TRAVERSE CITY — With Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio on hand to watch Spartan recruit Byron Bullough on the hardwood, it was Noah Phillips who stole the show.
Not that Bullough wasn’t a standout. The senior forward/linebacker had 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a 76-65 win over Charlevoix.
Phillips, meanwhile, matched his season-high with 31 points, adding 10 rebounds and three blocks in the process.
And both were in foul trouble for stretches of the game, making their production that much more impressive.
More importantly, it was a win for the Glads, who are now 2-5 and 1-4 in Lake Michigan Conference action.
“It was a good win for us,” Phillips said. “It’s always good to win against Charlevoix, with coach coming from there. We always try to get a win for him.”
Fourth-year St. Francis coach Keith Haske improved to 7-1 against his former team.
“It’s just nice to win,” Haske said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit to get over the top. I really was impressed with Noah Phillips early in the game. He played like he’s capable of. Seeing him throw down a couple times is good for his confidence.”
Phillips scored the game’s first 12 points, including a steal at midcourt that turned into a one-handed dunk at the other end. A put-back 4:53 into the game made it Phillips 12, Charlevoix four. Another dunk in the first quarter’s final minute — this one a two-hander off one of Lance Anderson’s four assists — made it 22-12.
“They were all falling for me,” said Phillips, who has offers from Siena Heights and Aquinas and is visiting several other schools later this year. “(Last Friday) was kind of rough for me. It was good to finally see them fall.”
St. Francis would ride that wave to a 40-31 halftime lead and survive a third quarter played for long stretches without either Bullough or Phillips due to foul trouble. The Rayders would pull as close as five on a Justin Pearl driving lay-up midway through the third with both Gladiator stars on the bench.