Patriots Defense Leads to Win

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On a night when everyone expected a battle between two of the best big men in the Heartland Conference, Thursday night’s win for Dallas Baptist (6-10, 3-3) over St. Mary’s (12-4, 4-3) came down to defense. And it was the guards who stole the show… literally. Eight steals and 18 forced turnovers by the Patriots led to a 73-69 win over St. Mary’s in The Burg Center with Jason GentryCharles Allen, and Jonathan Perry each picking up two steals on the night while Perry also led the Patriots with eight rebounds – including two offensive and one defensive rebound to open the first minute of the second half.

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The big men, Nick Fox of Dallas Baptist and Kevin Kotzur of St. Mary’s, did have a significant impact in the game with Fox scoring 23 points and grabbing six boards while Kotzur went for 19 and 10. But it was the guard play on this night that did the heavy lifting for the Patriots in a game that saw them play with renewed energy and life throughout the contest.

Neither team shot exceptionally well in the game with DBU shooting 41.1% from the field, including only 7 of 19 from long range, while the Rattlers shot 45.2%. Midway through the second half, it seemed DBU’s atypical rough night from the free throw line may come back to haunt them in the close game as they missed ten free throws on the night. Allen had a chance with twelve seconds left in the game to push the game to a four point differential but he missed the back-end of a two shot opportunity and then, with one second left, Carden also went one of two from the line, but the one free throw was important as it made the contest a two-possession game.

With the win, DBU moves up in the conference standings to stay in the middle of the pack with eight games left to play. Their next chance to climb further comes Saturday as they welcome Texas A&M International to Dallas for a 2:00 pm start. A win will move the Patriots over .500 in the Heartland Conference action and will further their chance at controlling their own destiny for the conference tournament. The Patriot Pregame Show with Brendan Smith will begin on Saturday at 1:45 pm on the Patriot Broadcasting Network.

Box Score