At the end of it all — after Chris Lykes and Myles Dread had combined for 50 points for No. 3 Gonzaga and Prentiss Hubb’s tip-in with 19 seconds left in regulation had sent the Gonzaga DC Classic championship game to overtime — the powerful paint presence of Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic was just too much.
“You just got to play strong, box out every play,” said Dread, a sophomore forward who scored 16 points in the Eagles’ 77-72 loss. “We got beat a couple times, and that’s what killed us. Nothing more I can say.”
On two occasions in overtime, 6-foot-7 Roman Catholic forwards Lamar Stephens and Paul Newman dominated the offensive glass for three consecutive rebounds. One trip ended in a pair of made free throws and the other in a putback lay-up, the sequence a microcosm of Gonzaga’s struggles on a night it was outrebounded 47 -21.
“We had to do a better job of putting bodies on people,” Coach Steve Turner said, “and when we did, that’s what got us back in the game.”
The Eagles didn’t lead until Dread made a jumper with 5:14 remaining. Playing from behind much of the night, they frequently looked to Lykes. At 5-foot-8, Lykes was the shortest player on the floor, but the junior regularly came up big for Gonzaga (5-1).
With his team trailing 66-61 and a minute left in regulation, Lykes drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc to cut the deficit to two. Hubb’s tip-in forced overtime. When Gonzaga trailed by five in overtime with just under a minute left, Lykes drove past a defender, drew contact and completed a three-point play.
“That’s how the game developed,” said Lykes. “My teammates are going to find me. Myles does a great job of finding me when I’m hot.”
But it wasn’t enough to stop Roman Catholic (4-0), ranked near the top of a host of national polls.
Stephens, a Penn State commit, scored 31 points, and senior guard Tony Carr used his 6-foot-4 frame to finish with 15.
“You want to play these type of games early,” Turner said. “It gives you the best opportunity to play better and grow from it. We play in the best league in the country, so seeing those teams aren’t new to us, but it allows us to prepare for those guys, when the ultimate goal is to win a WCAC.”