Bouncing back from a loss two weeks ago, the Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team won two games in a row last weekend against Bloomsburg University on Saturday and Mansfield University on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Rock beat the Bloomsburg Huskies 84-66 to earn their first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference game of the season.
Junior forward Tabari Perry led Slippery Rock with a career-high 24 point and season-high 12 rebound performance.
Junior guard Sa’Quan Davis scored a season-high 16 points, senior forward Devin Taylor added 12 points and eight rebounds, and senior guard Aubin Reeves contributed 10 points and dished out five assists for the Rock.
The Rock had a 10-point (25-15) lead with ten minutes to play in the first half. The largest lead of the first half came at intermission when SRU led 45-26.
With five minutes to play, the Rock took the largest lead of the game with a 82-52 lead.
The 84 points they scored on Saturday was the Rock’s highest scoring game of the season.
SRU ended the game shooting 43 percent (31-72) in field-goal attempts, 38 percent (7-18) in 3-pointers, and 83 percent (15-18) from the foul line.
The Green and White outrebounded the Huskies 41-33, and had 12 turnovers compared to Bloomsburg’s 21.
One of the most impressive statistics from Saturday’s game is that Slippery Rock held Preseason All-PSAC-East selection Dontahe Jordan to only five points and four rebounds in the game.
Taylor said that it was a team effort to shut Jordan down on Saturday.
“Tabari (Perry) and I guarded him, but the team played great help defense,” Taylor said. “On the switches, we had good communication and made it difficult for Jordan to get going. It was a great team effort for us.”
Bloomsburg’s record fell to 2-3 overall.
Slippery Rock kept the winning attitude on Sunday, defeating Mansfield 78-69 and improving their record to 2-0 in the conference.
Senior guard Darious Clark cashed in five 3-point shots and scored 17 points to lead the Rock to victory.
Clark contributes his success from behind the 3-point line to dedicated preseason work.
“I put in a lot of extra time to work on being able to have a quick enough release to get a comfortable shot over a defender,” Clark said.
Taylor scored 14 points and had a team-high 12 rebounds, Perry chipped in 14 markers, senior guard John Bayardelle contributed 13 points, and Davis added 11 points in the winning effort.
After scoring six of the first nine points of the game, the Rock played catch-up for the rest of the first half, as Mansfield went on a 12-0 run to take a 15-6 lead with 15 minutes to play in the first half.
SRU fought back with a 6-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to 15-12.
Mansfield took a 41-32 lead heading into halftime.
Coming back from intermission, the Rock went on a 11-2 run to tie the score at 43-43 with 16:30 on the clock.
Clark says that the energy that the team came out the second half with was the game-changer for the team.
For the remainder of the game, the score was tied on four other occasions and the lead changed 13 times before Clark scored a 3-pointer to put them up 70-68. The Rock outscored the Mounties 11-1 in the final minutes of the game to secure the win.
SRU finished the game with a 41 percent (28-69) efficiency from the floor, 32 percent (8-25) from behind the arc, and 67 percent (14-21) of its free throws.
The Rock was outrebounded for the first time this season, 43-42, but had less turnovers with 12 compared to the Mountaineers’ 17. Mansfield fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in PSAC action.
Davis stepped up greatly this weekend, scoring double digits in both games.
“It feels good to help contribute to the team win. That’s what I came here for, to help out the team,” Davis said. “This is only the beginning of something special for me this year. I hope to do a lot more as the season progresses.”
The Rock’s season record now stands at 4-1 overall. The Green and White will travel to Clarion University tomorrow for a 7:30 p.m. game. They will return home on Dec. 18 for a game against West Chester University. This will tip-off three consecutive home games for Slippery Rock.