Stingers Take First Preseason Basketball Victory Over NCAA’s South Carolina State University
Bulldogs Fall to Stingers After Second-Half Battle, Final Score 80-72
Once again, guards and Stingers veterans Ricardo Monge and Adrian Armstrong immersed themselves in the fray against their NCAA opponents to snatch a total of 43 points, eight rebounds, and eight turnovers.
Sophomore Oge Nwogo pitched in six rebounds for the team as well, allowing them to remain solid during the second half of this game.
Bulldogs sophomore and guard, Damani Applewhite, answered with 22 points and six rebounds of his own, while guard Janai Raynor Powell supported him with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Stingers rookie and guard Samuel Lessard was on a mission as a backup to fill in the holes left in the Stingers roster by short term injuries.
“I love everything about this guy,” said coach Rastko Popovic when asked about Lessard’s performance.
“I think he’s a steal for us, recruiting wise, knowing he was not highly recruited,” added Popovic. “He competes, he plays hard, he’s a joy to coach.”
.Nwogo was also on a mission of his own, working to make up for the missing bigger players on his team. Given the fact that he wasn’t played much last year and that he is now being allowed more minutes this preseason, Nwogo said,’ I feels 85 per cent more confident on the floor’.
“I’m still just learning,” said Nwogo following his performance on Wednesday.
South Carolina State University men’s basketball head coach Murray Garvin described his experience competing against the Montreal teams as humbling for himself and his team.
“The hospitality that Montreal has shown us has been second to none and the basketball up here is very, very good.”— Murray Gavin
Playing under Federal International Basketball Association rules while being here left them no choice but to adjust to certain rules and regulations that the team is not familiar with.
“The hospitality that Montreal has shown us has been second to none and the basketball up here is very, very good,” said Garvin.
Garvin described these games as an eye-opener for his players as they came to Montreal and witnessed a different type of play—one that is much more physical than the one they’re used to in the States.
“Our shot clock system is at 30 seconds, here it’s at 24. Over here as a player, you can’t call timeouts while being on the floor when back home it’s something we’re used to doing,” explained the Bulldogs coach.
Garvin added that the experience of playing in Canada is priceless for their program, especially in early August as it allows his team to work on some of their flaws prior to the start of regular season.
The Stingers’ head coach, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as charmed with his team’s performance during the first half, describing the Stinger’s defense as “brutal.”
He felt that his players failed to follow the game plan, resulting in missed shots.
“We got pushed around,” he said. “I didn’t like that.”
Nonetheless, he still expressed his satisfaction in how things turned around in the second half as the Stingers’ veterans managed to power back and fight back on their home-court.
Popovic added that he wasn’t surprised at the Stingers victory over the NCAA Division I Bulldogs. He stated that Canadian teams have been beating American NCAA teams that come to play here for years now. However, he doesn’t deny the fact that there are tremendous differences.
“As soon as the referee tosses the ball up, it’s just two teams playing basketball,” said the Stingers coach.
As far as the regular season is concerned, the Stingers look well prepared if the preseason is any indication. The roster contains fresh faces that look like they are being mentally and physically challenged in practice.
It also contains a good handful of experienced veterans that know exactly how important the season is and what it’s all about. Finally, a few sophomores that are eager to be more present on the floor and to be allowed more playing minutes.
The Concordia Stingers will be playing their third NCAA division one preseason game on Sunday against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks at 7p.m. at the Loyola gymnasium.
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