Holt had impressive back-to-back performances last week, both in conference matchups. On the strength of those outings the junior guard was named the school’s Student-Athlete of the Week.
His first showing took place on Wednesday night in Spokane, Washington against the ninth-ranked Gonzaga University Bulldogs. With 15 second-half points, Holt, a Filipino American from Portland whose parents were in the stands watching, helped trim a 20-point deficit all the way down to one before the Gaels eventually succumbed to their West Coast Conference brethren 83-78. He finished the game with 25 points on 9-14 shooting, pulled down 3 rebounds and had one steal.
The second game of note came three days later on Saturday January 12 versus conference rivals the University of San Francisco Dons. Holt was one of four players that scored in double digits for the Gaels, who prevailed in a tighter than expected home contest 78-72. In 36 minutes, he ended up with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
During the two games, Holt shot a combined 14 for 25 (56%) from the field even though he was subpar from past the three-point stripe, going 4 for 12 (33%). Holt has struggled on a number of different levels during the first half of the regular season. He sat out four games - a span of almost three weeks - with a bruised knee. He's also had trouble finding his shot.
Holt was a preseason pick for the all-West Coast Conference team, chosen to finish alongside teammate and senior leader Matthew Dellavedova. But the 6-foot-4 combo guard, who in his first two years at Moraga garnered a reputation as a defensive stopper, will have difficulty getting the nod over Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos.
In 15 games Holt has shot 43-percent from the field and averaged 34-percent from 3-point range. According to Gaels head coach Randy Bennett, it was a welcome sight to see Holt bring his “A” game.
“I was proud of Stephen (Holt),” Bennett said afterwards. “He stepped up, showed a little leadership and played well.”
Last season, Holt shot just under 50-percent from the field and was near the top of the conference leaders in steals and had over a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
After Wednesday’s 70-69 win at Brigham Young, in which Holt scored 22 points and grabbed 5 rebounds the Gaels regular season record now stands at 14-4.
It was the sixth time in seven games that four Gaels players had scored in double digits.
Saturday, the Gaels travel to Holt’s hometown for a 7:30 PM game against the University of Portland Pilots. For the past two years, Holt’s parents have hosted a team dinner.He said that everyone on the team at that time raved about his mom’s versions of the traditional Filipino dishes, Lumpia and Adobo. (NvW)
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As I See It
By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO
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