Casey Teson brought out the best in Jah-Kobe Womack.
Finding the right opponent night in and night out to do that would benefit the Quincy University men's basketball team greatly.
Womack, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, was tasked with guarding Teson, the Maryville senior guard who is the Great Lakes Valley Conference's fourth-leading scorer, in last Thursday night's game and took the assignment to heart. Although the two St. Louis area products knew each other -- Womack graduated from Cardinal Ritter and Teson from St. Charles -- Womack took extra time to watch film of Teson's offensive moves.
"I kind of knew how he played. I really knew his game," Womack said. "I studied his game coming into this one and I knew where he knew he was getting his shots from. I just stayed down and stayed solid."
It got Womack locked in on both ends of the floor.
Teson had just 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field through the game's first 29 minutes. The Hawks led 54-44 with Womack having scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting at that point. Although Teson helped spark a rally that gave the Saints the lead with five minutes to play, Womack helped hold him socreless the final 5:37 as the Hawks escaped Pepsi Arena with a 73-71 victory.
"I'm going to go back to Casey Teson," Womack said. "He made me come out and play on the defensive end. That got me engaged."
He stayed that way, adding an assist and two steals in 36 minutes.
"Coach always says it starts with defense," Womack said. "It gave me more opportunity to pick my head up on offense and stay in attack mode."
It took pressure off the Hawks' other guards and led to a quality night offensively as a team. Quincy shot 49.2 percent from the field, had 13 assists and scored on five of its final six possessions to earn the victory.
"It wasn't pretty at all times, but we got enough stops," QU coach Ryan Hellenthal said. "I thought Jah-Kobe had some great possessions defensively and showed some maturity. He grew up tonight."
Womack followed that effort up with a 19-point effort on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in last Saturday's loss to Missouri-St. Louis. He is averaging 11.2 points per game and has scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games.
Womack will have to lock back in defensively this week as he likely will be tasked with guarding McKendree guard Nate Michael on Thursday night. Michael, a senior, scored a McKendree single-game record 51 points against the Hawks last year at Pepsi Arena.
Tops of the charts
Aziz Fadika's presence on the offensive glass is undeniable.
The 6-foot-7 junior forward who transferred from John Wood Community College grabbed four offensive rebounds and had eight second-chance points as part of a 17-point effort last Saturday against Missouri-St. Louis. That came on the heels of a 12-point, six-rebound effort against Maryville in which he grabbed four offensive rebounds and had six second-chance points.
Fadika ranks No. 1 in the GLVC in offensive rebounds, grabbing 2.72 per game. However, that doesn't put him in the top 50 nationally. Saiquan Johnson of Bowie State leads the country with 5.47 offensive rebounds per game.
Bouncing back from pain
Quincy sophomore Tanner Stuckman took a hard spill last Thursday when he was undercut while going for a rebound just 34 seconds into the second half and landed hard on his tailbone. He stayed down on the Pepsi Arena floor for an extended period and went to the bench for more than five minutes. He checked back in with 14:04 to go and had five points in a nine-minute span of play that helped the Hawks grab the victory.
Saturday, Stuckman played 22 minutes, scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and showed no ill effects of fall.
The Quincy Notre Dame product is averaging 6.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range.