Warriors Dominate With Front Court Performance

Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki ESU Freshman forward Ryan Smith (5) skies over several Maruader defenders to shoot a layup in the Warriors 78-62 win last Wednesday.

Ronald Hanaki

Staff Writer

ESU’s Men’s Basketball team beat the visiting Millersville Marauders 78-62 in dominant fashion before a jam-packed crowd at Koehler Fieldhouse last Wednesday, Jan. 30.

It was a wire-to-wire win for the Warriors.

ESU won the opening tap. Then redshirt senior point guard Jakwan Jones passed the ball to redshirt senior Josh Williams on the wing.

Williams found freshman forward Ryan Smith under the basket for an easy layup, and the Warriors took an early lead that they would never give up.

The Warriors set the tempo and led Millersville 40-29 after the first half.

The only hiccup for ESU came in the opening minutes of the second half. Millersville scored the first seven points after halftime to cut ESU’s lead down to four points.

But that was the last time that this game was close as the Warriors controlled the flow of play for the rest of the game.

Although the Warriors are known to be a three-point shooting team, they did most of their work in the paint.

The frontcourt scored 41 of ESU’s 78 points.

Junior forward Michal Weiss led the team in scoring with 17 points.

Freshman forward Ryan Smith had 14 points, and Williams scored 10 points.

ESU’s transition game was good, too. The Warriors scored 12 fast break points to only four points for the Marauders.

In addition, ESU’s bench outscored Millersville’s bench 29-5.

Overall, Head Coach Jeff Wilson was pleased with his team’s performance.

“That’s a good team. They’re a little young, but Coach [Casey] Stitzel has done a great job with them. They were one game back of us coming in,” Wilson said.

“But if you took away the first two minutes of the second half, that’s probably about as complete a game as we have had in a long time,” stated Wilson. “So I was really happy with the win tonight.”

It was a convincing win, but Wilson still wants his team to improve.

“We gotta keep getting better. We are still young, but we are starting to grow a little bit. So we have to keep with it and grind some games out,” Wilson said.

“Wasn’t happy with the way we started the second half just from the standpoint of our veterans on the floor,” stated Wilson.

“They have to be better than that. We started the second half with the lead, but we let them get right back into it. Now it’s real tight,” Wilson said.

The Warriors will close out the regular season by playing their PSAC East rivals for a second time this season.

“Now it’s going to be the second time around. So we’ll spend some time on the teams that we played already that are going to be coming up,” stated Wilson.

“Shippensburg beat us out there, so we have a lot of things to clean up in that game,” Wilson said.

“Then obviously we’ll look at some things that people have done against us that we need to clean up from a ball screen standpoint, a press standpoint–that type of thing–to be better down the stretch,” stated Wilson.

“But very happy with where the team is at,” Wilson said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

The Warriors (13-6, 10-3) will finish up their three-game homestand with a game against Mansfield University this Saturday afternoon.

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