St. Thomas Clinches Back-to-Back SCAC Regular Season Titles Defeating Dallas 65-62
University of St. Thomas-Houston Men's Basketball secured their back-to-back SCAC Regular Season Championship edging out the Dallas Crusaders 65-62. With their backs against the wall and one minute remaining, Calvin Williams IV made a jump shot that gave St. Thomas the lead.
A Close Game For the Ages
In the first half, we saw the Celts and the Crusaders battling it out. From the opening tip, Dallas forced St. Thomas to play from behind. After making nearly 45% of their total shots in the opening period and 57% of their three-pointers, Dallas scored 34 points in the first 20 minutes of action. With this type of momentum, Dallas jumped to a lead as large as 14. However, it was the Celt defense keeping UST in the game, forcing 11 turnovers and six steals. Then after 20 minutes of play, St. Thomas found themselves only down by six 34-28.
The final twenty minutes saw the Celts kick things into high gear. However, Williams stepped up in the clutch with just 1:31 left on the clock when St. Thomas finally took a lead over the Crusaders 61-59. Dallas responded with points of their own and a foul sending Williams to the line, where he made both shots. Then, finding themselves in a hole, Dallas fouled Andrew Adebo as the clock wound down with their last chance to get the ball back. Adebo showed poise making two free throws, securing a close 65-62 victory to clinch the 2023 SCAC Regular Season Title.
Calvin Williams IV had a career night with 27 points in the game, breaking his career high of 26 by one point. Also, the Celt defense, performing in the clutch had 18 rebounds against the Crusaders' 12 in the second half. This was done by Freddie Ricks III, Joshua Sanchez, Zack Golaszewski, and Calvin Williams. Ricks and Sanchez also had key blocks preventing Dallas from clawing their way to victory.
“I couldn't be more proud of our team this year,” Head Coach Anthony Medina ‘12 said. “So many guys stepped into new roles and freshmen with no experience were expected to step up. Collectively, we managed to put together a great season to this point, but I know everyone in the locker room feels like there's more work to be done."
We are Number One!
With this victory, St. Thomas clinches their second consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title. The Celts will enter the conference tournament as the number one seed in the SCAC and have a first-round bye to rest up as they await their opponent. In their first year as part of the NCAA Division III, an SCAC tournament victory would give St. Thomas an automatic qualifier into the NCAA National Tournament. St. Thomas also sits at No. 11 in the latest national rankings via D3hoops.com, and with two regular season games remaining, it is looking to be a battle to the finish as the Celts attempt to finish with 23 wins, the highest in program history.
Up next, it's senior day for the Celts at the Jerabeck Activity and Athletics Center! Come celebrate this year's Men's and Women's Basketball senior class on Feb. 14 as St. Thomas faces Centenary! Follow UST Athletics for all scores and updates.