Spalding tops St. Frances as Gay gets hot, scores 33

Cavaliers take second from Panthers, 75-71

Boys basketball

January 31, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

To say that St. Frances brings out the best in Archbishop Spalding's Rudy Gay is an understatement.

Gay loves to play against the East Baltimore basketball team, and there last night, the 6-foot-9 standout led No. 3-ranked Spalding to its second win of the season over the No. 6 Panthers, this time by 75-71.

The University of Connecticut-bound senior scored 33 points, grabbed 14 rebounds (12 defensive) and blocked three shots. Gay scored 21 points in the second half, including 14 in the last quarter, as the Cavaliers (18-3) pulled away.

The game wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Cavaliers, who shot a 52 percent (24-for-46) as a team, had a 70-61 lead with 25 seconds left. The Cavaliers finished with just five offensive rebounds, none in the first half.

Justin Castleberry and Lawrence Dixon added 15 and 12 points, respectively, to complement Gay, who got word yesterday from Hoop Summit that he will be one of the nation's top 12 high school players to play against a 20-and-under all-star team from Europe at during the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio.

Gay's effort last night overshadowed a superior inside game by Gus Chase of St. Frances (15-5). Chase led the Panthers with 22 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Darnell Harris chipped in 20 points.

In the first meeting between the two teams this season, on Jan. 4, St. Frances was ranked No. 1, and Gay put up career numbers in points (35) and blocks (10) to go with 12 rebounds in a 79-67 Cavaliers victory. Gay called it his "best game" in two years at Spalding.

Last night, Gay said, "My shots weren't really falling in the first half, but my team got me the ball in the second half, and they started falling. I guess [St. Frances] gets me on a good day."

Gay, who was 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, hit only four of 11 from the field in the first half as the Cavaliers fell behind 39-36. But he made seven of eight, including two of his three three-pointers, in the final 16 minutes.

Spalding coach Mike Glick credited Gay with keeping the 6-4 Chase off the offensive boards in the second half, because "Chase was really hurting us until the fourth quarter."

Spalding has taken eight of 10 games, including three straight, from the Panthers over the five years that Glick has been the Cavaliers' coach.

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