Knights mount comeback over Vikings

Bronx Holbrook (black) gets a massive block against Xander Hutchins (blue). Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

Four competitive men’s basketball games were played in the BYU-Idaho Center on Saturday. The Knights took down the Vikings 96-95, the Spartans defeated the Titans 96-86, the Hurricanes whooped the Freeze 86-56 and the Hawks beat the Wolverines 83-79.

Knights vs. Vikings

On Saturday at noon, the Knights and the Vikings faced off and it came down to the final shot. The Vikings controlled the tip to start the game and controlled most of the game afterward.

Vikings guard, Luke Pierce, started things off by scoring a pull-up three-pointer. A few minutes later, with the scores knotted at 7, Vikings player, Xander Hutchins, blocked a layup and went coast to coast to give the Vikings a 9-7 lead.

The game was 14-14 with two minutes to go in the first quarter, and both teams hit two threes to make it 20-20 by the end of the first quarter.

Knights’ Karson Lloyd scored first in the second after a smooth drop step post move. Midway through the second quarter the Vikings led 35-34.

Vikings player, Michael Jolly, converted an and-one opportunity with 0.7 seconds left in the first half. The Vikings led 48-42.

In the third quarter, eleven three-pointers were made, including three from Knights’ sharpshooter Zachary Richins. The Vikings led the score by eight.

The fourth quarter started with a Knights scoring run; at the conclusion of the run, the score was 13-4.

Multiple Vikings made threes in the fourth quarter, but the Knights were able to find ways to stay within striking distance.

With the Vikings leading 92-87, Knights guard, Taggart Chandler, made four straight free throws within 90 seconds and a teammate scored a two-pointer to make it 93-92. Richins made a free throw, and the Knights led 94-92 with 20.2 seconds remaining.

A drive into the paint by Kobe Garrick led to an open corner three for Pierce, which he drained to give the Vikings a one-point lead with 6.0 seconds remaining.

However, Chandler drove down the length of the floor and buried a midrange jumper that gave the Knights a 96-95 victory.

“A lot of it was improv,” Taggart said after his game-winning free throws and jumper. “We had a set play, but it didn’t really work out. So, we just drove down the court and tried to see what was open. (My mentality) was ‘I just gotta do this’. Also, coach really wants us shooting free throws in practice, and when we practice this hard it shows in the game.”

Titans vs. Spartans

The other noon game belonged to the Titans and Spartans, which was played at the same time as Knights-Vikings but on Court 8 of the BYU-Idaho Center.

The Titans started off hot, jumping to a 6-0 lead in the first minute. However, a few minutes later, Spartans’ guard Jalen Brown hit three free throws to tie the game at 7-7.

The Spartans went on a 13-3 run in the first quarter, but the Titans responded by going on a 12-0 run in the last few minutes. It was 22-17 Titans after the first quarter.

The Spartans took the lead back behind five straight points from Tyler Scoresby and never looked back. They led by 11 with three minutes to go in the half and took a 52-44 lead into halftime.

The Spartans continued to lead and were up 76-62 after the third quarter. A few minutes into the fourth and the Spartans were only up 80-70. A few more minutes later and it was 83-80 Spartans. The Titans were doing all they could to mount a comeback.

However, back-to-back Spartan threes pushed the game out of reach, and the Spartans ended up on top 96-86.

The Knights will play the Hawks on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. on BYU-Idaho Center Court 8.

At the 10 a.m. slate of games, there were two high-powered offenses in action. Both the Hurricanes and the Hawks scored over 80 points in their wins over the Freeze and Wolverines.

Hurricanes vs. Freeze

The Hurricanes started the game by winning the tip and controlling the boards on both sides of the floor. Ethan Iba, forward for the Hurricanes, was crucial in the latter. He scored the first points of the morning after grabbing a missed shot from his teammate.

Drives and post moves kept the game moving along. The score sat at 6-6 after three minutes. However, the Hurricanes went on a 12-3 run, and it was 18-9 in their favor.

Hurricane Bryn Nelson took advantage with another basket, making it 20-10. The first quarter ended with the Hurricanes on top 22-12.

Tyler Shippen of the Hurricanes started the second quarter off strong, catching an alley-oop pass from Iba and draining a deep three to push their lead even further. Hurricane McKay Shippen hit a three and the Hurricanes were up 37-16.

The Hurricanes led 46-24 going into halftime.

The second half was much closer to the first, with the teams mostly trading baskets as the game went on. Shippen converted an and-one opportunity to give the Hurricanes a 30-point lead — they never looked back.

The Hurricanes came out on top 86-56 to improve to 2-0.

Hawks vs. Wolverines

On Court 8 of the BYU-Idaho Center, the Hawks and Wolverines battled it out. This game was back and forth to start. The Wolverines hit a three to take a 7-6 lead, but the Hawks answered with back-to-back threes and gave themselves a 12-7 lead.

An offensive rebound and put back by Wolverine Ru Ding made it a 14-13 game, with the Hawks still in front.

The Hawks immediately responded by going on a 10-2 run and the Wolverines needed a timeout with the score 24-15. The Wolverines make a bit of a push at the end of the first quarter, and it was 27-22 Hawks going into the second quarter.

More baskets were traded in the second, including a long transition pass to Hawk Lincoln Oldham, giving the Hawks a 41-30 lead.

A couple of Wolverine buckets later and the Hawks only had a five-point lead entering the final stretch of the second quarter.

The Wolverines tied the game, but a Hawks’ three-pointer gave them a 46-43 lead heading into halftime.

The Hawks continued their offensive onslaught as the second half progressed, going on a 7-0 run. After a corner three by Hawk Austin Harr, the Hawks had a 62-52 lead.

Immediately after Harr’s three-pointer, Hawk Wyatt Taylor stole the ball and went coast to coast, finishing the move off with a dunk and igniting the crowd.

The Wolverines needed a timeout. The teams went cold over the last few minutes and the third quarter ended with the Hawks on top 67-55.

Wolverine Wyatt Eames at the free throw line late in the game.
Wolverine Wyatt Eames at the free throw line late in the game. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

The Wolverines came out in a zone defensive scheme to start the fourth, and they took advantage of the Hawks’ confusion on the offensive to make it a 71-64 game with 5:47 to go.

Hawk Taylor had back-to-back baskets — a transition spin into a layup and a deep catch-and-shoot three to make it 76-64.

The teams continued to trade baskets, with the Wolverines making it a 4-point game with 30 seconds to go. Once again, Taylor came through and slammed home the dagger dunk for the Hawks, giving them an 83-79 win.

“I think just ball movement and being unselfish,” said Kade Hall, the Hawk guard. “We’ve gotten lots of wide-open looks and they’re falling.”

Hall also said that after a while the Wolverines’ defense opened. His team may not have been ready for the Wolverines’ zone defense, but they adjusted.

To find the up-to-date league standing, click here.

Games will continue on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at the BYU-Idaho Center.