Men’s and women’s basketball defeat Hiram College

Gator basketball opens conference competition with first wins of season


Brittany Adams

Men’s basketball Head Coach Bob Simmons cheers for the men as they played against Hiram College on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2015. The men’s and women’s teams took on Hiram on Wednesday, both earning their first wins in the conference

Men’s Basketball

Riding a six-game, non-conference losing streak, Allegheny (1-6, 1-0) pulled out their first victory during the NCAC home opener against Hiram College (3-2, 0-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the David V. Wise Center.

The Gators survived a close finish to earn Head Coach Bob Simmons his first victory for the blue and gold, with a 71-67 win over the Terriers.

The team leadership was clearly on display during the Gator’s home opener victory as Simmons expected going into the conference showcase.

“We have several good leaders in our men’s basketball family. It is hard to pick just one because we expect all of our men to be leaders and role models on and off the court,” Simmons said.

The performance from Evan Zabriski, ’17, played a large role in the Gator’s victory. The junior forward led all Allegheny scorers with 22 points and added 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Conor Macomber, ’16, added 18 points of his own scoring 12 from behind the arc while Chris Milon, ’16, finished with 14.

Before the game, Zabriski said he knows the team can achieve big things, it is just a matter of getting the ball rolling.

“I know if we really play as a team and buy into what coach is teaching and saying, we can successfully compete in the NCAC, make a run at the championship, but more importantly, represent Allegheny College to the best of our ability,” Zabriski said.

The Gators overcame a game that was swamped with 24 turnovers against a strong defense from Hiram by shooting a productive percentage from the field and owning a dominating margin in rebounding.

During the first half of play, Allegheny got off to a strong start by taking an early 9-2 lead two minutes into the contest. Throughout the remainder of the half, the teams exchanged buckets while taking the lead from one another until the turning point of the half.

Allegheny began to take the momentum of the game to close out the half when back-to-back 3-pointers from Zabriski and Macomber ignited the streak of success.

The Gators ended the half with a steal from Macomber that led to a last second layup by Zabriski to beat the buzzer and take a 35-28 into the half.

After the half, Allegheny worked to keep their lead for the remainder of the game. With the score of 67-66 and the Gators in favor, the Terriers had the chance to take the lead with 30 seconds to go in the game.

Hiram was unable to pull ahead as Zabriski blocked a layup attempt then proceeded to send home a two-handed slam on the other end to put the Gators up 69-66 with 24 seconds on the clock. The momentum was in Allegheny’s favor as they closed the game with a pair of Milon foul shots in the final six seconds of the game to outlast Hiram 71-67. Simmons expects a lot out of his players, but a win in the conference opener on Wednesday eased some tension for the remainder of the season.

“My expectations for our men will always be: first is to graduate all of our players, second is to win in the classroom, on the court and in the community,” said Simmons. “Lastly, when the game is over, I want people to say that our men competed, were well prepared and represented the college and our alumni in a first-class manner,” he said.

Donte Wallette, ’18, was excited about the remainder of the season after the conference win but said the team has a lot to do in order to be successful.

“As a team, you know, we have to compete every game and prepare efficiently every practice if we want to reach our goal of ultimately winning the conference,” said Wallette. “To be successful we have to trust the system that coach brings to the table, trust each other as teammates and believe in each other to do our jobs, and be accountable on and off the court. That will put us in the best position to win and reach our goals every game,” he said.

The Gators will now take to the road for a pair of NCAC matchups before the holiday break, beginning with their 3 p.m. contest at Wittenberg University  this Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015.

Women’s Basketball

Coming off a non-conference, Thanksgiving weekend matchup where Allegheny pulled out an overtime win against Waynesburg University, the Gators defeated Hiram College 69-52 in their NCAC opener on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the David V. Wise Center.

The Gators (4-3, 1-0) led the Terriers (5-3, 0-1) during the majority of the game and did not slow until the sound of the buzzer.

The performance from Kaitlyn Fromknecht, ’16, played a key role in the Gators’ victory. The senior forward posted a triple-double, tallying 10 points, 11 rebounds and a school record 13 blocks in which she shattered her own previous record.

Emma Pelicano, ’16, led Allegheny’s offense with 16 points while Jessica Mrdjenovich, ’16, added 11 of her own for the Gators.

Before the game, Mrdjenovich said conference games mean a lot to the team.

“For us seniors specifically, we are coming from a place of a lot of experience playing against the teams in our conference,” Mrdjenovich said. “This part of the season is what we have been working towards for the last three and a half years, and we are very excited to play our first conference game at home and put all of our hard work to the test.”

The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair where the Gators inched out a slight 13-12 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. In the beginning of the second quarter, the Gators sparked a long 15-3 scoring run to close out the first half.

After the end of halftime, Mrdjenovich sunk a 3-point shot with the clock running down to set the final at 69-52.

Ifeyinwa Uwazie, ’16, said the Gators are looking forward to achieving their goals for the remainder of the season after a conference home opener win.

“As a team, we are trying to take the season one game at a time,” Uwazie said. “We are focusing on shutting down our opponent’s best players and playing at our team’s fast pace. We are working to finish at the top half of the conference and hope to play in the NCAC championship game,” she said.

The Allegheny women close out the week and are looking to continue their two-game winning streak with a matchup against Houghton College on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the David V. Wise Center.