VINCENNES, IND. – You could tell something was up the first-time Vincennes Lincoln had the ball Friday night.
“It had a weird feeling to it the way we opened the game,” said Mount Carmel basketball coach Tyler Buss of the Alices slowdown tactic employed throughout their Big 8 Conference game, eventually won by Mount Carmel, 35-24.
“I feel like we need to go home and practice. We didn’t really do much tonight,” Buss chuckled after his club’s third wire-to-wire win in the last four games. “There was a lot of standing around so it messed our subbing up.”
By halftime the Golden Aces led, but only 15-7. There was a total of four fouls on the board, and neither team shot a free throw in the first half.
Through it all, Buss applauded the strategy employed by first-year Vincennes coach Josh Thompson.
“Give Vincennes credit,” Buss said. “That was the best way they thought they had a chance to beat us.
It wasn’t an all-out stall. The Alices were very, very patient as they worked plays. If the gambit was designed to shorten the game and get into the fourth quarter with a chance to spring an upset, then they were successful. A Grant Oexmann 3-pointer brought Vincennes (0-4) to within four points, 20-16, with four minutes remaining in the game. That was as close as they would get, however.
“After the initial wave, I think (the delay) did get in our heads a little bit,” Buss said, “We were kind of stuck in the mud, not moving and cutting. We jumped out to an 8-0 lead and then we started to forget how we got there, and took some bad shots against their 1-2-2 zone.”
Mount Carmel repeatedly showed the Alices why they were compelled to choose that strategy in the first place – the Aces twin 6-foot-8 towers of Jackson Marcotte and Justin Carpenter simply could not be stopped. Between field goals and free throws, the duo scored the last 16 points of the game for the Aces.
On the night, Marcotte had 13 points, Carpenter 12.
Buss said it was important to deal with this unique big of adversity. It may not be the last time they see it.
“When you go through a season, you want to experience every type of game, so you have that kind of experience going into the post-season. There will be a lot to learn from this one,” Buss said.
Mount Carmel improved to 2-0 in Big 8 games, the first time the Aces have held that mark its 14-year history in the league. And the 8-0 start is the best since the Craig Snow-era team of 1996-97, which won their first eight before losing to Edwardsville in the championship game of the Charleston Holiday Tournament.
The Aces host Flora (1-5) in a non-conference game on Saturday (7:45 p.m. approximate start time), and a win there will send fans and pundits scurrying back to the record books -- no one is certain that Mount Carmel has ever been 9-0.
Flora lost to Lawrenceville, 47-44, on Friday night.