Robert Grant, St. Viator's 6 foot-2 senior guard, was money in the bank on defense during Saturday night's 74-48 win over St. Ignatius in Cahill Gymnasium as the Lions played in the fourth game of the East Suburban Catholic/Catholic League challenge.
Grant pickpocketed the Wolfpack offense in the second quarter to break open a close game and turn it into a rout.
"I'm the energy guy," said Grant. "I just try to bring to the team what the team needs. During that second-quarter span, I took it upon myself to get us going."
St. Ignatius (5-2) trailed early on 12-2 with 4:28 left in the first quarter but closed to 26-22 on a basket by Brandon Snower (12 points) with 3:51 left in the first half.
Then Grant went to work, picking up 3 of his 5 steals the rest of the quarter, igniting the Lions (7-1) and helping produce a 12-0 spurt to put them ahead 38-22 at the half.
Ore Arogundade (20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, 6 rebounds) scored the first 4 points in the dozen-point surge. Grant followed with 2 free throws. Tom Martin connected on a 3-point play and Patrick McNamara (17 points) hit the third of five 3-pointers to all but finish off the Wolfpack.
St. Viator connected on 14 of 16 shots in the first half, including going 8-for-8 in the first quarter. The Lions finished with 64 percent shooting from the floor in the game.
Roosevelt Smart helped the Lions increase the lead in the third-quarter, when he scored 12 of his team-high 20 points.
"We were all hot tonight," said Arogundade. "It's kind of scary when we play like this, so that's good. Our defense got the good steals which ignited the offense."
"Bobby's really coming into his own," said St. Viator coach Mike Howland. "He's our best defender. He's really worked hard to get to that role. He bought into that role. There's only so many shots that are out there, so he needs to defend. His contributions to the team don't show up on the stat sheet."
Grant led a defense that limited high-scoring Lester Larry (0 points) and Riley Doody to a total of 4 points. Daniel Ogele led St. Ignatius with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
"Doody and Larry got very few good shots up, thanks to the defense," said Grant. "When we had that second-quarter run the bench went crazy, as did our fans. We've got great fans."
"Believe it or not we've struggled at times shooting," said Howland. "Tonight everything we threw up went in. In that first half we made the right reads and we hit the open man. The was the best game we played this year. Beating Proviso East last Saturday was a good win. We were good on both ends of the court."
The Lions' win made it a split for the day between the conferences. St. Patrick defeated Leo 59-42 in Game 1; Benet lost to Fenwick 54-45 and Loyola topped Notre Dame 68-54.