WASHINGTON -- Southern coach Meredith Smith likes to point out that his team's strength is defense. Last night at Georgetown's McDonough Arena, the Bulldogs put on a defensive clinic in the championship game of the D.C. Armory Board-Trills Holiday Classic, romping past Archbishop Carroll, 72-46.
The Bulldogs (8-1) got outstanding performances for the third straight day from senior co-captains Kwame Evans, who led the scoring with 23, and Derrick Watkins with 13. Sophomore point guard Damon Cason scored eight and was named tournament MVP. But those offensive numbers came mostly as a result of the lightning-quick Bulldogs defense.
"We know if we execute on defense, our offense will come along," said Watkins. "We couldn't think about Carroll beating Dunbar [D.C.] by 20 [in the semifinal], we just knew we had to stop them with our defense."
That's exactly what they did, limiting the Lions (8-2) to 16-for-55 shooting from the field.
Southern, which took control on a defensive spurt early in the second quarter, put the game out of reach with another defensive spurt that led to the final 10 points of the third quarter and Southern coasting, 51-29.
The Bulldogs hit 11 of 15 in the third quarter when the lead ballooned.
For the third straight day, Southern smashed a tournament record, needing 33 points to establish a record for most points in the tournament by one team. The Bulldogs earlier had broken the single-game record in the opening round with 89 points and topped that with 92 in the semifinal win over Parkdale. One other tournament record that the Bulldogs grabbed was the greatest margin of victory, 45 points in the opening round win against Quince Orchard.
In the third-place game, Dunbar of Washington (6-3), which had been ranked No. 3 in the Washington area, handed No. 17 Parkdale (4-2) its second straight loss, 80-61.