Cardinals outshoot Bloodhounds in OT, 71-67

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It was hard not to know when York sophomore Roberto Tapia was in the game Saturday. That’s because whenever the Cardinals’ sharp-shooting guard was in, John Jay men’s basketball coach Guy Rancourt called him out.

But he didn’t say, “Hey, look out for Tapia” or “Guard No. 21.” He instead referred to Tapia by just one name: “Shooter.”

“Who’s got Shooter, watch out for Shooter, Shooter’s in,” Rancourt would yell at the Bloodhounds.

They heard him, but they just couldn’t do anything about it.

Tapia, a former Campus Magnet standout from Queens Village, scored a game-high 20 points, including 4-of-7 from three-point range to lead the Cardinals to a 71-67 overtime win over CUNYAC rival John Jay at York.

“Most coaches say that about me because I shoot a lot from outside,” Tapia said. “I have my teammates set up screens for me and that’s why I can come around picks and hit the open shot.”

In overtime, Tapia proved he is not just one-dimensional. Sure he knocked down a big three-pointer to break a 61-61 tie, but he also had a key steal with 18.3 seconds left. Tapia sunk both free throws to give York a 70-67 lead.

“When he goes, we definitely go,” York coach Ron St. John said of Tapia. “He is such a good offensive player that you just want him to be better defensively.”

Defensively, St. John said, is where the mental breakdowns are for the Cardinals. And anyone who wanted an example of that needed just to watch the final four seconds of regulation.

York (8-9, 4-2) had a chance to wrap the game up in the final seconds by just making its free throws, but the Cardinals went 2-of-4 in the last 11.3 seconds.

Following a made free throw by Donell Singletary putting the Cardinals ahead 60-58 with 4.4 seconds left, John Jay’s Edmund Scott caught David Myrie’s long inbound pass by half court and drove straight to the hole for the tying layup with 0.6 seconds left in the game.

As both teams convened at their benches before the start of overtime, Tapia’s thoughts flashed back to last year’s game against John Jay, when the Bloodhounds stole a game from the Cardinals on their home court.

“They came here last year and beat us and I didn’t want that to happen again,” he said. “We played tough and stayed with it.”

St. John recalled a similar scenario just four days earlier on Staten Island when a 12-point second half lead evaporated into a 65-62 loss at the College of Staten Island.

The Cardinals saw a 66-63 overtime lead against John Jay (10-6, 2-4) turn into a one-point deficit on Scott’s three-point lead on an alley-oop from Tim White with 1:03 left in the extra session.

But instead of wilting, the Cardinals rallied. Shawn Simms, a junior guard from Jamaica who had just four points, drained a 16-foot jumper to give York a 68-67 lead with 36.9 seconds left.

“I thought we could have cracked, but Shawn hit a big shot and we didn’t back down on the other end,” St. John said. “We were determined not to let it go to another overtime or to lose the game. I like that we won this close game because it gives us character, which is something we’re going to need heading into the CUNYAC championsh­ips.”

In addition to Tapia’s 20 points, Jason Daniel added 16 points and four assists and Dwayne Uriri chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds as York improved its shot selection in the second half after struggling late in the first half against the Bloodhounds’ zone.

The Cardinals led 26-18, but didn’t score a point in the final four minutes as John Jay rallied to tie the game at the break. John Jay was led by White, who scored 13 points and was one of four players to score in double figures. Myrie had 12 points, Scott added 10 points and Howard Hutchinson chipped in 10 points.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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