The Brescia Bearcats concluded a two-game KIAC homestand on Saturday as they welcomed the Eagles of Alice Lloyd to the Den. The visitors entered the contest leading the KIAC South with a perfect 3-0 record in conference play, with Brescia sitting at 1-0. In the first half, the Eagles came out determined to maintain their unbeaten conference start, shredding the nets at an impressive 70.4% (19-27) clip and connecting on 7-9 (77.8%) of their 3pt attempts in the opening stanza. The Bearcats did their best to hang around, shooting 8-15 from three-point range themselves and entered the half trailing the Eagles by nine, 47-38.
A renewed sense of purpose on the defensive end saw the second half tilt in favor of the home team. The Bearcats held the visitors to 9-26 shooting (34.6%) in the second half and to 2-7 (28.6%) from behind the arc. In what was an intense conference battle, Brescia kept chipping away until they were able to take the lead on a Kyle Nixon three with less than 10 minutes remaining. The two teams fought hard down the stretch, with Alice Lloyd retaking a two-point lead on a Trevor Tiller putback with just under a minute to go in the game. On the ensuing possession, Austin Morris connected on a layup and was fouled. He connected on the free throw as well, giving the Bearcats a tenuous one-point lead. A defensive stop and an Alice Lloyd foul put Kyle Nixon on the line, where he went 1-2, increasing the lead for the home team to two points. Dondre Warren got off a good look at a 15ft jumper as time expired, but the shot sailed just long off the back of the rim and the Bearcats were able to hold on for a hard-fought 83-81 victory.
Both teams spent a lot of time at the free throw line, with Alice Lloyd shooting 16-21 and the Bearcats connecting on 14-22 attempts. Alice Lloyd finished the game shooting 28-53 (52.8%) from the floor and 9-16 (56.3%) from behind the arc. On the afternoon, Brescia shot 29-61 (47.5%) and 11-24 (45.8%) from three-point range. The Bearcats won the battle of the boards 29-26, and had 20 assists to only 9 turnovers.
Tyler Rogers led the way for the Eagles, scoring a game-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 6 blocks. Mason Pack hit 6 threes on his way to 20 points and Trevor Tiller also found his way to double-digits, scoring 19 points while handing out 6 assists. For the Bearcats, Kyle Nixon led four players in double-figures with 18 points off the bench. Austin Morris scored 16 points and also pulled down 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Trey Howard (14 points) and DeCarlos Collier (10 points) also contributed to the cause, along with a career-high 7 points from freshman forward Clay Stivers.
Coach Gibson had this to say after the game: "We knew today would be a hard-fought battle. Alice Lloyd is a very good team that plays extremely hard and they were sitting at 3-0 in league play. We didn't play up to our level of defensive expectation in the first half, but a lot of credit has to go to them as well for how well they executed and how well they shot the ball. In the second half, I think we played defense that is much more consistent with who we want to be as a team. I am very proud of how hard we battled today and pleased that we were able to make just enough plays down the stretch to get the win. Conference wins are never handed out; you have to earn them. Hopefully today is another step forward in our maturation process as a group. If our first two KIAC games have shown us anything, it's that we know that we have to get better on the defensive end. We have allowed 81 points in each of those games and it will take a much more efficient effort than that on Tuesday at Asbury if we want to get a win on the road in league play."