The Jason Sautter era of Seward County Men's Basketball began with a bang last night in the Greenhouse as the Saints exploded for 56 second half points for a come from behind, 97-80 win over visiting Clarendon for just their second season opening win in the past five seasons.
The action was swift early on as Seward and Clarendon found themselves knotted at 11 just 4:39 into things. The Saints took the lead on a three pointer from Isiah Small and stretched it to a five point advantage at 26-21 on another triple from Small, but a quick 5-0 burst from the Bulldogs tied the score once again with 7:44 to go in the half. Seward continued to pile points on the board, but Clarendon matched them at every junction, led by sharpshooter Xavier Trent who drilled four three pointers in a two minute stretch at the end of the half to give the Bulldogs a 45-41 lead at the break.
Seward shot 48% from the floor in the first half and connected on 6 of 12 from deep, but Clarendon was even more efficient, hitting 52% from the field and behind Trent, made 10 first half threes at a 56% clip.
The second half didn't start exactly as the Saints had planned as Clarendon came out of the break to score 11 of the first 14 points, opening their lead to the largest of the night at 56-44. But just when all looked lost for the guys in green, the Saints exploded for a 20-2 run over the next six minutes, led by a barrage of three pointers to not only erase the Clarendon lead, but to also take a six point lead of their own at 64-58. Clarendon found their footing once again to tie the score back up at 68 at the second half media timeout and the game remained tied at 73 with 6:19 to go. From that point on, it was all Seward County. The Saints scored 17 straight over the next 4:25, getting buckets from six different players during the stretch, taking the lead and blowing it open to 90-73 with under two minutes to go. Seward pushed the lead to 18 before getting a pair of late free throws to put the finishing touches on a 97-80 victory to send the crowd home happy.
Seward was on fire in the second half, shooting 70% overall and 70% from the three point line to finish the game shooting 57% overall and 59% from deep. Five Saints scored in double figures including Ke'Sean Davis who paced the club with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Small and Devin Bethely each went for 14 in the victory while Terrell Alfred scored 13 in his Seward debut.
The Saints pick up a season opening victory to start 2017-2018 at 1-0 while Clarendon opens the year at 0-1. Seward will continue a busy start to the season on Saturday as they take on Northern Oklahoma-Enid in a 4:00 matinee affair in the Greenhouse. Free tickets are available thanks to our game sponsor Pepsi at both Pizza Hut and Hutch's in Liberal.