St. Francis dominates inside, beats Marmion
St. Francis enjoyed the view from the top in a 61-45 nonconference win at Marmion Tuesday.
The Spartans -- whose starting lineup featured 6-foot-8 senior center Bryce Walker and 6-4 senior forward Robert Nocek -- capitalized on a matchup advantage in the paint to defeat the Cadets, whose tallest players are 6-3 senior starters Will Wainscott and Nate Johnson.
The Spartans fed their big men as efficiently as a six-dollar buffet. Nocek finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Walker contributed 8 points and 11 rebounds.
"Robert and Bryce did a great job inside. The size advantage really helped us." St. Francis senior guard Danny Blank said. "We tried to get the ball to them as much as we could. I tried to do my best to get them the ball in situations where they could score."
St. Francis (16-11) won the rebounding battle 36-18. The Spartans grabbed 13 first-quarter rebounds in a commanding eight-minute performance in which they held Marmion (3-21) scoreless.
"I think Robert is one of the best rebounders in the area," St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer said. "Obviously, Bryce is too. But Robert offensively and defensively, his timing, his length, his effort, it's been a lot of fun to have."
Marmion coach Tony Young -- who won a state title as a player at Schaumburg in 2001 -- wasn't buying size disadvantage as an excuse for falling behind 16-0 after a first quarter in which the Cadets committed 6 turnovers and missed all 12 shots they took.
"You can make 1,000 excuses but at the end of the day you have to compete," the former SIU guard said. "I don't care who it is. I went to Schaumburg and we weren't big at all. I was the center at six feet. When it boils down to it, you have to play hard. We have to continue to find that niche, who wants to do what, who wants to those tough things."
Marmion finally dented the scoreboard 10 seconds into the second quarter when senior guard Griffin Bohr sank a 3-pointer. Such long-range shots were Marmion's main counterattack. Bohr sank 4 shots from beyond the arc en route to a team-best 16 points and freshman Collin Wainscott sank 4 second-half 3-pointers to finish with 13 points.
Sophomore guard Sebastian Miller scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds for St. Francis, which hosts Chicago Christian Friday at 7:30 p.m.