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Men’s basketball hits century mark in win over American

Getting+his+first+start+of+the+season%2C+Andre+Wolford+responded+with+a+career-high+19+points.
Getting his first start of the season, Andre Wolford responded with a career-high 19 points.

Getting his first start of the season, Andre Wolford responded with a career-high 19 points.

File photo by JD Cavrich

File photo by JD Cavrich

Getting his first start of the season, Andre Wolford responded with a career-high 19 points.

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One game after an impressive team performance at Louisville, the Red Flash men’s basketball team returned to Loretto to successfully defend their home court on Wednesday, Nov. 29, against American.

The Red Flash reached the 100-point mark for the first time this season, defeating the Eagles, 100-89.

Three games after leading scorer Isaiah Blackmon suffered a season-ending right knee injury, it seems as if sophomore Keith Braxton is more than ready to pick up the slack in scoring.

Braxton registered a team-high 20 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for the Red Flash to record his second straight double-double.  He had 25 points and 11 boards in an 84-72 loss at Louisville on Nov. 24.

Braxton was one of six players to score in double figures for Saint Francis (3-3) in the win over American (2-4). Andre Wolford had a red-hot shooting night and piled on a career-high 19 points, including five three-pointers. Jamaal King (17), Deivydas Kuzavas (17), Randall Gaskins Jr. (15) and Mark Flagg (11) were also in double figures.

Saint Francis controlled the game with excellent shooting. The Red Flash shot 60 percent (36-60) from the field and 43.5 percent (10-23) from behind the arc, while American shot 55.9 percent (33-59) from the field and 33.3 percent (8-24) from three-point range.

The Red Flash have been a nightmare on the glass for opponents this season. In its last game, SFU outrebounded Louisville, 35-33. Against American, Saint Francis owned a 33-21 rebound advantage. Braxton led the Red Flash with 12 boards and Kuzavas added 9.

The first portion of the game was back and forth, with the two teams exchanging leads. With about 12 minutes left in the first half, Saint Francis went on a 17-0 run and never looked back.

Not everything ran smoothly, however, for the Red Flash. Both of SFU’s big men (Flagg and Kuzavas) found themselves in foul trouble for much of the night. This forced SFU head coach Rob Krimmel to switch out the two players throughout the game.

“The advantage of having two big men who can score is huge,” Krimmel said. “I also thought Daniel Wallace gave us a huge lift. He only played two minutes, but we’ve talked about the 95 percent, the Billy Donovan principle.

“Five percent of the game is played with the basketball and 95 percent is what you’re doing without (the ball), the screening and rebounding. Daniel Wallace led our scout team this week and for him to be able to come in for two minutes to buy DK and Mark some time for a breather is just huge.”

Saint Francis’ largest lead of the night came with 14:41 left in the second half, when Flagg’s layup turned into a three-point play, giving the Red Flash a 71-48 lead.

The Eagles pulled within 7 points on three occasions in the final 8:00 of the game but the Flash, aided by an 18-of-20 performance at the foul line, held on.

Sa’eed Nelson led American with 24 points and 9 assists and Larry Motuzis added 23.

Saint Francis returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 2, for a game at Stony Brook, before a trip to top-ranked Duke on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

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