Eric Loudis was looking for an all-out effort, more than anything else Friday night. Schenectady’s head coach got that, and a breakout performance from Clarence Stanford, too.
“The guys worked very, very hard. They showed great energy,” Loudis said after as 74-65 Big 10 win over Catholic Central at the Pat Riley Sports Center. “I just wanted to see some energy.”
The Patriots were active on defense, battled for loose balls and rebounded with tenacity, while Stanford sparked the offense with a season-high 22 points. Three of his teammates also scored in double figures as the Patriots broke out of a recent lull with their third victory in nine games.
Schenectady (6-4, 6-6) was up by as many as 29 points midway through the fourth quarter, 70-41, before the reserves closed it out.
“Overall, we did real good as a team,” said Stanford, a junior guard. “We got out in transition. We moved the ball around and hit shots. Our defense was good. Our energy was great.”
Loudis addressed the energy issue before the game.
“I brought a couple of things up, and that was one of them. I told the guys if No. 11 was here, the past few games would have made him mad. He’s the kind of guy who always played with a lot of energy,” Loudis said of Eddie Stanley, a promising Patriot who in the summer of 2011 was shot and killed at a house party. “If he was here right now, he would be pleased.”
Schenectady took charge in the third quarter, when it dominated every facet of the game and turned a 33-29 lead into a 54-39 advantage. Stanford delivered seven points in the Patriots’ 21-10 run, Randall Symes and Cody Shafer both netted six, and the Crusaders were held without a field goal until Raiquan Harris sank a three with 3:35 to go.
“Our defense in the third quarter was phenomenal,” said Loudis. “It was one and done.”
Symes had two blocked shots in the big quarter and finished it off with a slam dunk, while earlier in the period, Stanford nailed the last of his five three-point baskets to go with a putback and a runner. The five threes were the most by a Schenectady player since Anthony Richardson hit that many in a sectional loss to Shenendehowa at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.
“They were doubling down on Darius, and guys were kicking it to me,” said Stanford, who was 5-for-11 from three-point territory. “I was hitting my shots.”
“We all knew he could do it,” said Shafer, a senior guard who had four of the Pats’ 19 assists. “He hit ‘em.”
Stanford’s previous high was 14 points in a 69-51 win over Albany, and twice he netted 13. Stanford notched 15 first-half points, with a pair of threes in each of the first two quarters. He had never before made more than two three-pointers in a game.
“He didn’t play high school ball before this year. He’s a work in progress,” said Loudis. “This is a big confidence boost for him.”
Symes had a career-high 16 points with seven rebounds, three steals, three assists and three blocks, putting up all of his numbers after entering late in the second quarter.
“[Keishaun] Wheelings got into foul trouble. Symes came in and played awesome. He gave us a good spark,” Loudis said of the 6-foot-4 junior forward.
“Randall definitely stepped it up tonight,” said Stanford.
Macon had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Shafer finished with a career-high 10 points in Schenectady’s second win over the Crusaders this season and ninth in a row overall. The Patriots also beat Catholic Central, 73-51, as part of their 3-0 start.
Catholic Central (5-6, 6-7) played most of the second half without Big 10 scoring leader Anthony Mack. The star 6-foot-5 freshman missed the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second after a collision left him with a cut to the back of his head, but he returned patched up and played out the half. He left early in the third quarter, and was soon escorted by his father, Crusaders’ head coach Chuck Mack, to Albany Medical Center to check on a possible concussion.
“If your best player goes out, kids are going to worry about him. Our kids were concerned,” said Crusaders assistant coach Jahmel Grant-Samuels. “It wasn’t a letdown [in the third quarter] so much as it was concern. It took us a while to kind of regroup.”
Harris scored 11 of his 18 points after Schenectady had opened up its 70-41 lead to go with five assists and four steals, and Mack scored 15 points.
Mack’s drive tied the game at 11-11, and shortly after his collision with Johnson Gooden-Prunty, Stanford gave the Pats the lead for good with a three-point hoop.
Ware 2-1-5, Harris 5-4-18, Brooks 4-2-12, Tedder 3-2-11, Bishop 2-0-4, Mack 7-0-15. Totals: 23-9-65.
Garlic 1-0-2, Garr 1-1-3, Gooden-Prunty 1-0-2, Hamlin 0-1-1, Macon 5-2-12, Moses 1-2-4, Shafer 4-2-10, Stanford 8-1-22, Symes 6-4-16, Wheelings 1-0-2. Totals: 28-13-74.
Catholic Central 11 18 10 26 — 65
Schenectady 16 17 21 20 — 74
Three-point goals: Harris 4, Brooks 2, Tedder 3, Mack, Stanford 5.