Eldorado boys basketball coach Michael Uzan considers Markeith Floyd his “pressure guy in pressure situations,” especially on defense.
The junior guard justified his coach’s belief Saturday.
Floyd made a steal when his team needed it most and made a free throw with 2.5 seconds left to help seal a 70-67 home win over Cherry Creek (Colo.).
“It was his pressure. That’s something he does really well for us,” Uzan said of the steal. “It’s not his first time doing something like that for us.”
The Bruins (2-2) had a chance to tie or go ahead in the final seconds, but Floyd intercepted a pass intended for a player coming off a double screen near the top of the key.
“I knew the play was coming because they ran it the whole game,” Floyd said. “We’ve been learning how to get around screens. I just tried to deny the ball to the guy who came off the screen.”
After Floyd’s free throw made it 70-67, Cherry Creek’s desperation 3-pointer from beyond halfcourt fell off target as time expired.
Eldorado (3-0) had four double-figure scorers, but defense enabled the Sundevils to overcome an early 13-3 deficit.
“Our defense was just chaos, and they weren’t ready for that,” said Floyd, who scored 11 points. “If it was a halfcourt game, they might have got us, but we sped the game up.”
Senior forward Curtis Stewart had 16 points and nine rebounds for Eldorado. DaQuon Thrower supplied 13 points, four assists and three steals for the Sundevils, and Julian Jacobs added 10 points. Jacobs’ 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer completed a 31-19 run that gave Eldorado a 34-32 lead.
The Sundevils have all five starters back from a team that struggled to an 8-14 record last season. Uzan is impressed with his team’s progress on defense.
“We’ve worked a lot on defense. That’s what we pride ourselves on,” he said. “I want them to play hard, pressure defense and create turnovers.”
Matt Rattner led Cherry Creek with 17 points, and Nick Gauna contributed 16 points and five assists for the Bruins.