The Waynesburg University men’s basketball team continued its search for its first win of the season as it took on the Chatham Cougars Saturday. After 40 minutes, the Yellow Jackets [0-8, 0-2] are still searching.
The game got off to a rough start for Waynesburg. The Cougars [7-2, 2-0] began the game on a 13-2 run. Zach Ford started for the Yellow Jackets, in place of Isiah Alonzo, and they looked a little disgruntled. Head coach Tim Fusina knows what his team did wrong in those early minutes.
“In the first five minutes, we did not contest shots and did not guard the ball well enough,” Fusina said. “[Chatham] shoots the ball extremely well from the perimeter, and if you give them open looks, they will make you pay.”
The Jackets trailed 49-25 at halftime. Waynesburg put up a valiant effort in the second half, outscoring the Cougars, 31-29, but it was not enough. Waynesburg ended up falling to Chatham 78-56.
A big issue for the Jackets in the game was the lack of production from their starters. Ford ended up scoring Waynesburg’s first six points, but the top three Waynesburg scorers came off the bench.
The most notable player off the bench was sophomore forward Isaiah Alonzo. Despite being Waynesburg’s leading scorer on the season, Alonzo didn’t play until almost three minutes into the second half around the 17 minute mark. He finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds, both of which were team highs.
Waynesburg also struggled from behind the arc. The Jackets were just three-of-12 from three-point range. Chatham, on the other hand, shot well from outside. The Cougars made an impressive 12-of-29 three-pointers. Fusina knows what his team needs to do in order to improve from distance.
“We take a lot of contested shots because we do not cut hard enough to get ourselves open,” Fusina said… “If we cut hard, we can get whatever shot we want.”
The Jackets struggled with turnovers in the game. This has been an epidemic which has plagued Waynesburg all season. They had 18 turnovers compared to Chatham’s seven.
“We are extremely careless with the ball and have turned the ball over way too much,” Fusina said… “It has been addressed in practice and on film. Until we have value for the ball and the possession, we will continue to struggle.”
The Jackets did have some things go well. Alonzo played very well in the small amount of minutes he played. The Jackets shot 72 percent from the charity stripe, and Alonzo was 11-of-13 from the free throw line. Fusina has faith that if his team cleans up a couple things, things will get better.
“We need to improve on guarding the ball, contesting shots, and rebounding,” Fusina said. “We need to take care of the ball and screen and cut better. If we do that, we will have success.”