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Providence's Miles Boykin is defended by Nazareth's George Kiernan during the Eagle Club Shootout at Benedictine University. | Stacia Timonere~For Sun-Times Media
Neither exhaustion nor an inspired effort from Nazareth was able to prevent Providence from winning the marquee game of the Benedictine Eagle Club Shootout on Sunday.
Sophomore forward Miles Boykin set career highs with 28 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a come-from-behind 60-57 victory. Providence (6-4) was weary after an emotional win over St. Joseph on Friday in which Boykin had 19 points and 12 rebounds while holding St. Joseph star Paul Turner in check.
The 6-foot-5 Boykin was even better in this one, making 11 of 16 shots, including a rebound bucket that tied the game at 55-55 and the go-ahead baseline seven-footer off a feed from Kevin Kelly that put Providence ahead 59-57 with 1:08 remaining.
“I trust my teammates and everything that they do and hopefully they trust me the same way,” Boykin said.
“He’s a great athlete,” Providence coach Tim Trendel said. “He’s a good kid. When he’s focused he’s about as good as they come. He’s starting to make a name for himself.”
For all the shooting that went on in an up-tempo contest that at times felt like it was played with a 10-second shot clock, it was defense that decided it. The Celtics held Nazareth (6-3) scoreless for the final 4:03, during which the Roadrunners missed six field goals and a pair of free throws.
Nazareth played without 7-footer Tyler Jackson, who had a sore knee, but the Roadrunners made 10 of 26 three-pointers, including three by George Kiernan during a third quarter in which they took a 46-38 lead. But their last two attempts, including Kiernan’s open try from the left corner in the final seconds, failed to drop.
“What scared us is their shooters,” Trendel said. “They’ve got some kids who when they get their feet set can [really shoot].
“Our kids hung in there. They’re exhausted, so I give them credit for coming back when we were down eight.”
Boykin played a big role in that, grabbing five rebounds down the stretch. Junior center Nick Dinardi helped out with 10 points and five boards, while guard Kevin Kozan had 19 points, including a free throw with 21.5 seconds left, and three assists.
“Finally I felt we just buckled down and played defense like Coach taught us to in practice,” Boykin said. “We knew their sets and we just got through it. We were all tired. I was just trying to help out the team as good as I can and it just came out.”
Kiernan led Nazareth with 14 points, while John Bonk added 13 points and John Mazur tallied nine.