Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Brian Neal0
Exhibition Games Provide Experience for Men’s Basketball
Brian Neal, Assistant Sports Editor
Above photo by Steve Woltmann: Sophomore Ryan Jackson goes up for a layup against DePaul Nov. 3 at the McGrath Phillips Arena.
Over the past several weeks, the Lewis University men’s basketball team started and completed their three-game preseason (0-3), playing every one against NCAA Division I teams.
Although they lost each game, the experience garnered cannot be overlooked, being that they played teams of such talent.
“It was good experience,” head coach Scott Trost said. “It’s important for us to learn where we’re at, and this was a good evaluation tool. We saw glimpses of what we’ll be capable of playing like.”
The first game was Oct. 27 in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. against the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini presented too much of a challenge and won 79-47. Most of that lead was built up during the first 12 minutes of the game, as the Illini held a 26-4 lead at that point. Sophomore guard Ryan Jackson was the only Flyer in double figures as he put up 17 points on four out of 14 shots (8-for-9 from the line).
Following the loss, the Flyers headed to Terre Haute, Ind. to play Indiana State Nov. 1. This was perhaps their best game of the preseason, losing only 79-66. After being down by more than 20 points with less than 12 and a half minutes left to play, Lewis went on a 29-17 run over the next 11 minutes to make it a game, but to no avail.
Sophomore forward Julian Lewis and Jackson led the team in scoring with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Lewis chipped in seven boards as well. Freshman center Kyle Nelson also had a solid game, finishing with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and six rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.
“I’m optimistic [about our team],” Trost said, according to the Lewis Athletics website. “I saw some positive things out there tonight, and it’s a learning process. We played a lot better tonight than we did [against Illinois] on Saturday. Our effort was better, and I thought we made a lot of progress in a few days.”
Finally, the team made its way to Chicago to play DePaul University, falling short 91-74. After trailing 52-27 at halftime, the Flyers again made adjustments and came back with a much better effort in the second, outscoring the Blue Devils 47-39.
Sophomore guard Gabe Williams and senior guard David Bryant led the Flyers, playing with solid performances. Each had 23 points while shooting over 50 percent, as well as hitting five shots apiece from beyond the arc.
“[Gabe and David] were both big [tonight],” Trost said on the Lewis Athletics website. “We learned a lot about ourselves, we just have to continue to trust the process, because we’re going to win some games.”
While these games obviously presented very difficult challenges, especially on the road, the Flyers learned what they needed to work on to prepare for the regular season.
“We need to learn to play together [and] each other’s tendencies,” Trost said. “[We need] to get better defensively.”
After opening the season this past Saturday in Big Rapids, Mich., against Ferris State, they will head to Detroit to play Wayne State Nov. 19. On Nov. 25, the Flyers then play Hillsdale in Hillsdale, Mich.
The Flyers will then have their home opener, a game that starts a five-game home stand. They’ll play Cedarville Nov. 30, Olivet Nazarene Dec. 6, St. Francis Dec. 8, Judson Dec. 19 and Northern Michigan Dec. 30. All games will start at 7:30 p.m. except for the Northern Michigan game, which will be at 3 p.m.