Bishop O’Connell (8-4; Arlington, VA) scored a 74-69 victory over Bishop Gorman (8-5; Las Vegas, NV) despite 37 points from Southern Cal signee Chuck O’Bannon.
After six lead changes in the opening portion of the first half, Bishop O’Connell used a 13-2 run to open a double digit lead. With the game tied at 13-13, the Knights connected on 6-of-11 shots during the run that gave them a 29-18 lead on Quentin Millora-Brown’s jumper with 4:20 to play. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and Bishop O’Connell took a 37-26 advantage into the break.
In the second half, Bishop Gorman slowly chipped away at the lead and took a 51-49 lead with 9:14 to play on a jumper by O’Bannon. The Gaels could not stretch the lead to any more than the two points and Bishop O’Connell regained control for good at 63-61 on Matt Lewis’ layup with 4:04 to play. Matt Becht’s 3-point field goal with 3:06 to play game Bishop O’Connell a 68-63 lead.
Bishop O’Connell was led by Matt Lewis’ 26 points. Nate Watson added 16 points for the Knights while Xavier Johnson added 12 points and five assists. Bishop O’Connell connected on 65.2 percent (30-46) of its shots from the field for the game, including an amazing 78.9 percent (15-19) in the second half. The 65.2 field goal percentage is the seventh best single game percentage in the 36 years of the Beach Ball Classic. The record of 74.4 percent (32-43) was set by University Heights (KY) against Eau Claire (SC) on December 27, 1995.
Bishop Gorman’s O’Bannon notched 31 of his 37 points in the second half and added five rebounds, four assists and three steals.