Matt Thomas, Sports Information Director
DURANT – Adam Dworsky put together a career-high scoring night and flirted with a triple-double and Southeastern needed every bit of it to hold off rival East Central for an 87-83 victory on Monday night in the home opener in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
The win gets the Savage Storm in the win column at 1-2 on the season and in Great American Conference Western Division play and they will be off till Saturday as their game originally scheduled for Thursday at Northwestern Oklahoma State was cancelled due to COVID protocols. SE will instead be back on the home floor again next as they host Southern Nazarene at 4 p.m. on Jan 16.
“The no crowd has definitely been a change of scenery for everybody in the GAC,” said senior guard Adam Dworsky. “Coach always talks about how without th3e energy of the crowd, we have to bring the energy from within ourselves with the bench, the guys on the floor and the coaches. It’s been different in that aspect.”
“It’s nice to get over the hump,” Dworsky continued. “We felt like we didn’t play our best opening night. We did some better things on night two but weren’t able to get it done. Coach just said it’s about making winning plays and we were able to make enough of them down the stretch.”
“I’m grateful I have a coaching staff that believes in me,” he added, “And has trusted me to make the right plays. Some nights it’s going to be getting my teammates the ball and creating via the pass. And other nights, like tonight, when my shot’s falling I have to take it upon myself to be aggressive and put pressure on the defense so they can’t get too settled in guarding me or guarding my teammates. Try to keep them on their heels.”
“We were fortunate.” Said head coach Kelly Green. “They were pretty much having their way with us during that time. They were driving the ball at us in the paint. If they did miss they were getting an offensive rebound and a put back. We were back on our heels too much. Our zone was terrible in the first half, but we decided we had to do something to just change things for a minute or two. It wasn’t so much what we did defensively, it just kind of changed the tide.”
Dworsky put together a career-high scoring effort with 38 points on a 13-of-25 effort from the field which included six threes.
He also wrapped up his second-straight double-double with 10 rebounds and nearly became the first player in 25 years to record a triple double, finishing with seven assists.
He was not the only player with a double-double for the Storm as Vadim Clanet recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and was next in line in assists for SE with five.
Markeith Williams added a 13 point performance as well.
The Storm finished the night shooting 47.7 percent overall and 46.9 percent from long range, draining 15-of-32 three-point tries.
Dworsky put up a huge first half with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting overall with four threes, while Clanet connected on 3-of-4 threes to finish the first 20 minutes with nine points.
Clanet knocked down one of those threes to open the game and the Storm would come out firing on a 14-5 run capped by a Dworsky three at the 14:41 mark of the half.
ECU would close the gap to three points three times and each one was answered by a Storm three, one by Johnson and two in-a-row by Dworsky to hold a 23-17 lead with 10:19 to go in the half.
ECU would then chip away with a 10-3 run to take a one-point lead with 7:11 to go.
SE would regain the lead on a Clanet three and the teams would fight to a pair of ties before the Storm got five-straight Dworsky points to take a 36-31 lead with 5:00 remaining in the half.
However, the Tigers would finish the half on a 14-4 run to erase the Southeastern advantage and lead 45-40 at the halftime break.
The second half picked up where the first one ended as the Storm deficit would reach eight points early, but a short run capped by an Adam Nance three would close the gap to 55-52 with 14:01 to play.
ECU would respond with eight-straight points to take the first double-digit lead of the contest at 62-52 with 13:08 remaining.
Then, trailing by nine with 12:31 to play, the Storm went to work as a Taylor Cox three would set off a 12-2 run to regain the lead, ultimately stretching to a 17-2 run capped by a Williams layup off a Dworsky feed to take a 73-68 lead. With 6:00 to play.
The Tigers would answer and knot the score at 73-73, but seven straight points, five of them from Williams, would push SE out to an 80-73 lead with 2:19 remaining.
ECU would close the gap to one possession three times over the final two minutes, but each time it was Dworsky with an answer, including a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to play which would push the Storkm elad out to the final score of 87-83.