 24 points.
“These guys were raring to go,” Martin said. “Especially after beating LSU-Shreveport last night, they were anxious to show that it wasn’t a fluke.
“We shot the ball well and like we did the night before. We made free throws down the stretch, too.”
The game was tied with 20 seconds and SGU ran the play specifically for Wilkerson, who also recorded 11 assists for a double-double.
Wilkerson was also named the Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his efforts.
Lemley had 18 and Richard Shields became the sixth SGU player in two games to ring up double-digit scoring with 15.
Martin said that his team is coming together well.
“Again, with the one scrimmage, it was hard to tell where our chemistry was.
“But playing together now and in a situation like this one where we had a 15-point lead with about 15 minutes to go and then they cut in half and then tied it up, our guys just didn’t quit. They work together well and I know that chemistry is a big deal, but if you have chemistry and guys quit, it doesn’t really equate.
And Martin recognized that this team might have what it takes to go the next level.
“We could have given up. In the past, I’ve had teams that might have folded it up whenever we had a big lead and gave it up. Some teams I’ve had might not have finished it out as well as these guys did.
“They’re really competitive.”
The next time the Cavaliers take to the court will be the first home game.
Martin said the fans in Shawnee should enjoy what they will get to see from this year’s team.
“Well, I think they’ll be excited,” Martin said. “This is a different brand of basketball than what we’ve had in the past. We have guys that really want to get out and play defense.
“We also have a lot of good guys that can really penetrate well. It’s definitely going to be more exciting.”
St. Gregory’s hosts Bethany College in Wood Field House on Saturday at 6 p.m.