OKLAHOMA CITY —
The only North player to find any space was sophomore Lindy Waters, who led the team with 20 points and five rebounds. Kairo Rutledge also added seven points and six rebounds.
The T-Wolves’ strategy of doubling Lienhard from the offside or playing him straight-up with Prince or Rutledge if he did catch it was effective. He was scoreless in the first half as the Timberwolves frustrated the Irish and held them to just 13 points.
Bishop McGuinness adjusted by putting in four shooters around Lienhard, which freed up their offense in the second half when roles reversed. The T-Wolves began to slow down from outside the arc and Bishop McGuinness hit a string of deep shots as a 16-4 run that changed the game and forced North to play from behind. Included in that stretch was a technical foul for taunting levied at North that turned into a three-point swing for the Irish.
“We kind of gave away the game by making a lot of unforced mistakes and plays that just aren’t very basketball smart,” coach Bryan Merritt said. “We’ve still got a long way to go. They hit a big shot at the end, but we did too many small things wrong leading up to that. It came down to a couple plays here and there. I thought we came in with a great gameplan and Payton and Kairo did a good job defending.
“I thought the kids played really well tonight. We proved this weekend we’re a good basketball team. As long as we learn from this and don’t make the same mistakes going forward, I don’t mind the loss at all.”
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