Small improvements not enough for LHU men

LOCK HAVEN — On the heels of a disastrous showing by his team in a loss to Slippery Rock 24 hours earlier, Lock Haven University men’s basketball coach Mike Nestor was looking for improvements from his players when they entertained Edinboro.

Although his club played better in several areas, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide as they fell 68-64 to the Fighting Scots on Sunday afternoon at Thomas Fieldhouse.

“Offensive rebounding is still a major factor for us. We are giving up way too many offensive rebounds.,” said Nestor. “Eighteen on the night is why you lose games. I think our half-court defense is good because keeping teams under 40 percent field goal shooting, getting stops and forcing them into very tough shots very late in the shot clock are positives. But when you give up second and third chances it is just a back-breaker. It takes so much out of you.”

Shooting the ball and moving to get better balance in scoring are works in the progress, but they are improving.

“Us shooting under 40 percent (39.4) is not good, but a bright spot was that Amir Hinton got it going which is nice to see,” said Nestor. “We need that, but we just have to continue to look for other guys to score to give us more balance.”

Hinton led all scorers in the game with 30 points, but Ra’eese Hunt was the only other Bald Eagle to notch doubles with 10 points. Jihad Barnes showed better energy with five boards and nine points, while freshman Matt Cerruti stepped up with seven boards and eight points.

“They (Barnes and Cerruti) are getting shots, and although some of them are good looks, they are just not falling for them,” said Nestor. “We just have to find some guys who can consistently make shots. We had about three or four good looks in a row and came away with nothing. We have to do better than that.”

After a tie at 10-all, the Scots took advantage of LHU’s inability to convert on the offensive end as they manufactured a 19-6 run for a 29-16 lead with seven minutes left in the opening half.

Accepting the challenge, the Bald Eagles put together a run (13-3) of their own to cut the Boro lead to 32-29 before the Scots scored the final five points of the half to take a 37-29 lead to the locker room at the break.

Boro steadily scored until they pushed their advantage back to double digits midway through the second half before LHU again cut the Boro lead, this time to seven with five minutes left.

Not to run and hide, the Bald Eagles made things interesting as they pressed and turned Boro over down the stretch to cut their deficit to four with 8.8 seconds left before they simply ran out of time.

“The one thing I want to get through this weekend is that mentally we have to bring more energy in practice and in our games from the start,” said Nestor. “You can’t go down fifteen and then turn it on all the time. That is a hundred percent on me as a coach which means I have to do a better job in practice.”