Boys Basketball: Marian Catholic quiets Carmel
By Sam Brief For Sun-Times Media February 21, 2014 11:10PM
Marian Catholic’s John Oliver (15) and T.J. Smith battle for the ball with Carmel’s Matthew Kelly. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 23, 2014 2:18AM
During Marian Catholic’s 66-50 win Friday night over Carmel in Mundelein, the Carmel student section repeatedly tried to throw Tyler Ulis off his game, chanting “over-rated” and “five-nine” (mocking his height), among others chants.
After the game, at least 15 Carmel students walked up to Ulis and politely asked for pictures with the Kentucky-bound guard.
A few moments later, a Carmel official approached a group of Marian Catholic coaches, wondering if this spectacle was normal treatment for the Spartans star.
“It’s a circus,” one coach responded.
But Ulis isn’t alone in his act. Marian Catholic (22-2 overall, 7-0 East Suburban Catholic) utilized an all-around effort to pull away from Carmel (23-7, 3-4) in the third quarter in winning its seventh straight.
“We just turned it up defensively (in the second half) and got some steals,” Ulis said. “And then I was just being aggressive. Coach (Mike Taylor) wanted me to come off of the screens and just shoot the ball.”
Led by John George, Carmel came out of the gate strong, leading 22-16 midway through the second quarter. But three-pointers by Ulis and Josh Cohn shifted the momentum to Marian Catholic. The Spartans took hold of that momentum and never looked back. They opened the second half with a 12-4 blitz and ended the third quarter on a 13-6 surge.
“We didn’t control the ball enough,” George said. “We had way too many turnovers in the open court, which led to easy points for them.”
Taylor appreciated his team’s ability to take advantage of its athleticism in the second half.
“Our quickness takes over at some point,” he said. “We didn’t play good defense in the first half, but we were able to wear them down late with some big shots.”
And Ulis is no stranger to big shots. His 26 points came on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. He hit two key step-back threes late in the third quarter to extend the Spartans’ lead to 17.
“He’s pretty incredible; he’s going to Kentucky for a reason,” Carmel coach Tim Bowen said of Ulis, the 24th-ranked prospect in ESPNU’s Top 100. “He’s been that way for four years. That didn’t surprise me (Friday). I don’t think it surprised anyone.”
After shooting 71.4 percent from three-point range, Ulis insisted that he didn’t hear one bit of the Carmel students’ chants.
“I don’t really hear much of it,” he said with a laugh. “It’s funny sometimes, but I just try to keep everything out and zone in on the game.”