Celt Classic! Students Edge Staff in 69-68 Last-Second Victory
The University of St. Thomas_Houston Celt Classic Staff vs. Students Inaugural Game was held at the JAAC last Tuesday night, and Students fought their way to victory, 69-68. In conjunction with national NCAA Division III Week, UST Athletics partnered with Student Government, Club Sports Association, and Celt Crew to host a full four-quarter co-ed basketball game featuring students and student athletes against University staff. The game came down to the wire, as Men’s Basketball Manager Ryan Nguyen made the game-winning bucket with seconds remaining.
From the opening tipoff, it seemed like an even matchup as both teams traded buckets back and forth. In the game, 12 ties and 11 lead changes dictated the flow. After Campus Minister Pat Gunning nailed his first bucket, Cameron Cardzo followed up with a three-pointer from nearly half-court. It was like this until midway through the first quarter when the staff went on a six-point run to take a 22-20 lead. In the second quarter, the students started to chip away, nailing seven shots and a three-pointer. They also incurred four key fouls leading to three points at the line as the halftime score read 38-34 in favor of the students.
In the third quarter, the staff came out firing, making nearly 60% of their shots. They also capitalized on second-chance points as they tried to control the boards using their size. On the other team, the students struggle to score making only five of twenty field goal attempts. When the dust settled, the score was tied 53-53 heading into the final quarter. In the last quarter, the staff started out hot scoring 15 points fast, powered by 23 total fast-break points in the game. With the students down in the final seconds 68-63, they had to make something happen. Head Coach and Men’s Basketball Player Calen Anderson called a key timeout to put in his shooters to try and regain control of the game. After a quick bucket from Cameron Cardzo, Ryan Nguyen followed up with a quick layup. Then with their backs against the wall, student Oscar Luzardo Marquez came up huge with a steal off the staff inbound. As the staff defense collapsed on him, he made a quick read to Ryan Nguyen to make the game-winning layup as the score held 69-68.
“As a manager of the UST Men’s Basketball team, I finally got a chance to hop on the court and feel what it’s like to be like them.” Ryan Nguyen added. “I enjoyed every moment especially when the team was there supporting me as I’ve done throughout their whole season!”
Director of Dining Services Sean Manbode flirted with a double-double at 23 points and nine rebounds. Communications Coordinator for the Center of Faith and Culture and UST Women’s Basketball Alumnus Gabriela Alvarez dished out a team-high three assists. Lastly, the Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities, Peter Hurtgen had five steals.
The student team had a one-two punch in Men’s Basketball Manager Ryan Nguyen and Cameron Cardzo. Cardzo led the team with 22 points in the game as well as going 4-13 from beyond the arc. Nguyen was right behind him with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Lastly, Oscar Luzardo Marquez dropped 11 points and had three key steals to help the students secure the victory.
The game was officiated by women’s basketball players Jharyn Craig, Jeci Gonzalez, and Amber Bourgeois. The student team featured student athletes from Men’s Soccer: Juan Gutierrez, and Women’s Soccer: Riley Keck, Paola Colon, and Emma Cerda. The Staff Team was Coached by St. Thomas Athletic Director Todd Smith and featured Track and Field, Coach Jarrick Wright.