Top Ranked Men’s Basketball Moves on in NE-10 Conference Championships
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More stories from Roberto Jensen
March 30, 2017
NE-10 Conference Coach of the Year Patrick Beilein’s basketball team has moved on in conference play, defeating the New Haven Chargers on Sunday, 61-47. Entering the game, the Dolphins were the first-ranked team in the eastern region and 24th in the nation.
The Dolphins jumped ahead 10-3 to start the game, but were soon slowed down. The defense slacked and allowed the Chargers to outscore them 24-18 the rest of the half, only leading by a small margin of 28-27. Junior guard Russell Sangster contributed nine points, three rebounds, and two steals, while shooting 4-7 from the field in the first half. Sophomore guard C.J. Asuncion-Byrd had seven points.
The Dolphins began the second half on a 20-4 run. It soon became a shooting clinic from junior guard Anthony Richards, who shot 4-5 from three and converted on both of his free throws. He scored all of his 14 points in the second half alone. Richards played all but two minutes of the second half as the Dolphins outscored the Chargers 33-20.
“My teammates created a lot for me in the second half, which forced guys to help off me and they found me when I was open,” said Richards. “The second half was better than the first half, but we didn’t do much different. We just defended a little better.”
The team shot at a high percentage during their second half surge, shooting 11-22 from the field and 5-9 from three. The Dolphins shot 23-52 for the game and 8-25 from deep. The team went 7-11 from the free-throw line.
Sangster finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and the newly crowned NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year was able to add four steals in the win.
“Defense starts with effort and energy, which is something we try to give 100 percent of the time,” said Sangster. “Playing defense for a full 30 seconds was our main priority going into the second half because we knew it wasn’t necessarily our day on the offensive end. We were able to stick together and pull out a good team win.”
Asuncion-Byrd finished the game with nine points and six rebounds, and junior forward Isaiah Eisendorf added seven points and two blocks.
Freshman forward Roy Kane Jr. led New Haven with 17 points in 35 minutes. The Chargers only shot 15-46 from the field and 3-19 from three.