M-S boys' basketball defense picks up pair of Bulldog wins

The Mahomet-Seymour boys' basketball team picked up nonconference and conference wins in the past week.

The victories improved the Bulldogs' record to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the Apollo Conference.

M-S is scheduled to hit the road when the team travels to Dunlap on Saturday and to Effingham next Friday.

With the help of lockdown defense, the Bulldogs defeated Taylorville on the road Friday night and Normal University High on Tuesday night at home.

Against U-High, with the student section dressed in Christmas décor, the first half of the game was back-and-forth with each team taking the lead several times.

"I thought their point guard, who is getting some Division I interest as a sophomore, got into the paint on us in the first half and really caused some problems," M-S coach Chad Benedict said. "We made some adjustments and I really thought Josh Johnson did a great job on him in the second half."

From mid-third quarter into early in the fourth quarter, M-S went on a 10-2 run.

With 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the third period, U-High got as close as one point, but the Bulldogs pulled away on Noe's old-fashioned three-pointer and a floater in the lane to start the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs' defense helped overcome the offense's own scoring droughts.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs held the Pioneers to eight points while scoring 13.

"The thing I thought we did was play defense through some poor offensive execution stretches," Benedict said. "Give U-High credit. They had something to do with that, too. But we kept our composure on the defensive end."

The Bulldogs shot 45 percent from the field but only 25 percent (3-for-12) from behind the arc.

Six Bulldogs scored at least four points.

Cory Noe hit a game-high 21 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. He drilled two three-pointers.

Noah Benedict missed a triple-double by two assists. He finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

"I thought Noah played both ends of the floor extremely well and shared the ball well and kept us organized," Chad Benedict said, "and I thought we were really good on the glass, as well."

The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Pioneers 30-23, including nine offensive boards.

Grant Coleman hit double-digit scoring with 10 points and added three rebounds and an assist.

Dawson Finch and Brooks Coetzee came off the bench to score five points each. Finch also had two assists.

Holt Campion totaled four points, four rebounds and two assists. Johnson pulled down three rebounds along with his great second-half defense.

Against U-High, M-S produced assists on 16 of 22 field goals.

Friday night against Taylorville, the Bulldogs went on the road and took over with a stifling defense.

M-S took a five-point lead heading into the second quarter, but from the end of the first quarter to halftime, the Bulldogs took the Tornadoes out of its offensive preferences.

The Bulldogs outscored Taylorville 24-7 in the second quarter to pull away, and held the Tornadoes to seven points in the next two quarters for the 67-31 win.

"I thought we went on the road and showed great maturity," Chad Benedict said. "We came out of the gate defensively and locked themup, and then we were able to get out in transition."

The Bulldogs made 58 percent (27-for-46) from the field and 41 percent (7-for-17) from behind the three-point line.

The Tornadoes' defense keyed in on Noe, so the Bulldogs moved the ball to the open man, which led to more than 20 team assists.

"We shared the ball well and then we got the ball to Grant," Chad Benedict said. "Grant had a phenomenal game. They made an effort to take Cory away, and when they did that we got real unselfish and shared the ball andgot the ball to the open man.

"I thought we played a really nice game against Taylorville on the road."

Eight Bulldogs got into the scoring column.

Coleman, who was the beneficiary of good ball rotation, scored a career-high 29 points to go with eight rebounds and three blocks.

Noe and Noah Benedict hit double-digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Noe added five rebounds, and Noah Benedict also recorded eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Lucas Turner scored five points, and Coetzee, Connor Thomason and Jack McHale each scored three points.

Ryan Emmerd rounded out the Bulldogs' scoring with a basket, while Campion collected three rebounds and two assists.

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