The Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team (1-2) recorded their first win of the season in demanding fashion Wednesday night as they defeated Carlow University (1-5) 108-70.
The Rock was led by a dominating performance by junior guard Jared Armstrong. Armstrong recorded a season-high 38 points, shooting 16 for 17 from the field, with two rebounds while also forcing a pair of turnovers.
Armstrong said he could tell he was going to have a good game early on.
“After the first couple of baskets, I knew I had it working,” said Armstrong, quietly. “From there on, I was confident that as long as I could get the shot off, the ball was going in.”
Armstrong’s 38 points in a single-game are fourth in SRU men’s basketball program history, according to Rock Athletics.
The Green and White didn’t seem threatened by the Celtics at any point in the game as they jumped out to a 48-25 lead heading into halftime.
The Rock offense continued to dominate the Celtics over the course of the second half, putting up 60 points in the process.
Despite The Rock continually dominating offensively throughout the course of the game, Rock acting head coach Ian Grady said his team stopped playing defense at times throughout the second half.
“We put up 100 points, which is great,” Grady said. “But there were times where we gave up easy points to [Carlow] and those are things we have to correct moving forward.”
Redshirt junior forward Micah Till followed Armstrong’s 38 points with 21 of his own while also shooting eight for 13 from the field and collected nine rebounds.
Senior center Julius Palmer recorded eight points of his own, which included a number of slam dunks.
“A slam dunk is only two points,” Grady said. “But they sure do help the crowd get more involved so it sometimes can be worth a little bit more.”
At this point in the season, there is a focus on putting the men in different lineups to see where they fit under different circumstances, Grady said.
“Every guy that we have dressed out there on the court has a big role to play,” Grady said. “Even the guys who are redshirting or are injured have a role to play for us. From myself and the other coaches, to all the managers, to all the players, everyone plays a big part and we want to stress a ‘team-together’ type philosophy.”
Armstrong said he was pleased with how his team was able to come into the first home game of the season and set the tone early on.
“We were coming off two weekend losses,” Armstrong explained. “We didn’t play bad, as we faced two really good teams and competed down to the buzzer. But it was nice to be able to come in off of what the weekend taught us and get the win tonight.”
Wednesday’s game was the first win for Grady as acting head coach. Grady took over on Nov. 2 after head coach Kevin Reynolds was placed on administrative leave for reasons not made clear by the university. Grady simply said getting his first career win “felt good.”
“It’s coaching from a different perspective—from assistant coach to head coach,” Grady said. “I’m proud of the team and thanked them after the game.”
The Rock will look for their second straight win as they take on the University of the District of Columbia on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Morrow Field House.