Team still looking to break record losing streak

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 8:00 PM

The Edinboro men’s basketball team lost at home against California University of Pennsylvania on Feb. 15, 93-67. The loss brings the Scots to 5-17 on the season, including 2-16 in PSAC play. California snapped a two-game losing streak and clinched a spot in the PSAC postseason tournament with the win.

The Vulcans came out of the gate red hot, hitting four 3-pointers in the early going and jumping out to a 12-5 lead. Edinboro, in their home whites, wouldn’t let things get out of control early on, answering with an Anthony Coleman three and a jam via Anthony Allen. However, California controlled the tempo of the game, pushing the ball relentlessly every chance they got, which would prove problematic for the Scots. 

“We wanted to slow them down and not let them mess up our rhythm,” said junior guard Jaryn Simpson. “Unfortunately for us, that didn’t work today.”

Part of Edinboro’s problem came from the fact that California simply wasn’t missing much of anything in the first half, or on the day, finishing the contest shooting over 40 percent as a team. After ‘Boro would tighten the lead at 27-22, the Vulcans closed the half outscoring the Scots 23-8, pushing the lead to 50-30. 

In the first half, California hit 11 shots from beyond the arc.

“It was very frustrating seeing all those shots go down,” Simpson said. “At half, they told us it was 11 threes, and we knew we needed to cut that off in the second half. Ultimately, I think it was our rotations in the first half; we were just slow.”

The Vulcans were able to take advantage of the mentioned slow rotations, seeming to always make the extra pass necessary to turn a good shot into a great shot. ‘Boro would also try to counter the fast-paced offense by switching to a zone defense with under 10 minutes to play in the first.

The maestro of the Vulcans’ up-tempo attack was point guard Brent Pegram, who finished with 30 points on the day and held tight to his claim as the PSAC’s third-leading scorer. Pegram would also finish with eight assists, eight rebounds and six steals. Everywhere the Scots looked Saturday afternoon, Pegram was there. 

“We tried to keep the ball out of Brent’s hands,” said Simpson, who was, at times, charged with guarding the star. “If he passed, we tried not to let him get it back. But they kept finding ways to get it to him and he certainly made it hard on us.”

Simpson was one of three Fighting Scots to finish with 12 points, joined by Coleman and Trey Staunch. Five Scots in total, including Steven Freeman and Alex Jay, would end up in double figures on the night. Simpson would also finish with six rebounds, four assists and two steals of his own. 

Edinboro would put up a fight in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring six consecutive points and cutting the lead to 50-36. However, that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the game. To the Scots’ credit, they did cut down the 3-point shooting of the Vulcans, holding California to only two made shots from beyond the arc in the last two quarters. 

An incredibly scary moment came at the 13:48 mark of the second half when Vulcans guard Zyan Collins suffered a fall where he appeared to land on his head. The arena fell completely silent for nearly five minutes as Collins would remain on the ground. Ultimately, he would walk off under his own power, giving high fives and handshakes to both teams as he did so. The training staff of Edinboro was able to jump into action right away and help the visiting player. 

With the final buzzer came the 13th consecutive loss for the Fighting Scots, who sit all alone now at the bottom of the PSAC West standings. It is the longest losing streak in Edinboro men’s basketball history.

“We’re going to keep our heads high and keep pushing through this hard time,” Simpson said. “It’s all about mental toughness right now. If we stay together as a team, we can push through this and be better because of it.”

The Scots face a difficult challenge coming up, as they go on the road to Indiana University of Pennsylvania to play the No. 9 Crimson Hawks, who currently sit at 21-2. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (after press deadline).

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