Starting off its 2015-16 season two weeks ago, the Edinboro men settled for a 2-2 split amidst a four-game home stand to get things started at McComb Fieldhouse.
The Fighting Scots (2-1 PSAC West) began their new campaign with an 80-74 win over Slippery Rock before concluding the home stand with an 80-67 non-conference loss to Lake Erie College.
Hosting Lake Erie College on Nov. 24, Edinboro faced a hot shooting Storm team that notched its second win over a PSAC team in the early portion of this season (77-73 OT win vs Seton Hill on Nov. 19). The Storm, who led 39-30 at halftime, shot 16-of-26 from the floor (61.5 percent) in the opening frame.
“I’m very disappointed in the outcome and I’m disappointed that we didn’t stick to our game plans offensively or defensively,” head coach Pat Cleary said after the contest. “We let a little bit of adversity take us away from what we were trying to do and we were kind of in a scramble mode after that.”
Six minutes into the second half, Lake Erie rode a 7-0 run to balloon its double-digit edge to 16 points. Senior forward Roy Alexander capped the decisive scoring run with a three-pointer with just less than 11 minutes to play.
Lake Erie College would replicate its first-half shooting as the Storm shot an identical 16-of-26 from the floor in the second stanza.
“Our whole goal was to not let them get that hot in the first place,” Cleary said. “I thought if we could get back to what we practiced we’d be in a better situation.”
Senior forward Andy Bosley led all scorers with 24 points along with pulling down seven rebounds for the Storm.
In the loss, senior guard Henri Wade-Chatman scored 21 points to lead the Scots. Wade-Chatman, who put up his season-best 27 points and seven three-pointers in an 88-75 win over Mansfield on Nov. 22, averaged 19.5 points per game in the four game stretch.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Jaymon Mason finished behind Wade-Chatman with 20 points against the Storm.
Mason scored a career-best 39 points with nine rebounds in Edinboro’s 92-82 loss to Kutztown the day prior to the Scots’ bounce back win over Mansfield. Mason, who leads the Scots in scoring this season, averaged 21.3 points per contest during the Scots’ opening four games.
Tommy Scales, who has been Edinboro’s leading rebounder at 8.3 boards per game and the team’s third-highest scorer at 14.8 points per contest, finished with nine points and eight rebounds against the Storm after battling foul trouble that limited him to 26 minutes.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” Cleary said. “I think Tommy, he’s really been very efficient down there, very good with the basketball, and I think there’s still room to grow. I think his best basketball is ahead of him this season.”
Against SRU, Edinboro improved to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the second half after trailing 35-30 at the break. The Scots also knocked down 25 of their 36 second-half free throw attempts after being limited to three attempts in the first frame. The Edinboro bench outscored Slippery Rock 25-3 in the win that snapped a six-game losing skid against Rock.
“It was a PSAC West win,” Cleary simply said. “It’s somebody we’re going to have to see again later in the season and the fact that it was our tipoff game made it more difficult, but it’s the schedule we have. I thought for us to come out and play in the second half that we did, I didn’t think we played very good basketball in the first half. We regrouped at halftime. The guys came out more focused and more as a unit in the second half and we got the outcome that we needed.”
In the following affair against the visiting Golden Bears to get the Scots’ first PSAC crossover underway, Edinboro turned the ball over 15 times while allowing Kutztown to shoot just over 50 percent from the field and make nine treys. Outside of the trio of Wade-Chatman, Mason and Scales, the Scots scored just 13 points.
With a short turnaround, Edinboro bounced back in a big way against the Mounties. The Scots shot 31-of-59 from the floor (52.5 percent) while burying 12 three-pointers. Edinboro also found a 42-29 edge on the glass against Mansfield.
“I was very pleased with the way that we responded Sunday, mentally,” Cleary said. “We were more locked in at walkthrough, we were more locked in when we were on the court. We shared the ball way better. It was just a total 180 of what we did Saturday that made us unsuccessful.”
Edinboro visited Mercyhurst on Tuesday night, after deadline, and then hits the road with its first PSAC East trip to face East Stroudsburg on Dec. 4 with a 7:30 p.m. tip from Koehler Fieldhouse before facing West Chester the next day with a 4:00 p.m. tip at Hollinger Fieldhouse.
Mike Fenner is a Senior Staff Writer for the Spectator. He can be reached via e-mail, email@example.com, or on Twitter, @Fenner_6.