GREENVILLE – By and large, St. Mark’s was able to bottle up the high-scoring A.I. DuPont boys basketball team when the teams met on the snowy afternoon of Jan. 7. The Tigers, however, used a 12-1 run in the fourth quarter to overcome the Spartans, 41-38.
Having held A.I. To just four points in the third quarter, the Spartans carried a 28-25 lead into the final eight minutes. St. Mark’s quickly extended that lead to six, but that is when the Tigers went to work. Jude Gulotti hit a baseline three-point shot to cut the deficit in half, and Jaisan Wilmore followed with a field goal. Gulotti tied the game with a free throw. St. Mark’s regained a one-point advantage before A.I.’s leading scorer, Julius Inge, connected on a finger roll to put his team ahead by one.
Nasir Comeger got into the act for the Tigers, scoring on a 13-foot straightaway jumper, prompting a timeout by Spartans coach Nick Sanna. But when play resumed, Anthony Oyekan stole the ball from St. Mark’s and found Comeger for the transition layup.
Chris Ludman kept St. Mark’s close, scoring eight points down the stretch on two field goals and four free throws, and, with 18.4 seconds remaining, the Spartans had their first chance to tie. They had a second chance, getting the ball back after a missed free throw with 4.6 left on the clock, but a three-point attempt bounced off the rim and into the corner as time expired.
Inge – one of the state’e leading scorers at 22 points per game coming into Saturday – led the Tigers with 12 points, and he was forced to earn every one of them. Ludman drew the unenviable assignment of guarding the senior guard in the first quarter and held him scoreless. The teams combined for just 14 points in the first, with Ludman scoring six of the Spartans’ eight to help St. Mark’s to a two-point lead after one quarter.
Inge found some room in the second quarter, scoring eight as the Tigers went into halftime with a 21-18 lead. He was again scoreless in the third, while Billy Sullivan drained two three-pointers for St. Mark’s in a low-scoring stanza.
Ludman spent a lot of time cutting and slashing into the lane, and he finished with 23 points for St. Mark’s, which lost its first game of the year after five wins. Sullivan added eight. The Spartans are off until Friday, when they travel to Milford for a 6:15 p.m. start.
The Tigers improved to 7-1 and begin a stretch of four games in 10 days on Tuesday, when they host St. Georges at 6 p.m.