Men's basketball survives tough test against Lock Haven, 61-53
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012 13:02
The No. 13 Crimson Hawks (21-4, 18-3) had a fight on their hands with Lock Haven (0-24, 0-21), but still pulled out the 61-53 victory.
The Crimson Hawks went into the game with the knowledge that they were moving up the regional rankings from sixth to fifth – a thought that was helped out by their three-game- winning streak.
Lock Haven, however, didn't care about that. They wanted to show that they were better than record was indicating, and they started the game out proving just that.
During the first three minutes of the game, Lock Haven was ahead 8-0 with baskets from sophomore forward Anthony Baker and freshmen Nate Walters and Terrell Johnson. The scoring drought for the Hawks ended when sophomore forward Marcel Souberbielle scored with 16:39 left in the first half.
For the rest of the half, the Hawks battled back from their early deficit. They were able to tie the game a few times late in the first half, but were never able to take the lead. The Hawks found themselves behind 28-25 going into the second half.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were a repeat of the first half. The Hawks were continuing to battle back, but could never find the lead. Finally, with 9:40 left in the game, the Hawks had their first lead of the game when freshman guard Devante Chance was found on the fast break by Souberbielle to put the Hawks up by a score of 45-43.
The Bald Eagles weren't going to go away that easily though as they tied the game at 49-49 when Baker connected on a jumper with 7:07 left in the game.
After that, Lock Haven couldn't hold the Hawks down anymore. The Hawks went on a 12-4 run to close out the game. Nine of the 12 points scored during the run came from both senior guards Julian Sanders and Ashton Smith.
Smith went into the game eight assists away from breaking the all-time school record, but he only recorded one. Although he didn't break the assists record, he still contributed in a big way, leading the Hawks with 21 points. Sanders added 15.
It wasn't just the offense by those players that helped the Hawks pull out the victory, it was their defense. The Hawks forced Lock Haven into 21 turnovers, including 10 during the second half.
The Hawks will enjoy this victory for a few more days and then will host Gannon in the season finale at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the KCAC in what will be the last regular season home game for both Smith and Sanders.
They will be joined by Ethan Robinson as well to celebrate senior night.
"We got lucky with both," IUP Head Coach Joe Lomardi said. "At our level the biggest thing is identifying players and having the resources to get them.
"Anytime you have two guys that turn out to be the type of players and people that you feel you can be successful with, regardless of whether you win games, you feel pretty fortunate because their numbers alone certainly do not tell the story of what these two young men are about in this program."