SRU outshot, out-rebounded and scored more efficiently than Seton Hill University, en route to their third straight win on Saturday.
The White and Green’s big three, Maceo Austin, Jomo Goings and Ike Herster, were at the center of the scoring yet again. The trio combined for 52 of their squad’s 77 points to solidify the final at 77-55.
Herster led the way during the afternoon affair with 21 points, shooting 100% on four attempts from the free throw line and going three for six from the three-point line.
Goings scored at the highest clip with a team-high 63.6 field goal percentage only bested by Griffins forward Kedrick Curtis.
Austin was an offensive catalyst on top of his 12 points. The graduate student guard added eight rebounds and six assists which were both team highs.
SRU head coach Ian Grady emphasized how big those latter numbers are in terms of team success.
“We have a few key stats that we talk about pretty much every day, going into each game, regardless of the opponent and rebounding is one of them,” Grady said. “It’s a big emphasis for us. We think that if we rebound well to a certain level, ultimately it increases our likelihood of winning the game.”
The White and Green had 44 rebounds to the Griffins’ 26. Goal met.
Seton Hill came in with the most three-point attempts in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) but in the bottom half of the conference in three-point shooting percentage.
“We put an emphasis on who the shooters were and who we needed to keep from getting in rhythm. Ryan Meis and Sean Dillon and those guys, we knew that they were good shooters, and Jimmy Moon. We wanted to run those guys off the line and give them no clean looks,” Grady said.
The plan worked. The Griffins were shooting 34% from the three-point line, sitting at number 10 in the PSAC in that stat, and The Rock held them to just 17.4%.
“Going into today’s game, that was one of the key pieces of the game plan,” Grady said.
Meanwhile, Slippery Rock improved on their 31.2% three-point percentage by shooting 37.5% for three on the way to a 43.5% field goal percentage.
The Rock has a higher field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage than their opponent in this one. That number will translate to a lot of wins.
“We’ve got good shooters and good players and they understand how to attack the zone. I wanted to be aggressive against it and they stepped up and knocked them down,” Grady said.
With the win, SRU moves to 9-6 in PSAC play, improving their dominant home record to 9-1 and advancing to 11-10 overall.
Conference record is the most important, and this game helped Slippery Rock gain footing on their current fourth-place standing in the PSAC-West. It is also important for the team to be above .500 overall this far into the season.
“We had a slow start, we were on the road, we had a lot of new faces on the team. We’re battle-tested, we took some lumps early and to their credit they’ve stayed positive and they’ve really practiced and gelled,” Grady said. “When you hit adversity it’s easy to give up and quit and our guys did not do that and now it’s paying dividends for us.”
The win was another building block for a squad building momentum toward a potential PSAC tournament berth.
“We’re seeing all the potential of the team right now starting to come together,” Grady said.
Rock men’s basketball is back in action next Saturday at 3 p.m. at California University (Pa.)’s Convocation Center.