Powered by a pair of double-double performances from its big men the Slippery Rock men’s basketball team easily dispatched Daemen College on its home court Tuesday night. The Rock won by a 21 point margin, 72-51. This brings SRU’s record to 4-3 and drops the Wildcats to 1-3.
Senior center Cornelius Brown and junior forward Chaquille Pratt both posted double-digit efforts in points and rebounds. Brown scored 19 on 8-13 (61.5 percent) shooting and grabbed 11 boards. Pratt scored 10, shooting 5-11 (45.5 percent) from the floor, and totaled 10 rebounds.
For Brown this is his fifth straight double-double and his sixth on the year, which ranks first in all of Division-II basketball. Brown is averaging a double-double per game with 16.3 points and 12.3 rebounds while Pratt just misses out, averaging 10.1 and 8.0.
SRU head coach Kevin Reynolds said the focus was to take advantage of the size advantage Slippery Rock had over Daemen.
“We always try to work inside out, obviously Cornelius and Chaquille both had double-doubles so anytime we have that from our two front court players it’s good,” Reynolds said. “Plus Erik (Raleigh) did a good job coming off the bench, giving us 16 minutes. We need more of what he did last game. When you look at what our post players were able to do in the game, 35 points and 25 rebounds out of three guys we were in good shape.”
Both teams had a rough first half offensively, as Daemen shot 8-32 (25 percent) from the floor while Slippery Rock shot 13-33 (39.4%). The Rock led 35-21 going into the half. Daemen’s tough game continued as the team only shot 10-28 (35.7 percent) in the second half, in contrast SRU caught fire after halftime, shooting 15-28 (53.6 percent).
Daemen came into the game shooting 28-66 (42.4 percent) from three-point range through its first three games, averaging over 18 points in three-pointers each game. Slippery Rock did a good job defending the perimeter, holding the Wildcats to only 4-23 (17.4 percent) shooting from beyond the arch.
Reynolds was careful not to underestimate Daemen, despite their poor early season record.
“Obviously they’re averaging 80-plus points a game and people don’t realize Daemen had won over 20 games in six-straight years. I thought it would be a good test for us against a team, out of league, that has traditionally been a 20-win program,” Reynolds said. “Our guys did a good job with the defensive game plan. I think one of our biggest strengths of the game was putting the scouting report into the game. We were able to chase the shooters off the three and contest them.”
Senior guard Malcolm Richardson led all scorers with 20 points on 8-15 (53.3 percent) shooting from the field to go along with five assists and grabbed five rebounds. Richardson has led The Green and White in scoring this season, averaging 18.1 points a game.
Other strong performers were senior guard Jamal Gatali and junior guard Juwan Strothers, and Raleigh, a senior forward. Gatali filled up the stat sheet; scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds, having three assists, blocking two shots and racking up one steal. Strothers came in off the bench and scored eight points, hitting two three-pointers. Raleigh scored six off the bench with four rebounds and three blocks.
The Rock led Daemen in second chance points 5-1 on nine offensive rebounds, bench points 17-16, points in the paint 38-22 and in fastbreak points 10-2. Daemen however took advantage of 15 Rock turnovers and led in points off turnovers 16-12.
The Wildcats were led by junior Arif Mehmataj who scored 13 points in the loss.
Thursday will act as a get-away-day when the Slippery Rock men’s basketball team travels east to take on the undefeated 6-0 West Chester University Rams on the road Friday night. The team will then take the short trip to Cheyney University to take on the 1-4 Wolves Saturday.