Despite blowing out Ohio University (Eastern) (1-1, 1-0) 95-61 Tuesday evening, Slippery Rock men’s basketball (2-1, 0-0) head coach Kevin Reynolds was unimpressed and disappointed with the play of his team.
“We got a win, but it wasn’t pretty,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t play up to our standards. Poor playing and poor coaching made the game a lot closer than it should’ve been.”
For most coaches, a 34-point win is an amazing thing. It is almost hard to believe that a game in which the team had its season’s best performances in scoring–shooting at 53.5 percent (38-71)–grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds, only turned the ball over a season-best nine times and was one of your seniors best games of his SRU career, any coach would not be proud of those results. Reynolds was not.
Reynolds said that they came into the game the same way they did in their loss to no. 7 Wheeling Jesuit last Friday and it showed in the opening minutes of the game.
“OU Eastern came in and played very hard,” Reynolds said. “ We came in like we did Friday against Wheeling Jesuit with a timid and passive approach.”
Reynolds said that the pregame warm-ups were a poor display of game preparation and it lingered onto the court.
In the opening five minutes of the game, OU Eastern gave The Rock, what looked like an even match. They were tied 13-13 for those opening minutes, until SRU began to play on the level their coach expected of them. The Rock would go on a 33-15 run before the half ended. The lead would never change throughout the game and the gap would only become bigger, resulting in an SRU victory.
While the game wasn’t a nail-biter and lacked the excitement of a contest between two evenly-ranked teams, it did bring attention to senior guard Jordan Marrow.
Marrow made his presence known to his coaches and teammates in their previous win over Shepherd University last Saturday, where he played the most minutes he ever had as a Rock athlete. Reynolds said he had no intention on giving him that amount of time, let alone starting him..
“That wasn’t predetermined,” Reynolds said after the game against Shepherd. “Earlier in the week, would I have said he was going to start at the two? No, but he earned it and he played well.”
Reynolds felt he played well enough to stay in that position against OU Eastern. Marrow would play the best game of his SRU career.
He made 5-8 shots (62.5 percent) from the field, three free throws and a three-pointer for 14 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied a block and a steal. These were all career highs.
Marrow’s role was not always this big, nor did his coaches plan it to be, but Marrow said he has to be ready for anything as a one of the few veterans on the team.
“I just try to stay aggressive and be a leader out there,” Marrow said.
Marrow was one of six players to score at least 10 points. Redshirt junior guards Khyree Wooten and Merdic Green also had 14 points. Senior Naquil Jones, redshirt junior Amir Maddred and redshirt senior George Chase had 13, 11 and 10 points respectively.
Chase and Maddred also contributed seven rebounds, but it was Christal Malalu who controlled the glass with 10 rebounds. Malalu also had six points.
While the scoreboard doesn’t tell it, OU Eastern did not play a bad game. They shot a slightly below average 36.1 percent (26-72) from the field, grabbed 27 rebounds and only turned the ball over nine times. Cody Schau lead OU Eastern with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Reynolds is not impressed with the win especially leading into a weekend on the road against two very good PSAC teams: Shippensburg University (2-0, 0-0) and Kutztown University (1-0, 0-0). He said that his team cannot come out like they did if they want to win these next two games.
“We have to get better this week,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds and The Rock men’s basketball team will spend their weekend traveling across Pennsylvania to play a pair of road games against eastern conference opponents.
They will play the first at Shippensburg on Friday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., and get back on the road to play at Kutztown on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m.