Evan Conti and the Holy Cross Knights have something to prove as their season begins.
On Friday night, the #10 ranked team from Flushing, NY went into the house of the Cardinal Hayes Cardinals and put on a clinic. The Knights would stave off the Cards advances on their way to an 81-56 win with Conti dropping a game high 21 points.
6’4″ junior, Fadil Yacoubou (10 points) and 6’2″ senior, Davon Sylvester (15 points) swished a three-ball early as the Cardinals were the first to get the scoreboard to move. The Knights responded as Conti and 6’1″ junior, Marquise Moore (17 points) were accurate from the perimeter. Treys from 5’8″ junior, Anthony Libroia (14 points with four of the Knights eight 3-pointers) would extend Holy Cross’s lead to 18-12 going into the second quarter.
The Cardinals had continuous problems competing with Marcus Hopper (12 points). The 6’9″ senior center dominated in the paint which afforded the Knights second shot opportunities while limiting Cardinal Hayes’s shot on the defensive end. With 5:38, Libroia drain another trey capping off a 5-0 run as the Holy Cross advantage grew to 11 points.
The Cards made a push as a bucket by 5’11” senior, Justin Del Rosario (10 points) and a dunk by 6’9″ junior, Amadou Sidibe (19 points) reduced their deficit to 23-16 with 4:17 left in the half.
Cross would regroup and continue to run their sets and in the final moments of the half, aggressive play by Conti and a trey by 5’11” junior Ed Roscigno (6 points) pushed the Knights lead to 19 as the first half came to a close.
In the third quarter, the Cardinals pressured the Knights guards earlier as they came over half court and momentarily disrupted Holy Cross. A shot clock violation sparked the crowd and the Cards responded. Strong post-up moves by Sidibe began to chip away at the Knights lead and a hook shot by the forward pulled Cardinal Hayes to within 9 points.
Conti would again carry the offense for Holy Cross and with 4:08 remaining in the third increased the point spread back to 21 points.
Down 60-41 to begin the final quarter, Cardinal Hayes looked to make a run at Knights who quite possibly may be resting on their lead. Back-to-back trey balls by Yacoubou and Sylvester and a put back by Sidibe and with a little over 7 minutes left to play, the hole was only 12 points deep.
Each time, the Cardinals made a move, the Knights seemed to counter. With 3:35 remaining, 5’8″ senior guard, Khamall Dunkley (9 points) would net a three from the corner which ballooned the Knights lead to 75-51 after a 7-0 run. While the lead ballooned it conversely deflated the Cards, who could do nothing as the Knights spread the floor and ran the clock out with their subs.