The Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team kicked off the season by beating the United States Naval Academy 79-56 on Sunday afternoon in the first of two Division I exhibition action games.
The Green and White led the game from the beginning, going on a big 20-7 run right before intermission, taking a 41-20 lead at the half.
The largest lead of the game came with 13:21 to play, when the Rock led Navy by 30 points.
Leading Slippery Rock to the victory was junior forward Tabari Perry with 18 points and six rebounds.
Senior guard John Bayardelle scored 14 points, senior forward Devin Taylor had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and senior center Luiz Santos added 10 points, 10 boards, and two blocks to compliment Perry’s efforts.
The Rock ended the game with a 52% shooting efficiency from the field, sinking 29% (5-17) from behind the arc, and making 62% (16-26) free throws.
Slippery Rock outrebounded Navy, hitting the boards 47-42, but had a higher turnover ratio, 16-13.
“It feels really awesome beating a Division I team,” Taylor said. “It always feels good to get a win against any team at any level though. There is a lot of experience on the team this year, and we go into each game with high expectations for ourselves.”
Perry agrees with Taylor, and he looks forward to what the team will accomplish this season.
“It was a good win for us and I’m really exciting to see that we can compete at the Division I level,” Perry said. “I am eager to see how the rest of the season goes for us. I hope to lead the team to a PSAC Championship, and I will continue to work hard in games and practice each and every day.”
SRU travels to the University of Michigan today to take on the Wolverines at 8:30 p.m. in the second preseason game against Division I competition.
“I am so excited to play at Michigan today, but I get excited for every game on our schedule,” Taylor said. “This is what college basketball is all about. I can’t wait! It should be a great experience for us, win or lose.”
Perry said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to play against two big-name schools.
“It’s always been my dream to play against a Division I team in an exciting Division I environment,” Perry said. “I expect it to be a nicely played, but hard and highly competitive game for us.”
The season will officially open up for the Green and White on November 13 on the road at Ohio Valley University, in West Virginia.
Their first home game will be on November 19 against La Roche College. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.