The winner earns a trip to the semis tomorrow night. Both schools are ranked among the nation’s finest and are loaded with D-I talent.
However, the majority of the opening period didn’t live up to whatever hype there might have been between the two teams. Vernon Cary, by most considered the top player in the national class of 2019 opened the scoring with a bucket inside. Donta Scott responded with a three for Imhotep. After Carey tied the score with one of two free throws, there was a looonnnggg period of inactivity from both teams. The score remained 3-3 for nearly four minutes. Surprisingly it was Imhotep’s Fatayn Wesley that broke through, scoring the quarters final eight points, a pair of threes and a steal and score to give Imhotep an 11-3 lead after one period.
Imhotep would grow the lead to ten after scores by Scott and Chereef Knox were sandwiched around a pair of free throws from Carey of U-School. The Sharks from University School would struggle from the field the entire second quarter, scoring only eight points on free throws thru the first five minutes. Imhotep wasn’t lighting the nets on fire either and the score was only 19-13 in Imhotep’s favor with three plus minutes left in the half. A driving basket from Imhotep’s Jamil Riggins was offset by a Scottie Barnes basket for U-School late in the quarter to keep the margin at six. However, a pair of offensive rebound scores for Imhotep, one by Scott and one by Riggins, gave Imhotep a ten point lead at the half, 25-15.
Play was a bit sloppy by both teams in the third quarter. Imhotep didn’t score until the 4:50 mark while U-School could only manage a free throw. With four minutes to play, the score was 28-18 in favor of Imhotep. Imhotep then ripped off a 9-2 run and looked like they might blow U-School away, leading 37-20 with two minutes to play in the period. U-School responded with a run of their own to get back into the contest, but still found themselves down by a dozen, 39-27, heading into the final quarter.
That’s when things got interesting.
With the score 47-37 in favor of Imhotep with just under four minutes to play, Barnes went to work for U-School. He put back a miss and then connected on a pair of threes to get the Sharks to within two, 47-45 with 2:34 to play. Imhotep would get the lead back up to five at 53-48 with thirty-eight seconds to play, but U-School wasn’t done. Carey scored inside and after an Imhotep turnover, he converted a three point play with ten seconds left to get within a point at 54-53. Scott of Imhotep converted one of two free throws two seconds later. Barnes got the ball for U-School and headed to the hoop. He drew a foul and went to the line with four seconds left with a chance to tie the game. Barnes hit the first and Imhotep called a time out to try and “ice the shooter”. It worked, as Barnes missed the free throw. Kam Roundtree corralled the rebound and was fouled. He hit both free throws and Imhotep escaped with a 57-54 win.
Scott paced Imhotep with 23 points while Wesley added 10 points.
Carey led U-School with 24 points while Barnes finished with 21 points.