WASHINGTON, DC -- It was an exciting end to the Gonzaga DC Classic on Sunday night as it took an extra period for Roman Catholic (PA) to defend its tournament title in a 77-72 overtime win over Gonzaga at American University's Bender Arena.
It seemed Gonzaga had the momentum as it scored the last five points of regulation, including a tip-in by Prentiss Hubb with 19 seconds left to tie the game at 66-66 and send it overtime.
Gonzaga guard Chris Lykes.
"It doesn’t matter what the score is, we’re going to keep playing until the buzzer sounds,” Gonzaga guard Chris Lykes (PICTURED] said.
But Roman Catholic’s frontcourt of Paul Newman and Lamar Stevens was too much to overcome for the undersized Purple Eagles, grabbing several offensive rebounds and providing second-chance opportunities in the extra period on their way to the win.
The duo dominated the paint throughout the game, combining for 37 points and helping Roman Catholic to a 47-21 rebounding advantage over Gonzaga.
Roman Catholic led for the first three-and-a-half quarters, consistently keeping Gonzaga about a six-point cushion away. But with 5:14 left, sophomore Myles Dread made a jumper from the right side to give the Purple Eagles their first lead of the game.
From there it was back and forth until Roman Catholic pulled ahead by five with about a minute to go. Gonzaga’s Lykes then drained a 3- pointer, and after forcing a turnover on the other end, Gonzaga was on the break. Eddie Scott missed the initial layup for Gonzaga but Hubb tipped it in to send the game into overtime.
During the overtime period it was mostly Roman Catholic, something Stevens credits to the senior leadership on the team.
“We’re a little bit older, we’re a little bit more mature and it really helps to have that experience when times are tough,” Stevens said. You’ve just got to keep playing and don’t get rattled and we were able to do that."
Roman Catholic controlled the pace pretty much from the opening tip, pushing the pace offensively and pressuring Gonzaga on the defensive end. Gonzaga played from behind almost the entire night, looking to the 5-foot-6 Lykes to lead the way.
Lykes did all he could to help Gonzaga, scoring a game-high 34 points, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. Dread added in 16 points for Gonzaga including three 3-pointers.
A Penn State commit, Stevens scored a team-high 31 points for Roman Catholic, including a play where he crossed up two defenders and then sailed over two more to throw down a one-handed tomahawk dunk.
“I saw I was in transition and I only had two people to beat,” Stevens said. “I just hesitated, went to the lane and took off. It was a special play and I think it really kept us hyped.”
Fellow Penn State commits Tony Carr and Nazeer Bostick added 15 and seven points respectively.
Dread said after the game that though the loss was tough, the team will look at the positives of the evening.
“This showed us we’re just as good as anybody in the country,” Dread said. “We play our game, we play the right way, we run our offense and we play good defense, we’re just as good as anybody in the country.”