By Alex Wolfe
The College’s men’s basketball team put up its first win of the young season Monday night, bringing its record to 1-4 on the year and topping Berkeley College in a blowout, 92-70.
Sophomore guard Donovan Smalls scored 25 for the Lions while dishing out eight assists and grabbing three steals, and sophomore forward Brian Kelly poured in 19 points on his birthday while going 8 for 11 from the field.
“It just feels good to get the first win of the season,” Kelly said. “We had a couple rough games, close games, and we just wanted to come in here and get that first win.”
Smalls came out of the gate in the second half, scoring 9 of his 25 in the first six minutes of the second half.
“We were just being aggressive,” Smalls said. “(We were) just attacking and wanting to keep them down when we had them down. Just keep the pressure on, keep being aggressive, and tighten up the defense.”
Ball movement characterized the Lions’ night, as they broke Berkeley’s zone with quick passes and moving to the hoop with their three guard lineup. The College made 22 of 25 free throws on the night, and were able to get to the hoop at will when their bigs opened up down low.
“We wanted to use our speed, and we wanted to dig down and outwork them,” head coach Kelly Williams said. “We’re going to probably be this way in all of our games, overmatched for size.”
No one epitomized outworking the other team more than senior forward Steve Siracusa, who at 6-foot 3-inches was four inches smaller than the Berkeley bigs, and yet still managed to notch 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds on the night.
“I just try to outwork the other player,” Siracusa said. “I know, obviously they’re a lot taller than me. But if I outmuscle them and just try to get positioning on them, I can hopefully get a rebound on them. It’s hard sometimes, but sometimes you just need to outwork them and have more desire.”
The College had a better night on the boards than they have all season, notching more rebounds than their opponent for the first time this season after being beaten on the glass by a count of 165-126 in their first four games.
The Lions’ win came off the heels of a crushing defeat at the hands of Eastern Connecticut in which they lost 71-68. The Lions lost close ones before that as well, falling 78-70 to Penn State Brandywine and 76-71 to Centenary after being blown out by Elon 99-68 in their first game of the year.
“(We had) mental lapses that lead to 8-0, 10-0 runs (in the other games), where it came at the wrong times,” Williams said. “We were consistent throughout (on Monday), and that made a huge difference.”