Updated Sat, Jan 11, 2014 4:05 pm
The Bulldogs travelled to a high-pressure environment in Akron to take on the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish. Competing in the LeBron James Arena was a new and challenging experience for the team, who was defeated 67-57.
The Bulldogs started strong with a 7-4 lead within the first few minutes of the game. However, the Fighting Irish were able to match almost every point turning this into a game of defense rather than offense.
The game began with high intensity with this being one of the biggest matchups for Athens this season. St. Vincent-St. Mary currently has the number one player for his year in the entire state of Ohio in VJ King. King finished with 10 points on the night. King, along with Jalen Hudson’s 18 points and Henry Baddley’s 16 points, made this a high-scoring game for the Fighting Irish.
Athens had their own key players in the game, including Joe Burrow with 15 points and 10 rebounds and freshman Griffin Lutz with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Junior Adam Luehrman also contributed to the game defensively. After a hit to the face resulted in a bloody nose in the third quarter, Luehrman came back into the game more than ready to help his team. He finished with over 5 rebounds and an impressive block in the second quarter.
Both teams pushed their defensive game to the limit with rebounds, blocks, steals, fouls and forced turnovers. Both teams finished with 35 rebounds and almost 10 turnovers each. The Athens Bulldogs finished with 15 fouls while the Fighting Irish topped off at 12.
This game of defense had its offense highlights including several steals resulting in game-changing dunks and layups. With the Bulldogs only trailing by two with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter, the ten-point difference was a result of several free throws by the Fighting Irish and few big power plays.
While the Bulldogs put up a good fight, the physicality and height of the Fighting Irish were just too much.
The Bulldogs fall to 8-3 and 4-0 in conference play, while the Fighting Irish move to 5-6.
This game began a streak of five-straight away games for the Bulldogs, who travel to Chesapeake on Saturday, Jan. 11, and then to Jackson on Monday, Jan. 13.