HELENA, Mont. – Zach Taylor scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Carroll College Fighting Saints to a come-from-behind 75-67 victory over Cal-Maritime Friday evening at the PE Center for their sixth straight win to move to 9-1 on the season.
"I'm glad that Helenans got to see this gritty bunch in action at home,” head coach Carson Cunningham said. “It'd been awhile. It's a little hard to fathom how well these Saints are fighting.”
Carroll trailed by 10 points late in first half but cut the deficit to 37-33 at the break. The Saints shot just 9-25 from the field in the first half. The Keelhaulers were 13-30 before halftime.
After the break the Saints offense got rolling. Carroll was 13-20 (.650) including 3-3 from the three-point line. Taylor scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half.
The Saints took the lead with 9:04 remaining in the game on a layup by Taylor. Carroll never trailed after that point.
Cal-Maritime cut the lead to 62-61 with 2:37 remaining but Carroll outscored the Keelhaulers 13-7 to close out the game.
“We're just gonna keep grappling, keep manning the sails, and see where this ship takes us,” Cunningham said. “Cal Maritime is full of tough sailors. They deserve a tip of the cap for their efforts. I think they're going to fare well this season.”
Along with Taylor’s 31, Oliver Carr added 17 points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Saints. Cunningham also was excited about the defensive performance of Jake Hollifield.
“How about Jake Hollifield's inspiring defensive effort, Taylor's offensive dynamism, and a whole bunch of others' tough-minded play? It's fun to watch this Carroll group's spirited effort,’ Cunningham said. “We have another challenge tomorrow."
The Saints host Dickinson State tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the PE Center. Prior to the men’s game the Carroll women host Dickinson at 5:30 p.m. It is YMCA Youth Basketball night, any YMCA youth basketball player wearing their jersey will be admitted free with a paid adult.
By Kyle Sample, Helena IR
Three weeks since its last home game, Carson Cunningham doesn’t know if his team realizes what it has accomplished. What he does know, is that he doesn’t want it to. In fact, Cunningham may transverse Helena and snatch up every copy of the Independent Record to keep the headlines from reaching his young team.
Despite his efforts, there may be little the second-year coach can do to stop his squad from understanding the true measure of its achievements nine games into the season.
Heading into Friday night’s game with Cal Maritime, set for at 7:30 at the PE Center, the Saints have won eight games, just one less than their total all of last season. Included in the impressive total are four consecutive road wins. Furthermore, the Saints have won five of their six road games during grueling trips through North Dakota, Indiana and Alabama, with games routinely scheduled on back-to-back days.
Mobile, Ala. – The Carroll College Fighting Saints led Spring Hill College for just 28 seconds of regulation but were able to force overtime where the Saints offense exploded leading to a 69-62 road victory.
"Wow, what a battle-rama. I tell you, these Fighting Saints are sand-filled,” head coach Carson Cunningham said. “They have all kinds of grit. What a joy they are to coach. I know my super-assistants, Carlito Labarda and Dan Pearson, feel the same.”
The Badgers jumped out early and led by as many as 13 with 17:01 left in the game. The Saints chipped away and took their first lead with 4:48 remaining on two free-throws by Zach Taylor.
Spring hill retook the lead but Zayn Kirkendoll hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to give the Saints a 50-48 lead.
“El Capitain, Zayn Kirkendoll, hit some particularly monstrous-big shots,” Cunningham said. “I'm really happy for him. And I'm impressed by the way all the fellows on the team battle."
The game wasn’t over however. The Badgers forced overtime with a layup at the buzzer.
Spring Hill hit a three pointer on their first possession of OT to put the pressure on Carroll but a three pointer by Taylor with 2:46 left in overtime gave Carroll the lead which they would not relinquish.
The Badgers extended the game by fouling but Taylor and Kirkendoll were solid from the line to carry the Saints to the seven-point road win.
Taylor led all scorers with 26 points. Oliver Carr added 17 for the Saints, Lorel Johnson had 10 and Zayn Kirkendoll scored ten including some timely shots.
Taylor also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Frederick Gatson led Spring Hill with 25 and James Clarke scored 11.
The Saints were 19-47 from the field and 6-12 from the three-point line.
In overtime the Saints were 4-5 from the field and 9-10 from the free-throw line while Spring Hill was 4-9 from the field.
The Saints move to 8-1 on the season. They host Cal-Maritime Friday and Dickinson State Saturday.
MOBILE, Ala. – Zach Taylor score 17 points and seven rebounds to lead Carroll College to a 52-46 road win over the University of Mobile Saturday.
Jon Pulsifer added nine points and Oliver Carr had eight for the Saints.
"These Fighting Saints have some real get-up-and-go,” head coach Carson Cunningham said. “They are a tough, sand-filled group. It's a real pleasure to coach 'em up, and I know our stellar assistants, Coaches Labarda and Pearson, feel the same.”
CJ McGill led the Rams with 15 points and Daouda, Soumaoro had 10.
The Saints led 25-21 at the half and battled to hold the lead in the second frame. Carroll outrebaounded Mobile 43-28 but had 17 turnovers to the Rams’ eight.
“The University of Mobile game was a real grinder, and it was nice to prevail,” Cunningham said. “ Zach Taylor played quite well, as did a slew of others. We were a little cold from the field, but it's gonna be 70 degrees tomorrow, so maybe we'll heat up a bit for our Monday tilt versus Spring Hill."
The Saints play Spring Hill in Mobile at 6 p.m. MST.
By Kyle Sample, Helena IR
A little more than a month into the season, Carroll’s men’s basketball team has become accustomed to life on the road. Once they complete a three-game swing through Alabama, the Saints will have traveled nearly 9,000 miles. Though the trips to North Dakota and Indiana and Alabama have taken the Saints far from Helena and through many landscapes, nothing compares with what they experienced Sunday night.
Returning from a 54-40 win over Indiana-Northwest in Gary, Indiana, the Saints' connecting flight from Chicago was two minutes from landing in Belgrade at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
But that night a winter storm warning was in effect, and somebody must not have alerted the airline. Three minutes from landing, the flight crew decided the conditions are the runway were too hazardous, so the flight circled the airport for close to an hour.
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