Owls have career night
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
The Owls (12-8, 7-5) saw a grind-out performance last Saturday, including a powerful stretch run to eventually put away No. 25 Bentley (15-5, 8-5). Senior guards Isaiah McLeod and Kaelen Ives both dropped career-highs, with 33 for McLeod and 29 for Ives, and sophomore guard transfer C.J. Seaforth pulled in 22 of his own.
Both teams scored exactly 54 points in the second half as the men were able to win, 100-88, for their second consecutive victory. They beat Franklin Pierce, 100-89, on Jan. 23 to put an end to their previous three-game losing streak.
“Our guys competed. We had some lapses but when it got close we bumped it down and got stops,” coach Scott Burrell said. “I was happy with our effort after losing one of our best players.”
About a minute into the game sophomore guard Ulyen Coleman went down hard and had to leave the game due to injury, resulting in the Owls having to rely on more of their bench, specifically in guards Joey Wallace, a senior, and Michael Mozzicato, a freshman.
“That was definitely tough [seeing Coleman go down], early in the game, too, one of our best players,” Seaforth said. “[Wallace and Mozzicato] came in and did whatever they could to help us win.”
Wallace hit eight points and five rebounds in 28 minutes of action and Mozzicato picked up four defensive rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes on the floor.
“They all make big shots, they’re all gamers and we’ve had a chance to win every game we’ve played, except Saint Anselm, if we just cut back our turnovers,” Burrell said. “We didn’t have a lot of turnovers tonight and it helped us win.”
McLeod, who’s been dropping 20 or more on a consistent basis, picked up seven rebounds and three steals to add to his ledger. He also shot 10-17 (58 percent) overall, including 7-13 (53 percent) from three. Ives, who has been running the point guard spot with effectiveness this year, pulled back a perfect 12-12 at the line and also dished out eight assists as he excelled in his 29-point career-high.
“We came into this game ready to go,” Seaforth said. “Bentley’s a good team, 25th in the country, so we had to come in with that killer mindset and get them out the way like we did.”
Seaforth had four rebounds, five assists and four steals to go along with his 22. The Iona transfer earned his way into the starting lineup recently after struggling to score earlier in the season, getting a lot of time now to play with Ives, who transferred in this year from Rider.
“CJ and I both came in from Division I, a higher level of basketball. Not to take anything away from Division II but there’s a few things that are different about the game,” Ives said. “In the beginning of the season we talked about trying to dominate and really do what we’re supposed to do and it’s coming into fruition now that we’re starting to get a rhythm. When C.J. gets hot it’s definitely a good thing for us.”
The Owls are currently in the midst of a three-game road trip, which started last night at Assumption (6-13) and continues at Saint Michael’s (5-12) Saturday. One week from tonight they will head to West Haven to take on their major rival, the University of New Haven (13-5).
“We take it day by day,” Burrell said. “We move the ball, guys make big shots and it becomes infectious. You hope the guys feed off it and play team basketball.”
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio