Men’s basketball unable to overcome first half deficit

Published by adviser, Author: Brian Hepfinger - Sports Editor, Date: February 19, 2015
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The No. 6 ranked Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team (18-8 overall, 13-7 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) ended their three game winning-streak with a loss to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (21-5 overall, 15-5 PSAC) Wednesday.

IUP won the game 69-61, despite SRU outscoring the Crimson Hawks in the second half.

The Rock went into halftime trailing IUP 32-22. SRU shot just 27.6 percent (8-29) in the first half, while IUP shot 52 percent (13-25) from the field.

“We played hard and we were happy with how hard we played, but we didn’t play with detail,” SRU head coach Kevin Reynolds said. “You have to have a combination of both those things: playing hard and detail. We were happy with the energy and effort we put out on the court, but the detail wasn’t up to our standards.”

The second half didn’t see much improvement shooting wise for the Rock. They improved their field goal percentage to 34.9 percent (15-43), which allowed them to outscore IUP, but it never gave them the lead.

“We were down 21, and against a team of IUP’s caliber, that’s a pretty muddy task,” Reynolds said. “The guys didn’t give up. We had three possessions where we could’ve cut it to three, but we just didn’t convert. The guys gave good effort and fought till the final horn.”

Overall, neither team shot over 47 percent for the game. One positive aspect for the Rock is their dominance in the rebounding category. They’re currently the number one rebounding team in the country, and they out-rebounded IUP 43-38 on Wednesday. This game had low amounts of turnovers for each team, with SRU having eight and IUP having nine.

“We got shots and we only turned the ball over eight times, so we were happy with that,” Reynolds said. “In a game that was 67 possessions, we had a lot of shots around the hoop, they just didn’t fall in. From an offensive standpoint, we weren’t really frustrated.”

The Rock was led by their leading scorer, senior guard Antonio Butler, who had 23 points (8-19), four rebounds, two assists and one steal.

The only other SRU player with double-digit scoring was junior guard Malcolm Richardson with 18 points (6-19), eight rebounds, one assist and two steals. Senior forward Frank Holloway scored five points (2-13) and had eight rebounds and one assists.

Reynolds said the fact that two players carried the offense isn’t concerning.

“On different days it’s different players for us,” Reynolds said. “We did a good job as a team of finding the hot guys. Other guys just couldn’t find the mark in the game, but it was good that we were at least finding those guys.”

IUP’s high-scorer was Devante Chance with 23 points (8-18), five rebounds and seven assists. IUP, like SRU, had only two players score in double-digits. Along with Chance, Brandon Norfleet scored 20 points (8-13) and had one rebound and three assists. Devon Cottrell grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Green and White’s next game is against Clarion University (9-15 overall, 6-14 PSAC) in Clarion, Pennsylvania on Sunday.

“We need to get back to playing our style of defense,” Reynolds. “The communication and attention to detail over the next two days is going to be of paramount importance. We also have to realize that we’re sixth in the region and they take the top eight teams.”

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