By: Lucas Packer
Yama Kader. That is a name that is starting to haunt the Titans. After knocking down a game winning three-pointer with just 6 seconds left in last year's final meeting between IU South Bend and Holy Cross, the senior was once again the Titan's nemesis as he torched IU South Bend with 17 second half points (24 total) in leading the Saints to a 58-57 victory today in McKenna Arena. It was a heartbreaking result for the Titans, who suffered their first loss of the season in the game.
The game started slowly, with each team trying to feel their way into things, but after some back and forth action IU South Bend was able to snag the lead and hold on to it for the rest of the first half. They went into the half with a 28-20 lead and a rebounding edge of 17-9. It was a balanced attack for the Titans with seven different players scoring and they appeared to be right where they needed to be. Holy Cross was held to just 33% from the field and 14% from deep and seemed to be having trouble against the solid defense of IU South Bend.
The second half, however, was a different ball game. Holy Cross came out attacking, both on offense and on the boards, and although the Titans held onto the lead for the first ten minutes of the second half it was clear that the Saints weren't going away. It was then that Kader came up big, knocking down several three-pointers en route to finally taking the lead away from the Titans with about seven minutes left in the game. From there, it was the Titans who had to claw to stay in the game, and claw they did. Possession by possession, the game seemed to hang in the balance for the remainder of the time on the clock. The straw that broke the Titans back was named Parker Dominguez. The 6-4 junior transfer grabbed three huge offensive rebounds in the final minutes, including off of missed free throws by the Saints, extending possessions for Holy Cross and, obviously, keeping the ball out of IU South Bend's hands.
Despite giving up those offensive rebounds the Titans still had two possessions with a chance to win the game in the final ten seconds. Down one, the Titans had three shots go up in those final ticks, including an offensive rebound and tip by Jordan Burton that seemed to roll around the rim for an eternity before finally falling out. As it fell out, there was a mad scramble for the ball by both teams and after the scramble it was declared IU South Bend's ball with just 1.8 seconds on the clock. The final shot went to senior Steven Heatherly, whose floater between two defenders sailed long as the final buzzer sounded.
Aside from Kader, the Saints got a huge game from Brandon Evans, a 6-7 junior transfer, who finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds. His 18 points included two monster slams, one coming late in the second half that energized the Saints and their home crowd. The Titans were led in the defeat by Jordan Burton with 14 points and 9 rebounds and Steven Heatherly, who finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds. The loss drops IU South Bend to 3-1 (1-1 CCAC) on the year. They are next in action on November 14 as they return home to face off against Purdue North Central at 7:30pm. For those unable to make it, the game will be broadcast LIVE at www.iusbtitans.com.