LACEY – A meaningless exhibition?
Something says these two universities would have met on a covered playground to settle the all-Thurston County men’s basketball score Tuesday night.
Buoyed by a fast start, the Saint Martin’s University men sailed past The Evergreen State College, 75-61, at Marcus Pavilion.
For years, with the Saints being an NCAA Division II program and the Geoducks an NAIA Division II member, the two schools held this game as a nonconference tilt.
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In 2007, it went to being an exhibition for two seasons before the schools resumed the it-counts-in-the-standings rivalry in 2009.
Last season, it went back to an exhibition – and the plan is for it to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
“You know, I am a little bit torn on it,” Saint Martin’s coach Keith Cooper said. “It is still going to have the same intensity whether it is an exhibition or not. You put two teams on the floor, and they are going to compete and scrap. … I kind of like it the way it is, because it gives us sort of an early-season tipoff game. If we had to switch it to a regular-season game, it would make no difference.”
The Saints tallied 18 unanswered points to start the game – 14 in the first 31/2 minutes after they scored on six of their first seven possessions – before Evergreen’s Tyrell Stephens snapped the streak by hitting one of two free throws with 10:12 remaining in the first half.
At Saint Martin’s 54, Evergreen 38: Jori Skorpik’s 3-pointer with nine minutes to go in the first half sparked a decisive 9-0 run over a 71/2-minute stretch, and the Saints won for the 14th time out of 15 tries against the Geoducks.
Chelsea Haskey had 10 points and 13 rebounds to lead SMU. Jessica Edge led all scorers with 14 for Evergreen.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org