By Pat Leonard
For the Inquirer
Archbishop Carroll defeated visiting Malvern Prep Saturday night, and D.J. Irving and Juan’ya Green did, too.
While the Patriots, ranked No. 6 in Southeastern Pa. by the Inquirer, overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to win, 57-49, at the Kobe Bryant/Philly.com/Rally Classic, Irving and Green combined for 51 points, two more than the overwhelmed Friars (15-4).
“Believe it or not, our scouting reporting was to challenge both of those kids on every shot that they had,” Malvern Prep coach Jim Rullo said.
The senior guard Irving scored 25 points, dished three assists and shot 7-of-8 from the foul line. Green, a junior forward, matched him with a game-high 26 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
The duo was so dominant that Carroll (12-2) had just one other scorer, senior guard Anthony Butler (six points).
“I knew we were struggling to get a balance of scorers out there,” Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said. “I didn’t know that it was only three.”
The Patriots outscored Malvern Prep 20-8 in the game’s pivotal third quarter.
Irving sank a three-pointer at the 2:15 mark of the quarter to pull Carroll within two at 40-38. Then he cashed in again from deep at 1:45 to give the Patriots the lead for good.
Green had eight points in the third quarter and 15 in the second half.
“Once D.J. gets going,” Green said, “it just kind of builds my confidence and motivates me to work harder.”
“Anthony Butler off the bench gave us a lot of energy,” Irving said of his team’s only other scorer. “He got a lot of loose balls, and we just picked it up from there.”
Malvern Prep junior forward DeQuann Walker had a team-high 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals. His Friars had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter, down 45-43 with four minutes remaining.
But Malvern junior forward Lamon Church (six points, five assists) missed the front end of a crucial one-and-one, and Green cashed in on his ensuing trip to the line to stretch Carroll’s lead back to four.
Green and Irving were a combined 12-of-14 from the line in the final quarter, and 17-of-20 for the game.
“When you break down on defense against good teams like that and good players like that, they hurt you,” Rullo said.
Malvern trailed 20-19 with 4:30 to play in the first half before going on a 12-4 run to end the half. Malvern junior forward Tracy Peal scored 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter, as the primary recipient of most of Church’s assists.
“We got away from getting the ball inside, which was definitely a focus to continue to do that because we had such success with it in the second quarter,” Rullo said.
After starting the season on a roll, the Friars have lost two of their last three – including a 38-34 overtime defeat to Chestnut Hill on Wednesday.
“We’re playing the best teams in the city, and we’re not doing anything wrong,” Rullo said. “Our challenge is just to play 32 minutes. When you look at our first half, it was pretty impressive. But unfortunately there’s another 16 minutes to play.”
Carroll, on the other hand, since losing to No. 1-ranked Neumann-Goretti on Jan. 15th, now has won four straight. And they’ll take a win regardless of how many players fill the stat sheet.
“I’m not worried about who puts the ball in the hole,” Romanczuk said, “as long as it happens more than the other team does it.”