BY JOHN REED
SC Staff Writer
Led by Whis Grant’s 16 points, No. 2-ranked East Stroudsburg University (27-1, 14-1) closed the book on Mercyhurst with a 63-55 victory Saturday afternoon at Koehler Fieldhouse.
Grant received support in the form of double-digit scorers Matt Tobin and Jamal Nwaniemeka with 13 and 10 points, with Tobin chipping in with 6 assists as well. Zecahriah Runkle added 7 points and 7 rebounds in a solid performance and Malcolm Richardson and Rasheed Moore contributed 5 and 4 points respectively.
The Warriors found themselves trailing at halftime 33-25 due to some poor shooting and scoring spurts by Mercyhurst.
A little over a minute into the contest, Mercyhurst went on an 8-0 run to secure a 10-4 lead that would fluctuate throughout the half. ESU slowly began to chip away at the lead, but as the gap closed Mercyhurst would find another scoring burst to pull further ahead.
Trailing 15-13 at the 10 minute mark of the first half, the Warriors were surging and looking to utilize the momentum of their own run to secure the lead for the first time since the opening minute.
Try as they might, the Warriors deficit never got closer than the 2-point mark again in the first half of play as Mercyhurst scrambled to again put a nice 7-0 run together to keep ESU at arm’s length.
In the second half, the tables turned as the Warriors opened with a 17-4 run to recapture the lead at 42-37.
Runkle provided the spark as he scored all of his 7 points during ESU’s onslaught of Mercyhurst’s vaunted defense. His last bucket was a resounding dunk as the Warriors scratched and clawed their way back into the game.
The scoring ebbed and flowed for each team in the last 10 minutes as the scoring runs continued to pile up.
With Mercyhurst closing the gap at 42-41, ESU found an offense burst, scoring the next 7 points to increase their lead to 49-41.
Mercyhurst refused to go away and began to get in a groove offensively. With another 8-0 run, the Lakers answered the Warriors and the game became deadlocked at 49.
With 5 minutes remaining, the Warriors went on the attack. Stringing together a 14-6 run to close out any opportunities the Lakers might have of getting back into the game.
It was a concerted team effort led by Grant and Tobin who scored 6 and 5 points during ESU’s game-ending run.
The shooting disparity in the game favors the Lakers as they shot an impressive forty-nine percent (25 for 51) from the field compared to the abysmal thirty-three percent (18 for 55) that the Warriors put up.
ESU’s prowess behind the arc and on the candy stripe easily outstripped anything Mercyhurst could cobble together.
The Warriors attempted 28 free throws, 23 more than the Lakers, and made a total of 20 of their attempts for a remarkable team percentage of seventy-one.
Behind the arc the Warriors leave the Lakers in the dust as well. With 21 total three-point attempts, ESU doubled up on Mercyhurst as the Lakers only attempted 11 threes. This disparity allowed the Warriors to sink twice as many of their attempts, as they made 7 compared to 3 by Mercyhurst.
James Ewing and Jean Onana scored 10 points each to lead Mercyhurst, followed by Callon Dailey’s 9-point effort. Anthony Lytle, Sean Beins, and Jonathan Oeugnin scored 6, 6, and 5 points respectively.
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