“It seems like, since I’ve had this job, our second quarters aren’t that good, and I just can’t figure out why,” Steele said. “It’s like we play our best games when we’re 10 points down. We have no fear in our eyes, we take it to the rim, knock down open shots and play aggressive defense.”
That proved to be just the case Friday as Peru worked its lead to double digits over much of the final 16 minutes, forcing the Braves to play catch-up throughout the second half.
Mac got to within seven on a Wyatt Hughes hoop-and-harm that made it 61-54 with 1:23 showing but Peru was able to pull away at the free-throw line down the stretch, knocking down 16 of 24 attempts over the final eight minutes and keeping Mac at a safe distance.
“We weathered their runs a little better than the last time we played,” Metcalfe said. “We were able to answer the shots they hit and, believe it or not, we took care of the ball better.”
“They handled our pressure a lot better than they did last time, and they were knocking down more shots.”
Peru committed just 13 turnovers over the final three quarters following the rough start. The Tigers placed four scorers in double figures. Sophomore Tyler Murphy led his squad with 18 points. Seth Adelsperger and Eddie Childers each had 14, and Austin Finicle chipped in 10. Adelsperger had a monster night on the glass, pulling down 22 rebounds.
“When we’ve got four or five guys scoring like that, it makes us tough to guard,” Metcalfe said. “It was nice to see that distribution.”
Hughes led Mac with 17 points. K.J. Walton had 12 points and 12 boards.