ST. FRANCES 57, POLY 53 An Ace up their sleeve

Bald­win closes out No. 1 Poly with a big 4th quar­ter Terps have proven abil­ity to re­spond

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Glenn Gra­ham

Head­ing into Satur­day’s boys bas­ket­ball show­down against No. 1 Poly, St. Frances called it just one of a num­ber big games in its de­mand­ing 35-game reg­u­lar-sea­son sched­ule.

But after the No. 3 Pan­thers had earned a 57-53 win at the Wil­liam Wells Clas­sic — in front of an over­flow crowd at Mor­gan State’s Hill Field House — se­nior point guard and fourth-quar­ter sav­ior Adrian “Ace” Bald­win fi­nally made an ad­mis­sion when asked if it was more than just an­other game.

Smil­ing, he sim­ply said: “Yeah, it was.” With a has­sling zone de­fense, the Pan­thers slowed an En­gi­neers of­fense that had been over­whelm­ing other op­po­nents.

Se­nior for­ward Ja­mal West dom­i­nated in­side with a 15-point, 11-re­bound per­for­mance, and By­ron Ire­land (11 points) and Khyrie Staten (nine points) made big con­tri­bu­tions in the first three quar­ters.

And when the Pan­thers had a 39-38 lead go­ing into the fourth quar­ter, Bald­win, the reign­ing All-Metro Player of the Year, took over by scor­ing 11 of his 13 points. St. Frances im­proves to 25-3, while Poly drops to 14-2.

“I was down in the first half, but my team­mates and coaches picked me up and told me to keep play­ing and I’d be good,” said Bald­win, who added eight as­sists with the last of his five steals com­ing in the fi­nal minute. “I just play my game and do what I have to do to win.”

On the Pan­thers’ first pos­ses­sion of the fourth quar­ter, Bald­win made a 3-poin­ter from the top of the key — his first field goal of the game — and gave a re­as­sur­ing nod to the bench. It pro­vided a 42-38 ad­van­tage that the Pan­thers would main­tain.

ULYSSES MUOZ/BAL­TI­MORE SUN KEN­NETH K. LAM/ BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Mor­gan State play­ers cel­e­brate their come­back win over Cop­pin State on Satur­day. La­mar Jack­son Camp­ing World Sta­dium, Or­lando, Fla. To­day, 3 p.m. TV: ESPN, Chs. 2, 7 To­day, 1 p.m. | TV: Chs. 13, 9 Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM

NI­COLE MUNCHEL/FOR THE BAL­TI­MORE SUN

St. Frances’ Ja­mal West waits for an open team­mate in Satur­day night’s game against Poly at Mor­gan State.

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