The Molloy Stanners' JV basketball team made it a point to jeer in unison from the bleachers every time Xaverian point guard, Dillon Burns, touched the ball. Distracting the 5'7" senior could be one tactic to prevent another 33 point downpour akin to the one he plastered on Christ the King on Sunday. Burns didn't net 33, but he did enough damage to help lead the Clippers to a 67-52 win over the Stanners.
"I just blocked [the crowd] out and stayed focused," said Burns, who shot 7-11 and scored a game high 21 points in the win. "People can get overconfident or conceited after a win like [the Christ the King win], but we're just taking it game by game.
The 'all opponents are treated the same' approach didn't give the Clippers an advantage until the second quarter, when the back court tandem of Burns and Brian Bernardi (18 points) began to percolate. The Stanners' used a triangle-and-two defense to keep pressure on the Clipper duo, but the one-two punch got the best of Molloy.
Outside shooting blasted what was a tie game after eight minutes to a twenty point (43-23) Xaverian lead at the half. The Stanners - despite staying even with Xaverian early on via efforts from C.J. Davis (9 points) and Marco Kozul (11 points) - were outscored 29-9 in the second quarter.
With the clean-up efforts of George Lambert (16 points) working inside, Molloy appeared stuck in the mud. An abysmal 5-14 showing from the charity stripe in the second quarter also meant they failed to capitalize on being in the bonus. However, they did show signs of pulse in the second half.
"We started rushing shots in the third quarter," Burns said. "We were playing too fast. But once we got in a flow and got everyone involved, we were okay."
Big man Morrel Gaskins (11 points) worked with guard, George Davis (8 points), to clip the Clippers' lead back down to eight points in the fourth quarter, but missed chip shots and the Bernardi-Burns combo's resilience and control pulled the rug out from under the home team. As Burns melted the shot clock down to near nothing and Molloy failed to apply pressure, he ended the possession with a fade away to push the lead back to twelve points. The Stanners had run out of answers, but whether Molloy or Christ the King, all wins are equal until the post-season as far as Burns is concerned.
"This is the regular season," he said. "No win is that big until the playoffs."