The Franciscan men’s basketball team has started their season with a win for the first time since the program was revamped in the 1990s. The game took place in Washington, Pennsylvania, at the Washington & Jefferson Presidents’ court. The quick 45-minute drive did not seem to take much of a toll on the Barons as they hopped out and took care of business.
During the game, the Barons went down early but quickly surged back on the offensive end. Junior forward Matt Trent hit a flurry of post hooks and shallow fadeaways, coupled with an offensive rebound put-back from junior forward Joe Schriner, to bring the Barons to a 10-5 lead.
The Presidents pushed back to tie the game at 16-16 after their timeout, but a quick snatch and layup from the hand of junior guard John Noce gave the Barons their lead back. The Barons built on this lead with the help of a three ball from sophomore guard Sean Hickey, a Schriner and one, and more Matt Trent buckets to eventually get the score to 31-23 in favor of the Barons.
Right before the end of the half, senior guard Juwan Perkins checked into the game. With the clock winding down, Perkins isolated his man and knocked down a big three to give the Barons a 35-25 lead and much momentum before they headed to the locker room.
The Franciscan offense started off slow in the second half, but the Baron defense looked strong, holding the Presidents until their team could get going. Schriner sparked the team with a few tough finishes and some big defensive plays. Noce was also aggressive, attacking the hoop and finding open guys, like Hickey, for spot up shots. Trent continued his stellar night with more isolation moves in the post and big rebounds. The Barons held a lead of 64-51 headed into the final five minutes of the game.
Foul trouble gave the Barons problems down the stretch with point guards Noce and Schriner, but freshman guard Justin Mack stepped onto the floor and knocked down a three ball, assisted by senior forward Josh York, and four free throws to finish the game out strong. When the clock expired, the Barons were victorious at a score of 81-68.
Trent posted a big game and a new career high in points with 25 and 15 rebounds. Hickey also added 22 points of his own. Noce stuffed the stat sheet with 9 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Schriner also added 9 points and managed to nab 7 rebounds.
Head Coach Joe Wallace was very pleased with the way the men played on both sides of the floor, and he was especially excited about the team’s new offense for the season.
Wallace said, “This offense allows guys to play with more freedom and fits our style of play with two post players. I’ve felt more comfortable coaching this offense because it fits my personality of attacking. I want our opponents to constantly be on their heels. As our guys continue to learn the nuances of the new offense, our scoring will increase this season.”