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St. Edward's Davontae Elam dribbles to the basket Wednesday against Westmont. | Erik Anderson~For Sun-Times Media
The magic number for St. Edward on Wednesday night was 20 in more ways than one. Not only did the Green Wave reach the 20 win milestone for the first time since the 1996-97 season with a 66-55 non-conference victory over visiting Westmont. They did it with a 20-0 run in the second half and number 20, Davontae Elam, led the surge with a team high 16 points, including 10 during the big rally.
“To be honest I thought when the kids set a goal of 20 wins at the start of the season that might be a little hard to reach,” said St. Edward coach P.J. White. “But they have worked extremely hard for this. I am really proud of them.”
The Green Wave trailed 45-35 late in the third quarter, but sophomore Danny Favela hit a baseline jumper with just under two minutes left in the quarter that sent St. Edward on a tear. Senior Adrian Ponce followed with a turnaround jumper and Elam closed out the quarter with a pair of free throws and a jumper to pull the Wave to within 45-43.
The momentum continued for the Wave right into the fourth quarter. Elam hit a medium jumper on the first possession to tie the score at 45-45. Then after one of Westmont’s 13 second-half turnovers, Elam hit a pair of free throws to put St Edward ahead 47-45. The Green Wave went to extend the lead to 55-45.
St. Edward (20-5) forced eight turnovers during the 20-0 run.
“We definitely picked up the pressure on defense in the second half,” said White. “We started stopping the ball from getting to the middle and kept the ball out of the hands of their big men.”
The Wave also made 8-of-11 shots from the field during the run.
“We finally settled down and started making some shots,” said White. “When yo play defense as hyped up as wedo it’s hard sometimes to relax on the other end and you start forcing some shots. We did a much better job in the second half of making the extra pass and getting a step closer with our shots.”
Elam struggled early on hitting just 3-of-9 shots in the first half, but stayed with it in the second half.
“Coach just told me to let the game come to me and not force it,” said Elam. “We really wanted to get 20 wins for the seniors, so we came out in the second half and stepped it up.”
Favela finished with 13 points for the Wave. Antonio Domel and Nick Duffy each added 12 points.