Defense seems to be the key to Slippery Rock men’s basketball’s success as it defeated the California Vulcans 57-48 Wednesday night.
Rock head coach Kevin Reynolds said he is very happy with the team’s defensive performances over the last four games.
“The guys are doing a good job scouting the other team beforehand,” Reynolds said. “Defensively, they play well as a unit. Whoever we put out there is ready.”
In its last four games, The Rock has not allowed any of its opponents to shoot over 40 percent from the field. SRU held Cal to a 31.1 percent shooting percentage and only allowed two three pointers on 12 attempts.
The Green and White also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Vulcans 38 to 32. 13 of The Rock’s rebounds came from redshirt senior center Cornelius Brown.
Brown’s team-high in rebounds also came with a 19-point outing that tied for a team high with senior guard Malcolm Richardson. It was his 11th double-double of the season. After a rough performance against Seton Hill the game before, Reynolds said Brown did a good job bouncing back.
“It was a great job by him making personal adjustments,” Reynolds said. “He was much more aggressive.”
Senior guard Jamal Gatali and redshirt-senior guard Abdul King each supplied five rebounds of their own.
Vulcans senior forward Richard Smith led Cal’s effort with 14 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Tony Richardson and senior guard Khalil Jabbie each had five rebounds of their own and add eight and seven points respectively.
The Rock is wrapping up the regular season with only four games left. Tied for sixth in the conference with Seton Hill, every game counts for them to earn the opportunity to make the conference tournament.
“The top six are going to the conference tournament,” Reynolds said. “At minimum, we want to win enough to make the tournament, but our ultimate goal is to sweep the rest of the season and hopefully get a home court advantage.”
SRU’s biggest test will come in its next game against conference leader Indiana University, Pa. on Saturday at 7 pm.