“We got our head in it and never gave up,” said Parker, whose field goal with less than two minutes remaining gave Providence a lead it wouldn’t relinquish at 52-50. “We kept fighting and kept battling back.”
Parker’s lay-up inside, which was set up nicely by Brian Cabagnot on a set play, was the seventh and final lead change in the contest. Cabignot came up big in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points in the frame.
Salesian dominated inside, most noticeably in the fourth quarter, and was led by Kevin Scott, who put in seven of the team’s 10 fourth-quarter points. The 6-foot-6 junior was the focal point of the Mustangs offense throughout the second half and almost single-handedly willed the team to victory.
“We couldn’t really stop them,” Pioneers first-year Coach Chris Madigan said. “We got lucky a couple times. All we could do is get some bodies down there and have a lot of hands swiping, hoping to come away with the ball.”
Providence (2-0) struggled early, particularly with Salesian’s press in the second quarter, and trailed, 20-11.
Perhaps it didn’t serve as a catalyst, but a technical foul issued to Salesian’s Mario Lopez was soon followed by a 10-0 Pioneers run that gave them a 21-20 advantage and momentum going into halftime.
“I don’t think it had any effect,” said Madigan of the technical. “What did ignite us was hitting open shots.”
The Pioneers made five field goals in the third quarter, but three came via the long ball. The Mustangs ended the quarter strong, however, and extended their lead to seven at 43-36 going into the fourth.