Despite a statistically poor showcase of defense by both teams, the No. 16 nationally ranked University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team found no trouble in its offense during its regular season finale on Thursday, Feb. 26, in front of a crowd of 3,228 people at Nicoson Hall, outscoring the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas in an offensive shootout, 113-96.
Behind senior center/forward Joe Lawson’s team-leading 25 points, the Greyhounds finished the regular season on a winning note, bringing their overall record at this point to 22-4, 14-4 Great Lakes Valley Conference.
At the conclusion of the contest, both teams finished above 50 percent shooting from the field. The Pumas shot 56.3 percent, but were outperformed by the Greyhounds, who made 60.6 percent of their shots. Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said after the game that he was pleased by the way his team performed offensively.
“The clock couldn’t get to zero fast enough with the way they [the Pumas] shot the basketball,” he said. “But I’m proud of our guys. I think our confidence is back on the offensive end of course, scoring 113 points. I was really happy with the way we moved the ball on offense.”
Besides Lawson’s contributions, five other Greyhounds finished with double-figure points on offense.
Junior guard Jordan Loyd finished with the second highest number of points at 21, followed by seniors guard Dai-Jon Parker and forward Brennan McElroy with 15 each, senior guard Kendall Vieke with 14 and junior guard Lucas Barker with 12 points. McElroy also finished with 10 rebounds that evening, giving the senior a double-double for his last home performance.
Defensively, UIndy forced the Pumas into 14 turnovers, which resulted in 23 points for the Greyhounds. UIndy also collected four blocks, nine steals, and snatched 19 defensive rebounds compared to the Pumas, who had 16.
The Greyhounds allowed the Pumas to seize the lead for a brief moment early in the game, but after the Pumas held the lead by one point with 16:07 to go in the first half, the Greyhounds regained the lead 12 seconds later and never lost it for the rest of the contest.
The final regular season game of the year also was Senior Night for the Greyhounds, who celebrated four players—Lawson, Parker, Vieke and McElroy.
McElroy, who is currently playing his fifth year as a Greyhound, after medically redshirting earlier in his college career, said that he was happy to have played his last regular season game in Nicoson Hall in front of a large number of his family and friends who traveled to watch him play.
“It was absolutely great [to have them here tonight]. I cannot thank them enough [for traveling to watch me play],” he said. “I had my high school buddies [here tonight], and my parents have been great. I love them [my parents] to death, and they have been to all of my games for five years now. Their friends are also very supportive, and I can’t thank them enough as well. They have done a great job [supporting me].”
After the celebratory evening, Gouard said that he has enjoyed coaching this group of seniors.
“They are winners, they are warriors, and they are going to be successful, not only in basketball, but in life, period,” he said. “All of those guys are going to do a good job working somewhere at some point. They are always welcome to come back to do anything. I will do anything for those guys, and I am just happy to have had the opportunity to coach them.”
With the regular season at an end, the Greyhounds will approach the GLVC Men’s Basketball Championship in St. Charles, Mo., tomorrow evening as the No. 4 seed to battle the Lewis University Flyers, following a first-round bye, which gave UIndy an entire week of rest and preparation since last Thursday.
The Flyers handed the Greyhounds their second loss of the season earlier this year, but Gouard is confident his team can claim that game and even take the tournament crown.
“The only thing I am thinking about right now is winning the conference championship,” he said. “Our goal is to leave this week, go down there [to St. Charles, Mo.] and win three games and come back with the trophy.”
McElroy said that he feels the team is prepared to make a deep run in this year’s conference tournament as well.
“This is a very mature group for having so many young guys,” he said. “We also have so many upperclassmen who have been here [at the conference tournament] before, and we will take them under our wing, and tell them everything that they need to do. And they do a great job of listening.”
Despite having faced health issues lately, which has limited McElroy, he said that he is prepared to do what he needs to do in March to help his team be successful.
“I am going to give it all I got,” he said. “I have no excuses. If I am out there, I am healthy enough to play.”
Quarterfinal action between the Greyhounds and the Flyers is set to take place tomorrow at The Family Arena at 2:30 p.m. CST. The teams met each other once this season at Lewis on Jan. 31, when the Greyhounds fell to the home team by a final score of 70-61.