BRONX, NY - On Saturday, the legendary Gauchos Gym was extravagantly transformed into Rice's home court complete with an enormous Rice banner, Rice logos on the court and even a Raiders marching band. Christ the King, was clearly the away team. The downside of excessive pomp and circumstance is if the home team loses, it comes off twice as bad. Such was the case as the # 6 ranked Royals (12-6) took home a, 67-54, win over #7 ranked Rice (13-8) that even included a Rivalry trophy.
In a packed gym, Christ the King maintained their poise and lead until 3:03 in the first quarter when Jermaine Sanders (20 points) tied the game at 8. The Raiders were aggressive on the defensive end but it would not be enough as CTK took a 19-13 lead in the second quarter as Isaiah Lewis (4 points) knocked down a floater.
SG Omar Calhoun (21 points), was the one of the primary focuses of the Raiders defense, but the junior shooting guard bodied up Rice defenders, continuing where he left off in the first quarter. Down 23-13 with 6:51 left in the half due to an 8-1 run, baskets by Joshua Gomez(4 points) and Melvin Johnson (11 points) finally put a dent in the Royal's lead. A trey by PG Corey Edwards (7 points) and basket in the paint T.J. Curry (14 points) would soon re-extend Christ the King's lead from 4 points to 9 points. A lead which would hold fast as the half ended.
Still with a 33-24 deficit, Kevin Perez (5 points) would score inside for Rice but 6'8 senior, Chris Ortiz (12 points), countered in the post for the Royals. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter Emmanuel Andujar (4 points) scored in transit, cutting CTK lead to 6 points and Johnson would reduce the Royals lead with 1:45 left. Sanders would net a 3-ball as the quarter ended and Rice would have their first lead since the first quarter.
After a 10 minute delay due to excessive condensation, Sanders would get hot, extending Rice's lead to 49-44 with 6 minutes left in the game. Calhoun who was somewhat stymied during the top of the half, due to a leg cramp, began to draw fouls and shoot solidly from the charity stripe. With 4:45 left to play, Rice was only up 49-48 and a runner by Edwards took that lead away. Christ the King would go on a 10-1 run and with 1:03 remaining, Rice would be in an 11 point hole that they would never climb out of.
Rice has another important away game against #7 ranked St. Raymond on Sunday at 1pm.