HELEN – Carroll shot north 65 percent in the second half and was aided by Warner Pacific 79-63 on Friday night inside PE Center to go undefeated on the season at 5-0.
For a Saints team currently ranked No.10 in the NAIA’s top 25 poll, the victory came in a familiar way. Carroll passed Warner Pacific 33-18, including 9-3 on the offensive glass, and distributed 23 assists on 31 goals scored. Seniors Jovan Sljivancanin and Shamrock Campbell totaled 42 points.
Carroll turned his opponent over 10 times on Friday and kept Warner Pacific at 63 points, the season low.
“These guys are carrying out the game plan,” Saints head coach Kurt Paulson said of his team. âI thought we could beat them on the glass, we won this battle. I thought we could keep them on the 3 point line and really slow down [Tyrese] Yussuf-Willis with tough hurdles and they executed him. I thought offensively – they wanted us to take quick hits so they could burst like they did against Rocky. Our guys spun it around and had an open look. This group of guys, they are really coachable. They followed the game plan thoroughly.
Sljivancanin notched his fifth consecutive double-double to start the season, registering a record 26 points (9 for 17 shooting), 11 rebounds and eight assists. Campbell made two early fouls and attempted only one shot in the first 20 minutes. His second half saw him bury seven of eight shots, including two 3-pointers, for 16 points. One of those triples placed Carroll 71-51, which is his biggest lead in the competition.
“[Sljivancanin] had eight assists and that was huge for us, âsaid Paulson. âHe was finding guys at the drop-off point, he was finding Shamrock for three on kickoffs. This is what he should do because he will attract a lot of attention and he can facilitate. I also thought Andrew [Cook] did a great job as a back-up playmaker.
âI hated as a player making two faults in the first half, so I ride with the guys a bit. I trust them not to make any mistakes … I think it’s really hard for a kid to sit all half time if he gets two early and then have a good game. His rhythm is off. It depends on the situation, but sometimes I ride with them and that’s what we did with Sham. He was smart, he kept his hands away.
Carroll was leading by eight points at halftime and, despite having a few points, couldn’t shake Warner Pacific for much of the game. With a 47-39 second-half lead, the Saints posted a 7-2 flurry to build a 13-point advantage, and from there, they had a 16-point margin of victory.
Drew Magaoay led Warner Pacific with 11 points, while guards Isaac Etter and Tyrese Yussuf-Willis each added 10 points.
Brendan Temple scored 11 points and seven rebounds for Carroll as the only other double-digit saint. The Saints shot 52.5% for the contest and 41.7% at 3 points. Carroll also converted 12 of his 14 free throws, compared to just six attempts for Warner Pacific.
“I was really worried, they were a good team,” Paulson said after the game. âI saw them beat Cal-Maritime easily, beat Rocky easily. It’s been a sleepless week for me, but I’m glad it’s over.
Carroll will be back in action on Friday in Butte against the University of Oklahoma City in the Montana Tech Classic. The tip is scheduled for 5 p.m.