Men’s basketball crushes New York Tech in blowout
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
The Owls’ men’s basketball team wrapped up its 2019-20 nonconference schedule with an exclamation point at Moore Field House, with a 95-61 thrashing of the New York Institute of Technology, their largest margin of victory of the season.
“We were moving the ball, Coach has said a lot: once we move the ball, we can be really good,” said senior forward Taurus Adams II.
Southern’s offense came out on fire right from the get-go, as junior guard C.J. Seaforth, who has been in a shooting slump, nailed a perfect three pointer that ignited an 11-2 run over the first three minutes.
The Bears of New York Tech battled back and cut it to three after a timeout, but the Owls countered with another big run, this one being a 13-4 led by junior forward Greg Jones and junior guard Khalil Richard, who scored 15 points off the bench, shooting a perfect three of three from beyond the arch. Jones finished with a game high 27 points, his third game in the last five with at least 25.
“There’s a whole different level I can tap into. I’m not even there yet — they haven’t seen nothing yet,” Jones said. “A lot more to come — more rebounds, for sure, because I only had three tonight but a lot more to come.”
Backed by Jones, the Owls took a comfortable 45-31 lead into halftime. From that point, the Owls did not look back. Led by Adams, who had 22 points alongside his frontcourt mate Jones, the Owls stretched their lead to 20 in the first six minutes of the half. From there on out, the two bigs would dominate. Every time down, Southern’s guards looked to go inside to one of them. Together, they combined for 49 of the Owls’ 95 points and were the only starters to score in double figures.
“We’re the most dominant bigs in the NE10,” Jones said of he and Adams. “We’ve just got to go out there and prove it every night. We can’t take any days off, when we play together, we’re unstoppable.”
With the efficient play of the Owls down low, they had one of their best nights on offense of the season. They shot a season-best 58.2 percent, going 39-67. They also shot 65 percent from three on 13-20, which was their fourth highest in program history. The Owls also had 26 assists on the night, a season high, led by junior Isaiah Boissard with six and committed just eight turnovers — their fewest on the year.
“You just hope you save some [shots] for the next game, you don’t want to shoot yourself out,” said Burrell. “I don’t mind missed shots as long as you share the ball — if you share the ball and get good shots, I don’t mind at all. We played together defensively and offensively and that’s what you want to do.”
The Owls’ defense should not be overlooked in the offensive onslaught. In their last game at Saint Anselm, Southern gave up 97 points. In this game, they held the Bears to 45 percent shooting and 27 percent from three, limiting them to just five makes from beyond the arch.
Southern also had season-highs on the night on the defensive end, as they recorded 12 steals, their most in three years, led by freshman Lyron Bennett with five, who shined on the defensive end for the Owls. They also forced 22 turnovers: another season high.
The Bears never led for a second in the game.
“I love the way they responded, they just competed, competed for 40 minutes,” Burrell said. “They had a couple runs, we sustained what we were doing the whole time and that’s what you want from your team.”
With the non-conference matchup, the Owls were able to get a night off from the rigors and stresses of conference play, particularly in the clustered NE-10 Southwestern Division, where the Owls are in a battle for second. Though it was an easier non-conference game, Burrell says he would have preferred it come earlier in the season.
“It does a little bit,” Burrell said, “but also, you might’ve had a chance for a bye right here. You kind of want this game earlier so you do get a bye — a lot of teams in our league have a bye this week — but at the same time, we built some momentum today, I think, which is nice.
Going forward, the Owls schedule gets tough. They will faceoff against Pace on the road, followed by a homestand where they will face Le Moyne and New Haven before finishing at Adelphi — all teams in the mix with them for that two-spot. Though the win is nice, they know the going is about to get tough.
“Just use this momentum to keep pushing,” said Adams. “We got to come ready to practice and then go one game at a time. We’ll be ready.”
Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo