Redshirt sophomore guard Marc Rodriguez and freshman guard Justin Paz both scored 21 points as ESU Men’s Basketball destroyed the Cheyney University Wolves 110-51 last Saturday at Koehler Fieldhouse.
This was the home opener of the season, and they did not disappoint. By halftime, they led Cheyney 49-20 at halftime.
ESU’s largest lead was 62 points. With such a big lead, head coach Jeff Wilson could give his reserves significant minutes in PSAC action.
“A lot of our young guys needed the opportunity to get on the floor. Sometimes, we had four freshmen and sometimes five. Just good to get everybody in tonight,” Wilson said.
The Warriors are renowned for their press defense. They speed up the game and force their opponents into committing turnovers.
Against Cheyney, ESU scored 52 points off turnovers.
Sophomore forward Carlos Pepin had a strong all-around game. He had 15 points, seven rebounds, and five steals.
On Monday, Pepin was named PSAC Men’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Week.
Senior Montrel Morgan added 10 points to help secure the win for the Warriors.
Redshirt junior guard Troy Jones had eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the game.
“We knew that we couldn’t take them lightly because we are a young team,” Jones said. “We looked pretty good out there.”
Kitt Najee Walls is playing in his final season with the team.
“Today, I feel like we played pretty solid,” Walls said. “We executed on our offense and defensive schemes.”
Walls himself is coming back from a foot injury.
“It was definitely in the back of my mind, but you can’t think about that,” Walls said.
“This is my last year, so I just want to stay positive and not think about the negative,” Walls said.
The game itself was a blowout, but Saturday night was special because sophomore Ryan Smith was in attendance.
Smith was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia over the summer.
Doctors recently have pronounced that Smith’s cancer is now in remission.
“I’m probably going to redshirt the whole season, but it was awesome. It was great seeing everybody,” Smith said.
Smith’s teammates were thrilled to have him back with the team.
“It was a great feeling to see Ryan again,” Walls said. “I feel like the energy was really here tonight.”
ESU (3-1) will travel to play the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (3-1) this Saturday, Nov. 23.
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