With another road victory under their belts, the Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team clinched either the fourth or fifth seed in the upcoming Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship tournament that starts on Monday.
Senior guard Naquil Jones led the way with 19 points, highlighted by four three-point field goals. Jones has lead the team in scoring this season, averaging 14.1 points per game.
Junior guard Khyree Wooten played all 40 minutes and totaled 15 points, aided by four three-pointers, and five assists and rebounds. Wooten had played the eighth most out of anybody in the conference, having played 905 total minutes this season.
Junior forward Christal Malalu had a double-double on the night, with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Malalu is close to averaging a double-double on the season, with 7.8 points and seven rebounds per game. He ranks ninth in the PSAC with 189 total rebounds.
Malalu’s 12 rebounds helped lead Slippery Rock to a 39-30 advantage on the boards, something the Green and White have been running with all season. On the season, The Rock has out-rebounded opponents 1037 to 781, a 9.5 margin per game.
Junior guard Vinny Laslie added six more rebounds, five of which were offensive, and six points. Junior guard Merdic Green also added six rebounds and four points.
The bench added eight more points and seven rebounds between junior guard Tony Gates and senior forward George Chase.
The Rock fought through its continuous struggle with the free throw line on Wednesday night, where they holistically shot 50 percent.On the season the team is shooting only 66.8 percent from the penalty stripe. Slippery Rock made up that deficit by making eight out eighteen three-pointers, good for an impressive 44 percent.
Slippery Rock’s other season-long struggle, turnovers, was slightly mitigated with only 10, four less than the season average of 14.
Slippery Rock only has one game remaining in the regular season at University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown on Saturday at 3 p.m, where SRU has lost the last two seasons. In order to clinch the four seed for the tournament, which would mean a home game for the first round of the playoffs, Slippery Rock needs to win and also hope for a Mercyhurst loss on Saturday. If either of those scenarios don’t happen, Slippery Rock will be on the road to start the playoffs.