Today: Jul 23, 2024

Owls make second-half comeback to win home opener

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Freshman Kyle Callanan had 13 points and six rebounds

RYAN FLYNNStaff Writer

 A familiar foe stepped onto the court, one the Southern Men’s basketball team had likely been waiting to meet dating back to last February. The Adelphi University Panthers defeated Southern 79- 70 in the first round of the NE-10 playoffs last year, and in their first meeting since, the Owls likely had revenge on their minds. 

After a slow early start, Southern would get that retribution, by way of a 77-67 win. Junior forward Trevon Hamlet led the way—posting 21 points, seven rebounds and two blocks—in a balanced game that featured five Owls scoring in double figures. 

Adelphi opened the game on a 19-11 run, taking three-pointer after three-pointer and draining them with ease. They would shoot an impressive 7-for-11 from three-point land in the opening half. 

“Adelphi came out on fire,” said head coach Michael Donnelly said,” and that’s to their credit. They’re a veteran team; they’re a good basketball team. They weren’t rattled at all coming in here on opening night against us, and I just told the guys that they can’t keep shooting like that so just don’t do anything different; we’ve just got to keep guarding.” 

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Trevon Hamlet led the team with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Southern stuck to their plan, and eventually Adelphi’s shots—many of which were low-percentage, forced looks—began to bounce out. However, there was still the matter of a less-than-spectacular looking Owls offense. Sophomore standout Greg Langston, who had come in averaging a gaudy 25.5 points in the first two contests, opened the game hitting just one of his first 10 shots. 

With Langston struggling, it fell on the team’s other star player to take up the scoring load. Trevon Hamlet, who went 2-for-4 in the game’s first 12 minutes, took it upon himself to help bring Southern back from what was then a 10-point deficit. Trailing 29-19, Hamlet made a three, and followed this with a layup on the next trip. 

“I decided that I needed to get into the game more,” Hamlet said. “I knew that they really couldn’t guard me down low so I decided to post up—get myself open.” 

6-foot-4 sophomore Guard/Forward Dominique Langston added a three of his own, while, on the other end, Adelphi’s shooting began to fall back to earth. As the first half came to a close, Southern had pulled even at 35-35. 

Adelphi opened the second half on a 6-0 run, but Southern answered. After a Kyle Callanan to Greg Langston to Hamlet give-and-go, the Owls once again pulled even at 47-47, and a Greg Langston jumper gave them their first lead of the game. Langston looked like a totally different player in the second half, shooting 4-for-9. 

“He slowed himself down in the second half,” Donnelly said. “He was much more squared at the rim, you know, much more balanced and he got positive results because of that.” 

Adelphi’s long-range game was much less reliable in the second half. They shot 3-for-11 from deep and also lost the rebounding battle. Southern beat Adelphi on the boards 27 to 14 in the second half. 

With six minutes to go, Southern clung to a 59-58 lead. In this critical stretch, Dominique Langston hit a pair of layups, Greg Langston a pair of jumpers and Callanan added a three as Southern began to pull away. Southern led by six with just under two minutes left and would not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the game. Adelphi began to foul, and some late free throws by Greg Langston and freshman guard Luke Houston helped the Owls lock up a 77-67 win. 

“We’re building to get a home game in the playoffs and every conference win counts,” Greg Langston said, “So it’s good to start off with a W.”

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