Cardinals hold off Terrapins to win ‘Bahamas Championship’

The University of Louisville Cardinals held off the University of Maryland Terrapins 63-55 to claim the inaugural Baha Mar Hoops “Bahamas Championship” on Saturday inside the convention center at the Baha Mar Resort.

Saturday capped off a busy week of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men and women’s basketball competition at that venue.

The win improves the Cardinals to an early season win/loss record of 5-1 and enabled them to cart off their 31st regular season tournament championship. The Terrapins dropped to 5-2.

Powering the Cardinals to victory with a double-double was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), center Malik Williams. He scored a team-high 13 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds. The big man was active on defense, coming away with a game-high four steals and one block in just over half an hour on the floor.

At the 13:38 mark in the second half, the Cardinals led 42-34. The Terrapins quickly erased that deficit with a 13-0 scoring run to take a 47-42 lead with 7:14 left in the game, climaxing the run on a Eric Ayla layup.

It was not a big enough lead as the Cardinals took the lead for good when they turned defense into offense. Jarrod West made three-pointer to give them a 52-49 lead with 3:47 left in the game. That capped off seven straight points for him. West finished the game with nine points.

That three-point lead quickly became a seven-point lead for the Cardinals, 60-53, with 42 seconds left in the game. The Terrapins had no answer for the Cardinals the rest of the way.

Donta Scott paced the Terrapins with a game-high 14 points.

The Cardinals quickly jumped out to a 5-1 lead to start the game. However, a 10-0 run gave the Terrapins a 10-5 lead with 12:56 remaining in the first half. The half ended with the Cardinals up 32-27.

It was a close contest all the way with neither team able to take a double-digit lead. Louisville finished with 16 second chance points compared to the Terrapins’ three second chance points. The Cardinals were able to finish with 51 rebounds including a whopping 17 on the offensive glass. The Terrapins had 25 total rebounds.

With the win on Saturday, the Cardinals snapped a two-game losing streak against the Terrapins. They are now 6-2 in the head-to-head battle between the two teams.

The all-tournament team included Williams, his teammate Dre Davis, Ayala, Mississippi State Bulldogs Tolu Smith and University of Richmond Spiders Tyler Burton.

The Bulldogs took down the Spiders 82-71 to finish third.

Also wrapping up their play on Saturday were the collegiate women. They played in the ‘Pink Flamingo Championship’. Six teams were in action to close that competition out.

Up first, were the number two team in the NCAA, the Lady Terrapins going up against the number seven ranked team in the country, the Stanford University Cardinal.

Behind Hannah Jump’s seven three-pointers, the Cardinal dominated the Lady Terrapins 86-67. Her teammate Hayley Jones chipped in with 15 points and 13 boards.

The win was their second over a top-five ranked team in two days. They took down the number four team, the Indiana University Hoosiers, 69-66, on Thursday.

It was a dominant second quarter for the Cardinal as they outscored the Lady Terrapins 24-9. In that quarter, the Lady Terrapins got to within five points with 8:32 left with the Cardinal leading 22-17. That five-point lead quickly turned to a 10-point lead and with 42 seconds left in the game the lead went to 20 points as the Cardinal led 44-24.

At the half, the Cardinal led 46-24. The Lady Terrapins never cut the lead down to single digit the rest of the game as the Cardinal wrapped up the showcase 2-1.

The Lady Terrapins were led by Ashley Owusu as she finished with a game-high 29 points.

It was a convincing victory for the number five ranked team, the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, as they won 62-34 over the Washington Cougars.

They held the Cougars to 25.5 percent shooting throughout the night while shooting 36.1 percent themselves. They outrebounded the Cougars 49-36.

Diamond Johnson led all scorers with a season-high 24 points in the victory.

The Wolfpack led 11-5 after the first quarter before taking a 30-16 lead at the end of the first half. A 32-18 advantage in the second half helped the Wolfpack seal the victory.

Tara Wallack led the Cougars with seven points.

The final game of Baha Mar Hoops was a close one between the Hoosiers and the University of Miami Hurricanes. In the end, the Hoosiers held on for a 53-51 victory.

After being down by 15 points in the second quarter, the Hurricanes chipped away at that lead and managed to get the lead down to six points at the half. The Hoosiers led 32-26 at that point.

The game looked over with 3:45 left in the game with the Hoosiers up 52-42. A quick 9-0 run by the Hurricanes got them to within one point, 52-51, with 43 seconds left in the game. The Hoosiers split a pair of free throws with seven seconds left in the game to go up 53-51. The Hurricanes had the final possession but could not convert a three-point shot.

Mackenzie Holmes was one of four Hoosiers to finish in double-digits scoring. She led them with 14 points.

Kelsey Marshall led the way for the Hurricanes with a game-high 20 points.

On Wednesday night, the University of Toledo Rockets lifted the inaugural ‘Nassau Championship’ trophy when they defeated the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers, 79-70.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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