For most of the game Tuesday night, it looked like the Xavier Saints and Kennedy Cougars should have been sent back to their locker rooms to change into knee socks, short shorts and high-top sneakers.
It looked like basketball from a long time ago, with lots of bumps and bruises and precious few points.
"That was ugly basketball," said Xavier Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. "Competitive basketball, but we set basketball back about 40 years with how ugly that was."
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, and Kennedy was perfectly happy to return to the other end of 42nd Street after trimming the Saints, 50-47, at Xavier.
Xavier made only four baskets in the first half and trailed, 18-16, at intermission. The Saints trailed 31-23 heading into the fourth quarter and it was nearly time to check the record books for futility.
Fortunately, both teams clicked in the fourth period and it became fun to watch. Incredibly, the Saints scored 24 points in the fourth quarter alone after netting only 23 points in the first three periods combined.
"It was a grind," agreed Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen. "Our defense kept us in it. We're starting to defend really well.