Men’s basketball beats Thiel in season opener, Liggins and Coleman dominate

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 at 4:59 PM

On Sunday, the Edinboro men’s basketball team opened their season against Presidents’ Athletic Conference opponent Thiel. The out-of-conference foe went 16-9 last season but couldn’t find a win at McComb Fieldhouse as the Scots topped them, 86-77.

Big performances came from newly acquired transfers Keyshawn Liggins and Anthony Coleman. The two combined for 48 points on over 60 percent shooting (Liggins accounted for 34). 

Thiel showed promise, moving the ball with ease and creating opportunities in an efficient fashion. Their willingness to make the extra pass kept them in the game with a 1.1 assist to turnover ratio. Unfortunately errant passes that weren’t cleanly caught or simply out of range resulted in turnovers, halting them throughout the game.  

The Fighting Scots’ favored an isolation offense, and this is where Liggins found most of his success. The Idaho State transfer had it going from inside and out, working through driving lanes and not shying away from contact. He would shoot over 60 percent from the field, going 9-12 at the free throw line.

After going up by double digits in the first half, the Scots showed promise in their half-court defense, locking down the Thiel offense. Thiel would work their way back into the game, though, as shots that missed the mark earlier on began to fall. Finishing the half in buzzer-beating fashion, the Tomcats banked in a fadeaway three to tie the game, 34-34.

During the second half, Edinboro would implement a 2-2-1 half-court zone press. A press that operates primarily as a trapping defense forced players to the sideline for a double team once they crossed half court.

After initially forcing the Tomcats into multiple turnovers, they would break the press, finding passing lanes through the middle of the press. For 2017’s Presidents Athletic Conference Player of the Year winner Tyreik Burton, that’s when he found his groove.

Burton found his sweet spot in the zone, helping himself to a 10-12 shooting night, six of which came from the 3-point line. Pairing well with Burton in the backcourt was Mert Ozkaynak, who finished with three assists more than the entire Edinboro roster. Ozkaynak also finished in double digits for points, starting his year off with a double-double.

A 3-pointer by Burton closed the gap late as the Tomcats came within one, at 74-73. A group effort for the Scots helped them put the game away as Liggins, Coleman and Mason all chipped in as time ticked away. They would finish the game on a 12-4 run.

Jaymon Mason came into the game as one of the all-time leaders in free throws made for the Scots and surpassed Bryan Theriot for first all-time with 14:07 left in the game. He now has 406 free throws made in his career.

The men’s basketball team will be taking on Millersville and Shippensburg here in Edinboro at the McComb Fieldhouse Saturday and Sunday. 

Mike Lantinen can be reached at

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