Lyco men struggle to get easy points

When a team’s offensive scheme is built around attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line, failing to do either of those things can prove detrimental to their cause.

On Tuesday, that was the story for the Lycoming men’s basketball team, as the Warriors fell to rival Susquehanna, 99-84, ending a would-be five-game winning streak over the Crusaders in the 101st matchup between the two schools.

Over its previous two games, Lycoming showed that its a team that wants to beat opponents in the paint and draw a lot of fouls. With players like Kevin Anthony, Michael Rudy and Justin Miller, the Warriors had little issue with that leading into Tuesday’s contest, having made it to the line 76 times while scoring 51 points during last weekend’s tip-off tournament.

But against Susquehanna, Lycoming only made it to the line nine times, and scored just four points.

“We made them beat us with jump shots, which is what I had hoped for coming in,” Susquehanna head coach Frank Marcinek said.

“One thing I didn’t want was a parade to the free throw line, like they did on Saturday. We really wanted to avoid that.”

Susquehanna’s ability to avoid contact at the post helped shift the game to the perimeter, which played right into its hands.

After being down by as many as 11 points midway through the first half, Susquehanna shifted the game’s momentum by the time the teams entered their locker rooms at halftime, tying the score at 42 after a Steve Weidlich 3-pointer.

“We have some pretty good guards, and when you have good guards you can kind of handle some of that stuff,” Marcinek said. “I thought they did a great job of withstanding Lycoming’s first-half run.”

Once in a shootout, the Crusaders looked to sophomore guard Brandon Hedley to take over the game, and he rewarded them for their confidence.

Hedley, who is the reigning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year, scored 25 points and drained five three-pointers, while adding seven assists and four steals against the Warriors. He was a handful for Lycoming’s defense and proved to be the catalyst of Susquehanna’s comeback.

“Brandon Hedley is a very, very good player,” Rancourt said. “He is an outstanding shooter, makes good decisions, takes care of the ball. He’s outstanding.”

Overall, the Crusaders shot 32-for-62, and hit 11 of their 20 three-point field goals.

“Any time a team shoots 50-percent from three-point range on you, you are going to have a tough time winning a basketball game,” Rancourt said.

Lycoming’s bright spot offensively was the play of senior forward Michael Rudy, who went 10-19 from the field and scored 25 points.

Rancourt said that the silver-lining in his team’s loss is that now they know where their glaring needs are.

“The fact that we have been good enough to outscore some teams has hidden the fact that we need to address some defensive issues,” he said. “The ray of light, if anything, is that we know what we need to address coming into conference play.”