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Men’s College Basketball: After setback, John Pigatti hopes for quick return to South Suburban bench

South Suburban College basketball coach John Pigatti

South Suburban College basketball coach John Pigatti

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Updated: February 18, 2014 6:28AM



John Pigatti is as intense as coaches come on the sidelines. The South Suburban coach knows, though, that might have to change a bit now.

Pigatti suffered what he called a “mini-stroke” Jan. 3 and since has been away from his team.

“I just got released from the hospital (Thursday) and I’m hoping to be cleared to coach Saturday (when the Bulldogs take on Moraine Valley).” Pigatti said.

Pigatti said he’s been advised to calm down during games. “The doctors say I’ve got to settle down and change a few things,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes.”

South Suburban, ranked seventh in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II poll, hasgone 2-1 in Pigatti’s absence, winning at Black Hawk College and Olive Harvey.

The lone loss was an ugly one, a 90-44 rout at the hands of Southeastern (Iowa).

“We hit a bump in the road and played probably the worst game we’ve played since I’ve been here,” Pigatti said. “We know we need to keep improving as a basketball team.”

Pigatti is eager to return to the team.

“I don’t know how my coming back will affect the team,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays itself out. Hopefully we can keep getting better and win games.”

Seeking ‘D’

As St. Xavier’s men’s basketball team continues to pile up the wins and pour on the offense, averaging 95.6 points per game, the Cougars still aren’t satisfied with one aspect of their play.

“Our defense is still lacking,” St. Xavier’s Brad Karp said. “We can’t rely entirely on our offense. There’s going to come a time when we need to count on defense.”

The Cougars (17-2) are in the midst of a 13-game winning streak, but their defense has been lax of late. They allowed 84 points Jan. 8 to Trinity Christian, 85 on Saturday to Indiana-South Bend and weren’t happy with the amount of easy baskets surrendered in Wednesday’s 93-75 win over Purdue-North Central.

“We need to stop middle drives,” guard Jack Krieger said. “We’ve had a problem with that all year. Eventually, we’re going to play the top competition, and if we can’t defend better, we’re going to be in trouble.”

St. Xavier is allowing 77 points per game.

Wolves turn it around

After an up-and-down nonconference slate, Joliet Junior College has won five straight games and is 3-0 in the N4C.

Leon Gray had 26 points Wednesday in the team’s 80-76 win at Triton.

“It is never easy to win at Triton. I thought our guys really battled well,” Joliet coach Joe Kuhn said. “We were able to get four guys in double figures and had really nice contributions from a number of guys.”



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