The Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team (11-12, 7-10 in PSAC) paid a visit Saturday night to Indiana (Pa.) and the almost-nine-year-old Kovalchick Complex, a setting in which The Green and White haven’t ever won in. The Rock bowed to the Crimson Hawks (19-2, 14-2), 96-60, in its worst loss since losing by 44 to West Liberty University in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Identically to the first meeting between the archrivals, IUP led wire-to-wire. Having already reserved themselves a seat at the postseason table, the Crimson Hawks were recovering from having their nine-game winning streak broken by their second loss of the season, which came a week earlier on the road at Mercyhurst.
To say the least, the first half wasn’t pretty. Less than ten minutes in, the Crimson Hawks held a 15-point advantage. By the time buzzer called for intermission, Slippery Rock had only half of what IUP posted on the scoreboard, a 56-28 deficit.
Slippery Rock was successful from behind the three-point line, hitting seven. However, the team couldn’t convert but one shot from inside the arc in the first 20 minutes. The Rock gifted the ball away 17 times during that same span, contributing to 33 points off of turnovers for Indiana.
In all, for the third time in four games, Slippery Rock shot worse than 35% from the field. The team’s 26 turnovers were its most this year. The Crimson Hawks bullied SRU in the paint, outscoring The Rock 36-10 from that range. The 26-point margin tied for the most Slippery Rock has trailed in that department this season.
The Crimson Hawks’ productive pair of guards, senior Malik Miller and redshirt sophomore Armoni Foster, combined for a total of 46 points, almost half of the team’s total. Freshman forward Ethan Porterfield added another 19 points.
Redshirt senior forward Micah Till paced Slippery Rock in scoring, pouring in 24 points. The two-time All-PSAC West honoree also pulled down five rebounds and stole three basketballs. Sophomore guard Amante Britt scored 15 points of his own and assisted three baskets more. Senior guard Jared Armstrong tallied 5 assists and 8 points off of the bench.
The Rock will return to the comforts of Morrow Field House for a pair of contests this week, the first of which coming Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Pitt-Johnstown, who have gone 7-2 in away play this season and 19-5 overall.