By Justin St. Peter
The Warhawks men’s basketball team easily handled the Alma College Scots 97-69 in the Kachel Gymnasium on Dec. 16. The ’Hawks saw four players in double figures and were led by senior guard KJ Evans, who produced a 25 point, 13 rebound, two block night, including a double-double in the first half.
“KJ’s been playing really well scoring the basketball,” head coach Pat Miller said. “He’s [also] been playing very well rebounding the basketball.
The ’Hawks came out with a high pressure trap against the Scots to produce 11 first half turnovers. The Scots cut the lead to 24-23 with 8:17 left in the first half anchored by 6-16 three point shooting. For the remainder of the game, the ’Hawks pulled away.
“Offensively, when we were aggressive and physical, we were able to get shots,” Miller said. “We did a great job getting to the free throw line in the first half. I think we only had one turnover.”
The ’Hawks received 12 points, two assists, and two steals from junior point guard Quardell Young. Senior forward Reggie Hearn scored 14 points and three rebounds, while senior guard Eric Bryson added 14 points and two steals.
Senior guard Alex Merg tweaked his left ankle in the first half and hobbled around the rest of the game, scoring five points. The ’Hawks had 13 players finish the night in the scoring column.
“We’ve had good balance all year,” Miller said. “A lot of it depends on matchups. Tonight, clearly on the front line, they were outmatched with Reggie and KJ and the physicality they present.”
Miller was not very happy with the team’s defensive effort.
“I feel like we didn’t keep the ball in front of us, we allowed way too much dribble penetration” Miller said. “We gave up far too many uncontested, easy three-pointers. They probably missed five in the first half that were virtually uncontested. We just can’t do that.”
The ’Hawks will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for the Cruzin’ Classic. They play Lawrence University on Friday, Dec. 20 and Augsburg College on Saturday, Dec. 21.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Miller said. “It is a critical stretch for us because we have three non-conference games now. We have some time where we can really address some issues and make some improvements.”