St. Edward’s falls short to St. Mary’s in the battle of the saints


Audrey Cahak / Hilltop Views

Grad student Uche Dibiamka lead all Hilltoppers with 22 points in the Battle of the Saints matchup in Austin.

The St. Edward’s University men’s basketball team lost to St. Mary’s University in their “Battle of the Saints” game on Tuesday, Jan 25. This 85-93 loss puts the Hilltoppers 9-9 in their overall record for the season. 

Leading the Hilltoppers in scoring was graduate transfer Uche Dibiamaka. Dibiamaka scored a total of 22 points for the team, sinking seven field goals, three of which were from beyond the arc. Daniel Venzant played an aggressive game, charging to the net each time he had the ball and scoring the team 19 points. 

The Hilltoppers came out of the gate with quick and easy buckets. The team held an eight-point lead within the first four minutes of the game, heavily assisted by Dibiamaka, which gave the Hilltoppers a two-point lead of 43-41 entering halftime. 

The team was gradually overtaken by St. Mary’s in the second half, however, and in the final minutes of the second half, the Hilltoppers faced an eight-point gap that they just couldn’t close. 

“St. Mary’s is a very old-school team: At their core, they want to get to one side, they want to be tougher than us, and in a lot of points in the game it worked,” Logan Cook said. 

The “Battle of the Saints” basketball game is a part of a larger annual competition amongst the St. Edward’s and St. Mary’s athletics programs. This year, both schools participated in a “Battle of the Saints Giving Challenge,” where fans could donate to each school’s athletic programs and compete to see which school could raise the most money. St. Edward’s won the giving portion but unfortunately couldn’t do the same on the court. 

Though the game was lost, something that was won back was the sense of community from the attendees, as this game drew in a larger crowd than had previously been seen in the last two years. 

“This is my fifth year here, and the last crowd I saw like that was homecoming 2020, and that was a really fun game. That entire year, we were 27-4 until Covid shut down our season, but every home crowd that year was fantastic and helped us get a lot of wins,” Cook said. “I’m glad a couple of the newer guys that their first year was last year — with Covid limiting any kind of attendance — that they were able to experience that … It did help us out there, even if we did fall a little short.”