11/10/2013 – The men's basketball team earned a split at the always competitive WHAC/Crossroads Challenge contested at Spring Arbor University. The Saints used a late rally to defeat the host Cougars on Friday night, while #2 ranked Indiana Wesleyan defeated Aquinas in a matinee game on Saturday.
The host of this year's challenge, Spring Arbor, came into the tilt with Aquinas with a 2-1 record, while the Saints were in their regular season opener. The Cougars maintained a steady lead for the better part of the contest until a 9-0 surge over a 2:30 stretch in the second half gave the Saints some breathing room. Aquinas held a 48-40 lead with just over five minutes to play in the contest and used almost perfect free throw shooting to close the door on the Cougars. The Saints converted 17-of-18 free throw attempts over the last five minutes to secure the 67-62 victory.
The win was keyed by the strong guard play as the trio of Anthony Williams, Brett Pfahler and Jake Bullock combined for 33 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Senior forward, Austin Semple, chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds. The Saints outshot the Cougars 46%-38% from the field and 85%-67% from the charity stripe.
Aquinas was then matched-up against the undefeated, #2 ranked Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan (4-0). The Saints sprinted out to a 9-2 advantage over the first four minutes of the contest. The Wildcats proceeded to rattle of the games next 23 points to give themselves a 25-9 cushion with 8:24 to play in the first half. Aquinas would out score Indiana Wesleyan 21-17 the rest of the way and hit the locker room trailing 42-30.
The Wildcats methodically increased their lead during the second half. Indiana Wesleyan used 48% field goal shooting and a 44-31 rebound advantage to secure the 84-61 victory. RJ Mahurin paced the Wildcats with 22 points and eleven rebounds, while Zac VanBeek led four Saints in double figures with 12 points.
The Saints will open WHAC play with a home date with Siena Heights (2-2) on Saturday. The tip is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center.