By Randy Speer, The Circuit.
Benedictine turned Jake Schannuth’s hot hand into a lopsided win over Avila in its conference opener as the Ravens beat the Eagles 82-57 at the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium Saturday night.
The senior from Hermann, Missouri lit up Avila for a season-high 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.
“They were hedging a lot of their ball screens with Jake and when they do that we try and clear the side and get him the ball,” Benedictine coach Ryan Moody said. “We want to give him the ball in those situations and I thought his teammates did a great job of recognizing that.”
Cleveland State transfer Andre Yates continued to impress in the early going, putting up 14 points to go along with three steals, three assists and a pair of rebounds.
One thing that Moody was pleased with on the offensive end was how well the team shared the ball.
“We had ten assists at the half and we ended up with 21. We challenged them, ‘Can we get to 20?’,” Moody said.
Avila kept with Benedictine for the opening five minutes, but it was clear that the Eagles, without All-Heart performers Sedrick Johnson, Jordan Epps and Nduka Exeamii would be a shell of the team they were last season when they beat the Ravens 90-77.
“They are a different team clearly and they are trying to find themselves, but our job is to take care of business at home and we did that,” Moody said.
By the midway point of the first half, Benedictine had stretched its lead to 25-12. For the most part, Moody went with a five-in, five-out approach to subbing, taking advantage of the depth he believes the Ravens possess.
The trend worked as Benedictine extended its lead to 43-30 at halftime.
Coming out of the break, Schannuth hit his hot steak, knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers to put the Ravens up 54-32 with 17:03 left in the half.
Benedictine remained whole heartily in charge as they cycled through a full bench of players. Every Raven that dressed for the game played, which included the first career appearances for redshirt-freshman Grant Lahm and transfer Kyle Harrison
“Really beneficial to the depth, it’s a depth game, at least this year we feel like it is,” Moody said. “When those guys get called on, we have a lot of confidence in them.”
Junior Nate Stacy capped off the game with a break-away alley-op from redshirt-freshman Colby Nickels with two minutes remaining to put the Ravens up 78-53