Fourteen straight and a chance to win the Jayhawk Conference. That is what was at stake for the Red Ravens men's basketball team. The team responded accordingly.
From opening tip off, the Red Ravens were on a mission to win the game. The men would open up on an 11-2 run. Defensive stops, sharp shooting precision, and timely buckets had the Red Ravens clicking on all cylinders.
Freshman standout Marvin Johsnon led the team in scoring (23), steals (3), and three pointers (2/4). With the crowd cheering every time Johsnon had the ball, you could feel a sense of electricity on every possession.
Johnson received offensive help from sophomore big man Cedric Roland. With the Tiger defense focusing on Johnson, point guard Travis Washington (4 points, 6 assists, 2 steals) was able to find Roland open. Roland displayed his offensive range as he drained buckets from the elbow, in the paint, and from mid range. Roland posted 18 points on the night while also pulling down five rebounds, and one block.
Head coach Jay Herkelman had his team pressing on defense from the beginning. Pressure makes pipes burst, and that is exactly what happened with the Tigers offense in the first half. With the full court press, the Red Ravens forced the Tigers to try and make half court passes, which led to their offense to 17 turnovers total.
With the offensive onslaught and the defensive pressure, the Red Ravens went into the half leading 39-18.
Coming out of halftime, the Red Ravens tried to keep their momentum going.
Even with the Tigers making defensive adjustments, the Red Ravens were able to overcome some early possession turnovers.
The Tigers tried to force the ball out of Johnson's hands by full court pressing and trying to trap him on the sideline. While the strategy worked for a few possessions, Herk called a timeout and redraw his offense. While the Tigers forced the trap, Johnson was able to find the ball into freshman Casey Benton (7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) and sophomore Anthony Jones (3points and 2 assists) hands.
This type of ball movement and execution dismantled the Tigers' pressure and forced their top scorer, Darnell Cowart, into foul trouble.
With time winding down, the Red Ravens started pulling away with the victory.
The victory sealed the Jayhawk Championship for the Red Ravens; earning the team a first round bye.
The win also marked Jay Herkelman's 600th career win, making him 21 victories shy of the Jayhawk all-time winningest coach.