The Tomcats stunned Grove City 75-70.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- After showing wins in only four of its first 21 games including a losing streak that spanned 13 games, the Thiel Tomcats have turned into Giant Killers in the President's Athletic Conference during the past eight days.
During that time, the Tomcats (7-17, 3-6) have posted wins over Westminster and Waynesburg before finishing off the Grove City Wolverines 75-70 Wednesday night at the Beeghly Gymnasium.
"This is a huge win for these kids," said a happy Thiel coach Mike Snell. "Our morale was really low two weeks and they could have packed it in. We had lost 13 in a row and we kind of changed our approach to the game. We went to a smaller lineup and it is has paid off for us. We have been pretty successful since we made that move. Any time you can get a win over Westminster or Grove City it is big because they are well-coached, quality programs."
Too many turnovers
While Snell was happy with the win, Grove City coach Steve Lamie was somewhat disgruntled, especially with his team's inability to protect the basketball.
& quot;We had too many turnovers in the first half," said Lamie. "I think we had 12 at halftime, but you have to give Thiel credit because they executed better than we did in the halfcourt offense. I just thought they were more focused and ready to play than we were. I really think that was the biggest difference in tonight's game. Not only did they execute better than us, but I think they also out-hustled us as well."
With Thiel holding the early lead at 5-4, Grove City (13-10, 6-3) came back to manufacture a 9-0 run to go on top 13-5.
Still trailing by seven (17-10) with eight minutes left, the Tomcats went to work on both ends of the floor as they outscored the Wolverines by a 24-10 margin to take a 34-27 lead at halftime.
"I didn't think our defense came out with much intensity, especially in the late stages of the first half," said Lamie. "They are a very athletic team, more than we are, so that is why we have to bear down on the defensive end to be able to compete with them. Not only did that hurt us in the first half, but at the end of the game as well.
Moore leads Tomcats
One of the big reasons for the Tomcats surge into the lead was the play of Daryl Moore. All Moore did for the evening was to finish with 23 points (13 in the first half), while also coming up with five assists and a pair of steals.
"Moore really hurt us," said Lamie. "I don't know how many he had, but he really makes them go. From the get-go, we didn't have an answer for him. We didn't get back on defense to help out with him and as a result, he got a lot of lay-ups on penetration.
Although the Wolverines cut their deficit to as few as one and two points several times, the Tomcats were able to answer the bell every time to hang on for the win.
With Thiel holding the 7-point lead heading into the second half, the two teams played give-and-take for much of the final 20 minutes. Grove City cut its deficit to a single point (59-60) with four minutes left to play, but the Tomcats had an answer by going on a 10-2 run to lead by nine before settling for the 75-50 win.
"We're still very young," said Snell.
Other top scorers
Although Moore led the Tomcats to the win, he also had plenty of support as Joe Herrmann (14) and Ross Watson (10) joined Moore in double figures as starters while Ursuline grad Brad Bowman came off the Tomcat bench to finish with 14 points.
For Grove City, Phil Bushre led a group of five in doubles with 15 points, the remainder of group including Shawn Carr and Mark Smith with 11 each and Mat Phillips and Ryan Eller with 10 apiece.