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Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor knows Tyler Ulis’ game better than almost anyone.
After the No. 3 Spartans came from behind to beat Benet 89-84 in overtime Friday in Chicago Heights, Taylor detailed exactly why Ulis missed a potential game-winning three at the end of regulation.
After the technical details Taylor just shook his head and said, “He’s human.”
Sometimes Ulis makes that difficult to remember. The Kentucky recruit is a dominant force. There isn’t another player in the state that can calmly lead his squad back from a 20-point deficit against one of the best-coached teams in the state.
Ulis finished with 33 points. He had seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. More importantly, his mere presence allowed his teammates to believe the comeback was possible.
“My team stepped up and played in the second half,” Ulis said. “We just keep fighting, keep fighting.”
John Oliver was Marian Catholic’s best hope to defend Benet’s 6-9 center Sean O’Mara. Oliver, a 6-4 senior, picked up two fouls early and O’Mara had his way in the post. The Xavier-bound senior finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.
“John played his heart out,” Ulis said. “I yelled at him a few times but he played his heart out. We need to do a better job of helping him.”
Benet led 41-21 with 3:16 to play in the second quarter. Ulis drained a three at the halftime buzzer to cut the Redwings’ lead to 44-33.
“When we were able to cut it to 11 at halftime we knew we were in the game,” Ulis said.
Ulis scored 10 in the fourth quarter. He drained a three with 45 seconds to play that completed the comeback, tying the score at 75. It was the biggest shot of the game.
“I reminded Tyler that [Benet] had beat him three times,” Taylor said. “It’s time to get a win.”
O’Mara fouled out with 2:12 left in overtime, essentially ending Benet’s chance to win the game. Marian Catholic senior Terrone Parham (15 points) scored on the play that removed O’Mara. The traditional three-point play made it 80-77 Marian Catholic. The Spartans shot 9-for-10 from the line to seal the win.
Josh Cohn scored 17 and Ki-Jana Crawford, whose steal at the end of regulation helped send the game into overtime, added 16 for Marian Catholic (5-1, 1-0 East Suburban Catholic).
Collin Pellettieri finished with 19 for Benet (6-2, 0-1) and Colin Bonnett added 12 points.