U of L signee posts 26 points, 18 rebounds
A close game between Trinity and St. Xavier at the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament turned instantly into Raymond Spalding’s personal dunk fest in the fourth quarter as he powered the Shamrocks past their archrival 52-40 in Wednesday night’s second round.
Spalding, the 6-foot-10 University of Louisville signee, broke open a 36-35 game by scoring 14 of Trinity’s last 16 points, including five dunks in the final four minutes.
“We got him some dunks,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “We did a better job of getting him the ball late, and he was much more aggressive in the fourth quarter.”
He finished with 26 points, 18 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals in a dominating performance with U of L’s three assistant coaches on hand.
“I didn’t try to do anything different except pick up the intensity,” Spalding said. “… (Finishing above the rim) is a major part of my game, but I would say it’s passing, rebounding and getting my teammates the ball as well.”
Trinity defeated St. X for the second time in a week, following a 57-47 victory at Broadbent Arena last Friday. The Shamrocks (12-3), No. 1 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings but this tournament’s No. 4 seed, advanced to face 12th-seeded Central in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. quarterfinal.
St. X (10-7) gave Trinity all it wanted until Spalding’s late onslaught. Nick Kitchen’s last-second basket gave the Tigers a 33-31 lead after three quarters, and they led 35-34 early in the fourth. They forced Trinity’s players not named Spalding to shoot a combined 9 of 35 from the floor.
“We were playing winning basketball, playing for one another, taking care of the ball, and we were attacking the basket from inside-out,” St. X coach Kevin Klein said. “… We went away from that in the fourth quarter, had nine turnovers in (the second half) and didn’t put a body on Spalding, and you saw what happened.”
St. X, which was led by Ashanti Burgess’ 11 points, struggled in making only 1 of 15 3-point tries and came unhinged when Spalding began slamming everything in sight.
He scored six straight points, including a runout dunk off a steal, to put Trinity up 42-35. He then jammed home lobs from a driving Michael Stafford on consecutive possessions, and finished the game with a putback slam and another alley-oop finish.
All 13 of Trinity’s second-half baskets came on dunks or layups.
“You can’t simulate (Spalding length and leaping ability) in practice,” Klein said. “You can game-plan and preach it, and we did a good job for three quarters, but I thought Spalding just picked up an extra level of intensity in that quarter. … We just watched the ball way too many times, and we made him look like the great player that he is.”