The Chi Alpha Cavaliers held off a tremendous rally from the Zeta Chi Tornadoes to win their basketball game 64-61 on Monday, Feb. 18.

Coming into the game, Cavs coach and senior Zach Bruce was focused on his team’s defense. “We’ve played excellent defense as of late, and I’ve been pleased with the intensity,” he said.

The Cavs got off to a good start as sophomore guard Caleb Ketler hit a 3-pointer for an early lead. Back-to-back buckets by sophomore forward Robert Troutman put the Cavs up 17-7. Another three by junior guard Matt Ashley made it 22-8.

Zeta Chi’s offense struggled, scoring only a single point in nine minutes until sophomore guard Mark Osorio converted a driving layup with five minutes remaining in the first half.

The introduction of senior guard Josh Baun gave Zeta Chi the spark they had been lacking. Senior forward Andrew Cline scored on two straight possessions for Z to cut the score to 23-14.

But the Cavs pulled away again and led 32-21 at halftime. Bruce knew he had to keep his team focused. “At halftime I just told them to play like they were down and keep up the intensity,” he said.

Zeta Chi came out with renewed effort in the second half, and a big 3-pointer by Baun closed the gap to six points. A clutch three from Zeta Chi’s sophomore guard Phil Shiver brought the score to 40-37, with barely 14 minutes to play.

Several Tornadoes players got into foul trouble, and the Cavs extended their lead to 10 points when Ketler drained a step-back 3-pointer.

Baun answered again with a gutsy drive, swishing a 3-pointer and closing the game to 62-58 late in the second half.

But after Ashley missed his free throws for the Cavs, Z had the ball with 11 seconds left trailing by three. As the clock wound down, the Cavs’ defense clenched the win, forcing Baun to take a long 3-pointer that went long off the back of the rim.