By Race Archibald

St. Thomas More used a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to defeat Charleston 69-60 on Monday night in Baker Gym.

The Trojans led 50-45 midway through the fourth quarter when St Thomas More erupted for 12 straight points to take a 57-50 lead. The Sabers hit two 3-pointers and scored layups off steals.

Charleston cut the lead to 65-60 with three minutes remaining, but were unable to score the rest of the way.

Charleston dropped to 8-9 overall, while St Thomas More is now 10-9.

The Trojans did not score during the opening four minutes of the game while St Thomas More established its presence in the paint.

“They came in with a chip on their shoulder and wanted to play,” Charleston coach Brad Oakley said. “They were the more aggressive team, not only at the beginning, but all the way through.”

Part of that aggressiveness inside was led by St Thomas More forward Averi Hughes, who, despite scoring only 6 points, played a large role in the Sabers paint defense, blocking shots and collecting rebounds in traffic.

“My presence is intimidating,” Hughes said multiple times towards his bench, where teammates were fired up after each shot he swatted away.

“After we missed a couple layups, it got in our head,” Oakley said. “Hughes was playing aggressive and physical. He’s a quick leaper and blocked some shots.”

Neither team was able to separate from each other until the end, with the largest lead being seven. Whenever Charleston needed a basket, players looked to Caleb Hurst, who scored a game-high 24 points. Late in the second quarter, Hurst scored or assisted on five straight field goals to give his team a slight lead going into the half.

Isaac Miller also scored in double-figures with 14 points.

St Thomas More had a more balanced offensive attack with four players scoring in double-figures, led by forward David Hubbard with 20, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve won five out of our last six games,” Oakley said. “We moved the ball well, moved bodies well. I didn’t feel like we did that tonight. We were trying to do too much on our own instead of doing it as a team.”

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CHARLESTON (60): Hurst 9 1-1 24, Bell 0 2-2 2, Miller 6 2-2 14, Landrus 4 0-0 8, Bickford 1 4-4 6, Pankey 0 0-0 0. 3-pointers – Hurst 5.