Southern runs past Gibbons, 73-41 and with a purpose

January 08, 1992|By Milton Kent

Consider yesterday's 73-41 thrashing of seventh-ranked Cardinal Gibbons by second-ranked Southern a commercial of sorts.

Gibbons coach Ray Mullis certainly does.

"They physically controlled the action," said Mullis. "They did what they wanted. They're a very, very good basketball team."

First, the Bulldogs (8-1, 4-0 in MSA A Conference Division II play) used pressure man-to-man defense and disrupted Gibbons' offensive flow, forcing turnovers on seven of the Crusaders' first eight possessions. They held Gibbons to three points in the first quarter and 18 in the first half.

And things got a little better for the Bulldogs.

Southern's long-range shooting got untracked, as sophomores Damon Cason, who had 18 points, and Derrick Watkins drilled seven three-point shots in the first half to pull Gibbons (8-7, 1-2) out of its 2-3 zone defense, which was drawn up to neutralize the Bulldogs' inside height.

"Most teams play us in a zone," said Watkins, who scored 19, hitting all three of his three-point attempts. "We have to bring them outside to stop them from sagging."

"Our defense is not geared to stopping 6-3 and 6-4 kids from shooting three-pointers," said Mullis.

And then things got a lot better for Southern, as senior Kwame Evans went to work in the third quarter, scoring 10 with two three-pointers, a drive and a turnaround, as Southern outscored Gibbons by 23-3 to end any thought of a Crusaders' comeback.

"Kwame got tentative in the first half," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "It looked like he was pushing. I told him to relax and play basketball. He looked all right after that."

Quintin Moody of Gibbons led all scorers with 22.

Smith left his starters on the court until the very end, even with the Bulldogs leading by as many as 34 points. That had Mullis wondering if Southern, which remains unranked in USA Today's national top 25 poll, wasn't doing some advertising for another audience.

"I would agree with what I've read about their standing nationally," said Mullis. "He [Smith] was pressing at the end of the game. Maybe he's trying to send Dave Krider [who conducts the USA Today poll] a message by not playing any other kids. I was not impressed with that."

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