The Spring Hill College men's basketball team earned an 86-71 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) victory over Jesuit rival Loyola University (La.) on Thursday night at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.
The Badgers used an 11-3 run over the final four minutes of the 1st half to turn a 30-30 ballgame into a 41-33 SHC advantage going into the locker rooms. Spring Hill returned to the court in the 2nd half and promptly took the game over with pinpoint shooting to grab as much as a 25-point cushion with 10½ minutes left in the game.
Loyola was not going to go away without a fight, however, and used a full-court pressure defense to force the Badgers into several turnovers over the final 10 minutes. The Wolf Pack slowly whittled into the Badger lead and trailed by just nine at 76-67 with three minutes to play.
Sophomore guard Jarrett Calhoun then stepped in front of a Wolf Pack pass and went the distance for a fast break bucket at the 2:19 mark to turn the tide back to the SHC side. The Badgers would close out the game by knocking down 6-of-8 free throws over the final 1½ minutes to secure the victory.
Junior forward Frederick Gatson scored 17 points to pace five Badgers reaching the double-digit mark in scoring as Ty McCants and Robert Gipson scored 13 points each, Alex Looney added 12 points and Dejan Stefanovic contributed an 11-point effort.
For the game, SHC shot 55.4% (31-56) from the floor including 47.6% (10-21) from 3-point distance. The Badgers won the rebounding war for the 12th time this season with a 35 to 33 advantage under the boards. Spring Hill committed 18 turnovers to 13 steals by the Wolf Pack, but handed out a season-high 21 assists.
Loyola (4-14, 3-8 SSAC West) was led by Daniel Kuhl with 14 points as Aleksander Matoski and Kyle Simmons both added 10 points. The Wolf Pack shot 37.7% (20-53) from the floor and 27.3% (6-22) in 3-point attempts. Loyola lost 15 turnovers with the Badgers taking away six steals.
Thursday's game between Loyola and Spring Hill was just one of many contests this season between the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Dedicated to academic rigor, research, faith and serving others, Jesuit Catholic education stands at the intersection of minds, hearts and souls. Alumni of the two schools are just some of the more than 2 million Jesuit graduates in America.
The Badgers (4-16, 3-7 SSAC West) will next travel to Pulaski, Tenn., on Saturday to face the 24th-ranked Martin Methodist RedHawks (12-6, 7-3 SSAC West) in an SSAC West Division contest beginning at 4 p.m.