The Waynesburg University men’s basketball team went into Saturday’s PAC matchup with Saint Vincent looking to secure its first victory of the 2021 season. However, hot streaks from the Bearcats (2-1) helped hand the Yellow Jackets (0-3) a 71-64 loss at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse.
After a slow start in the first half, Waynesburg trailed 21-10 early, the Yellow Jackets were able to close the deficit to just one at halftime. A 14-4 run to start the second half gave Waynesburg a 41-32 lead. However, head coach Tim Fusina said his team did not capitalize on their offensive possessions with the lead.
“We have to have better possessions offensively. I thought we were too fast,” Fusina said. “Even though we had a lead, I thought we took some quick shots that went in, but you can’t live that way. There’s a difference between playing quick and playing fast, and I thought we played too fast today.”
The Yellow Jackets offense slowed down, going almost six minutes without scoring on a 17-0 run by Saint Vincent.
“We just took some bad shots in that stretch,” Fusina said. “Defensively I thought in that stretch they went inside and we weren’t doing a good enough job keeping the ball out of the paint and out of the post.”
Leading 56-48 with 5:18 remaining, Saint Vincent held on to keep Waynesburg winless. The Bearcats were led by senior forward Shemar Bennett, who finished with 26 points after scoring only three points in the first half.
Junior forward Isaiah Alonzo led the way for Waynesburg with 23 points, despite battling with a cramp down the stretch.
“His leg cramped, it’s not an injury, it’s just a cramp so he’s fine,” Fusina said. “Nothing wrong with Isaiah, just a cramp, and that happens especially when you’re logging a lot of time.”
With four transfers and 11 freshmen on a 21 man roster, Fusina stressed the youth of his team, especially with the extended break in action due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Being so young and looking at our roster, I like how we are progressing,” Fusina said. “Are we getting the result that we want right now? No. But I like where we are heading, we just have to make sure we’re doing the right things at all times that will get us to that point.”
The biggest thing the Jackets are doing is gaining experience.
“We’re all young,” Fusina said. “I think they play hard, they defend. We need to keep the ball out of the paint and fix some things in the post, but I thought we defended pretty well today. Offensively at times we play at the right pace and I think we are learning.”