The Stingers Fall Short Against Ole Miss Rebels
Despite Strong Start, Men’s Basketball Team Drop Their Preseason Opener Against NCAA Opponents
The Concordia Stingers held their first preseason game against the Ole Mississippi Rebels as part of the NCAA vs Usports exhibition play August 6. A sudden power outage was provoked by a storm.
Despite a piercing start by the Stingers, Ole Miss managed to win the game by seven points [84-77] surpassing Concordia and stealing the game during the third quarter with a lethal 1-3-1 half court press.
Ole Miss guards Breein Tyree and Terrence Davis managed to unite their power and keep the stingers defence on their heels scoring a combined 41 points, tallying seven rebounds, and eight assists.
The pair received notable assistance by their peer and 7-footer Dominic Olejnicza. He scored five rebounds with 6 foot 7 forward K.J. Buffen scoring six rebounds combined.
The Concordia Stingers, on the other hand, were a vivid demonstration of a hearty performance.
Guard and senior Ricardo Monge scored 15 points, four assists and three rebounds in his 25 minutes spent on the floor alongside his teammate and guard Adrian Armstrong, who added 14 points despite his four turnovers.
The University of Mississippi Rebels used their flagrant size advantage to good use. NCAA Division one level opponents can often be dominant against U Sports teams, but there is a lot to learn from these games for the Stingers; play with heart and you will be rewarded.
The Stingers approach these games as a learning experience. Winning is critical even during preseason games but more importantly, being put to the test to evaluate what needs to be worked on is even more essential.
“We want to play more edgy, more passionate, these guys are doing good. They’re young. That’s the goal this year, get better, be more energetic.” — Rastko Popovic
‘We haven’t really practiced in a long time for something like that,” stated Monge about his team’s performance during the game. “It was a good thing that they brought it up [The pressure on the ball] and exposed our flaws a little bit, now we know what to do in case this kind of situations happens again.”
Concordia men’s basketball head coach Rastko Popovic also described it as an experience to learn how to play when teams switch defense and come up with unexpected changes that can stir up the team’s primary plan.
The Concordia’s roster was missing four big men out of six during the game due to momentarily injuries of some of the players. It also had multiple new faces, many of them were rookies or new players that did not have much of an opportunity to play last season.
Ontario native and Stingers guard Oge Nwogo was one of them. Nwogo played a little bit during the preseason games last season and was allowed a few minutes during the regular season. This year, Popovic promised him the opportunity to start playing more.
Popovic wants the new players to get used to playing and get their ‘feet wet’.
“We want to play more edgy, more passionate, these guys are doing good. They’re young. That’s the goal this year, get better, be more energetic,” said Popovic.
The Stingers men’s basketball team is morphing into a new era of basketball, perhaps a new culture and that was quite noticeable even on the floor. Not only did they play with so much heart and will to win but after the game ended, eager to salvage their defeat, many of the new faces and some of the veterans headed to the gym for shootouts at 10 p.m.
“All the new faces that came, it’s all guys shooting even after the game, it’s a different culture and a different mentality,” said guard Cedrick Bryan Coriolan who scored 14 points and seven assists during his 29 minutes of play.
The Concordia Stingers will be facing the South Carolina State Bulldogs on August 8 at 7 p.m. at the Concordia gymnasium.
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