The Slippery Rock University men’s basketball team knocked off the Clarion Golden Eagles 79-65 in the opening night of the Pennyslvania State Athletic Conference-West season at Morrow Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. The win was SRU’s third consecutive victory.
Senior Maurice Lewis Briggs posted 21 points and 11 rebounds, senior Tabari Perry scored 20 points and had 11 boards, and junior Kelvin Dixon added 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Rock (3-1), (1-0 PSAC) with “double-double” performances.
Senior Josh Martin also contributed 16 points and five assists for SRU. Senior Sa’Quan Davis ran the point and dished out four assists.
With the loss, Clarion fell to 1-1 and 0-1 in the conference.
Clarion’s Darius Stevens led the visitors with 23 points and 10 rebounds. DeMarius Miller also had 11 points for the Golden Eagles.
The win on Wednesday marks head coach Kevin Reynolds’ 100th victory at the reins for the Green and White. Reynolds now stands at 100-52 in just five years and four games into his sixth season at Slippery Rock.
While this an exciting milestone to hit, a very humble Coach Reynolds emphasized that it took a team effort to reach this accomplishment.
“The focus has always been the team, never on the individual,” Reynolds said. “Whenever you win a lot of games, it’s accredited to two things- good players and great coaches. We’ve been lucky to have both. We also have a great support group here at Slippery Rock in fans, administrators, and trainers.”
During the first half on Wednesday, the score was tied eight times and the lead changed 10 times. The scored remained close during the first twenty minutes, and Clarion held a slight 35-34 edge at halftime.
“We were nervous before the game. Clarion is an improved and dangerous team this year,” Reynolds said.
Coming back from the half, SRU had an offensive surge and outscored the Golden Eagles 32-15 within the first 11 minutes to take control of the game from then on out.
The hosts improved from shooting an icy 35 percent in the first half to making 56 percent of their shots in the second half. Overall, the Rock shot 46 percent (30-66) from the field, 38 percent (8-21) from three-point range, and 73 percent (11-15) from the charity stripe.
The Green and White held a 53-32 rebounding advantage in the game, however had 19 turnovers compared to Clarion’s nine.
The Rock will travel to PSAC-West rival California University on Saturday before hosting a three-game homestretch starting on Sunday against Ohio University Eastern.
“(Wednesday) was really a must-win for us. We hate to say that three games into the season, but we really looked at it as that,” Reynolds said. “Our next game is at Cal-U, which we know is going to be another tough game.”