CARTERVILLE — In a battle of South Seven Conference opponents, the Mount Vernon Rams bested the Marion Wildcats Saturday, 59-32, in the afternoon session of the Pyramid Plus basketball tournament.
With the win, the Rams finished tourney play 3-1.
"This feels a lot better after losing last night to Collinsville," said Rams head coach Doug Creel. "We played well today. Marion's a good ballclub. They're very physical and tough. That's why winning this one is a great bounce back for us."
Mount Vernon was paced offensively by Quami Rudd, who totaled 19 points. The 6-foot-6 junior scored seven straight points in the first quarter and was 5-of-10 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.
"He (Rudd) is just starting to learn the game. He's very athletic, a very talented young man. He was solid for us today," Creel said.
Also hitting for double figures was senior point guard Jackson Creel, who contributed 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Carson Prost tacked on eight points.
There wasn't much to cheer about on the Marion side. The only lead the Wildcats enjoyed came on the opening bucket from standout forward Jackson Connor. The Rams led at each quarter break: 10-7, 25-14 and 37-22.
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Connor led Marion in scoring with 18 points. No other Wildcat was even close to double digits. Poor outside shooting doomed Marion on this day. Rayzhaun Bardo was 0-for-7 from the field with six of those misses from beyond the three-point arc. Connor was only 2-of-8 from long distance.
"We were fortunate they (Wildcats) weren't hitting some of those perimeter shots today," Creel said. "Defensively, though, I thought we did a pretty good job on them.
Wildcats head coach Gus Gillespie was not happy with his team's performance, particularly on the offensive end.
"I don't think we came out ready to play today against a quality team like Mount Vernon," Gillespie said. "We certainly didn't shoot the ball well. We need to swing the ball more on the offensive end and try to get a shot inside, not always rely on the 3-point shot."
The play got a bit chippy in the second half as four technical fouls were assessed, three against Marion.
Marion dropped to 2-1 pending Saturday night's tourney finale against top-seed Collinsville.