By Joe Catapano
Tuesday night’s matchup between And-1 and The Hateful 8 was everything you would expect from a game between two winless teams.
After 40 minutes of fast-paced, but low scoring and sloppy basketball, it was And-1 who walked away with their first victory of the season, 46-39.
The story time and time again for And-1 has been their inability to close out games in the second half. Every week they seem to hang around tougher opponents through halftime until a sudden collapse occurs, leaving them helpless heading into the final 10 minutes.
A different And-1 team showed up in the third quarter Tuesday night. Heading into the half, And-1 found themselves down one to a fired up Hateful 8 squad. During the third quarter, where And-1 has gone missing nearly every week, they completely shut down The Hateful 8. And-1 held their opponent to just three points in the third quarter, helping them build an eight-point lead that would be too much for The Hateful 8 to overcome in the fourth quarter.
And-1 was once again led by Aaron Smith, who led all scorers with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Smith also added eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Right behind him in scoring was Santiago Mateo, who scored 13 points on 54.5 percent shooting. Jake Miko was the third and last player in the entire game who posted double figures, finishing with 10 points on just 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.
The Hateful 8 came out looking inspired against And-1. Their offense has made strides since Week 1, as their top two scoring performances have come in the past couple of weeks. After scoring 27 points through the first 20 minutes of Tuesday night’s contest, Hateful 8 only scored 12 total points in the second half.
Joey Marino was practically a no-show for The Hateful 8, following his 31-point outbreak against The Brotherhood last week. Marino made both of the shots he took, but following a 28-shot performance in Week 6, Marino was a non-factor against And-1, finishing with only five points.
Stephen Petrahai led The Hateful 8 with eight points and three blocks after his absence last week. The big man showed promise in the paint against And-1, but his efforts fell short of leading his team to their first victory. Jay Ramos also contributed eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers.
And-1 (1-6) will look to build on their first win in the Legacy Leagues next week against the always unpredictable Pandas (3-4), while The Hateful 8 (0-7) will search for their first win against Wake and Blake (3-4), who is coming off a crushing defeat to Blood, Sweat & Beers.