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A balanced scoring attack and a seven-point run midway through the fourth quarter allowed Nazareth to take control against Willowbrook in a 71-64 victory Tuesday night at the John McBride Thanksgiving Classic at Stagg.
With the game knotted 48-48 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Roadrunners hit 10 of 15 shots down the stretch.
Nazareth 7-foot sophomore center Tyler Jackson scored 10 of his 16 points in the second-half, while also collecting nine rebounds and blocking five shots.
Tim Kuckailis (10 tallies) also controlled the paint for the Roadrunners (2-0), scoring eight points in the final period and grabbing eight rebounds.
“Tonight we established our inside game, especially in the second-half around the rim,” Nazareth coach John Bonk said. “I thought that was big down the stretch because our threes are not always going to fall.”
Willowbrook (0-1) built a 41-35 in the opening minutes of the third stanza, after Edvinas Mickevicius (13 points) hit three straight shots. Joshua Joiner led the Warriors with 24 points, including two three-pointers, while Tiger Greene added 17 points.
The Roadrunners started the game hot from behind the arc, hitting four threes in the opening stanza, and adding two more in the second quarter.
Senior Dan Kienzle (11 points) knocked down two three-pointers in the first quarter, while John Bonk (11 tallies) and Kevin Connelly (13 points) also hit buckets from long-distance. All five starters notched double-figures for Nazareth, while Alex Edwards added eight points in a reserve role.
“We have a lot of options on our team, we have a lot of shooters,” said Dan Kienzle. “But we also have a good inside presence with Tyler (Jackson) and Tim(Kuckailis), so it really depends on what they (defense) are giving us.”