ICCP cools off Davis, Aurora Christian
Taaj Davis entered his latest Metro Suburban Blue boys basketball game with perhaps back-to-back unprecedented performances.
The Aurora Christian senior guard torched Bishop McNamara and Chicago Christian with consecutive 50-plus-point games over the weekend.
"We wanted the other players to beat us," IC Catholic Prep senior Zach Jordan said.
It was mission accomplished for the Knights Tuesday night in Aurora.
Dom Gaudio hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the second quarter, and the Knights never trailed again in a 57-46 victory.
In snapping the Eagles' seven-game winning streak, IC Catholic Prep significantly tightened the league standings in improving to 13-6 overall and 3-2.
Aurora Christian remains in first place in its division at 13-3, 4-1.
"It means a lot for our team, especially coming into their place," Jordan said of the impact on the conference standings.
The Eagles' middle two quarters were a house of horrors offensively as IC Catholic Prep allowed a mere 11 points during the span.
Employing multiple defenses against Davis, IC Catholic Prep held the southpaw standout without a point for 22-plus minutes.
Davis' step-back field goal at the first-quarter buzzer was his last field goal until a minute, 47 seconds remained.
"Teams are starting to catch on," Davis said. "They are learning to keep the ball out of my hands."
To complicate matters for Aurora Christian, its primary second option, sophomore guard Danny New, missed the game with a back issue.
Daniel Walker played admirably in starting for New, scoring 19 points to lead all scorers.
But long-term trouble certainly loomed as Walker and Davis scored all but one of the Eagles' 23 first-half points.
Jordan, on the other hand, ran the Knights' offense with precision, scoring 12 of his team-high 18 points in the opening half.
Gaudio, who finished with 14 points, had yet to score until he drained consecutive set-shots from well beyond the head of the key to give the Knights a 27-23 cushion at the break.
"That's what we practice on, hitting open shots," said Gaudio.
But it was the Knights' harassing defense -- the Eagles were 17-for-52 in the game -- that was the fundamental difference.
"That's what we were looking for: to stop one of the best guys in our conference," Gaudio said.
"Shots just didn't fall," said Davis, who scored 8 of his 11 points in the first quarter.
IC Catholic Prep, which had a third double-digit scorer in Chauncey Lee with 10 points, systematically expanded its lead in the second half.
"They hit shots -- and we didn't," Aurora Christian coach Dan Beebe said. "You've got to have more people contribute at the offensive end, especially when Taaj is having an off-night."