The Saints received 54 points off their bench, received contributions from everybody and opened their campaign with a 92-65 non-conference win over Crossroads College at the Strode Center.
“I think we have a lot of depth on our team,“ said PC coach Jeremy Reigle. “We’re still trying to figure out rotations, but it is nice to see those guys come off the bench and contribute right away. And the guys that came out of the game are still excited for them. Everybody was excited and cared about each other.”
With the Saints holding a 10-8 early in the contest, Riegle’s bench began to take a toll.
Reserves accounted for PC’s next 20 points as the hosts broke the game open.
Damian Salais did the bulk of the damage with 14 points, 12 of those coming on four three-point field goals.
“My teammates gave me a lot of confidence,” Salais said. “I was open and knocked it down.”
Once Salais buried a couple of long-range shots, he had a feeling it might be his night.
“The first two went in, so the next two I just it fly and it sunk in,” Salais said. “But I have to give my teammates (credit) for giving me confidence most of all.”
By the time Salais and his benchmates were done shredding the Knights’ defense, PC owned a 30-16 lead with 9:18 left in the opening half.
Once the starters returned, the Saints went on an 11-1 surge to push the margin to 41-17.
While PC was never in serious trouble the rest of the way, the guests from Rochester, Minn., hung around for a spell in the second half before the Saints went on another scoring binge to put the contest out of reach.
“In order to be a great team we kind of have to step on it and not let up,” Reigle pointed out. “I thought we let up in the second half, so we have to stay on that.”
While his team came close to hitting the century mark in points, Reigle cited a series of charge calls that his team drew on defense that not only lifted team spirit, but also helped energize the offense.
“I think that was big for us, too,” Reigle said of players willing to sacrifice their bodies for the team. “I think that got the bench going, got guys fired up.”
Salais finished with a team-leading 18 points.
When asked if he had ever been in a shooting zone like that before, Salais responded, “Back at home at recreation games.”
Fellow reserve Alonso Dominguez contributed 13 points and two other subs, Nick Gillette and Brendan Goetzinger each added seven.
“Damian kind of got it rolling for us, but everybody stepped up and knocked down some big shots,” Reigle said. “Guys came off the bench and were prepared to play.”
Greg Garrett scored 11 points for PC and Chaz Raymond followed with 10.