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Men’s Interhall Basketball Championship: Title defense: Manorites defeat O’Neill, win championship

Nathaniel Lee | Tuesday, February 10, 2009

O’Neill senior captain Alex Klupchak scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, but was unable to rally the Mob past Morrissey Monday night in the Joyce Center. The Men’s Interhall Basketball A-League Championship went to the defending champ Manorites, who won 69-62.

“We came wanting to defend the title,” senior captain Carl Andersen said. “It’s really nice for all the seniors to end their careers with this win.”

Pacing Morrissey were the strong efforts of Anderson and sophomore point guard Aaron Nichols. Andersen dropped 14 in the first half, driving his team to a 35-28 lead at the break.

“We had a lot of fun, it’s a great experience to play on the real JACC floor,” Klupchak said. “They’re a good team, we missed some open looks and they made big plays down the stretch.”

The first half displayed the quick, intense play that brought both teams to the big dance – both teams combined to force 14 forced turnovers. The Mob started quickly, gaining a 11-5 lead in the opening minutes, but missed shots on open looks would plague them, as Morrissey cleaned up on the glass, allowing O’Neill just two offensive rebounds for the half.

Coming out of the locker room at half down seven, solid play from Klupchak and freshmen Garrett Quinn kept the game close, bringing O’Neill’s deficit to three. Nichols, however, who scored only seven points in the first half, came up with a 12-point effort in the second to hold off the Mob. Quinn would finish with 11 points and four rebounds.

“I thought we got some clutch baskets, and hit some clutch free throws,” Andersen said. “We made big shots when we had to inside and out.”

Defensively, Tim Lang’s six rebounds and two blocks paced O’Neill, but it was not enough to hold off the Manorites. In the final minutes, Morrissey’s free-throw shooting sealed the victory. Nichols and Andersen combined to go 7-for-8 from the line as the clock wound down. Andersen finished with 19 points and five rebounds, Nichols had 19 and three boards.

“We got there in the end,” Morrissey senior Daniel Reimer said. “We got back to the JACC and took care of business.”