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St. Patrick fended off a scrappy Nazareth team, scoring the final seven points of the game, to pick up a thrilling 75-70 East Suburban Catholic win Friday night at home.
"In the fourth quarter is when we're the best," said Shamrocks' sophomore guard Nicholas Coleman, who scored a career-high 18 points. "Pressuring them and making them speed up, they got really kind of nervous."
St. Patrick (13-6, 3-2) looked to be in trouble after Nazareth (9-9, 1-3) took a 70-68 lead on a three-point play by 7-footer Tyler Jackson with 1:22 remaining. The Roadrunners then got a stop on defense and Jackson was sent to the line for a one-and-one.
The sophomore center missed the first and St. Patrick's Royale Ewing (16 points) was fouled on the other end with 47 seconds to play and smoothly drained both tries.
On its next possession, Nazareth's John Bonk missed a lay-up and the Shamrocks quickly moved the ball down the floor. Coleman laid it in with 30.6 seconds to play.
The Shamrocks pushed the lead to 74-70 with 14.6 remaining after a pair of free throws by Elijah Watson (10 points).
The Roadrunners Evan McLaughlin missed a shot on the other end and Watson split a pair of free throws with 3.9 left to seal the win.
"At first we were in trouble but you have Coach (Mike) Bailey in our ears telling us 'Don't put your heads down'," said Isaac Moore, who added 14 for St. Patrick. "So we came out, picked our heads up, and as soon as we did that, we forced a couple turnovers and got back in the game."
Tim Kuckailis led Nazareth with 22 points as he was able to dominate in the post.
"I just realized I had a big height advantage," said the 6-7 senior. "I just tried to get on the glass and get position down low and that worked well for me."
Jackson and Bonk added 14 points apiece for the Roadrunners while McLaughlin chipped in 10.
The Shamrocks were 28-for-53 from the floor and 11-for-23 from three-point range. Nazareth was 25-for-46 and 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.