It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The Aquinas Saints took that to heart Saturday night.
With less than ten seconds left in the game, Opeyemi Sholesi took an inbounds pass, drove to the lane and hit a jumper with six seconds left before Taylor White took a charge on the defensive end and Rob Deiz hit two free throws to seal a 70-66 home win for the Saints (5-7) over the Madonna Crusaders at the Sturrus Center.
Leading early on, the Saints quickly found themselves with a 12-point first half deficit as the Crusaders took a 34-28 lead into the half.
After the break, Aquinas fought their way back into the game tying the score at 39-39 and took a lead at 52-46 before Madonna tied it up at 55-55 with less than six minutes remaining. Deiz hit a three to put Aquinas ahead again. Up 66-60 shortly after, Aquinas gave up six straight points to Madonna, setting up the Sholesi jumper.
The Saints shot 47.5% from the field and, despite of Deiz’s late game heroics, the team made only 7-of-17 free throws.
Deice led the Saints with 14 points, going 4-of-7 from deep, and adding two rebounds and two assists of the bench. Arsenio Arrington remained valuable to the Saints efforts, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Wednesday night, the Saints end their 5-game homestead when they host 5th-ranked Indiana Tech in a WHAC conference showdown. The game starts at 8 p.m. at the Sturrus Center.