Men’s hoops opens season with win over PSU Greater Allegheny

Contributed Photo: Sports Information
Senior center Sam Sealy-James contributed five points, three blocks and one assist in Edinboro’s 102-62 win over Penn State Greater Allegheny in the season opener at McComb.
Fighting Scots win PenState at home

By Mike Fenner
Staff Writer/Spectator

Nine players made their Fighting Scots debut on Monday night at McComb Fieldhouse as Edinboro men’s basketball scored a 102-62 blowout win over non-conference foe Penn State Greater Allegheny in its regular season opener.

The visiting Lions (3-3) were limited to fewer than 23 percent shooting from the floor as well as from three point range, while Edinboro (1-0) shot 47.4 percent from the field in its 2014-2015 lid lifter, knocking down 14 shots from deep.

“I think it shows a lot of the areas that we need to improve,” second year head coach Pat Cleary said. “As much as we won by, there’s still things that we stress daily that we need to take care of and until we do that we’re not going to hit our potential.”

Finishing 13th in the PSAC a year ago in scoring defense, the number one emphasis all offseason was vast improvement on the defensive side and suffocating opponents.

“Our main focus is defense,” junior guard Henri Wade-Chatman said.

“I don’t think on our team that we really have a problem with offense, so as long as we stop people we’ll win.”

Edinboro opened up the contest on a 12-0 run and took a commanding 54-29 lead into halftime as all 13 players saw first half action and nine Scots scored in the opening 20 minute frame.

“That’s the goal,” Cleary said. “That’s why we try to play these games is to make sure that we get all of our guys into the games. So, we need to be able to get them minutes in these non-conference games and try to find some extended minutes for some guys who need some rust knocked off of them, some extended minutes for guys who haven’t played at this level.”

Senior Casey Baker, a 6-4 forward and nearby Conneautville native who joined the Scots after playing three years of division three basketball at Urbana University, led the team in rebounding in the contest with 11 boards, all coming in the first half.

“He’s a proven rebounder and that’s one skill that’s hard to teach,” Cleary said.

“You either have it in you or you don’t and he has it. That’s why we were excited to get him on board with us this year.”

“He’s definitely the muscle,” Wade-Chatman added. “He’s just a hard worker. We just need players like that.”

The Scots were led in scoring by Wade-Chatman’s 20 points as last year’s second leading scorer (13.8 PPG) missed just three of his 11 attempts on the night, including four three pointers.

“The fact that he did it without hunting for shots, I mean he took what was given to him,” Cleary said, complimenting his guard.

“He didn’t go out and press the issue. He didn’t force anything. He just got it within the flow of things is what was really impressive.”

Making his first career start for the Scots at point guard along with registering his collegiate debut after sitting out last season with a redshirt, former General McLane Lancer and Edinboro native Jaymon Mason scored five points, pulled down four rebounds and dished out three assists in 18 minutes.

“Jaymon has really adjusted well to the college game,” Cleary said. “He’s just a player that things seem to come easy for him with understanding the stuff.”

Sophomore guard Sheldon Brogdon and junior forward Nate Stepney combined to score 30 of Edinboro’s 61 bench points, shooting 8-13 from three as a duo.

“We’ve got great depth in our bench,” Wade-Chatman said. “Anybody on our bench could probably start anywhere else.”

One area the Fighting Scots struggled with was foul trouble as they committed 14 team fouls in each half. Baker, Mason and redshirt junior guard Will Marrow all amassed three personal fouls, including three in the first half alone for both Mason and Marrow.

“I think a lot of it was just anticipation,” Cleary said. “I think once they got a few minutes under their belt and things kind of calmed down on their side they settled in pretty well.”

Edinboro faces PSAC West foe California (Pa.) on Saturday at 3 p.m. at McComb Fieldhouse. The Scots also host Penn State DuBois at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Mike Fenner is the staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com