A cadre of the rejected braved the cold and were relayed score updates from toasty patrons through the open windows.
The five-time defending Catholic League champion Saints emerged victorious, 64-58, back on Jan. 29. Tonight, the Palestra will house the rematch when the No. 2-seeded Saints meet the No. 3-seeded Patriots at 8:30 p.m. in the second PCL semifinal matchup. Top-seeded Roman Catholic will begin the night at 7 against No. 4 La Salle.
The Saints (19-4, 12-1) are led by senior wing Ja'Quan Newton, who is averaging 27.6 points through his last six games. The Miami signee finished third in regular-season scoring at 21.8 per (284 points in 13 games) behind St. Joseph's Prep junior forward Chris Clover (22.0, 286) and scoring champ Tyrell Long, a senior forward for Bishop McDevitt (23.0, 299).
Newton netted a game-high 29 against Carroll, while Troy Harper, a senior guard inked with Campbell University, was the only other Saint in double figures (12). Junior guard Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble completes the triumvirate that handles most of the Saints' scoring.
The Patriots (20-3, 11-2) are led by senior point guard Austin Tilghman, who scored 25 against N-G. A 6-2, 215-pound point guard, Tilghman is a transfer from Delaware (St. Andrew's School), who also excelled at running back for Carroll.
Whereas Tilghman uses superior strength to drive through defenders, junior forward Derrick Jones attacks from above. The 6-6 southpaw pogo stick is averaging 20 points in his last four games, though he was held to just seven against N-G. Jones is the overall team leader at 14 points per game (183), while Ernest Aflakpui, a 6-9 junior forward, provides muscle inside.
The Saints must find scoring help for Newton, limit turnovers and find production inside. Carroll dominated on the glass, 43-23, and must do so again to unseat the Saints.
Roman vs. La Salle
The Cahillites (20-3, 13-0) feature seasoned players who always felt this could be their season. In contrast, the Explorers (18-5, 9-4) are filled with fresh faces stepping into unfamiliar roles.
Roman is led by senior guards Shep Garner and Rashann London. Garner is a Penn State signee who averaged 12.1 points in league play, while London, who is inked with Drexel, led the team at 15.3 per game.
The Cahillites' offensive success is born from balance. In all but one regular-season contest, Roman has had at least three players score in double digits. The lone holdout saw Garner score 10 and junior forward Manny Taylor net 20 in a win against Carroll.
For La Salle, defense is the key. The season began with a brand new starting five and a lineup with one player with double-digit career points in league play.
Junior guard Najee Walls scored 15 points in PCL play last season. However, the headliner for the Explorers is 6-7 junior forward David Krmpotich, who averaged 11.9 points in the regular season.
Krmpotich has led the team in scoring in three of the last four games, including the 38-33 slugfest against an injury-depleted St. Joseph's Prep squad in the quarterfinals.
The Explorers must again slow the game's tempo and rely on their defense to create transition opportunities on offense. The Cahillites can play fast or slow and have a size advantage inside.
The semifinal winners will meet at 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Palestra.
On Twitter: @AceCarterDN