Bearkats take Aussies down under

The men’s basketball team held on to a slight lead to pull out a 83-78 win over Australian Team Ezybonds in their first exhibition of the season Wednesday.The Bearkats jumped out to a huge 17-5 lead in the opening minutes of the game, making it look like the team was going to run away easily with the win.But four minutes into the game the guys went on a scoreless streak that lasted eight minutes.”We were up 17 to five. We had no turn overs, and then we get out scored 20 to three,” head basketball coach Bob Marlin said.During the Bearkats’ dry spell, Team Ezybonds went on an 11 point streak that gave them a 26-20 lead.”We missed several easy lay-ups. Pop (Rodrick Winters) and (Eddy) Fobbs were playing ping pong down there,” Marlin said. “We just couldn’t get it in the basket.”SHSU went into half time down by two and with 14 turnovers.”No one plays a perfect game, and we’re certainly not going to this early in the season,” Marlin said.Trying to regain the rhythm the team had lost Marlin said, “We talked about executing and taking care of the ball, and we just didn’t do that.”However, when the team came back to the court for the second half they were ready to play again.Jason Stephenson hit a huge three pointer to open the first half.Winters followed a few plays later with a slam dunk that really got the game going.”He drove baseline and had a nice two-handed dunk,” Marlin said. “He really got the crowd in the game.”While the team came out and executed better in the second half, Marlin said they still made several mistakes.”We didn’t run much of our offense,” Marlin said. “We were very basic, and at times we were stagnant because of that.”But the team didn’t make too many mistakes when Team Ezybonds started going to the zone.”As soon as they went to the zone, our guys got in it, they executed it and we had several open looks in the zone,” Marlin said.Donald Cole, one of the break-out newcomers, hit a three-pointer against the Ezybonds’ zone that was huge for the Bearkats. Cole was one for two from the perimeter, but was eight of 11 from the floor to put 20 points on the board for SHSU.The Bearkats had to fight to regain the lead, but finally got on top when Dobbs made another dunk five and a half minutes into the second half.”We got a small lead, and we were fortunate to hang on,” Marlin said.With less than a minute left in the game, Ezybonds still had the chance to steal the win, but two good free throws out of four attempts by Robert Shannon sealed the deal for the Bearkats.”The past couple of practices have been good but not great,” Marlin said. “We played the way we’ve been practicing. It’s funny how that works.”Jay Oliphant also stepped up for the Bearkats scoring 17 points by going six of eight from the floor and five of five from the line. Oliphant, a Huntsville native, also totaled seven rebounds behind Cole’s eight rebounds.The Bearkats will spend the next few days preparing for their next opponent, the Make Sure Sport All Stars, who they will meet for another exhibition at the Johnson Coliseum at 7 p.m.The Bearkats will see a familiar face on the other side of the ball; Senecca Wall will join the All Stars for the contest.

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