Guard play helps Curie advance
Updated: March 23, 2011 9:28AM
Curie's diminutive guards were seemingly everywhere in the second half of its Public League second-round playoff game against Orr. The trio of Gregory Travis, Paris Burns and Jibreel Jackson disrupted Orr's offense and led the host Condors to a 50-48 victory on Thursday.
The victory insured a trip to the Public League elite eight for the 10th straight year for coach Mike Oliver's team.
``The key to our turnaround in the second half was to start being more aggressive,'' Oliver said. ``We had to attack the basket and up-tempo the game to win.''
Orr (16-8) was controlling the pace of the game by sitting back in a 2-3 zone and getting good looks on offense for Mycheal Henry. The Illinois-bound senior made the most of it with 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in the first half. His play led his team to an 18-15 halftime lead.
No. 12 Curie (25-1) didn't adjust immediately in the second half. Curtis Jones connected on a trey to put his team ahead 27-21 with 4:12 left in the third quarter. Jones finished with 12 points.
That's when the pressure put on by Curie's guards started paying off in turnover and points. Travis started a 7-0 run with a pair of free throws and then finished the run with a nice feed to Clifton Alexander who converted a three-point play. The freshman center tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
The game see-sawed but Curie kept Henry under control in the second half. He made a free throw to give Orr a temporary 39-38 lead with 2:44 left to play. Devin Foster countered with a layup to start a 6-0 run that saw baskets by Jackson and Alexander to give the Condors a 44-39 lead for good.
``We weren't executing what we were supposed to be doing on defense,'' Travis said. ``Sometimes we would double Henry, but if he put it on the floor, we were looking for the takeaway.''
Henry totaled 19 points and 11 rebounds but was limited to five points and three rebounds in the second half before hitting a meaningless three at the buzzer. Curie forced 12 second half turnovers.
Foster was the only player in double figures for Curie with 16 points. Jackson scored nine and Travis scored eight both players scoring all their points in the second half.
Malik Logan had 10 points for Orr.