Down by eight points at the half, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team came back and scraped by with a 77-76 victory against Maryville University on Feb. 3. Redshirt senior guard Ajay Lawton finished with 19 points, two assists and two steals. Senior guard Eric Davidson had 17 points, one assist and two steals.
The Hounds defeated the McKendree University Bearcats 80-75 on Feb. 1. After allowing the Bearcats to get ahead in the first half, the Hounds fought back and gave up only four points in the first five minutes of the second half. The Hounds took the lead which they maintained for the entire second half, although the gap closed to three points near the end of the game. The team’s effort was still enough to come away with a win.
Five players ended the game with double-digit scoring. Lawton scored 17 points, dished out nine and accounted for four of the Hounds’ seven steals. Sophomore guard Tate Hall also ended with 17 points and recorded an assist. Davidson finished with 14 points and a steal for the night. Junior guard CJ Hardaway scored 13 points and came away with three assists. Redshirt senior forward Alex Etherington had 10 points and a steal for the night. Although the Hounds were able to come up with the win against McKendree, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said that it was a narrow victory.
“We were good in transition,” Gouard said. “We pushed the ball really well. When we got stops we ran well, we ran the court hard. I thought for the most part we did a pretty decent job at our rebounding, but it’s one of those wins where we escaped. We didn’t play very well tonight, and that happens.”
Hall agreed with Gouard that the offense early in the game was lackluster, but that the team’s transition game improved throughout.
“I think we’ve just got to go back to what we’ve been doing, running in transition,” Hall said. “We kind of became stagnant and started out slow. So we just have to the ball moving and do what we do best and run in transition.”
On Jan. 27, the Hounds fell to the University of Illinois-Springfield 64-61. UIS pulled away in the first half to take a 35-27 lead. Although the Hounds outscored them in the second, it was not enough to come out on top. Hardaway lead the team in scoring with 12 points and a block. Hall came up with 11 points, four assists and two steals. Lawton finished with 10 points, two assists and two steals for the night.
On Jan. 25, the Hounds defeated the Bellarmine University 76-68, who are ranked No.1 in the GLVC and No.5 in the nation. The Hounds only trailed early in the first half, but were up 38-28 by halftime. Bellarmine’s defeat was due in part to four Hounds finish in double-digit scoring. Redshirt senior forward Devin Dixon had largest point total for the night, finishing with 17, including seven made free-throws. Hall scored 16 points on the night along with two assists, a block and steal. Davidson sunk three of his four three-point shots and knocked down all four free throw attempts to contribute to 15 points in the win. Lawton recorded 14 points, as well as eight assists and three steals to contribute to the Hounds’ defensive effort. According to Lawton, he wants to continue to develop his leadership on the team and that beating a tough team like Bellarmine gave him the chance to do that.
“We know what we’re up against,” Lawton said. “But at the same time we have to stay composed and stay the course. We had a great three days of practice in preparation for this game so I think that took into play too.”
According to Gouard, the Hounds’ goals for the remainder of the season are to better understand their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses
“We’ve got to guard, that’s the main thing,” Gouard said. “We’ve got to stick to the game plan and understand the other teams’ tendencies a little bit more. We put the game plan in place for our guys and when we get tired we tend to forget the things we should do to win basketball games.”
The Hounds will be traveling to St. Louis, Mo. to battle the University of Missouri St. Louis on Feb. 8. Tip off will be at 8:30 p.m.