McGee hits 9 3’s, Rebs 18 in rout of Cubs
Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 24, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — Herb McGee treated it like just another day at the office.
The standout Rebels guard was perhaps the only person in the Riverside gym seemingly unfazed by his performance Wednesday night, however.
In a showcase matchup of top-ranked foes, McGee canned nine 3-pointers en route to his game-high 27 points as Riverside decisively toppled University Lab, 85-53.
“It was nothing I was doing,” said McGee. “My teammates saw I was hot in warmups and they got me the ball. Without them, I don’t get those looks.”
The Rebels are the top-ranked team in Class 2A in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll. The Cubs are ranked first in Class 3A.
It was expected to be a battle between University’s interior strength and size and Riverside’s perimeter play and shooting and it shaped up that way early.
But the Rebels (16-3) hit from the outside again, and again, and yet again. McGee hit six 3’s in the first quarter alone and the Rebels eight overall as Riverside took a 27-15 lead and never looked back.
Riverside didn’t cool off before the half and scored 51 first half points, outscoring U-High 24-8 in the second quarter to lead 51-23 at the break.
It was Riverside’s 12th consecutive victory.
The first-half performance called back to Riverside’s 85-76 quarterfinal victory over John Curtis last season, one that saw the Rebels take a 50-29 lead into the half. In that first half, Riverside guard Malik Crowfield scored 23 points and hit five of the Rebels’ 10 3-pointers.
McGee finished Wednesday’s first-half with 24 points while Riverside hit 12 3’s in the first two quarters.
“That thought ran through my mind. It had that same good feeling as the Curtis game,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd. “Herb’s been doing it quietly this season. We’ve got a team with multiple Division I players and he’s one of those guys. People saw tonight what kind of a shooter he is.”
Byrd said before the season that McGee — along with point guard Von Julien — had improved their outside shots, adding even more sharpshooting to a team that had plenty last season.
But McGee, who battled the effects of a concussion earlier this season, said that his shot hadn’t been falling like it did last season.
That seems to be changing. McGee hit four 3’s in the first quarter of Riverside’s win over Newman Tuesday even prior to Wednesday’s outburst.
“I’ve been putting the time in,” said McGee. “It all goes back to God. All the glory goes to him.”
Jordan Andrews finished the night with 18 points and Von Julien with 15 points. Joe Anderson scored 10 and Deuce Wallace nine.
Amazingly, Malik Crowfield, fresh off of a 30-point night against Newman and perhaps generally regarded as the team’s best shooter, finished with six points and hit no 3’s on a night his team hit 18 — speaking less of anything the star sophomore failed to do and more of the outstanding shooting depth the Rebels boast. Andrews, Julien and Wallace each hit multiple 3-pointers.
“If we hit 3’s, it’s hard for their big men to get out and guard us,” said Byrd. “When you hit a lot of them consecutively like we did, it breaks your back.”
Added University coach Joe Spencer, “It reminded me of Creighton the other night. They hit 21 3’s. These guys hit 18. If we do some things better defensively, maybe it’s closer, but when they’re hitting like that there’s not much you can do. They were getting great looks.”
Crowfield and Wallace each fought off a bout of the flu to play in the game.
For U-High (19-5), it’s star big man tandem of Wayde Sims and Maxwell Starwood did deliver, but it wasn’t enough. Sims scored a game-high 23 while Starwood added 17.
But no other University player scored more than three points.
McGee’s first 3 of the night came from the wing to make it 5-2. Julien nailed one from the top of the circle to make it 9-7, then McGee hit two in a row to make it a 15-13 RA lead.
Early on, the Cubs hung tough by crashing the boards, Starwood netting three first quarter offensive rebounds and Sims two more.
But it wasn’t enough to fend off a Rebels’ avalanche of 3’s. Another by Julien made it 18-13, then McGee truly caught fire. In the final 1:35 of the first quarter, he socked three in a row, his 6th and last of the quarter dropping just as time expired.
“We were making our jumpshots,” said McGee. “We talked about it, that if they were falling, keep taking them, but if not, attack the basket.”
Riverside busted things open early in the second. Andrews scored off a nice feed from Julien, then Crowfield got out and scored in transition. Wallace socked home a corner 3 then McGee — after a brief rest — sank another 3 to make it 37-15.
Julien fed Anderson underneath for another layup and then made a putback of his own, and finally McGee canned another 3. In all, Riverside went on a 16-0 run which extended to, eventually, a 23-2 run that made it 44-17.
In all, it was the fourth victory for the Rebels over U-High in the last two seasons. Riverside defeated University at University and in the state semifinals last season, and at the Allstate Sugar Bowl tournament final this season. The latter two matchups were extremely close, the second a three-point Rebel win and the first one coming in overtime.
RIVERSIDE 94, NEWMAN 60 — Riverside defeated Newman in a District 10-2A matchup on Tuesday night behind 30 points by Malik Crowfield.
Herb McGee scored 18, Von Julien 15 and Curtis Thomas 12 for the Rebels, who picked up a win in the district opener for both teams.