Elijah Pickens emerged from the locker room after top-ranked Curie’s 69-66 win over No. 4 Bogan on Tuesday with an important document that Lindenwood assistant coach Chrys Cornelius was waiting for: his academic transcript.
Cornelius had already seen what he needed on the basketball court. Pickens and senior Saiveon Williams stepped up and led the Condors to a massive Red-South/Central win against the visiting Bengals. Curie’s high-scoring Southeast Missouri State recruit Ramean Hinton was held to nine points.
“This team does what it takes,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “Elijah stepped up big. Saiveon Williams was huge. Guys just played their role. Ramean doesn’t always have to be the scorer. Sometimes he has to defer to his teammates and trust them.”
Curie led by one when Pickens had his moment. The senior point guard connected on an NBA-length three-pointer with 2:27 to play to put the Condors (13-1, 3-0) ahead 62-58. Bogan would never get closer than two from then on.
“I had the confidence to shoot it,” Pickens said. “I’ve practiced a lot from that spot. This is my home court.”
Pickens finished with 17 points and 6-6 Saiveon Williams led Curie with 22 points and eight rebounds.
“I’ve been horrible lately and I wasn’t feeling well today so I didn’t expect to play so well,” Williams said. “Everybody thinks we are a one-man team but we can all hoop. We aren’t scared of anybody and we will prove you all wrong no matter what.”
Williams scored all 11 of Curie’s points in the third quarter.
“The key was [Williams] using his quickness around the basket,” Oliver said. “He did a good job getting offensive rebounds and tipping it in.”
Junior guard Darrion Jones scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to get the Bengals (14-2, 4-0) back into the game.
“We just didn’t play defense,” Oliver said. We knew he was a driver and he’s tough going downhill. So our plan was to deny [Antione] Bloxton and make Jones shoot jump shots but we stopped playing defense in the fourth quarter. We just held them off with a couple free throws down the stretch.”
Bloxton led Bogan with 23 points and six rebounds and Kyndall Davis added 11 points and four rebounds.
“[Jones] has been holding back because of Bloxton,” Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said. “I’m trying to get them to play together. Antione is a ball dominator. [Jones] is just as good as he is. When he steps up and knows that we will be solid.”
Curie has already surpassed the preseason expectations most had for the team. Winning a major game with Hinton cold is another impressive statement.
“The team played for each other,” Hinton said. “ I wasn’t hot and didn’t get myself going so the team helped get the victory. Saiveon was amazing. He was the leading scorer and came out and gave it his all.”
Goodwin is confident the outcome will be different if his team faces the Condors in the city playoffs.
“If we see them again we are going to win,” Goodwin said. “This is a big game and they didn’t have the right refs on the game. The referees didn’t make us lose. Good teams have to win no matter the refs. I don’t see anyone better than them. I don’t see anyone better than us.”