The four winners from Friday’s Paradise Jam action took the court at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Elridge Blake Sports and Fitness Center with two spots in Monday’s championship game on the line, according to Basketball Travelers, which organizers the annual Paradise Jam event with sponsorship for the V.I. government’s Dept. of Tourism.
The Drake Bulldogs took on the Wyoming Cowboys followed by the Boston College Eagles facing off with the Tarleton State Texans.
The Bulldogs defeated the Cowboys 61 to 56, while the Texans routed the Eagles 70 to 54.
“All the momentum in the second half felt like it was on Wyoming’s side and our guys just hung in there, they dug in a little bit, homed down…” said Darian DeVries, Bulldogs head coach. “They got them all the way down to two and we were just able to make some plays and get some big stops when we needed them. I thought a bunch of different guys made some huge plays.”
Bulldogs guard Garrett Sturtz said, “I think we’re just finally hitting our stride, coming back from injuries and I think the guys are feeling almost 100 percent, so it’s just really nice to see the team come together and play a full 40 minutes.”
Guard/forward with the Bulldogs, Tucker DeVries showed respect to the Cowboys for the competitive game, but said teammates’ persistence led to the victory. “Wyoming is a great team. We knew they were going to hit us with the run in the second half; we would have preferred it not to be that big and that early, but that’s part of our group, handling adversity,” he said. “We just stuck with it the whole second half and we were able to make enough plays down the stretch again, and for the second day in a row we came out with a win.”
Lue Williams, Player of the Year and guard with the Tarleton State Texans, spoke of the team’s head coach, Billy Gillispie’s defensive strategy that he demands from the team. “It starts with practice, working hard every day, we go hard on defense everyday. He expects that out of us and we give it to him,” Mr. Williams said.
Monday will feature a full four-game slate of games beginning at 2:00 p.m. AST and ending at 9:00 p.m. AST. The schedule is as follows:
- 7th Place Game: George Mason vs. Buffalo – 2 p.m. AST
- 4th Place Game: Belmont vs. Howard – 4:15 p.m. AST
- 3rd Place Game: Boston College vs. Wyoming – 6:45 p.m. AST
- Championship Game: Tarleton State vs. Drake – 9 p.m. AST
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