The Santa Fe Saints started off slow on Saturday afternoon against Florida State College-Jacksonville in their last regular season game, falling behind 15-2 seven minutes in to the game, but bounced back in a big way to win 69-57.
“We didn’t handle their pressure very well over the first seven or eight minutes and committed way too many turnovers,” said SF Coach Chris Mowry. “We started to settle down and Jon [Hood] gave us a big lift towards the end of the first half.”
The Saints (21-8, 5-4 MFC) turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, the same number of turnovers they had the entire game their last matchup with FSC-J.
SF slowly chipped away at the 15-2 lead and cut the margin to 16-10 with an 8-1 run. The Blue Wave answered and pushed the margin back to 12 at 25-13 with 5:23 left. Jon Hood took over from there, scoring eight points, including two three pointers over the next three minutes and Takija Knight added six as the Saints completely erased the lead. A tip in by Knight with just two seconds left gave SF their first lead of the game 29-28.
In the second half the Saints scored the first six points to build their biggest lead to that point but the Blue Wave bounced back to tie the score at 37-37 two minutes later.
From there it was all Santa Fe as they built their lead to double digits on the strength of the inside play of Andre Horne, Takija Knight, Jordan Banks, and Salim Gloyd.
“Our post players did a very nice job rebounding and putting back second chance opportunities,” said Mowry. “Salim, Jordan, and Takija really hit the offensive glass and gave us a big advantage in that department.”
Santa Fe outrebounded the Blue Wave 50-34 overall and 21-11 offensively. They also blocked eight FSC-J shots, four of them by Andre Horne and three from Banks.
Ten players scored for Santa Fe, including 11 each from Reggie Hart and Jon Hood. Takija Knight finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Banks had eight points and eight rebounds.
The win was made even better a few hours later when the team found out they would be playing in the Mid-Florida Conference thanks to a win from Daytona State over Central Florida. The Saints will host Florida State College-Jacksonville for a fourth meeting between the two teams on Monday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The winner will travel to Ocala on Tuesday, February 25 for a 7:00 PM game to determine the second representative from the MFC in the FCSAA State Tournament. Monday’s game can be seen live on www.ihigh.com/santafesaints