Rebels defense steps up in win over Saint Charles

Published 11:24 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ADAMS — When their offense cooled off, the Rebels let their defense do the talking in a 59-51 win over Saint Charles Tuesday.

After leading 54-37 late in the game, Southland (3-4 overall) scored just two points over the next four minutes as Saint Charles pulled to within 56-49.

The Saints (1-4 overall) made their comeback behind the hot shooting of Joseph Montgomery, who hit six of his team’s eight threes, on his way to 20 points.

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“They live and die on that three-pointer,” Southland head coach Jon Thalberg said. “I told the guys before the game if we let them stay within 12 or 14 points of us they can get hot and that’s what they did. But we kept playing hard and we’ll take the win.”

After Saint Charles crept closer, the Rebels’ defense stepped up and shut them down for the last two minutes of the game. Offensively, the Rebels got a big boost from Chris May, who scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, and came up with three assists and three steals.

May, a senior guard, is coming back from a broken hand he suffered during the football season.

“It’s still bothering me a little bit, but I’m just playing through it. Hopefully it’s better after the break,” May said. “When we’re healthy, we have a lot of athleticism and we should start putting up a lot more wins down the stretch.”

Southland held a 36-31 rebounding advantage on the night, but it allowed the Saints to grab six offensive rebounds in the first half.

“After a tough start, we really stressed to keep them to one shot and not allow offensive rebounds,” Thalberg said. “The second half was much better.”

Southland led just 20-17 with five minutes left in the first half, but they responded with a 10-0 run that saw Henry Mullenbach and Josh Jax score on put-backs.

Mullenbach had five steals for Southland, which has won three in a row, Alan May had five assists and four rebounds, and freshman Nick Schmitz scored nine points.

Saint Charles 23 28 — 51

Southland 36 23 — 59

Southland scoring: Chris May, 18; Nick Schmitz, 9; Clint Bergene, 6; Alan May, 4; Zack Heimer, 4; Mike Goergen, 4; Josh Jax, 4; Henry Mullenbach, 4; Mitch Nagele, 2; free throws: 50 percent (7-for-14); rebounds: 36 (Mullenbach, 6; Bergene, 6); turnovers: 24