NEW YORK, NY - After losing 62-56 to Paul IV (VA) during the HoopHall Classic, the St. Anthony Friars (NJ) were looking for some get back when they played NYCHoops.net #5 ranked Cardozo on Friday at the SNY Invitational.
Getting back would be a bit harder than they imagined as the Judges gave the New Jersey squad a scare with only a 67-61 win. It would be the first loss of the season for Dozo.
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The Judges took full advantage of a poor shooting second half by St. Anthony' who shot 38.1% compared to Cardozo who shot 59.1%
"They did a great job of blasting up the court and getting to the basket on us," said Friars Head Coach Bob Hurley. "They made some big threes, the second half; more than what we [saw when we scouted them]."
St. Anthony controlled things on both ends of the court early as 6'2" senior Tarin Smith (16 points & 3 assists) and trey by 6'7" junior Markis McDuffie (14 points & 7 rebounds) put the Friars up 9-0 with 4:15 left in the warm up quarter..
Dozo tried to press full court but the Friars continued to put points on the board. A three ball from the top of the key by 6'3" senior Cheddi Mosley (14 points & 4 assists) put the Friars up by 13 with two minutes left in the quarter.
Cardozo 6'2" sophomore go-to-guy Rashond Salnave (20 points & 4 assists) would finally put his first 2 points on the board with 30 secs left in the quarter but a buzzer beating jumper by McDuffie extended the Friars lead to 23-7 to start the second.
Former Abraham Lincoln player, 6'2" senior Shaq McFarley (7 points & 1 assist) got the ball rolling for the Friars to begin the second quarter but Dozo showed some bounce back as 6'6" senior Francisco Williams (5 points & 3 rebounds) scored in transition off a Salnave feed. With 5:01 left in the half, a high arcing trifecta by 6'1" senior Marzuq Jimoh (13 points & 4 assists) cut the Friars lead to 10 and forced Coach Hurley to call a timeout to settle his team.
St. Anthony came back, rattling off points but Jimoh and 6'7" senior Carl Balthazar (8 points & 3 rebounds) kept Dozo in range, trailing 38-26 at the midway point.
Cardozo came into the third quarter, fired up. 5'11" junior Elijah McNeely (11 points & 4 assists) and Salnave scored back-to-back and slice St. Anthony's lead to 7 points. With 6:32 Salnave drives and the score was suddenly, 38-33.
The Friars were still active offensively but were backpedaling as the Judges were gaining momentum on their legendary opponents. A defensive lapse by Dozo would allow St. Anthony to right the ship as Mosely scored with 4:30 giving the Friars a 9 point advantage.
A more aggressive Cardozo squad remained within 7 with 2 minutes left to play in the third. 6'2" senior Kristian Montesir (4 points) drew a foul with 1:35 and the Judges were only down 46-41. A clutch trey with 35 seconds by Salnave pulled to within 2 points but Friars snuck in a bucket at the buzzer.
Amazingly, the Judges only trailed 48-44 as the final quarter began. Jimoh scored at the top of the key and Salnave had a chance to tie but missed two free throws.
Collective defense by the Judges on the boards stifled the Friars and with 6:48 Jimoh tied the game at 48. Both teams exchanged baskets and the game was again knotted at 50. Missed free throws would allow St. Anthony to take a 4 point lead with 4:06.
6'8" junior center Mohamed Bendary (11 points & 9 rebounds) began to dominant inside and extending the Friars lead to 8 but a Salnave three cut that back down once again. 1:33 remained and the momentum began to slowly shift back to St. Anthony.
McNeely came up big with a 3 point play with 1:36 left to play. Only ahead 63-59, coach Hurley called a timeout.
Dozo played solid defense and got a turnover but with 23 seconds McNeely turned it back over allowing the Friars to score. Dozo scored with 13.2 seconds but still trailed 65-61. Cardozo opted to foul and hoped to capitalize off a miss but that miss would never material and St. Anthony would advance to the championship round.