Men’s basketball struggles offensively in loss at home

Contributing Writer
[email protected]

Senior James Ness scored 12 points in Saturday’s matchup, shooting 5-15 from the floor. AJ CROFFORD/THE CAMPUS
In a game with six lead changes and a tied score nine times, the Gators dropped their third consecutive game on Saturday to Denison.

The Bid Red left Meadville with a 68-65 victory. Head Coach Jim Driggs believes his squad was outplayed.

“They were able to out-execute us down the stretch,” said Driggs. “They exposed a few of our weaknesses.”

The Gators won the tipoff that was followed by several lead exchanges in the first half. The largest deficit saw Allegheny down by eight, but they battled back to come within five at the half. Turnovers marred the offensive possessions and contributed to the deficit.

“I don’t think we necessarily played bad,” said guard Devone McLeod, ’13. “I think that we just didn’t execute.”

The Gators tied it up at 33 in the second half with 17:55 remaining. At 14:52 in the half, Allegheny took a 43-33 lead.

“Shots that weren’t falling the first half started falling the second half,” McLeod said.

After the Allegheny run, Dennison responded by calling a timeout and pulling all five starters. This risky strategy paid off as the Big Red bounced back to a 50-47 lead.

“We got a lead. It looked like we were going to pull away,” said John O’Donnell, ’14. “You know they came back and made a nice run. They executed more down the stretch then we did.”

It came down to the final seconds and the Big Red’s shots were falling. Denison’s 18 offensive rebounds proved an advantage, with the Gators grabbing only seven.

“Ultimately, you give up 18 offensive rebound, it’s tough, tough to win,” Driggs said. “Especially in a close ball game.”

This loss puts pressure on the Gators going into their final two games against Wooster and Kenyon.

“We dropped a huge game and now we need to win two in a row,” said senior forward James Ness. “We’re not in a great spot.”

As for preparation for the final games, Coach Driggs doesn’t intend to change anything specific.

“Things don’t change,” Driggs said. “We just go about our business and prepare like any other game after we know we need to win, two [wins] would probably be nice.”

The Gators travelled to Wooster on Wednesday for a game at 8 p.m. where they fell to the Fighting Scots, 91-61. They will play their last game of the season Saturday at home against Kenyon at 3 p.m.