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U-D Jesuit clamps down on Ypsilanti, wins 62-47, to advance to semifinals

By: Tom Markowski, March 22, 2016, 9:12 pm



Detroit – So much is made of Mr. Basketball winner Cassius Winston and rightfully so. There’s no question he’s the state’s best player but what get lost in all of the hype is his teammates.

U-D Jesuit is more than just Cassius Winston. The Cubs showed once again on Tuesday, not only do they have the best player, they are the best team.

U-D has been ranked No. 1 all season.

Winston had 26 points and Elijah Collins added 18 as U-D (26-0) wore down Ypsilanti and slipped out of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall with a 62-47 victory in a Class A quarterfinal.

The Cubs will play No. 2-ranked Macomb Dakota (26-0) on Friday in a 1 p.m. semifinal at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

It’s U-D’s third consecutive appearance in the semifinals.

Winston was 10-of-18 from the field and his last basket gave the Cubs a 56-45 lead and ended a 12-7 run by the Grizzlies.

Corey Allen had 26 points to lead Ypsilanti (22-3). The Grizzlies hung with the Cubs for 11 minutes before the bottom fell out. A Michael Bruce (12 points) basket cut U-D’s lead to 17-16 with 5:15 left in the second and then Ypsilanti went scoreless for eight minutes.

“It awhile,” Winston said. “They’re pretty aggressive. That eight minutes is a testament on how we play defense. When we sit down and play defense, and get stop after stop, that’s what makes us so good.”

Greg Eboigbodin’s basket gave U-D a 33-16 lead to open the third quarter and Allen’s basket ended Ypsilanti’s eight-minute goose egg.

“We probably did hit a wall,” Ypsilanti coach Steve Brooks said. “We probably had some combination we shouldn’t have had. We went with a bigger lineup.

“And Cassius, you can’t speed him up. He’s always under control. And (Collins) hit some threes (4) and those were some back-breaking threes.

“Corey couldn’t do it by himself. We needed guys to step up. We shot underhand finger rolls instead of taking it strong to the basket.”

Allen, who signed with Detroit Mercy, was 9-of-19 from the field and had 13 in the fourth quarter.

U-D coach Pat Donnelly had Matt Shearer, a 6-3 senior, defend Allen, and he did a credible job under the circumstances. Allen was contained for three quarters and when he did get his 13 in the fourth the game was all but decided.

“He’s big and strong,” Shearer said of Allen. “Physically, I had to get in his face. We slowed him down in the first half. All in all, he’s one of the best players I’ve guarded. (Brailen) Neely of (Detroit) Western is quicker. Corey is an all-around player. Definitely one of the best.”

Allen, a 6-2 guard, was a Mr. Basketball finalist.

His future coach, Ray McCallum, was in the crowd as was Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Izzo was here checking out his future player, Winston.

Brooks really hit on the difference between these teams. For the most part, Winston and Allen cancelled each other out. Its Winston’s supporting cast, which was the difference.

In addition to Shearer and Collins, Eboigbodin had eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Eboigbodin and fellow junior, Ike Eke, are 6-9 juniors and although neither one is much of a scoring threat they clog up the middle and make it difficult for teams to drive to the basket.

“One of the things Cassius does so well,” Donnelly said. “Is when he penetrates the defense has to make a decision. Do I want to defend my man or do I want to leave him and then he’s open for a dunk.”