Edinboro scores 81-69 road win at Clarion, sets itself up for postseason

Contributed Photo: Edinboro Sports Information
By Mike Fenner Staff Writer/Spectator dinboro (13-12, 10-11 PSAC) overcame early foul trouble from its floor general and a first half deficit of nine points to score its second straight win with an 8169 road triumph against Clarion in a pivotal western d
Another victory for the EUP Scots

By Mike Fenner
Staff Writer/Spectator

dinboro (13-12, 10-11 PSAC) overcame early foul trouble from its floor general and a first half deficit of nine points to score its second straight win with an 8169 road triumph against Clarion in a pivotal western division men’s basketball contest at Tippin Gymnasium on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Redshirt freshman point guard Jaymon Mason played only four minutes in the first half as he was plagued with two early fouls that nearly threw a wrench into the Fighting Scots’ postseason aspirations. 

Second-year head coach Pat Cleary turned to an unlikely source in sophomore reserve guard and Erie native Jeremy Lynch when Clarion’s full court pressure appeared to be taking over — and it worked.

“Jeremy Lynch gave us a huge spark,” Cleary said. “He came in and really did a nice job for us. Jeremy played a hell of a game and when he came in we were able to cut it and we just needed to take care of our stuff.”

In the midst of an 11-0 run, Clarion took the controls by way of forcing turnovers and scoring in transition with a seemingly commanding 20-11 lead, it’s largest of the game, at the midway point of the opening half. It was Lynch, who logged a career high 20 minutes, who would help give Edinboro some much needed ball handling and effort on the defensive end.

“I loved it, I loved it,” said senior center Sam Sealy-James with a grin. “He’s the human press breaker. Any time we need him, we have some trouble back there, Lynch comes in and breaks the press easy.”

Edinboro would ride a 4-0 run to take a 36-35 lead into the locker room and not look back. The Scots, who built up a lead as large as 13 points in the second half, never relinquished the advantage after a strong finish in the initial frame.

“We just had to get composed, keep our dribble alive in the press,” Sealy-James said of the turnaround. “Coach was talking to us and just telling us to calm down.”

With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Lynch would deliver on a left wing three-pointer that would help close the door on a potential Clarion comeback after the Golden Eagles had cut the lead down to six.

“For a kid who hasn’t played in a couple games to come in and play for 20 minutes, have [just] two turnovers against that kind of pressure, and that three he took, it required a lot of intestinal fortitude,” Cleary said. “He really stepped up and sunk it and I was really proud of him.”

Among an effort of six double-figure scorers for Edinboro, Sealy-James scored 10 points to go along with six rebounds and four blocks, and senior forward Casey Baker flirted with a double-double at 14 points and nine boards.

Junior center Tommy Scales did reach that plateau for the second time this season, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

“I think it’s good,” Sealy-James said of the front court production.  “I think in order for us to make this playoff push, everybody has to be playing their best basketball. I feel like us three are really stepping it up lately.”

Junior guard Henri Wade-Chatman scored 17 points, dished out four assists and registered four steals, while Mason rebounded with 13 points in the second half to go along with his four helpers and four boards.

Redshirt junior guard Will Marrow put up his second highest scoring output of his career with 13 points, while shooting 2-3 from behind the arc despite only shooting 5-27 (18.5 percent) from deep entering the game.

With the win, Edinboro moved up to fifth in the PSAC West, as the top six make the postseason. The Scots enjoyed a bye on Saturday and hosted Pitt-Johnstown on Wednesday, after deadline for this issue. That contest with the Mountain Cats looked to be ‘win and you’re in’ scenario for either squad. If the Scots were victorious, they’d play a first round PSAC postseason game on the road on Saturday. If they lost, they’d need help to qualify for postseason play.

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