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Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis isn’t used to finding himself on the bench just two minutes into a game.
But Friday night against Marmion, that is just where the junior and the entire Spartans starting lineup found itself.
“Coach (Mike) Taylor didn’t like the energy we came out with mentally,” Ulis said. “He just wanted to let us know he would sit us if we didn’t pick it up.”
Well, consider Taylor’s message received. When Marian’s starters returned, Ulis sparked a huge run over the next quarter-plus in a 65-42 nonconference win in Chicago Heights.
Marian’s junior star finished with 21 points, eight assists and five steals for Marian Catholic (14-1) with Joshua Cohn adding 13 points. Eleven players scored for the Spartans who set a new mark for the best start to a season in program history.
After sitting two-plus minutes after being pulled, Ulis came back with a vengeance, driving and kicking to Cohn for a corner three-pointer. Ulis’ own bomb from beyond the arc gave Marian its first lead at 10-9.
Ulis was far from done though, hitting a baseline floater on a drive and pulling up for another three-pointer. He saved his best for the buzzer though, pulling up in rhythm from 35 feet and swishing it through to give Marian a 27-17 halftime lead.
“Once we were yanked and got back on the floor, we knew we had to open it up,” Ulis said. “Once I hit a couple, I kept shooting. It felt pretty good so I threw up that long one at the buzzer.”
Ulis scored or assisted on all 10 of Marian’s first half baskets. The Spartans opened the third on a 13-0 run to blow the game open.
“We’re coming off a high after the McDipper, and we’re lethargic early,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to show mental toughness. Through 14 games, our identity was a consistent effort physically and mentally.”
Jordan Glasgow (10 points) and Matt Smith (9) paced Marmion (5-11) which shot 15-of-41 from the floor.