Rock men’s basketball (2-3, 0-2) head coach Kevin Reynolds took the blame for his team’s subpar performance over the weekend that resulted in losses to Shippensburg University (4-0, 2-0) and Kutztown University (4-0, 2-0) in The Rock’s first glimpse of conference play this season.
“We did a poor job as coaches getting the guys prepared for the weekend,” Reynolds said. “With this many new guys that we have, we just didn’t get them ready for conference play.”
Ship and Kutztown are two of five teams in the PSAC East that are currently undefeated in the conference. Luckily for Reynolds, his team is in the West and only has one undefeated.
Despite the records of the Western conference, Reynolds feels if his team continues to play this way, they will struggle to try to beat any team in the conference. He said every game to come needs to be better than the weekend.
“Like the old saying says, we better see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it better not be a train coming in our direction,” Reynolds said. “We got to get better. It’s as simple as that.”
This weekend Shippensburg and Kutztown were in control of the train and ran right through SRU.
On Friday, The Rock played Shippensburg. It was a close game through the first half as they were tied 28-28 at the end of the first, but the Raiders came out in the second to outscore The Rock 40-20. SRU would lose 68-48.
SRU shot 39.3 percent (19-48) from the field and outrebounded the raiders 33-31, but could not protect the ball. The Green and White turned the ball over 17 times which resulted in 21 points for Ship.
The next day wasn’t much better. SRU traveled even further east to take on Kutztown. In the Rock’s 88-69 loss to the Golden Bears, they turned the ball over 22 times. Turnovers have been one of the biggest problems for SRU this season. The Rock is tied for third in the conference with 83 turnovers this season in just 5 games.
SRU looked like they came in the opening minutes of the game, but that run would end quickly. Kutztown went on 40-16 run in the last 14 minutes of the half to create a 49-27 lead that would never be overcome. The final score was 88-69.
Despite two back-to-back disappointing losses, one player stuck out in each game.
“It’s tough to say one guy had a great day when we lost by 20 and 18, but Merdic (Green) played hard,” Reynolds said. “He played at a high level.”
The redshirt junior guard had 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks against Shippensburg, and repeated another double figure outing scoring 14 points and grabbing 4 rebounds against the Golden Bears.
Other notable Rock performance was by Naquil Jones. Jones had 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists against the Golden Bears on Saturday.
The Raiders’ junior forward Dustin Sleva had a double-double in Friday’s contest. He had a game-highs 20 points and 11 rebounds.
On Saturday, sophomore forward Dan Cuevas was the lead scorer for the Golden Bears with 19 points.
The Rock is back at home this week to take on a tough University of D.C. team on Wednesday, November 25 at 2:00 p.m.
If they want a shot at winning, Reynolds knows that they can not play the way they did this past weekend, against a team that they barely beat in an overtime victory in the previous season.
“We know UDC is going to want some revenge on us,” Reynolds said. “We better be ready to play, because if we are not, they will pop us too.”