Turnovers, poor shooting contribute to men’s basketball loss against Ohio Wesleyan

Staff Writer
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The men’s basketball fell on the road to NCAC opponent Ohio Wesleyan last Saturday by a final score of 82-70.

The Battling Bishops jumped out to a 51-26 lead at the half. A combination of poor shooting and turnovers led to the Gators’ defeat. Allegheny shot just 1-15 beyond the arc in the first half and shot 28% from the field.

The Gators were hindered by early foul trouble from senior James Ness, who scored nine points in only 16 minutes of play. Only minutes into the second half, Ness fouled out, leaving Allegheny without its main source of scoring inside the paint.

“A couple of calls didn’t go my way and I have been having foul trouble all year,” said Ness. “I can sometimes get frustrated and that’s when I get a cheap foul on a moving screen or a loose ball foul.”

“Ness can’t get into foul trouble like that. We rely on him,” Head Coach Jim Driggs said.

Driggs responded with several lineup changes in the second half that improved their play. Allegheny shot 15-25 and outscored the Battling Bishops 44-31 in the second half.

“I wanted to shake things up,” said Driggs. “We will keep evaluating practice and keep pushing forward to get better every day. That’s our main goal.”

Sean Danaher, ’14, provided solid play for the first time all year, posting 5 points and 7 rebounds in place of Ness. David Dibernardi ’15, John O’Donnell ’14 and Gabe Seidman ’15 were able to produce points for Allegheny, combining for 23 of the Gators’ 44 points in the second half.

Veteran players believe that the performance of young players is an important aspect of the team.

“It was great to see some our rookies get some good time,” said Ness. “While it was unfortunate OWU had a big lead at that point, it was good experience for them.”

“We’re a young group, and every player puts in their countless practice hours for a chance during the game to prove themselves,” said sophomore Bobby Theiss. “Making things competitive with playing time and proving that no one’s spot is guaranteed will make us a better team overall.”

The young squad has struggled with turnovers this season. On Saturday alone, Allegheny turned the ball over 26 times.  The Gators have been in double digits in turnovers in all eight games so far this season.

“Repetition is key to better decision-making,” said junior Devone McLeod. “The season is still early and we have young players. As they get adjusted to the pace of the game better decision-making will inevitably become second nature.”

Allegheny will stay in Meadville on Saturday to battle the Wittenberg Tigers at 3 p.m. The Tigers just dropped out of the top 25, falling from 17th place in the most recent D3hoops.com rankings. The matchup is Allegheny’s second conference game and the team’s final home game before winter break.