Seward County Community College men’s basketball head coach Bryan Zollinger is making a clear statement so far in his first year- the Saints are going to play pressure defense. Zollinger and the Saints cruised to an 84-34 victory on Friday night over Trinidad State Junior College on the opening night of the Wendy’s Classic in Liberal. In the season opener, the Saints held Sterling College J.V. to 28 points, marking the lowest total ever for a Saints opponent. Tonight, Zollinger once again led the Saints while holding Trinidad State to the second lowest point total ever in the 39 year history of the SCCC men’s basketball program. Seward County improves to 5-1 overall this season and Trinidad State falls to 4-3 overall.

The Saints set the tone for the game early as they held Trinidad State scoreless during the opening eight minutes of play. Seward County led 14-0 before the Trojans netted their first points of the game with two free throws by Kevin Daugherty, at the 11:55 mark. The Saints’ overpowering defense caused eight turnovers during Trinidad State’s early first half scoring drought.

Meanwhile, the Seward County offense was productive with eight players scoring in the opening 20 minutes, including sophomore Darko Cohadarevic who tallied eight points. Seward County headed into intermission with a 35-15 lead.

The only change that occurred in the second half was the Saints lead, which grew to as many as 53 points (84-31) heading into the final minute of regulation. Seward County shot a blistering 65 percent (20-for-31) from the floor in the final period, which included 7-for-10 from long range. SCCC outscored Trinidad State 49-19 in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

SCCC was led in the game by sophomore guard Nick Burns, who recorded 17 of his 19 points in the second half. Burns shot a perfect 5-for-5 from long range in the second period while connecting on 7-of-8 from the field during the game.

Cohadarevic added 18 points with seven boards, which included his 4-for-5 three-point shooting effort. Sophomore post Bryson Hampton tallied 12 points with seven rebounds and sophomore Ervin Williams chipped in eight points with five rebounds.

Seward County forced 30 turnovers and held TSJC to 21 percent from the field. Despite being out-rebounded 41-38, the Saints shot 53 percent (33-for-62) from the field, 50 percent from long range (11-for-22) and were 7-for-10 from the free throw line.

Trinidad State received scoring from eight players, being led by Daugherty (eight points, five rebounds) and Alan Salazar (six points, five rebounds).

WENDY’S CLASSIC RESULTS
There was no shortage of scoring in the first men’s basketball game of the Wendy’s Classic, with Pratt Community College (3-3) and Clarendon College combining for 216 points. The Bulldogs picked up the victory, 115-101, behind an onslaught of offense from 15 players who all scored at least one point. A total of 16 players made an appearance for Clarendon as they knocked down 15-of-30 three-point shots. The two teams also combined for 53 turnovers and 54 personal fouls in the game that lasted over two hours. Clarendon was led by Chris Smith (24 points, 4-for-7 three-point FG), Kevin Harris (14 points), Justin Wallace (12 points) and Brent Taylor (11 points). Pratt out-rebounded Clarendon 56-52, but wasn’t able to come away with the neutral court victory after being led by Carlin Whitten (24 points, 10 rebounds), Alex Rivas (11 points, 12 rebounds), Brett Crittenden (18 points) and Brandel Jones (13 points, six rebounds).