By Ann Brunn
The men’s basketball team won its season opener by a score of 93-51 against Misericordia University in Dallas, Penn., on Nov. 12.
With just under 12 minutes to play in the first half, the Lions had built themselves a 25-12 lead.
Senior forward Mike Walley made a layup to make the score 14-7, followed by senior guard Randy Walko, who converted from inside the paint and then connected on a jumper to stretch the lead to 18-9.
A three-pointer from sophomore guard Sterling White, along with a layup from senior forward Ryan Jensen, gave the Lions a 13-point advantage.
The Lions took a 47-27 lead into halftime, courtesy of a Walko layup and three-pointer that extended the lead to 42-21. Jensen and junior forward Travis Jocelyn added a pair of free throws to swell the lead to 20.
Opening the second half on a 12-0 run, the Lions did not take their feet off the gas pedal. Back-to-back Walko baskets with a Walley three-pointer ignited the scoring run.
Shortly after, Jocelyn and Walko each hit layups, and then sophomore center Danny Bodine sent in a dunk.
Senior guard Tommy Egan connected from behind the arc to put the Lions’ lead at 64-33 with 15:25 left to play.
The team maintained control for the rest of the game and cruised to its first victory of the season.
Walko led all scorers, posting 31 points on the night by shooting 13 of 16 from the field and grabbing seven rebounds. Jensen had 14 points on five of eight from the floor. Jocelyn followed with 13 points and eight rebounds. Walley was the fourth player in double figures, tallying 11 points on the evening.
As a whole, the Lions shot 51.4 percent, 34 for 64 from the floor, and collected 21 assists. They also had the advantage in the paint, scoring 40 of their 93 points down low and holding Misericordia to 16 points in the post.
Later, on Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17, the Lions played in the Drew University Rose City Tip-Off Classic. They were edged 88-81 by Hamilton College in the first game on Saturday.
The first half consisted of a back-and-forth scoring affair with neither team being able to establish a lead. This was until Hamilton took a 28-21 lead with nine minutes left to play.
The Lions countered with a 10-0 run to regain a three-point lead. Walley jump-started the rally with a steal and found Walko for the breakaway dunk. Jensen followed with a three-pointer and a layup, while White capped off the scoring run by connecting from three-point land to give the Lions a 31-28 lead.
Walko converted the old-fashioned three-point play moments before the half ended, as he was fouled on a fast break layup and made the free throw. The Lions held a 38-36 advantage going into the locker room.
Both teams were trading baskets with just under seven minutes to play in the game. After a Hamilton three-pointer, Jensen hit a pair of foul shots and Jocelyn made a layup to put the Lions on top 66-65 with six minutes left to play.
However, Hamilton was able to regain control for the rest of the game, taking a 78-71 lead into the final minute of play.
Walko led all Lions’ scorers with 24 points and nine rebounds. Jensen notched his first double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds while also collecting two blocks. Jocelyn added 21 points, while White scored nine points and added four rebounds, as Bodine contributed eight points.
The Lions faced off against The College at Old Westbury in the consolation game of the Tip-Off Classic, winning by a score of 84-69 and moving to 2-1 on the season.
Old Westbury jumped out to an 11-10 lead five minutes into the game, but the Lions countered by going on a 19-10 run with the help of some Jocelyn baskets in the paint, followed by an Egan three pointer that gave them a 29-21 lead.
With five minutes to play in the first half, Egan got a steal and kicked it ahead to White, who connected for the layup. Freshman forward Jim Clemente stretched the lead to 42-30. At the half, the Lions were in control 47-35.
The Lions came out of halftime firing on all cylinders. Junior guard PJ Ringel stole the ball from Old Westbury and made the outlet pass to Jocelyn, who converted the fast break layup.
The Lions’ biggest lead of the game came off a Walley three-pointer with 16:38 to play, making the lead 58-38. By controlling the tempo for the rest of the game, the Lions picked up their second win of the season.