St. Viator boys basketball coach Mike Howland challenged two of his top players at intermission Wednesday night. Senior Ore Arogundade and junior Roosevelt Smart accepted the challenge and led the Lions to a 48-44 win over Highland Park in night three of the Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving Tournament inside Cahill Gymnasium.
Trailing 19-18 after 16 minutes of play, Arogundade and Smart combined for 15 of the Lions 19 points in the third period for a 37-38 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of play.
"I let both of those guys know at halftime I wasn't real happy with how they were playing," Howland said. "And I thought in the second half they responded in a very positive way on a tough night."
The duo was held to just 8 points combined in the first half on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.
Arogundade finished with a game-high 21 points and 9 rebounds, including a pair of free throws to ice the game with 13.3 ticks on the clock. Smart added 10 points.
Highland Park scored the first 5 points of the second half for it's largest lead of the night, 24-18, with 7:10 to play in the third. After slowing the game down in the first half, the Giants rushed their shots a bit in the second half which played into the Lions hand.
"They (St. Viator) had a lot to do with that," HP coach Paul Harris said of the rushed shots in the second half. "When they get out and get going a little bit their defense led to offense, but I thought for the majority of the game we did a nice job of controlling their spurts."
Patrick McNamara (15 points), who scored eight of the Lions first 10 points of the game, knocked down a trey from the right corner to start the scoring in the fourth period. It was his final bucket of the night but one that gave the Lions a its largest lead (4) of the second half and a little breathing room.
"Pat can really shoot the ball," Howland said. "He is just such a threat from behind the arc, which is a great floor spacer."
Highland Park battled back and take a 42-41 lead with 5:04 to play after a putback bucket by Jacob Iden. It was the last lead of the night for the Giants.
Smart knocked down a pair of foul shots, followed by a jumper from Arogundade on the wing for a 45-42 lead for the Lions with 4:27 to play.
"We made some plays late and got enough stops at the end to win," McNamara said. "Our offense was a little ugly at times but we just kept battling and got the win."
Eight players scored for the Giants, led by David Sachs 10 points.
Sal Cannella was the only other player to score in the win for St. Viator.