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Lions take two from men’s basketball
12/5 - Providence men’s basketball squad hosted consecutive games against the Trinity Bible College Lions this past weekend. A short-handed Freemen side struggled to compete with the Lions Friday night, losing 92-64, but were able to offer a much more competitive match Saturday afternoon, losing by only 5 points, 76-71.
“We knew going into the weekend it was going to be tough,” Freemen assistant coach Colton Gryba commented.
And in Friday night’s second half he was proven correct.
Freshmen Zachary Beazley had 18 points, 4 rebounds to lead the Freemen Friday night. CJ Sears also added 13 points, Jon Thompson had 11 points, and sophomore Chris Funk put away 15 points.
The opening match-up between the Freemen and Lions saw a tightly contested first half of play. The Lions jumped out to an early 9-5 lead, and held it until midway through the half. However, Providence fought back and captured their first lead of the game in an emphatic way as Sears finished a fast-break rush by soaring over the rim for a dunk to put the Freemen up 24-23 and bring the crowd to its feet.
The lead was short-lived though, as Trinity regained it following a Joshua Morris put-back dunk, and then held it until they had an 8-point advantage heading into the half up 45-37. Morris led Trinity’s attack with 18 first-half points, while Beazley led the Freemen by putting away 12 points in the frame.
Trinity then continued to pull away as they began the second half on an 8-1 run, to pull ahead 53-38. The short-handed Freemen began to show some lag in there defensive movement, and the Lions never looked back after that, as they finished the game off with a convincing 92-64 win.
The two teams met again Saturday afternoon. With starting point guard Matt Antonio back in the line-up, the Freemen hoped to give the Lions a better match, and were able to do so throughout. The re-match featured 8 lead changes and neither team held more than a 5-point advantage.
The Lions jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, and the half saw 3 more lead changes before the Freemen went into the break up 40-38. Funk led the Freemen’s first half output by scoring 9, while Morris once again led the Lions by putting away 16 of his own.
The second half featured two athletic baskets from ‘Soaring’ Sears, as he put away a double-pump layup to tie the game at 56 midway through the half, and then put-back a rebound to give the Freemen a 64-62 lead with under 10 left on the clock.
The Lions took back the lead at 68-66, and the Freemen kept themselves within striking distance in the final minutes as a Thompson drive put the score at 72-71. However, the Lions were able to find back-to-back jumpers to finish out the game, while the Freemen couldn’t find a response, and Trinity went on to win the game 76-71.
Both teams lost key players late as the Freemen’s big man Joel Coursey fouled out of the game in the 6th minute, while the Lions’ Morris got his 5th foul with just over 3 minutes remaining.
Providence was led by a double-double performance from Sears (21 points, 10 rebounds) while Thompson added 16 points, and Antonio returned to give a strong all-around performance with 7 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
Freemen assistant coach Gryba found that fatigue and troubles executing late in the game led to Providence’s defeats. However, he ultimately left the games pleased with how his squad is shaping up going into the Christmas break.
“In the first game we were competitive for a half, but ultimately fatigue caught up and Trinity ran away with it,” Gryba said of the game. “In the second game we had another body and it helped to get guys more rested, and we were more competitive. We also made some adjustments from the night before that worked, as we were leading for most of the game.”
“We just need to work on executing our offense down the stretch during close games. Otherwise, we are on the right track and executing well until that point,” coach Gryba added.
The Freemen next return to action following the Christmas break.
Written By: Kaiten Critchlow
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