Big third quarter from Dozier leads U-D Jesuit past Cass Tech, 65-53
Detroit – In the final game before it begins its title defense in Class A, Detroit U-D Jesuit found itself trailing throughout a large portion of the first half in the Operation Friendship Championship Game against Detroit Cass Tech.
But with the help of its defensive pressure and sophomore point guard Julian Dozier, the Cubs turned a 31-30 halftime deficit into a 50-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter as U-D would cruise to a 65-53 win.
U-D head coach Pat Donnelly said that he feels his team is at its best when its defense helps lead to offensive success, which was the case in Thursday night’s win.
“We’re not a very pretty offensive team,” he said. “We have to be a great defensive team and a team that limits teams to one shot, a team that can get some turnovers, get some rebounds and quick outlets and get out in transition. One thing that I like about this team offensively is that you don’t have one guy that you can key on. Any guy can go off at any time.”
With his team trailing by one coming out of halftime, Dozier caught fire from 3-point range to start the third quarter, knocking down all four of his 3-point attempts in the first four minutes of the third and after two free throws from U-D’s sophomore point guard, the Cubs held a comfortable 44-34 lead just past the midway point of the third quarter.
“I was feeling it in warmups,” said Dozier, who scored each of the first 14 points for the Cubs to start the second half. “In the third quarter, I just came out and my teammates were finding me and I was knocking down shots,”
Cass Tech (16-4) would chip away at the U-D (16-3) lead with a Leonard Silas to cut the deficit back down to eight points, but the Cubs would push their lead back to double digits to end the third quarter after a Daniel Friday basket to make it 50-38.
Donnelly credited Dozier’s strong start to the third quarter and his team’s defense as the Cubs pulled away in the second half.
“That separated the game and they (Cass Tech) never really got back in the swing of things there,” he said. “That, combined with our defense – I thought our defense was a heck of a lot better in the last three quarters. In the first quarter, we gave up 20 points, I thought we were pretty lackadaisical, we gave up four threes and a couple free throws and we only gave up seven in the third quarter and I thought that made a huge difference.”
In the first quarter, Cass Tech would use strong 3-point shooting of its own, including a pair of triples from Matt Richmond to jump out to an early lead as the Technicians led 2015 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cubs would use an 11-2 run, highlights by six points from Greg Eboigbodin, to start the second quarter to take a 26-22, but Cass Tech would score seven of the final nine points of the first half to take a narrow one-point lead into halftime.
Dozier scored 22 points to lead the way for U-D, while Eboigbodin talled 17 points and 15 rebounds as well in the win.