Tigers stem tide, steamroll Stanhope

Published 9:37 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tyler Stone manages the Tigers' up-tempo pace during Greenville's win over Stanhope Elmore.

Tyler Stone manages the Tigers’ up-tempo pace during Greenville’s win over Stanhope Elmore.

An early 15-2 deficit wasn’t enough to deter a focused Greenville Tigers team Tuesday night as the Tigers reversed their fortune and trampled the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs 68-51.

But the Mustangs opened strong out of the gate, ending a two-minute opening stalemate with a 9-0 run created largely thanks to a smothering full-court press and early Greenville turnovers.

A timeout call from Greenville head basketball coach Stu Stuedeman gave the Tigers time to collect themselves offensively and defensively, with visible evidence of the latter coming in the form of multiple turnovers created by an oppressive inbound pass defense.

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The quick steals and quicker buckets brought the Tigers to within just 5 points, with added help from a 3-point play from Tyrese Evans.

The Tigers closed the quarter with a 14-4 run and only trailed by 3 points at the end of the first. It would be the last time the Tigers trailed.

Poor Greenville shooting beyond the arc improved drastically in the second quarter, courtesy of a 3-pointer from Trydarius Patton with 5:48 remaining in the half.

Excellent rebounding and effort plays from Tyrone Ingram also served to shift the momentum firmly toward the Tigers’ side of the court, leading to another 3 pointer from Romontez Rhodes extended Greenville’s run and brought the Tigers to an 8-point lead.

Rhodes’ no-look passes proved just as dangerous in the first half as his 3-point shot, culminating in a handful of assists and an 8-point Greenville lead at the half.

The second half proved more of the same for the Tigers, despite mounting foul trouble (at a rate of one foul per minute in the third quarter) that sent the Mustangs to the charity strike.

Fortunately for Greenville, Stanhope Elmore racked up more misses than hits at the line as the Greenville lead swelled to double digits.

A sagging, dismantled Stanhope Elmore offense struggled to find a shot in the fourth against an energetic Greenville defense that continuously rotated fresh Tigers into the lineup.

The Tigers (6-2) will face the Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils (5-6) on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the Springville Tournament.