By: Marley Wolf
For the Yellow Jacket
Last night, the Waynesburg University men’s basketball team gave Franciscan University a warm welcome in the Barons first season competing in the PAC. The Yellow Jackets defeated Franciscan on the road 90-71, claiming their first win of the 2021 season. This brings the Jackets record to 1-3.
Waynesburg got out to an early 9-3 lead over Franciscan, but that lead ended up slipping away in a hard fought first half. The Barons were up 38-36 at halftime, due to a run the Jackets struggled containing toward the end of the first half.
Sophomore point guard Ryan Felberg, who led Waynesburg in scoring with 21 points, stated that the team made some adjustments at halftime that allowed them to come out with the victory over the Barons.
“We made a couple of defensive adjustments and were told to just stay patient, which I thought we did well,” Felberg said. “We cleaned up our defense so we didn’t give up as many open threes. Those were big in the first half.”
One way the Yellow Jackets were able to claim their first win of the season was by sharing the wealth between players. They had five players that put up double digits.
Junior forward Isaiah Alonzo also contributed 17 points on the night. Freshman forward Jansen Knotts and Junior guard Matt Popeck each put up 14 points, while another freshman, Bryson Wilt, pitched in 13 points of his own and 4 blocks to assist the Yellow Jackets over the Barons.
“Coach was emphasizing how we needed to give up good shots to get great shots, and I felt like we did that last night,” said Felberg. “Doing that allowed us to have five guys in double figures. If we can do that every night, we can be very successful.”
The start of the second half was a high pace, high intensity battle while the score stayed close. Waynesburg slowly began taking a lead over Franciscan. Going into the last stretch of the game, Waynesburg controlled the pace and pulled away.
The Yellow Jackets dominated the boards in last night’s performance. Waynesburg had a game total of 54 rebounds, which heavily outmatched Franciscan’s team total of 27 rebounds. Freshman Jansen Knotts had 16 rebounds of his own, and Junior Isaiah Alonzo came up with 12.
With one win under their belt, the Jackets plan on fighting with everything they have to have a successful second half of their season with playoffs approaching. They plan to do this by continuing to develop as a team and get better as the season progresses.
“This win is huge. It is big for the guys’ confidence, obviously we are a young squad,” Felberg said. “Getting this first win will propel us heading into the second half of the season.”