Blazers Win First Ever Rotary Classic Championship over St. Vincent, 73-65
FREDERICK, Md.—The Hood College men's basketball team (7-4) defeated St. Vincent (8-4) to win the first ever Rotary Club of Frederick Holiday Classic at BB&T Arena Sunday afternoon.
It was a game in which the Blazers never trailed and one that saw them win a trophy in front of the home crowd. The victory was a revelation for the squad and one that will hopefully give the team momentum heading into the brunt of its conference schedule this winter.
Freshman guard Matt Galloway had a sensational game for the Blazers, scoring 16 points on 4-9 shooting. He also knocked down all six of his free throw attempts and was a consistent threat throughout the game. Because of his efforts Galloway was named the tournament MVP, which is a huge accomplishment considering he is just a freshman.
Junior guard Cameron Cook also had a nice game, scoring 16 points of his own on 5-of-12 shooting. Cook made 3-of-6 from three-point territory and was a thorn in the side of St. Vincent all game long. Junior guard Justin Bowens was also in double figures with ten points, which all came from the charity stripe. Bowens was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line and played a very good game from a point guard's point of view, dishing ou three assists and grabbing three steals, while also accumulating just one turnover. Bowens' strong play led to him being picked as a member of the All-Tournament team. St. Vincent was led by Chris Klimchock, who scored 15 points in 31 minutes of action.
The Blazers got off to a very fast start hitting their first four shots of the game. Two threes by Galloway and Cook immediately gave Hood the momentum they needed to persevere. A Justin Stone layup and another Galloway three gave the Blazers their biggest lead of the half at 13, while St. Vincent was in considerable foul trouble and was having issues dealing with all the different Hood offensive threats. Galloway was able to penetrate into the paint at the end of the half and hit two layups in succession that gave the Blazers a 10-point lead heading into intermission.
Hood came out of the break as hungry as ever and pushed its lead to 16 after a Cook jumper. Cook scored nine early points in the second half to really make a comeback by St. Vincent seem unlikely. The Blazers held onto a double-digit lead for most of the second half and did a very good job at converting free throws to keep the Bearcats at bay. Hood has had its struggles from the line over the years, but that was not the case on this day as the team made 16 straight free throws at one stretch in the second half. The 94 percent conversion rate in the second half was by far the best percentage the Blazers have had in a half this season and the 75 percent for the game is something the team will look to continue. Hood iced the game late with some made free throws en route to becoming the champions of the Rotary Classic.
Earlier in the day Penn State Harrisburg was able to defeat Mt. Aloysius in the consolation game by a score of 84-72 to take home third place in the tournament.
The All-Tournament Team was announced after the championship and saw two players from Hood honored. Justin Bowens and Trey Quinn were both selected to the team with Matt Galloway taking MVP honors. St. Vincent's Edmond Wright II and Dillon Stith were also named to the team, as was Penn State Harrisburg's Alberto de los Santos.
The Blazers will have some time to rejoice their tournament victory before returning to conference action this Saturday when they hit the road to take on Arcadia. The game is set to begin at 3 p.m.