Cavs down Central, 75-60
R-S Central (10-9, 3-4 SMAC) held a powerful East Rutherford (13-4, 6-1 SMAC) team at bay for a half Saturday night in their home gym but the Cavs exploded in the second half for a 75-60 conference victory.
“I knew tonight would be ugly with the game being moved to Saturday,” said East head coach Brad Levine. “The kids had their mind elsewhere but we still got the win.”
East opened the game on an 8-0 run in the first four minutes with 5 of those points courtesy of Jarvis Hopper.
Central stormed back with an 11-2 run capped by a Jay Blanton 3-pointer to claim an 11-10 lead with 20 seconds left in the first quarter. The quarter ended with the same score.
Jordan Hamilton fueled the momentum for Central out of the break with a drive to the basket resulting in the bucket and a free throw that sent the Hilltoppers to a four-point lead.
By the four-minute mark the Cavaliers tied the game at 14-14.
East regained the lead on a Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez runner to make the score 16-15 with 3:20 left until halftime.
The lead was short-lived as a Hamilton basket made it 19-16 in favor of the Hilltoppers with 2:32 left in the first half.
However, the final two minutes belonged to the Cavs as they closed on an 8-2 run to head into halftime with a 24-21 lead.
The East offense exploded in the third quarter with 24 points to exted their lead to 48-37.
Waldroup-Rodriguez, who ended the third quarter with a deep 3, scored the first five points of the fourth quarter as the East lead grew to 55-37.
“[Waldroup-Rodriguez] really played well tonight,” Levine said. “Those points in the fourth were the dagger.”
Dunks from Hopper and Devonte Boykins highlighted the remainder of the game allowing the Cavs to cruise to the 75-60 final.
Waldroup-Rodriguez led all scorers with 24 points while Hopper and T.J. Watkins added 20 and 18 points respectively for East.
Hamilton led the Hilltoppers with 16 points while Jay Blanton and Jaylen Hollis scored 15 and 14 respectively.
Central returns to action on the road against Chase Tuesday, Jan. 29 while East hosts Patton the same night. Both tips are set for 7:30 p.m.