Taylor breaks 1,000: Five players score in double digits; Rock takes over 2nd place in PSAC standings
Senior Devin Taylor scored his tenth double-double of the season on his way to surpassing the 1,000-point mark on Wednesday night, as he led the Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team to a 85-53 win over California University of Pa. at the Convocation Center.
Taylor became the 22nd player in Slippery Rock men’s basketball history to hit the 1,000-point plateau. As of Wednesday night, he has now scored 1,010 points in his three-year career in a Green and White uniform.
“It feels awesome and it’s a great accomplishment for me, but I’m not satisfied with that milestone alone,” Taylor said. “These last couple years at the Rock I’ve learned a lot about hard work and how to fight through adversity, injuries, and ups and downs. I’ve learned how to be a humble player and understand that it’s all about the team. That’s why we are a successful group of athletes. We play hard and we play together!”
Taylor was one of five Slippery Rock players to score double-digits in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matchup with Cal.
Senior forward Gerald Brooks scored 17 points and had five rebounds for SRU. Senior guard Darious Clark also tallied 17 points of his own, while Taylor had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Brooks was named PSAC-West Player of the Week for his performances in last week’s wins over Lock Haven University (94-76) and Edinboro University (70-60).
Brooks averaged 13.5 points and 14 rebounds in the two games last week. He currently ranks second on the team in rebounding and third on the team in scoring.
Senior guard John Bayardelle added 12 points and junior guard Sa’Quan Davis was the fifth double-digit scorer of the night, contributing 11 additional points for the Green and White.
Junior forward Tabari Perry had seven rebounds and senior center Luiz Santos pulled down five boards as well.
With the win on Wednesday night, in addition to Gannon University’s 44-36 loss to Mercyhurst University, Slippery Rock moved into sole possession of second place in the PSAC-Western Division.
SRU won the third consecutive game of the season and improved to 18-6 overall and 15-5 in conference play.
California fell to 10-14 overall, and 9-11 in PSAC action. They are currently sixth place in the conference standings.
The Rock also assured at least one home game in the PSAC tournament starting in March, which hasn’t happened since 2009 for the team.
The top two teams in the conference standings will earn a first-round bye and host a game on March 5.
The third and fourth place teams in the PSAC also host a home game on March 2, with the winners advancing to play the quarterfinal game on March 5 against the top two teams.
“Having a home game in the tourney is a great opportunity for us,” Bayardelle said. “We have awesome support from our crowd and our home record definitely reflects that.”
The Green and White controlled the game from the start on Wednesday night, scoring the first seven points of the matchup.
SRU had a 35-15 lead with 3:30 left in the first half and scored the final four points to take a 24-point, 45-21, advantage at the half over the Vulcans.
They took a large 39-point, 81-42 lead with six minutes to play in the game before crusing to the easy PSAC victory.
The Rock made 48 percent (33 of 69) from the field, 36 percent (8 of 22) from behind the 3-point line, and 79 percent (11 of 14) from the charity stripe.
Once again, the Green and White outrebounded their opponents, 51-25. They have outrebounded teams 23 out of 24 games this winter.
SRU and Cal each had 10 turnovers apiece.
Slippery Rock will host Indiana University of Pa. (0-4, 16-4) on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Morrow Fieldhouse in their Senior Day “White-Out” game. The Crimson Hawks are currently one game ahead of the Rock in the conference standings.
Bayardelle, Brooks, Clark, Taylor, Santos, and Aubin Reeves will recognized at the final home game of the regular season.
The Rock ladies will play IUP before the mens game at 1 p.m.
The Green and White will close out the regular season games next Wednesday evening at Gannon (20-6, 14-6). The Golden Knights are currently in third place and sit one game behind the Rock.
With wins over IUP and Gannon, the Green and White would secure a first-round bye in the tourney and be in the position to host the final-four competition at Morrow Fieldhouse.