Men’s and women’s basketball teams win Greg Richard’s Memorial Tipoff Tournament

Chris+Milon%2C+%E2%80%9916%2C+shoots+a+basket+at+the+Pitt-Titusville+game%2C+which+the+Gators+won+75-45%2C+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+15.+The+game+was+part+of+the+Greg+Richard%E2%80%99s+Memorial+Tipoff+Tournament+last+weekend.+Allegheny+men%E2%80%99s+and+women%E2%80%99s+teams+won+the+tournament+and+are+starting+their+seasons+with+2-0+records.+

Amasa Smith

Chris Milon, ’16, shoots a basket at the Pitt-Titusville game, which the Gators won 75-45, on Saturday, Nov. 15. The game was part of the Greg Richard’s Memorial Tipoff Tournament last weekend. Allegheny men’s and women’s teams won the tournament and are starting their seasons with 2-0 records.

Emerald Wright-Collie, Staff Writer

Allegheny basketball season launched off this past week. The third annual Greg Richard’s Memorial Tipoff Tournament hosted four different teams in the Wise Center last weekend. Both the women’s and men’s teams left the tournament victors culminating a 2-0 record to start the season.

The women’s team started the tournament off Saturday night with a victory against Penn State Altoona 105-69. The team finished the game with four players in double digits. Jessica Mrdjenovich, ’16, and Meghan Wilby, ’17, tied for a team high of 17 points in the game.

The Gators started the game off with a strong defense going on a 10-0 run and forcing six turnovers within the first four minutes of the game. The team stayed strong defensively throughout the game, allowing them to score 40 points alone from Altoona turnovers.

Wilby aided the team victory with her career high of nine rebounds and three assists. The sophomore was five for six at the free throw line. Right behind Wilby was Mrdjenovich picking up eight rebounds and three assists in the game. Harper Zimmer, ’18, scored a total of nine points and was three for four in field goal attempts for her first college game with the Gators.

The Gators, leaving no room for Altoona offense on the court led the game with a 67-33 advantage at the half. Holding down the court coming into the second half, the Gators led with a game high of 39 points with 12 minutes left in the game. The team maintained the momentum to eventually beat Altoona 105-69.
After the women’s game the men’s team took the court ready to face Pitt-Titusville.

The men emerged as victors finishing the game 75-45. Josh Valentic, ’15, had 19 points to show for after posting a total of 35 minutes in the game. Valentic was three for six in 3-point field goal attempts. Following behind Valentic in field goals made was Chris Milon, ’16, scoring a total of 13 points in the game and accumulating a field goal percentage of .86. Milon was six for seven in field goal attempts. The junior performed defensively with a total of two blocks in the game, holding back Pitt-Titusville defensively. Evan Zabriski, ’17, scored a total of 18 points in the game. Zabriski was five for seven at the free throw line, helping the Gators widen the gap. The team was 37-26 at the half.

In the second half of the game the Gators showed up offensively with the largest gap of the game the men led titusville 62-41 forcing the Panthers to call a timeout. The Gators kept the lead to finish off the Panthers with a final score of 75-45.

The women’s team ended the tournament with a 63-45 win against Case-Western. The Gators finished the game with two players in double digits. Emma Pelicano, ’16, logging in a total of 31 minutes in the game, led the team with 18 points. The junior was six for 12 in field goals and five for five at the free throw line. Following behind Pelicano was Mrdjenovich, totalling in 16 points for the Gators.

The team had a great start the first half, leading Case 16-9 with 10 minutes left. The Spartans answered back with a 9-0 run causing them to close the gap and eventually take an 18-16 lead. Pelicano made an appearance at the free throw line, followed by an offensive run performance from Hoffman and Scarantino allowing the Gators to steal the lead back closing the half with a 25-18 lead at halftime.

The Gators came back from halftime with a strong defense closing out Case Western and maintaining a lead in the second half. During which the Gators were shooting 43 percent from the line. The team’s offense allowed them to gain a double-digit lead over the Spartans within the first three minutes of the second half. The Gators kept the lead to win the championship.

“We played really well as a team this weekend and opened up strong at home with two great wins,” Ife Uwazie, ’16, said.

Right after the women’s team won, the men’s team took the floor ready to play against SUNY-Canton. The team upset SUNY-Canton closing the game with a 73-64 win over the Kangaroos. By the end of the game the Gators had three players in double digits.

Zabriski, named tournament MVP, led the team to the win posting 26 points on the board. The sophomore played 37 minutes in the game culminating a total of 14 rebounds. Zabriski helped shut down the Kangaroos by stepping up defensively. The team had a total of 11 steals, three of which were forced by Zabriski. Following behind Zabriski was Milon, the junior played 22 minutes in the game putting up 14 points. Gabe Siedman, ’15, also scored in double digits scoring a total of 11 points.

The Gators traded the lead with the Kangaroos in the beginning of the first half. Milon upset this pattern by scoring five points to tie the game with 10 minutes left in the half. SUNY-Canton answered back with a 9-2 run and took a seven point lead over the Gators with four minutes left in the half. The Canton lead did not last long as Zabriski buried a three, followed by two buckets from Milon, the Gators had an 11-2 run forcing them to take a 33-31 lead over SUNY-Canton at the half.

“Evan is one of our best players,” coach Jim Driggs said. “Canton made a run of their own. I pulled them in and said we have to make these next seconds count and we made it happen.”

Coming into the second half of the game Zabriski held back Canton allowing a 60-53 Allegheny lead with just 4:40 minutes left. The Gators went six for seven at the foul line sealing in the victory.

“It was a team effort,” Zabriski said. “Josh [Valentic] played great, Chris [Milon] played a great two games. Its nice to open the season with wins.”

At the closing of the tournament the Gators were awarded the tournament plaque.