Fighting Scots men's hoops victorious in season opener

Category:  Sports
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:19 AM
Fighting Scots men's hoops victorious in season opener by Sam Bohen
Forward Anthony Allen goes up for two points against Thiel. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich

The Edinboro University men’s basketball team got off to a strong start Friday night, defeating Thiel College in the season opener, 95-72.

The Scots were led by senior guard Anthony Coleman, who got off to a hot start and finished with 27 points. An impressive 23 of those came in the first half, where he also grabbed five rebounds.

“We executed very well. Some of those buckets I just walked into because of the play calling,” Coleman said post-game.

The season opener was also his first contest since suffering a season-ending injury just four games into last season.

“It was good to see him get cooking,” Head Coach Pat Cleary said. “We missed him a lot last year.”

While Coleman dazzled offensively, it was the defense of the Fighting Scots that the senior seemed most pleased with.

“We want to make defense our thing this year,” Coleman said. “We could score the last few years, but we weren’t known for defense. This year, we want to stop people.”

That defense forced 22 turnovers and capitalized often, scoring 12 points off those plays. The team also registered eight steals and finished with four blocks.

“That’s big,” said Cleary. The coach continued, touching on other parts of the defensive end. “We wanted to make sure we limited our mistakes, and we wanted to make sure we did a good job on the defensive glass.”

Cleary’s team didn’t disappoint in the latter, out rebounding Thiel on defense and in total.

The starters built up a huge lead thanks to Coleman’s big night, however, he certainly was not the only player contributing. Junior guard Jaryn Simpson put together a stat-stuffing night, finishing with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Big man Trey Staunch threw in 11 points and 6 rebounds of his own.

It was nearly a wire-to-wire win for the Fighting Scots. The only time the team trailed was after the very first bucket of the game, putting Thiel up 2-0. Coleman quickly answered with a 3-pointer, and the Scots never looked back. Their largest lead of the game was 35, which they posted with just over 10 minutes remaining in the second half.

That sizable lead can also be attributed to the energetic involvement the Scots got from their bench. Daylon Harris finished with 10 points. Steven Freeman had 7 and Anthony Allen had 6, including two dunks that brought the crowd back to life in the closing minutes of the game.

Cleary was clearly proud of his team’s total performance.

“We played good, efficient basketball,” he said. “AC (Anthony Coleman) had it cooking, but we still shared the ball. We were doing good things.”

The win brings the Fighting Scots to 1-0 on the season, and the team was thrilled to get the first win at home after waiting all through the offseason for the opening game.

“We were just ready to be out there,” Coleman said. “We worked so hard these last few months. It was a proud day for us.”
Cleary felt similarly to his senior leader.

“It’s always good to start with a ‘W,’” he said. “Hopefully we can get a bunch more.”

The Fighting Scots began a stretch of road games on Nov. 9, first taking on Cleveland State (they lost, 79-54). After that, they go to Roberts Wesleyan College today and Notre Dame College on Monday, before returning to McComb Fieldhouse Nov 23.

Additional Photos:

Alec Ferrari slashes to the basket in the season opener. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich Forward Anthony Allen goes up for two points against Thiel. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich

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