(UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio) – The Thomas More College men's basketball season came to a close tonight in the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament. The Saints traveled to University Heights, Ohio to take on the John Carroll University Blue Streaks. Thomas More fell to JCU 95-72. The Saints hung with the Blue Streaks most of the game until JCU went on a 12-5 run with five minutes left in the game, which left the Saints with too large of a deficit to come back. With the win, JCU advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and improves to 24-5 overall. The Saints fell to 23-6 overall on the season with the loss.
Ryne Callahan and Simon Clifford tied for the team high with 13 points each. Clifford also tacked on one block and a rebound. Callahan also recorded one steal, one assist, and three rebounds. Callahan also went 75.0% from three-point range and 83.3% from the field. Clifford went 6-for-10 from the field, ending the night with a 60% shooting percentage. Damion King led the team in rebounds and assists with nine each. Brandon Horne a close second with eight rebounds and six assists. Ralph Stone went 3-5 from the field, shooting 60%, with seven points on the night, along with two steals, six rebounds, and one assist. Michael Griffin put up 11 points on the night, shooting 57.1% from the field and 60.0% from the three-point range.
In the first half, the Saints went 40.0% shooting from the field, and 60.0% from the foul line. The Saints grabbed 20 rebounds and five assists. Midway through the first half, the Saints went on an 8-0 run, sparked by a lay-up from Clifford and the free throw for the three-point play. There were four lead changes and one tie in the first half alone. The Saints were down by eight, however, going into the locker room for half time, 38-30.
In the second half, the Saints went on multiple 7-0 and 6-0 runs to cut the lead to four. JCU answered back with a 12-0 run with 10-minutes left in the game. This put the Blue Streaks up by 16. The Saints fought back, but the lead was too big to overcome. The Saint improved their shooting from the first half, going 53.1% from the field and 66.7% form the foul line.
Ryan Berger who had 19 points, three assists, and three rebounds, led JCU to their win. Two other Blue Streaks scored double-digits tonight, John Cirillo with 18 and Jackson Sartain with 15.
The Thomas More men's basketball team will be back in action next season.