Bald Eagles struggle shooting in loss to SRU

LOCK HAVEN — After opening this season with five straight games away from home, coach Mike Nestor’s Bald Eagles finally made their return to Thomas Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, hoping that some good home cooking would result in a win.

After opening PSAC play with a loss to IUP and a win over Seton Hill, Nestor was hoping that the momentum from the win over Seton Hill would carry them in their home opener against Slippery Rock, but it didn’t happen.

Instead, the Bald Eagles came out on the short end of a 69-52 contest that wasn’t exactly pretty.

Following the game, Nestor was simply shaking his head as he looked at the final stats that had his team shooting a meager 26 percent, while getting out-rebounded 62-27.

“I am just disappointed in everything today,” said Nestor. “I just didn’t think we brought our ‘A’ effort. That is upsetting because after being on the road, we have been looking forward to this home game. We had a decent crowd and as for not bringing our ‘A’ effort, that is something we have to continue to work on.”

Amir Hinton gave the Bald Eagles the first lead in the game with a thundering slam dunk, but for the next eight minutes, Slippery Rock went on a 14-2 run to open a 14-4 lead.

Not to run away and hide, the Bald Eagles answered the call with a 19-9 run of their own to cut the deficit to 23-21 before Slippery Rock extended its advantage to 33-30 at the break.

LHU cut the SRU lead to one early in the second half when Hinton led the parade to the charity stripe, but again, Slippery Rock picked up the intensity on both ends of the floor with a 16-5 run for a 51-39 lead and they never looked back.

“Twenty-two offensive rebounds, we shot 15 of 57 from the field and there is not a game in the world you are going to win when you play that way,” Nestor said. “Our halftime speech was really simple and easy today. It was rebound plus transition plus making layups and you win. In the end, we just never got that going.”

Lack of balance in scorebook hurt the Bald Eagles as Hinton and Ra’eese Hunt led the way with 15 points each, while the rest of the team combined for only 22 points.

“Honestly basketball is a simple game,” said Nestor. “Today was a simple game against a good team. If we rebounded the ball well, we would beat them. And if we didn’t, they would beat us pretty easily and it showed.”

SLIPPERY ROCK 69,

LOCK HAVEN 52

Slippery Rock (5-2, 1-2 PSAC)

Micah Till 5-11 8-8 18; Khyree Wooten 5-12 1-2 13; Brandon Simmons 3-5 1-2 7; Gabe Mack 2-9 1-2 6; Richard Bivens 3-5 0-0 6; Aaron McDonald 2-4 0-0 5; Tony Gates 2-9 0-0 5; Christal Malalu 2-2 1-1 5; Merdic Green 2-8 0-2 4; De’Shae Lee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-65 12-17 69.

Lock Haven (2-4, 1-2 PSAC)

Amir Hinton 4-14 7-10 15; Ra’eese Hunt 5-16 4-8 15; Matt Cerruti 2-4 3-3 7; Jihad Barnes 1-4 4-7 6; Alsmith Saintilius 2-3 2-2 6; Marques Jackson 1-6 0-0 2; Jordan Neely 0-0 1-2 1; Scott Brown Jr 0-1 0-0 0; Christian Kelly 0-7 0-1 0; Jesse McPherson 0-0 0-2 0; Justin Henry 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 15-57 21-35 52.

Halftime: SRU, 33-30. 3-point goals: SRU 5-24 (Wooten 2-6; Mack 1-6; Gates 1-5; McDonald 1-3; Green 0-1; Till 0-3), LHU 1-10 (Hunt 1-1; Cerruti 0-1; Saintilius 0-1; Jackson 0-1; Kelly 0-2; Henry 0-1; Hinton 0-3). Fouled out: SRU-Malalu, LHU-none. Rebounds: SRU 62 (Till 13), LHU 27 (Barnes 6). Assists: SRU 12 (Mack 5), LHU 3 (McPherson 1; Cerruti 1; Barnes 1). Total fouls: SRU 27, LHU 16. Technical fouls: SRU-Gates; Team 3; LHU-McPherson. A: 207.

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