The Slippery Rock men’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead against the University of the District of Columbia and never gave it up.
Slippery Rock (4-3, 1-1 PSAC) defeated UDC, 78-67, in a non-conference clash in Washington, D.C. Sunday afternoon behind one of the most complete performances SRU has put together this season.
An early five-point run, fueled by senior guard Jared Armstrong and forward Will Robinson, Jr., turned into a 12 point halftime lead and UDC could do no more than tread water in the second half, trailing consistently by at least 10 points.
Slippery Rock out-shot, out-rebounded and was more efficient than UDC throughout the game.
Armstrong was the game’s leading scorer, dropping 17 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Robinson recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
A balanced offense, which saw 10 of 11 players step on the court score, shot 44% from the field and 40% from three-point range. Slippery Rock’s defense limited UDC to 40% from the field and just 16% from beyond the arc.
Armstrong and Robinson led the way with nine and five points, respectively, and freshman forward Revelinio Tholel chipped in five points and two rebounds to continue a stretch of strong play.
While Slippery Rock and UDC had similar assist-to-turnover ratios in the first half, SRU dominated on the offensive glass. An 11-2 offensive rebound difference and 25-13 total difference led to second-chance points.
It’s an area that Slippery Rock head coach Ian Grady has said he hoped would improve as the season wore on.
A 39-27 halftime lead would balloon to 18 points midway through the second half, and whenever it appeared that UDC would be pushing itself back into the game, a timely Slippery Rock basket would push the lead back to what it was.
Despite shooting just 29% from beyond the arc in the second half, Slippery Rock connected on 50% of its shots from inside the arc and converted on 13-of-18 free throws.
The stifling defense continued as UDC shot just 39% from the field and 11% from beyond the arc.
Armstrong led the way again with 12 points and three assists. Senior guard Donovan Walker converted his only shot attempt of the second half but was an efficient 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Slippery Rock’s dominance on the offensive boards, converting 17 second-chance points to UDC’s four, allowed SRU to rack up more possessions and wear down the Firebirds’ defense.
Dominating on the offensive glass and distributing the ball, a couple of areas that Grady has stressed this season, ended up being the difference makers. 19 assists on made shots, the most since 21 against Penn State Shenango earlier this season, improved the season average to 11.6 per game, which is still second-worst in the conference.
Slippery Rock coasted to a 78-67 victory behind a night of 47% shooting from the field and 36% shooting from beyond the arc.
Armstrong and Robinson led the way offensively. Walker chipped in nine points and six rebounds and Tholel contributed seven points and six boards.
Freshman forward Lashon Lindsey and junior forward Deontae Robertson provided Slippery Rock with valuable contributions off the bench. Lindsey scored was an efficient 4-for-4 from the field for nine points and grabbed seven rebounds. Robertson chipped in eight points.
With the week off, Slippery Rock will be back in action Saturday in a conference clash against Shepherd on the road.
Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m.