Flyers Can Hang with Big Boys

Julian Lewis

Photo provided by Steve Woltmann: Julian Lewis, junior, started off the season with a 19-point, eight-rebound, three-block performance. He shot 8-of-13 from the field and 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.

Joe Ledger, Contributor

The Lewis University men’s basketball team showed the capability of their squad by going up against big named schools in DePaul, Loyola and Northwestern in their three-game preseason stint.

The Flyers came up short 84-79 against DePaul and also lost to Northwestern’s first year head coach Chris Collins’ squad 57-46. The Flyers did, however, convincingly beat Loyola 82-70.

In beating Loyola on Nov. 2 at the Gentile Arena in Chicago, the Flyers were able to shoot the ball tremendously, going 24-of-47. The Flyers went 11-for-19 with a 57.9 shooting percentage in the first half and 17-for-20 for the second half finishing with a remarkable 60.7 shooting percentage. The Flyers averaged out with 59.6 percent shooting from the field.

Juniors Julian Lewis, who finished with 24 points, and Ryan Jackson, who added 22 points, led the Flyers to the big win. Lewis only missed four shots going 10-of-14 from the field and went 3-of-4 from the stripe. Jackson was able to add most of his points from the line going 12-for-14. Jackson went 4-for-8 from the field while making two three-point field goals.

“I think we learned a lot about ourselves,” head coach Scott Trost said. “I think we were put in situations and we faced some adversity in those games.”

Trost also stated that these three games definitely helped the team get ready for some of the better teams they are going to face in their regular season.

These three preseason games were able to give him a good idea of who he will be looking to when he puts his starting five out on the court. Trost plans to start Jeff Jarosz at the one, Jackson at the two Nick Valla at the three, Lewis at four and Kyle Nelson will be filling out the lineup at the center position. Trost believes his bench players can pick up the slack when his starters aren’t in, and he is very confident in his squad when that is the case.  He believes that backup PG Gabe Williams will be effective when coming in for Jarosz.

“[I am] feeling really good about that,” Trost said. “Gabe has had some big games and he’s kind of got more of a scorer’s mentality; [he] can really score the ball, he brings us energy.”

Following the preseason games, the Flyers opened up their season Nov. 11 at the Neil Carey Arena. The Flyers put up 79-64 in a convincing win against Olivet Nazarene.

Jackson and Lewis finished with high point totals for the game. Jackson led all scorers with 24 points, going 6-for-14 from the field. Jackson was proficient from the line going 12-for-13.  Lewis was second in points with 19; he grabbed eight boards for the game and had three blocks.  Jarosz also added 12 points going 4-for-7 from the field. The point guard was also active on the defensive side, getting three steals in the game.

In the first half, the Flyers played a closely contested game trailing Olivet Nazarene 37-36. The Flyers went 14-for-30 shooting 46.7 percent in the first half. The Flyers then broke out in the second, putting up 43 points to Olivet’s 27.

The Flyers’ fast-paced offense was able to get 12 fast break points, and they dominated the game in the paint, scoring 46. The team’s defense was able to shut down ONU in the paint all night; they only gave up 16 points in the lane all game.  The defense was also the reason why Olivet was never able to get a bigger lead than four points all game.
“I think that Olivet came out a lot tougher than we did and they came out and took it to us,” Jackson said according to the athletic information department. “I don’t think we were ready for that.  I think at halftime we were able to get our composure and come back and pick it up a little bit and pick up our intensity and our defensive pressure a kind of rebound a little better.”

The Flyers will host Ferris State at the Neil Carey Arena on Nov. 20 for their second game. For results of this contest and to see the rest of their schedule, visit lewisflyers.com

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