Men’s basketball comes back to beat Pace
Ben Martin – Sports Writer
After a slow start to the second half against the number two ranked Pace University Setters on Wednesday night, the Owls were down 12 with just over 12.5 minutes left. Owls’ guard Mary Silvera, a sophomore, got the ball on the wing then he dribbles in toward the hoop. Silvera dumped it underneath to forward Kazell Stewart, a sophomore, who finished at the rim to cut the lead to ten.
Over the next six minutes, the Owls would outscore the Setters 17-7 to tie the game up with just over five minutes to go with nine points coming from guard Sean James, a sophomore, and four points coming from both Sivera and Stewart.
“You just have to put your big boy pants on, and you get out there and go play hard,” James said. “You kind of forget about the score and get int the game, all of a sudden you look up and we are down two, we got this we just got to keep fighting.”
Although the Owls tied the game, they did not stop competing. Just 30 seconds after tying the game, guard Ulyen Coleman, a senior, dribbling at the free throw line, dished it to Stewart who drives in and dunks it to give the Owls the lead.
“It felt good to get up there and dunk it, after I had been double pumping and missing a lot of shots,” Stewart said. “My teammates got on me to start dunking more and be more aggressive trying to score.”
The Owls would end up expanding upon that lead and take Wednesday’s game 59-52 over the Setters.
“Feeling great, nothing to complain about after a win, especially when you do it as a team,” James said. “We fought hard, we picked it up and found a way to win.”
Stewart would end the night with 13 points tying him with Coleman for second leading scorer on the night, trailing James who scored 14. Even though Stewart ended the night with 13 points, 11 came in the second half.
“I would say I got down at spurts, but coach, teammates, everybody help pick us up every day,” Stewart said. “Eventually, it is going to happen. You are going to have a good game; you are going to have a good play.”
Stewart’s second half scoring came in at the right time for the Owls, as with just over six minutes to go center Zack Penn, a graduate student, suffered an injury that would keep him out for the rest of the game.
Along with producing offensively, the Owls defense held the Setters to nine shots in the second half. Being able to hold a college team under 60 points is a tough task, James said.
“We were locking them up, gave us an opportunity to get some easier transition buckets,” Head Coach Scott Burrell said.
In addition to Burrell and James, Stewart said the team played great defense. He added that the Owls’ success defensively was a result of good team communication and approaching the task as a unit and not individuals.
“We did not turn the ball over in the second half much either,” Burrell said. “A couple of our guards struggled a little bit turning the ball over, but we had less turnovers in the second half and we played a lot better in the game.”
Although the second half had many positives, Burrell sees areas for improvement across the long season ahead.
“We are getting better, we are playing better at spurts, we just need to put 40 minutes together,” Burrell said. “We are a tough team, we play good defense and we just got to make more shots.”
With the win, the Owls tie their win and loss totals which is something Burrell was looking to accomplish.
“We are just trying to get over that 500 mark,” Burrell said. “We just have to take it day by day and hopefully we understand how good we can be, we have to build on this win.”