St. Edward runs away with tournament title
The championship game at the Westminster Christian Thanksgiving Classic started out like an evenly matched high speed road race between St. Edward and Luther North. However, while the Wildcats began to sputter after the first the quarter the Green Wave never let their foot off the accelerator on their way to a third straight tournament title with a 77-61 win.
Senior Nick Duffy, who was named the tournament's outstanding player, led the way with 26 points and 7 rebounds. Joe French added 17 points and Kelvin Cortez-Harvey finished with 13. Sean Phelan had a strong game off the bench with 11 points and 9 boards.
The pace in the first quarter was pure high octane as St. Edward raced to a 24-20 lead. Duffy had 12 points and the Green Wave connected on 11-of-16 shots from the field.
"We didn't want to get into a full court track meet with them," St. Edward coach P.J. White said. "But once we got it past half court we were going to take advantage of any opening. I thought we did a good job of playing the up-tempo game, but also keeping it under control."
The Green Wave (4-0) committed just 11 turnovers in the game
Duffy finished with 19 points in the first half as the Green Wave extended their lead to 41-32 at halftime.
"We are going to try and get the ball inside to Nick as much as we can," White said. "We go as Nick goes. Fortunately, we also have the benefit of three guards that can just go right at people and open the offense for us and create a lot of scoring opportunities for everyone."
Duffy consistently took the ball hard to the basket. He shot 11-of-15 (73 percent) from the field.
"The guards did a great job of feeding me the ball," Duffy said. "It was a lot of fun out there tonight being able to get out and run the floor like that. Kelvin has made a huge difference this year with pushing the ball up the floor."
French picked up the scoring slack in the second half scoring 15 points. He hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter that pushed the lead to 44-32. French had 5 baskets in the fourth quarter to help keep the Green Wave stay in command.
"It was a really fast game and they were a really fast team, but we have a lot of team speed, too," French said. "We are not a very big team, so the more points we can get on fast breaks the better. I just tried to stay within the team concept. When they started focusing more on Nick that left more things open."