Marist senior guard Mike Mahoney ran onto the court at the United Center for warm-ups at the annual Griffin Callahan Classic on Jan. 15 and tried to take it all in.
Jordan, Pippen, Rose, six NBA championships—he knew it all.
However, Mahoney knew he couldn’t let such sports history distract him while playing in that NBA landmark. He had to treat it like any other game.
Hitting 4 3-pointers and finishing with 18 points overall, Mahoney paced Marist in a 57-46 win over rival St. Rita at the United Center.
“My mindset was to act like I’m back at Marist shooting; shoot like it’s your backyard almost,” Mahoney said with a smile. “This is huge. I’ve been waiting for this for four years. To do it in an atmosphere like this at the UC, it definitely means a lot.”
The Griffin Callahan Classic honors now-deceased Marist alumni Jimmy Griffin (2005) and Jack Callahan (2009). St. Rita had won the last three showdowns, two in overtime and two with buzzer-beaters.
It was Marist’s first win in the Classic since 2016.
“It’s huge. We look forward to this game a lot,” said junior guard Alex Knight. “I’ve been to every loss we had against Rita, and watching them hold up the trophy, that built up a fire in me. I wanted to come out and get the win with our guys.”
Knight finished with 15 points and 3 assists for the RedHawks.
Early on, Mahoney drilled a wing 3 off a Knight pass and then connected on another long jumper as Marist went up 14-4 in the first.
He added a corner 3 to close the first half at 24-18 and swished a wing 3 early in the fourth to make it 38-33.
“It was my teammates getting me the ball,” Mahoney said. “They were driving, and Alex was getting me good shots. I spotted up and shot.”
With St. Rita clawing to within 2 points at 33-31 early in the fourth, Knight (Beverly, Sutherland) delivered.
Catching a pass on the wing, an open Knight could have launched a 3-pointer but opted to take a quick dribble in and pull up from 18 feet.
His midrange jumper swished, and Marist regained control.
“My midrange game is something that I’ve been working on a lot this year,” Knight said. “Stepping in on that one dribble pull-up is really comfortable for me. It was a better look.”
The 6’1” junior guard soaked in the energy of playing at the United Center, especially after growing up watching his favorite player, Derrick Rose, star for the Bulls.
“D-Rose is the player I model my game after,” Knight said. “It’s crazy to be able to play on the same court as him and legends like Jordan and Pippen. It’s a blessing.”
Holding off a St. Rita charge, Marist hit 13 of 16 free throws in the fourth.
Also contributing for the RedHawks were senior Brendan Barry (7 points, 6 rebounds) and juniors Josh Morris (7 points) and Jabari Hill (5 points, 11 rebounds).
Leading St. Rita were seniors Alec Millender (15 points) and Kevin Murney (9 points, 5 rebounds) and junior Christian Henry (7 points).
Marist is in the midst of a tough stretch on its schedule, and Marist Coach Tim Trendel said he hopes the four-quarter effort on an NBA court will boost his team’s confidence.
“Hopefully, it catapults us into the second half of the season,” Trendel said. “We want to play four quarters like we did today. Guys stepped up, took charges, got rebounds, the little things we haven’t always done. They see it and maybe start to believe.”