Written by: Tyler Smith
(PITTSBURG, Pa.) - The Saints of Thomas More College took on President Athletic Conference (PAC) Chatham University today (January 27, 2018) and came out victorious in a close game, 75-71. With the win, the Saints improve their record to 15-4 and 11-1 in the PAC. The win also expands the Saints current win streak to eight straight games.
For the second straight game, the Saints went into the locker room at halftime knowing they had a game on their hands as they trailed by three points. To start the second half, both teams went back and forth all the way to the final whistle. On the offensive side of the ball today, the Saints shot 55.8% from the field and 73.3% from the free throw line. The Saints outrebounded Chatham 34-26 which seems to be a big part of the Saints winning recipe this year.
The Saints had seven players reach the scoring column today and out of those seven, three Saints reached double digits. Even though junior guard Damion King (Winchester, Ky. / George Rogers Clark) led the team with 18 points and seven assists, senior center Simon Clifford (Louisville, Ky. / DuPont Manual) is the real headline story as he scored 16 points which put him over 1,000 collegiate career points in his colligate basketball career. The third Saint that reached double digits was junior guard Ralph Stone (Shelbyville, Ky. / Martha Layne Collins) who finished the game with 16 points and five rebounds.
With 13:27 left in the game, Clifford scored his 16th point of the game putting him at the 1,001 collegiate career point, hitting a jumper early in the second half. He scored 72 total points during his time at Cleveland State. Clifford scored 398 points in his first season with the Saints (2015-16), 359 points last season, and has scored 172 points this season at Thomas More.
Talking with Player of the Game Simon Clifford we asked him about the game and what It meant to him to reach 1,000 collegiate career points. "We knew coming in that Chatham was a good and capable team," Clifford said. "It took people making plays down the stretch to pull it off. Great team effort and win." In regard to 1,000 collegiate career points, "I would just like to thank Thomas More for the opportunity to come and play the game I love while also getting a great education. It's a huge accomplishment for me since I wasn't able to reach it in high school. I would also like to thank my family for constantly supporting me through all the ups and downs," Clifford said.
The Chatham Cougars gave the Saints a fight tonight and leading that fight was junior guard Isaiah Brown who finished with the game-high 20 points and also had seven assists. Along with Brown, junior guard Curtis Perez also finished with double digits as he finished with 12 points.
The Saints will be back on the hardwood Wednesday, January 31st as they return home to take on a talented squad in Bethany College. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m.