Despite Cool Start, CATS Cruise to NCAA Second Round Showdown with Hoosiers, Setting Records Along the Way
March 18, 2016 – DES MOINES, IOWA – BRENDON D. MILLER – Midwest News & Sports
A cold front moved into the Midwest on Thursday, and the CATS opened their first round game as cool as the Des Moines temperatures, then eventually dispatching overmatched Stony Brook 85 to 57. The first ten minutes of the game were a brick fest by both teams with the score being 10-8 at the under twelve media timeout. Though the offense was stagnant, the CATS were spectacular defensively blocking shot after Stony Brook shot, and almost completely shutting them down. During the first half, Stony Brook was bothered by the CATS’ impressive length around the rim, as the Seawolves were limited to a season low 19 points in the half while shooting 18.9 percent from the field and 0 of 5 from three-land. The CATS blocked 9 shots in the first half led by a breakout performance by Skal Labissiere with 5. The CATS did improve from the field to end the half finishing 11-34 for 32.4%.
Despite their first half performance, the CATS scorched the nets in the second half shooting 22-29 for 75.9%, to bring their game total to 52.4%. The most encouraging sign is the bigs finally showed up as Skal finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 blocks while Alex Poythress kicked in 12 points, 4 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Derek Willis posted 8 and 5, and Marcus Lee has 7 and 3. The CATS’ 15 blocked shots set a new NCAA Tournament single- game record.
The backcourt was led by Jamal Murray who opened the game 1 of 9 from the field, who finished with 19. Isaiah Briscoe posted an impressive double-double with 13 and 11, and maybe most importantly going 3 of 3 from the line. Tyler Ulis did this should be National Player of the Year thing, with 10 point and 7 assists. With those 7 assists, Tyler now has 243 on the season passing former No. 1 draft pick John Wall’s record of 241. Stony Brook star Jameel Warney stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Seawolves.
The CATS face a stiff test in Indiana on Saturday here in Des Moines. Tip is 5:15 Eastern.