ELDRIDGE — North Scott basketball coach Shamus Budde gave his players a rather strange assignment in their first game of the new year.
And it worked.
“Coach told us to just play like old men,’’ junior guard Corvon Seales said. “He said we have to play slow and play together. We bought into what he said and it worked out.’’
The Lancers occasionally looked like they were playing in the 50-and-over league at the local YMCA but their control of the tempo and some excellent perimeter shooting allowed them to roll to a 64-50 victory over Davenport Central on Friday night at The Pit.
The win moved the Lancers a game ahead of the Blue Devils in the Mississippi Athletic Conference standings, leaving Budde’s club tied for second with Clinton at 4-1, 6-2 overall.
“I was really proud of how strong we were with the ball and how we shared the ball,’’ Budde said. “We were just mentally and physically tough tonight.’’
The Lancers also shot the ball very well, hitting 50 percent of their attempts from the field and 9 of 17 tries from behind the 3-point arc.
But the biggest factor was the old man pace. Central (5-3 overall, 3-2 MAC) loves to force turnovers and fly up and down the floor, and it never really broke loose all night.
“They did a good job of setting the tempo,’’ Central coach Craig Wurdinger said. “We didn’t do a good job of doing what we do best, which is getting up and down the court. I thought the key to the game was the way they controlled tempo.’’
North Scott never trailed, bolting to a 13-2 first-quarter lead. The Blue Devils tried to rally several times and got to within 53-47 with 3 minutes, 16 seconds to go. But the Lancers finally put them away with a 10-1 scoring run that included six free throws and wide-open layups by Seales and Drew Boffeli after executing against Central’s pressure defense.
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Seales led the way with 18 points with Boffeli adding 15 and Bailey Basala 11.
Budde pointed with pride to the fact that his team had 15 assists on 19 made field goals. The Lancers did turn the ball over 15 times but for the most part, they weren’t the sort of turnovers that the Blue Devils thrive on.
“We wanted to make sure that when we turn the ball over, they weren’t live turnovers because if you give Central live turnovers, they’re going to be down the court in two seconds and score,’’ Budde said.
Tirique Randolph led Central with 13 points and Ray Miller added 12 but that was well below his 19-point average for the season.
“They collapsed on him and he didn’t get to the rim the way he normally does,’’ Wurdinger said of Miller. “And then we settled for outside shots.’’