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On a night that Marist senior L.J. McIntosh became the all-time leading scorer for Marist, it was teammate Zak Niemiera that stole the spotlight. Niemiera poured in a game-high 29 points to lead the Redhawks to a 73-61 win over visiting St. Patrick.
McIntosh scored the first points of the game as the Redhawks (12-4) led wire-to-wire. His free-throw with 2:26 left in the first half gave him 1,494 points for his career, surpassing Nick Valla’s mark set in 2010.
“I had people telling me all day how close I was,” McIntosh said of closing in on the record. “I wasn’t nervous. It’s not all about me. I had plenty of help from my teammates.”
The biggest help came from Niemiera, which McIntosh said didn’t bother him at all.
“Zak is a great shooter and has worked on his game really hard all season,” McIntosh said. “I am just glad that I could share this night with him and the rest of my teammates.”
McIntosh, who will be playing at the University of Texas-Pan American next season, finished with 18 points.
The Redhawks were red hot from the field, as they connected on 26 of 40 attempts. Niemiera drilled five of his seven attempts from behind the arc, as the Redhawks made good on 12 of 19 from distance.
“Hats off to them, they shot the ball really well tonight,” St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey. “Every time we would get back to within six or eight points they would hit a big shot.”
Marist coach Gene Nolan said he was most proud of his team for the way they wouldn’t allow the Shamrocks (11-4) to complete the comeback.
“I told them I don’t want them to play like they have a lead, I want them to play like they are trailing,” he said. “When you are playing with a lead and just trying to make it to the final buzzer you often don’t get there with the lead. I thought we did a nice job of knocking down timely shots tonight.”
Elijah Watson tried his best to keep the Shamrocks in the game, as he scored a team-high 28 points. Watson scored the final eight points of the first half to cut a 16-point deficit in half heading into the lockeroom.