By: Tyler Smith '18
(WASHINGTON, Pa.) – The Thomas More College men's basketball team won a share of its third Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) regular season title in program history today (Saturday, February 18, 2017) as it defeated Washington & Jefferson College, 65-60, inside the Henry Memorial Center in Washington, Pennsylvania.
With the win, the Saints improve to 19-6 overall and end the PAC regular season with a 15-3 mark. Thomas More will be the No. 2 seed after a tie-breaker with fellow co-PAC regular season champions Saint Vincent College. With the loss, the Presidents end the season at 4-21 overall and 4-14 in the PAC.
In the first half the President raced out to a 28-24 lead with 8:27 to play in the half. Thomas More closed out the opening half on an 11-6 run to cut the lead to 34-25 at halftime when senior guard Sawyer Pauly (Crescent Springs, Ky./Covington Catholic) made a lay-up with 2:33 to play in the half.
The Saints dominated the second half as they out-scored W&J 40-26 and led by as many as 12 points with 2:46 to play in the game before winning the game, 65-60. Thomas More out-scored the Presidents 11-4 off turnovers in the game and 15-5 on second chance points. The Saints also out-rebounded the Presidents 45-26, making it the fifth game in a row that they have out-rebounded their opponent by double digits.
Four Saints scored in double-figures and were led by sophomore guard Damion King (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark) with 14 points. Sophomore guard Brandon Horne (Louisville, Ky./Male) and sophomore guard Ryne Callahan (Morehead, Ky./Rowan County) each finished with 12 points, while junior forward Austin Young (Campbellsburg, Ky./Henry County) added 10 points. Horne and King just missed double-doubles as they pulled down nine and eight rebounds respectively. King led the team in assists with four and Horne led the team in steals with two.
Talking with junior center Simon Clifford (Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manual) about what this win meant to a team that had fought hard all year, he told us, "We are glad we could get it done on the road. We knew it was a big game for both teams and just were glad we could come up with the victory."
Thomas More will host a PAC Tournament first round game on Tuesday (February 21) at 7 p.m. at the Connor Convocation Center. The Saints' opponent will be announced later tonight when the PAC office releases the tournament bracket on the PAC website at www.pacathletics.org.