Benet leans on its big men

Let's just say Benet's perimeter shooting was ... not too great Friday night.

But that's why it helps to have a couple 6-foot-8 guys to lean on inside.

Colin Crothers and Kendrick Tchoua combined for 20 of their 22 points in the second half as the Redwings held off Nazareth in a 53-44 East Suburban Catholic Conference win in Lisle.

After St. Viator's loss to Notre Dame, Benet (14-3, 4-0) is one of two remaining unbeatens in the ESCC. Marian Catholic (16-1, 5-0) edged St. Patrick 46-42 on Friday.

"At halftime we talked about being more aggressive," said Crothers, who also pulled down 8 rebounds. "The first half we were being passive, just passing around the perimeter. We just needed to get the ball inside a little more and be more aggressive, whether it was driving or passing or whatever we needed to do."

Nazareth (4-15, 0-3) led for much of the first half, frustrating the Redwings with its zone defense - and with junior Tagen Pearson scoring 11 of his game-high 21 points. Benet shot 4 of 16 from the perimeter in the first half and fell behind by as many as 6 points before narrowing the halftime gap to 20-19.

Crothers and Tchoua helped the Redwings claim the lead for good from the post in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Nazareth shrank an 8-point margin to 3 in the fourth quarter, but Crothers scored 8 points and Ben Hickey came off the bench to score 7 of his 12, including 4 straight free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

"I think we were just feeling them out in the first half," Hickey said. "We had a slow start for sure. Against that zone we were just kind of floating around. But in the second half we decided to attack it."

Benet now has a full week to prepare for a busy end of the month, starting with four games in three days at the Wheaton Warrenville South MLK tournament next week.

"We have so much work to do," said Redwings coach Gene Heidkamp. "It's really a work in progress. Now is the time where we need to get better and take advantage of practice opportunities."

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