The Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team (5-2) took a four point lead into halftime against Edinboro University (3-3) Wednesday, and never gave it up.
SRU defeated Edinboro 69-65, the third smallest margin of victory for the team this season.
The lead changed three times in the first half, but never in the second half.
“I didn’t think we played a great first half, we shot 27 percent in the first half, which isn’t good,” SRU head coach Kevin Reynolds said. “We didn’t finish the half well. We had ample opportunities to build the lead, and we didn’t do that.”
Defense dictated this game. Both SRU and Edinboro shot low field goal percentages.
The Rock shot 32.4 (22-68) percent from the field, while Edinboro shot 38.1 percent (24-63) from the field. Edinboro shot 42.1 percent (8-19) from behind the three-point-line, while SRU shot 16.7 percent (2-12) from behind the three-point line.
“It was really a typical Slippery Rock game, with defensive rebounding, and that’s been our staple since I’ve been here,” Reynolds said. “The games have been not pretty at times. We held them to 38 percent shooting on the game, out-rebounded them by 15 and shot more free-throws. We missed a lot of shots, and we’re going to work on that in practice.”
Reynolds said Edinboro played good defense, but that SRU just missed open shots.
“We didn’t make a lot of shots around the basket, which isn’t typical of us,” Reynolds said. “We usually make shots around the hoop, but the ball wouldn’t fall in for us. A lot of that is coaching, and we’ve got to make some adjustments. We have to work on more strength and jump training.”
Free-throws were also a problem for both teams.
SRU shot 63.9 percent (23-36) from the free-throw line, and Edinboro shot 47.4 percent (9-19) from the free-throw line.
Edinboro also forced 10 SRU turnovers, while the Rock forced 11.
Both teams were fairly even in blocks and steals.
Edinboro had five blocks and three steals, and SRU had four blocks and three steals.
“We made a lot of tactical errors late in the game, and that’s what kept them in the game,” Reynolds said. “They did a great job of time management, we didn’t do as good of a job. You have to credit them, because they extended the game. They kept putting guys on the free-throw line that were missing them.”
Offensively, both teams struggled to score the ball in the first half.
Edinboro shot 30.0 percent from the field, and SRU wasn’t far behind with 27.8 percent from the field.
The second half only showed improvement for Edinboro, shooting 45.5 percent from the field, and SRU shooting 37.5 percent from the field.
The Green and White was led by senior forward Frank Holloway, who was the only Rock player to score in double figures with 19 points (7-15). He also had eight rebounds.
“We knew he’s capable of what he did yesterday,” Reynolds said. “He was really productive in the minutes he had, and also played very well defensively.”
Junior guard Kelvin Goodwin scored nine points (2-12) to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
Senior guard Antonio Butler had eight points (1-7) to go along with six rebounds, five assists and one steal.
Junior center Cornelius Brown had a team-high nine rebounds to go along with eight points (4-11) and one steal.
Junior guard Malcolm Richardson and sophomore forward Chaquille Pratt both came off the bench and added eight points each. They also contributed 11 rebounds.
Edinboro’s leading scorer was Henri Wade-Chatman, who scored a game-high 25 points (8-20) to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
Edinboro’s only other scorer in double-digits was Jaymon Mason with 12 points (2-5), three rebounds and two assists.
Will Marrow chipped in eight points (3-10), four rebounds and two assists.
The Rock’s next game is against Ohio University (Eastern, 2-2) on Friday at home at 7 p.m. in Morrow Field House.
“We’re going to try some lineups that we haven’t tried before, and get some guys confidence,” Reynolds said. “These games get guys that haven’t played a lot some confidence, so that when we need them, they’re ready.”