Shawnee Community College sophomore guard Sayveon McEwen led a balanced attack with 16 points, and the Saints defense shut down the Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm for a 68-50 win Saturday in a Great Rivers Athletic Conference men’s basketball game.
Looking to start the second half of its season on the right track, SWIC (6-8) trailed the Saints just 31-30 at halftime. But when Shawnee coach John Sparks switched from a man defense to a zone to start the second period, the Blue Storm went cold.
Making just 16 of 44 shots for the game, SWIC managed only 12 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half as Shawnee broke the game open.
“They played man-to-man on us the first half and it was 31-30, Then they go zone on us, and we just didn’t execute,” Blue Storm coach Jay Harrington said. “I spent seven hours watching film, and we had a perfect game plan drawn up today. But the players just didn’t do what we needed them to do.
“It was an embarrassing situation out here today, and until the players learn to do what we want them to to, it will continue to be embarrassing.”
With freshman Luke Davis scoring 11 of his 14 points in the first half, SWIC held its own against the athletic Saints. Freshman Jaalam Hill connected on a pair of short-range jumpers, and Asante Patterson added five points on a 3-point basket and a pair of free throws for the Blue Storm. But when Saints sophomore Michael Miller hit a 3-point shot with seconds left in the half, Shawnee had the lead for good.
McEwen then combined with Satchel McDonald to score nine of the first 11 points to start the second half to give Shawnee a 40-32 advantage and complete control of the game.
In the women’s game
SWIC 51, Shawneee 50
Sophomore Madisyn Sheraka and freshman Alicia Book combined for five 3-point goals in the second half to spark a Blue Storm comeback as SWIC got back to .500 with a win over the Saints.
Making just 1 of its first 19 shots from the field, SWIC (5-5) trailed 17-2 after the first quarter. But getting a team-high 14 points from Zaria Valle, the Blue Storm chipped away the rest of the way, finally taking its first lead of the game early the fourth quarter on a 3-point basket by Danielle Hawthorne.
“It wasn’t pretty, especially the 1-for-19 start to the game. But we found a way to get back into it. I’m just glad we’re back at .500,” Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said. “The difference in the second half is that we worked the ball down low and got good shots.”