LIBERAL, Kan – For the first time since 2015, the Seward County Saints basketball team is .500 in conference play, after defeating Cowley Tigers 80-49 inside the Greenhouse. Four Saints scored in double-figures as the Saints steamrolled the Tigers.
It didn't start off promising for the Saints (7-3, 3-3) , as they went down 7-2 in the first two and a half minutes. However, a Ke'Sean Davis free-throw jumpstarted a 7-0 run, capped off with an Isiah Small put back, to take a 9-7 lead. The Tigers would respond on their next possession to tie it at nine, but the Saints would hold Cowley scoreless for the next five minutes, while they went on a 9-0 run just before the media timeout.
Seward led 20-14 at the media timeout, shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, while holding the Tigers to just 27.8 percent. Mohamed Selmi was responsible for half the Saints points, scoring 10 of his 14 points within the first 11 minutes of the game.
Over the next five minutes, the Saints went on an 8-0 run, to push their lead to 14 before Cowley would hit a free throw to end it. With under two minutes to play, Small hit a three-pointer to push the lead to 19 points. The Tigers held a plus-three advantage over the final two minutes, but the Saints still led, 38-22.
The Saints went 16 of 33 (48.5%) from the field in the first half, but made on 2 of 8 (25.0%) from behind the arc. Seward was just 11 rebounds shy of their average at halftime, outrebounding the Tigers 30-16.
Seward started where they left off, going on a 6-0 run to start the second half. Up 17 points with 13:45 to play, a Cowley foul would put the Saints into the bonus for the remainder of the game, where Anthony Thomas drained both free throws.
The Tigers managed to cut the lead to 15 points with 12:04 to go after a pair of free throws, but two Small free throws, followed by a Davis dunk pushed the lead back to 19, which is as close as Cowley could get the remainder of game. Over the final nine minutes, Seward went on a 22-9 run, beating the Tigers by 31 points.
The Saints could not miss all day, shooting 52.7 percent from the field. Their strategy to feed the paint showed, as they outscored the Tigers in the pain, 34-14, their most points in the paint all season. Seward held the Tigers to only 24.1 percent from the field, drastically lower than their 40 percent season average.
Small (19 pts), Davis (15 pts), Selmi (14 pts) and Thomas (12 pts) all reached double-figures, while Small added 11 rebound to record his second career double-double.
The Saints will travel to Coffeyville on Saturday for a matchup against the Red Ravens. The game will be streamed on Coffeyville's YouTube channel and can be heard on 107.5 KSCB with Brock Kappelmann (pxp) on the call.