FROSTBURG - Will Bowers made outside shots and ruled the lane, Rudy Gay pitched in with some bone-rattling dunks and Jesse Brooks did almost anything he wanted.
Simply put, No. 8 Spalding overwhelmed DeMatha.
Bowers scored a game-high 21 points and Brooks added 10 points and eight assists as Spalding recovered from a slow start for a 68-39 victory over DeMatha in the first round of the 43rd Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament last night at Frostburg State.
The Cavaliers advanced to tonight's semifinal against St. Joseph Prep (Pa.), a 93-47 winner over Bishop Walsh. St. Joseph Prep, which improved to 26-1, is considered by many to be the tournament's best.
But Spalding (26-6) gave a performance yesterday that will be hard to top. The Cavaliers shot 54 percent from the field (20-for-37) - including going 7-for-11 on three-pointers - and controlled the game for the last three quarters in recording their first victory ever over the Stags.
The Stags had 18 points in the first 10 minutes, but Spalding switched from a man-to-man to a 1-2-2 with a tall player up top that stopped DeMatha from sending the ball inside.
After that, the Stags stuck mostly to outside shots and didn't hit many. They finished only 11 of 37 from the field and hit only 11 of 21 free throws. They also missed nine of 11 free throws.
"That was our best overall team performance of the year," Bowers said. "It was just great."
He led an offense that DeMatha couldn't stop. The 7-foot center, who's headed for Maryland next season, hit a three-pointer from the deep corner early and several high-percentage shots down low, shaking off DeMatha double-teams throughout.
"He was just great," Spalding coach Mike Glick said. "He did everything tonight."
Point guard Brooks helped the Cavaliers find shots inside and outside, and they pretty much dictated play after a slow start left them trailing, 18-17, early in the second period.
Tim Brackney (12 points) made four three-pointers to open up DeMatha's defense. Gay fnished with eight points, including some dunks that brought the crowd to its feet.
Spalding broke the game open with a 26-4 run that gave it a 43-22 lead midway through the third quarter.
Mamadi Diane led the Stags with 18 points.
S-Bowers 13, Brackney 12, Brooks 10, Douglas 2, Durr 5, Galinat 5, Gay 8, Latonick 3, Sullivan 2. Totals 20 7-10 68. D-Henry 2, Green 10, Dickerson 1, Diane 18, Danley 6, Adedeji 2. Totals 11 11-21 39. Half: S, 32-20.