Three days removed from their 79-77 upset victory over King College that earned head coach Lee Clark his 200th win as the Cavaliers’ coach, the Cavs took on the visiting Bob Jones University Bruins.
The Cavs blew out the Bruins 90-50 in their last non-conference tune-up before Mid-South Conference play started on Nov. 9.
The Bruins scored first as junior Evan Brondyke hit a jumpshot to take an early two point lead. The Cavs answered and never looked back as junior Darius Smith hit a free throw and sophomore Tyler Maggard had a steal which lead to a sophomore Javon Moore basket and gave the Cavs a 3-2 lead.
The Cavs jumped out to an 11-5 lead with 15:35 left in the first half, which was highlighted by two three-pointers by Maggard.
The closest the Bruins came to tying the game was when freshman Ray Holden Jr hit two free throws to pull within five points of the Cavs with 12:47 left in the first half.
After the Bruins cut the Cavs’ lead to five, the Cavs turned up the heat as freshman Matt Day hit a three-pointer with 10:24 left in first half to take a 27-14 advantage over the Bruins.
A four-point swing by senior Jermaine Wright, who missed the Cavs’ first three games due to a foot injury, gave the Cavs a 35-16 lead with 7:35 left in the half.
After hitting two three-pointers earlier in the game, Maggard hit his third with 2:31 left in the first half, and went on to make two more for a nine-point swing for the Cavs.
Maggard’s three three-pointers in a row brought the fans to their feet as the Cavs built their largest lead of the half with a 47-22 lead with 1:53 until halftime.
“He’s probably our best three-pointer shooter,” Clark said. “Tonight he was knocking them down.”
With 6.3 seconds until halftime, Smith went coast-to-coast weaving through defenders to try to get a last shot in.
Smith’s lay up was no good, but a heads-up play by Day to get the putback gave the Cavs a 49-27 lead going into halftime.
In the best half of Maggard’s short collegiate career, he scored 17 points on five of six shooting behind the three point line.
“I just got open,” Maggard said. “[In] the first couple of games, my shots weren’t falling, but tonight they did.”
Moore contributed 11 points in the half, while Day scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in the half.
The Cavs opened the second half on a 14-0 run which was highlighted by probably the best play of the game: Moore stole the ball to a half-court bounce pass to Day, who was fouled hard on the play. Day got the basket and made the free throw to give the Cavs a 61-27 lead over the Bruins with 17:14 left in the game.
Maggard’s only basket in the second half came at 16:17 to give the Cavs a 65-29 lead.
The Cavs began to run away with game and the fans rose to their feet with 15:23 on the clock as the seven-foot freshman Pape Mor Sall made two consecutive free throws, and seconds later scored his first goal of the game.
Mor Sall has grown to be a fan favorite in the Prior Center and finished with six points and four blocks.
The Cavs used two free throws by freshman Charles George at the end of the game to take a 90-50 blowout win over the Bruins.
With only one basket in the second half, Maggard would lead the Cavs with a game high 19 points.
Maggard said he hopes to use this game as a confidence booster for the rest of the season
“Hopefully tonight means I’m going to be hitting more of those shots,” he said.
Moore finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals for the Cavs.
The only other scorer in double-figures for the Cavs was Day, who contributed 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
In his first game back for the Cavs, Wright scored nine points.
“We’re just glad to get him on the floor,” Clark said. “It’s good for our leadership purposes and his athleticism.”
The most unselfish player on the court for the Cavs had to be Smith, who finished with only two points, but collected six assists and directed traffic all night.
Clark said he was really pleased with his point guard’s play.
“Young man, you did a great job running the show,” Clark said to Smith. “That’s what he has to do for us and things will take care of themselves.”
Every Cav who stepped on the court scored in the game.
“We know now how everybody plays,” Moore said. “Our chemistry is good and, hopefully, we will be successful because of that.”
The Cavs played unselfishly all night long, something Clark said he was pleased with that.
“We’re better when we do that,” Clark said. “We did at King and obviously we did that tonight.”
Scoring 13 points off the bench for the Bruins was freshman Darnel Antoine.
The victory improved the Cavs to 3-1 on the season and the loss drops the Bruins to 0-5.
The hardest part of the Cavs’ schedule is coming up as they will play their next five games on the road, including three tough conference matchups.
“We need a lot of momentum going forward, and tonight we got that,” Maggard said.