By: Lucas Packer
This is one to remember. The Titans of IU South Bend faced off tonight at home against a St. Xavier team that came into the contest ranked #14 in the country and in the end they walked away with the biggest win in school history with a 72-67 score. Never before had the Titans knocked off an opponent as highly ranked as the Cougars, and they did it in steady fashion, led largely by the play of Alanzo Bass. Down by four at the half (39-35) and then coming out flat in the opening minutes of the second half and going down by seven, head coach Chad Tapp called a timeout and called on his players to respond. Respond they did, clawing their way back into the game before eventually taking the lead with just under ten minutes to go.
It was the play of Bass that electrified the Titans in the second half as he laced several pinpoint passes to his teammates in the open floor and got the momentum rolling in IU South Bend's favor. The senior point guard finished with 13 points, 6 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds in leading the Titans to victory. He got a lot of help, as Chris Beam poured in 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, Steven Heatherly finished with 14 points and 3 rebounds, and freshman Riley Stichter tallied 12 points on 5/5 shooting from the field.
As a team the Titans shot an outstanding 53% from the field and 80% from the charity stripe. They also won the rebound battle against the Cougars 27-21. The Cougars were held to 45% from the field and just 26% from three-point land. They were led in the loss by Anthony Grant with 13 points and 6 rebounds.
It was a big win for Tapp's team, a statement game, the kind of game that can propel a team toward higher levels of confidence and execution. More importantly, it sends a message to the rest of the CCAC that the Titans are no longer a pushover team in the conference. Instead, IU South Bend is fighting to take their place among the conference elite.
The win pushes the Titans to 3-0 in the early going of this season. IU South Bend plays next on the road on Saturday against cross-town rival Holy Cross. The game is slated for a 3pm tip-off.