By Matthew Snyder
With 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter on Tuesday night against visiting Galileo, University senior guard James Burton received a difficult inbound pass deep in the left corner of the Lions’ half.
Off-balance and seemingly out of room to maneuver, Burton instead swept past a defender with a quick dribble, toed the baseline and found forward Jack Gale open for an 8-foot jumper, which the junior hit as the buzzer sounded to cap off a 26-5 first quarter for the Red Devils on the way to a comfortable 72-45 victory.
The impressive sequence perfectly summed up University’s first quarter, in which they could do little wrong. The Red Devils (4-0) shot 63 percent from the floor in the opening frame and overwhelmed Galileo (2-2) with their trapping full-court pressure defense. The Lions committed 12 of their 20 total turnovers in the first half.
“[We had] good energy, good focus and that’s really reflective of the fact that we have an experienced group,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “[For] most of our core group, this is their third year on varsity and I think that type of experience really stands out early in the season, and it was the primary reason we were able to jump out on Galileo so well early in the game.”
Bessolo’s starting five (Harold Getz, Chris Mah, David Medoff, Will Carroll and James Burton) — all seniors — combined for 55 points. Medoff led the way with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including four three-pointers.
“We’re always aiming to get out to a fast start,” Medoff said. “Galileo really just focused on taking away our attack. They congested the middle, so when they take away something, they give us something else. They gave us the outside shots and we took what they gave us . . . We started out shooting well in the first half.”
University shot 49 percent from the field overall and doled out 15 assists, led by five from Gale. University turned the ball over 19 times, including 11 in the second half, when the game got sloppy in stages.
Galileo head coach Jeremy Lee said his team seemed “shell-shocked” by University’s intensity and pressure to start the game.
“If you don’t come out with the right frame of mind and the right intensity, any team can really put the nail in the coffin right from the beginning,” Lee said. “But we can take a lot away from this game. It really opened our eyes to some of the holes that we have.”
David Medoff – 18
Chris Mah – 13
James Burton – 11
Will Carroll – 8
Jack Gale – 8
Chris Lee – 9
Brion Gregerson – 8
Ken Rivera – 8
Tony Tan – 7
Isaac Armstrong – 6