Defense leads Saint Vincent to win at Grove City

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GROVE CITY, Pa. (Feb. 14) – Behind a strong defensive performance, the Saint Vincent men's basketball team earned a hard-fought 58-45 victory over Grove City in Presidents' Athletic Conference play at the College Arena in Grove City, Pa.

The Bearcats improved to 17-6 overall and 12-2 in the conference, while Grove City dropped to 9-14 overall and 4-10 in the league. Saint Vincent held Grove City to a season-low 45 points.

Both teams got off to a fast start offensively, as the teams traded the first four scores. Junior guard JC Howard connected on a three-point field goal to give SVC an 8-4 lead at the 17:47 mark of the first half. Howard added a layup on the fast break, pushing SVC's advantage to 10-4 shortly thereafter.

After a three-pointer by Grove City cut into the Saint Vincent lead, Sean Kett provided the Bearcats next three points, pushing the lead to 13-9 with 14:13 to play in the first half.

Grove City responded back with six straight points, taking a 15-13 advantage at the 12:05 mark. That's when SVC answered with a run of its own, as Howard's hot shooting continued. Howard drilled a jumper to tie the game before adding a three-pointer to give SVC an 18-15 edge, with 10:36 to play in the opening half of action.

After the Bearcats extended their lead to five points, Grove City scored eight of the next 10 points, regaining the lead at 23-22. A free throw by Bobby Swartwout tied things up before Howard drained another long-range jumper, giving the Bearcats a 26-23 advantage with 4:30 to play in the half.

Brian Geisler tied the score at 26 for Grove City with a three-pointer with 4:17 to play in the half. After both teams went scoreless for the next three and a half minutes, Geisler knocked down another trey to give the home team a 29-26 lead with 37 seconds left in the opening half.

Kett split a pair of free throws to close out the first half scoring. After 20 minutes, the host Wolverines had a 29-27 edge over the Bearcats.

The Bearcats opened the second half on a 14-0 run to gain a 41-29 lead over the Wolverines. The zone defense of the Bearcats stifled Grove City, holding them scoreless for the first 10:01 of the second half.
Grove City finally ended the scoreless drought with a layup and a three pointer, cutting the deficit back to single digits, at 41-34 with 9:12 remaining to play.

Jones answered back with a trey to push the Bearcats lead back to double-digits, at 44-34 with 6:43 to play. After a free throw from Jaylon Bell, Mitch Marmelstein answered back with a three-point field goal, cutting the SVC lead to 45-37.

A steal and dunk by Kett, followed by a Jones three-pointer, strengthened the SVC lead to 50-37 with 4:05 to play. Grove City would never get the deficit back into single digits after that.

Jones nearly matched a career-high, scoring 19 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Howard chipped in 15 points, all of which came in the first half. Kett added nine points and eight rebounds in the win. The Bearcats defense forced Grove City into 17 turnovers and held them to 16 made field goals.

The Bearcats return to action when they host Thiel College at the Robert S. Carey Center on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. One more win would help SVC claim the PAC regular season title and lock up the top seed in the upcoming PAC Tournament.