PAT LONGOBARDI — Sports Writer
With a little less than a month left in the season, the road for SCSU men’s basketball leaves no real margin for error.
They were on a three-game losing streak and fighting for every inch to find a comfortable seed into the Northeast-10 Conference tournament.
The Owls ended their losing streak at home by defeating Assumption 82-65 at Moore Fieldhouse.
Each half was won by a big run to control the tempo. Fortunately, the Owls were on the right side of those runs.
Assumption (8-12, 6-10 NE-10) got within seven points when Tim Beinert made a jumper with under 10 minutes left in the first half at 25-18.
Southern (9-11, 7-9 NE-10) then went on an 8-0 run that ended with a lay-up from Tylon Smith to give the Owls a 33-18 lead.
“We had a nice crowd,” forward Trevon Hamlet said. “We knew it was a must-win. It was a big game that we needed. We had good chemistry [in the first half]. We were able to move the ball and get a lot of stops.”
Assumption turned the ball over just nine times, but it was clear that this was not their shooting night.
Southern shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first half and 57.7 percent for the game. Assumption shot a lowly 33.3 percent from the field in the first half and 36.7 percent for the game.
In the second half, Hamlet scored off of an assist from Dominique Langston to take a 54-38 lead with under 16 minutes left in the game.
Assumption then found one of their limited opportunities and cut the lead to 57-51 with 10:23 left.
“We had to remind them the things to get the lead,” SCSU head coach Michael Donnelly said. “They stayed focused and had positive energy. We switched defenses and went with a match-up zone and disturbed their rhythm. We changed it up and were able to get three or four stops and converted them into buckets.”
After the timeout, Assumption cut the lead to 63-56 after Ronson Quick tipped in a shot with 7:31 left.
Then the Owls found their spark with a 10-0 run that started and ended with free throws. They took a 73-56 lead with 5:10 remaining that would ultimately put the game away. Southern controlled the boards and out-rebounded Assumption 40-27, 32 of which came off the defensive glass.
SCSU returned the favor this time around after losing at Assumption 92-78 in November.
Assumption had lost three of their last four games.
Hamlet led SCSU while going 9-of-14 shooting for 27 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes. Greg Langston went 7-of-10 shooting with 22 points, three rebounds and six assists. Smith went 7-of-12 shooting for 15 points and nine rebounds. Luke Houston had nine points and five rebounds.
Beinert led Assumption with 22 points and eight rebounds. Quick had 15 points and four rebounds. Donahue had nine points and two rebounds. Ryan Rozsnaki had 10 assists and four rebounds.
In the first half, Southern quickly took control with a 14-6 lead after Luke Houston’s jumper and then took a 21-11 lead after Greg Langston’s jumper.
Following the run, Southern would stretch the lead to their biggest of the half at 20 points before taking a 47-30 lead into halftime.
“We have been pressing to perform well at home,” Donnelly said. “We started a new lineup. They had a good rhythm and the bench did a nice job.”
“It was a good team win,” Smith said. “We all came together and played together. We talked at halftime about taking our best shots, and we needed to regroup. We need to build off of this and take it one at a time and keep working hard.”
Owls get back to winning
PAT LONGOBARDI — Sports Writer