Averaging 94 points per game, the Lycoming College men's basketball team knew it could score plenty of points coming into Tuesday night as it opened the MAC Commonwealth Conference season against Elizabethtown. But scoring points hasn't be the issue for Lycoming this year. Stopping points, however, has been a different story.
After allowing 98 points or more in each of its last two outings, Lycoming needed a solid defensive performance if it was going to edge the Blue Jays and earn its first inner-conference victory last night. Luckily for the Warriors, that is exactly what their defense provided, as they allowed the second-lowest amount points that they have so far this season, and went on to beat Elizabethtown, 101-87, Tuesday night at Lamade Gym.
"It's the first test, the first litmus that will allow us to judge where we are at as far as winning the conference goes," Lycoming head coach Guy Rancourt said.
"Elizabethtown is one of the most structured teams we are going to face all season. They run their offense very well, and they are very aggressive," said Rancourt. "They did shoot 50 percent from the floor, but for as good of a team as they are, I was happy with that."
Lycoming contained the Blue Jays by playing an aggressive style of defense, which helped them pull down 20 defensive rebounds, block 5 shots and nab 5 steals.
Offensively, the Warriors overwhelmed Elizabethtown by playing the same post-oriented brand of basketball that helped them start the season 2-0 before falling to rival Susquehanna last week.
"Last week we just got so far away from attacking the basket and feeding the post that we became unbalanced," Rancourt said. "We were too guard-oriented against Susquehanna, and we had a balanced attack out there tonight."
The Warriors were so balanced, in fact, that four different players saw double-digit scoring efforts, and Lycoming shot 66 percent from the field, its highest of the season.
Senior forward Kevin Anthony scored the bulk of Lyco's points, with 26. He shot 9-for-10 on field goals, and also added another 8 points from the line.
Patrick Dougher provided Lycoming with a spark from the perimeter, as the junior guard hit 7 three-pointers, and scored a season-high 23 points on the night.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates for driving and getting penetration," Dougher said. "Everybody was penetrating and finding me open on the wings, and that brought a lot of open shots."
Rancourt was happy to see Dougher return to form after seeing him struggle a little bit in the early going of the season.
"When it was a big game in conference play, he made the big shots that he has made for us his whole career," he said. "I am happy to see he is back on track."
Dougher said that winning a tough, physical game against a conference opponent was just the thing that Lycoming needed, as it will allow it to better prepare for the rest of the season.
"We are going to learn from the experience and keep getting better game by game," Dougher said.
ELIZABETHTOWN (2-3, 0-1 CC)
Will Schlosser 7-10 5-5 24; Lee Eckert 9-12 2-5 20; Andrew Mantz 5-8 2-5 12; Phil Wenger 4-10 3-4 12; Joe Bodnar 4-6 0-0 11; Tyler Simpkiss 2-6 0-0 5; Cory Stoltz 1-6 0-0 2; Matt Ziegler 0-1 1-2 1; Jake Sweger 0-0 0-0 0; Tommy James 0-2 0-0 0; Tyler Warner 0-0 0-0 0; Evan Hathaway 0-2 0-0 0; Ryan Borzager 0-1 0-0 0; Matt Lane 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-64 13-21 87.
LYCOMING (3-1, 1-0 CC)
Kevin Anthony 9-10 8-11 26; Patrick Dougher 7-10 2-2 23; Justin Miller 5-7 4-8 14; Malcolm Covington 3-7 2-4 10; Jourdan Wilson 1-1 6-8 8; Michael Rudy 2-5 0-0 6; William Wingate 2-2 1-2 5; Andy Abreu 0-1 3-4 3; John Monkam 1-2 1-1 3; Rob Pillow 1-1 0-0 3; Armani Taylor 0-1 0-0 0; Eric Ishman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-47 27-40 101.
Halftime: Lycoming, 46-34. 3-point goals--Elizabethtown 10-20 (Schlosser 5-6; Bodnar 3-5; Wenger 1-2; Simpkiss 1-3; Hathaway 0-2; Stoltz 0-2), Lycoming 12-15 (Dougher 7-9; Rudy 2-2; Covington 2-2; Pillow 1-1; Taylor 0-1). Fouled out-Mantz. Rebounds--Elizabethtown 28 (Eckert 8), Lycoming 29 (Miller 6; Rudy 6). Assists--Elizabethtown 21 (Wenger 5), Lycoming 22 (Covington 9). Total fouls--Elizabethtown 28, Lycoming 22. Technical fouls- Wingate. A-186