Transfers lead Pirates in exhibition against Wilmington
The men’s basketball team blew out the Wilmington Wildcats in their first exhibition game, 113-72, on Saturday night in Walsh Gymnasium.
“We got a lot of jitters out,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’ll be happy about: is guys get their game legs under them a little bit. I think the fact that we’re getting used to playing at Walsh, and we shot the ball well which was a good thing.”
Despite being a Division II team, the Wildcats pushed the Pirates in the first half, holding a lead for over 13 minutes of play.
With six minutes left to play in the first period, and trailing by one, sophomore forward Brandon Mobley hit a pair of free throws to give the Pirates a 28-27 lead, their first since the first basket.
Mobley would tie the game-high with 20 points, 10 of which came from the charity stripe.
After a James Pee layup put the Wildcats back in front, sophomore guard Haralds Karlis hit a 3-pointer to put the Pirates up 31-29, and the Hall never looked back.
After Karlis’ bucket, the Pirates went on a 20-4 run in the final four minutes that was capped off by a half-court buzzer beater from transfer graduate Kyle Smyth.
Smyth, who started the game, scored 18 points for the Pirates on 5-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Smyth added eight assists and only turned the ball over once, picked up three steals and grabbed three rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
The other transfers, guard Brian Oliver and center Eugene Teague also made major contributions.
Oliver scored 19 points on 7-12 shooting, including 5-9 from beyond the arc.
Teague controlled the paint in his 18 minutes of play, scoring 18 points and shooting a perfect 6-6 from the floor. Teague also grabbed eight rebounds, tied for the team high.
Willard said the three transfers are going to play a big role in replacing the team’s leaders from last season, guard Jordan Theodore and forward Herb Pope.
“(Oliver) played great,” Willard said. “He was a big time guy at Georgia Tech. (Teague) demanded a lot of presence at Southern IIllonois and Smyth was a three year starter at Iona, so those are coming in expecting to pick up a load we lost in (Theodore) and (Pope).”
The Pirates were without junior Fuquan Edwin, who lead the nation in steals last year. Edwin was ruled out for a violation of a team rule. The Pirates came up with nine steals in the game.
Cosby was out because he is nursing a strained PCL he suffered in practice earlier in the week.
With two key players out, Willard said the depth of the roster helped the team out against the Wildcats.
“Well that’s one thing I like about our roster this year is that we have a lot of guys that can step in and make plays,” Willard said. “For guys to come in and play well, I was excited about that.”
The Pirates will play one more exhibition game against Farleigh Dickinson University on Nov. 3, before opening the season against UMKC on Nov. 9. Both games will be played at Walsh Gymnasium.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.Brennan@student.shu.edu.