No one thought this would be an easy one for the St. John's Cadets. But they were a battle tested WCAC school who had been nationally ranked for much of the 2013-14 season. But Theodore Roosevelt and coach Rob Nickens weren't buying in. For years he's thought his school could run with anyone in the area.
On Sunday night at Bender Arena on the American University campus he was certainly right as his DCIAA school upended the WCAC regular season champion Cadets. They did it with full court pressure, and a run and gun tempo, a tempo that St. John's is very accustomed to. The first quarter was very even, until St. Johns converted two late Roosevelt turnovers into transition points to take a four point lead into the second quarter.
But the turning point in the game was the second quarter when Roosevelt blew it open, extending the lead to 15 at one point as they ran up and down the court, scoring bucket after bucket and getting the crowd on their feet. St. John's would again close the quarter strong and the DCIAA school's lead would be cut to seven just before intermission.
Roosevelt would hold onto to that lead for the remainder of the game but St. John's would fight back, cutting it to a one possession game a handful of times in the fourth quarter, but never tied it up or took the lead. Roosevelt seniors Jibreel Faulkner and Jhonnie Shuler were terrific as the pair went for 41 points on 14-19 shooting. Roosevelt shot 65.2% from the field, 86.4% from the line, and 71.4% from beyond the arc. They put together arguably their best performance of the year, against their toughest opponent of their year, in perhaps their biggest game of the year.
Up next for Roosevelt is a showdown at the Verizon center against Maret on Thursday evening -- for all the marbles.