College Basketball: Miller lights it up for St. Francis
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media January 5, 2013 9:18PM
Updated: February 7, 2013 6:25AM
University of St. Francis coach John Baines said he challenged guard Chris Miller in front of the team after the Fighting Saints’ leading scorer had back-to-back sub-par games.
“I’m a sophomore, but coach demands a lot out of me,’’ Miller said. “I took it personal. The last couple games I didn’t play how I should have played. I wanted to challenge myself tonight.’’
Miller answered the challenge — and then some. The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012 scored 41 points Saturday to lead St. Francis to a 76-66 victory over Olivet Nazarene at the Sullivan Center.
“He came back from his coach telling him ‘You got outplayed,’ ’’ Baines said. “He came back and did this tonight.’’
The 41 points was the most scored by a St. Francis player in 30 years and equaled the third-highest total in school history.
“After I hit the first couple of shots, I knew I was good,’’ Miller said. “I knew the shot was falling. I just stepped up and shot it with confidence and it kept going in.’’
“I knew he was going to respond, but I didn’t think he’d have 41,’’ Baines said with a smile.
Miller hit 15-of-22 from the field, including 6-of-10 three-pointers. His fifth trey put St. Francis (11-6, 7-4) up for good 60-57 with 7 minutes, 51 seconds to play.
Miller secured the victory by scoring 14 of the Fighting Saints’ final 19 points. The closest Olivet got near the end was 70-64 with four minutes left.
“Olivet is always a tough game,’’ Miller said. “They’re big down low. We knew our guards had to help out as much as possible. I think we all stepped up.’’
Billy Hubly contributed 13 points, Michael Cole grabbed six rebounds and Brian Edwards had two blocks. St. Francis was outrebounded 23-14 in the first half, but had an 18-14 advantage in the second half.
Lockport graduate Jake Boyce had a team-high 18 points for Olivet (7-9, 5-7), which had won four straight over St. Francis.
“Olivet is one of the best programs in this conference always,’’ Baines said. “Beating them for us is a huge step.’’