Starting forward Julian Lewis, junior, averages over tens points per game and has helped the team to their first undefeated season in more than ten years.
Joe Ledger, Contributor
The Lewis University men’s basketball team is soaring through their competition in this 2013-14 season thus far.
The Flyers as of late have had some closely-contested games, but they’re undefeated at 5-0 having beaten Olivet Nazarene 79-64, Ferris State 78-72, Northern Michigan 78-68, Wayne State 78-57 and St. Francis 74-64 over the first three weeks of the season.
In beating Ferris State, the Flyers struggled in the first half shooting the ball with a 36.4 shooting percentage going 12-for-33. The Flyers did shoot the ball well from the line in the first half going 9-for-11, though.
The men’s team did, however, shoot out of their slump in the second half converting 15-of-29 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
With not-so-hot shooting in the first half, coach Scott Trost believes that good defense can help in those times.
“I try to relate to our guys that we’re not going to shoot the ball great every night and are you good enough on defense to win games when you don’t shoot it well,” Trost said.
Trost stated that he thought his squad played fairly well on the defensive side against Ferris State. He also said that the men were able to make it a defensive struggle for Ferris State on the half-court game. Trost did, however, stress that his team needs to eliminate the offensive boards and transition baskets on defense.
Junior Ryan Jackson led the Flyers with 22 points and five assists. Juniors Julian Lewis and Jeff Jarosz helped out by adding 11 points apiece. Junior David Niggins was able to add 10 points and grabbed seven boards in the game.
In Flyers’ 10-point win over Northern Michigan, the story of the game was Lewis’ effective shooting. In the win, the Flyers shot an outstanding 63.9 percent going 23-for-36 from the field. While shooting effectively from the field, the Flyers lived on the line going 27-for-38.
Lewis led the Flyers in points and assists with 22 and seven. Jackson, Jarosz and junior Gabe Williams helped the team pull out the victory on the offensive side as well.
While looking at the difference in shooting percentage from Northern Michigan to their previous game vs. Ferris State, Trost believed the shot selection was much better.
“We executed what we did in the half-court, took good shots, made shots,” Trost said.
The coach also believes there is no secret to his team offensively, it’s just a matter of his squad executing against opposing teams like they did against Northern Michigan.
On Saturday Nov. 30 at Neil Carey Arena, the Flyers completely dominated Wayne State in a 21-point thrashing. The Flyers continued to roll over their opponents by shooting tremendously throughout.
The story for the Flyers in this win was freshman guard Capel Henshaw. He came off the bench to put up his highest total points all season with 11. What really stood out was Henshaw’s perfect release from the three-point range, going 3-for-3. Henshaw thanked his team a lot for his stellar performance.
“They make the plays to get me the shots so I got give credit to them,” said Henshaw when talking post-game with the athletic information department.
The Flyers’ bench was active in the game outscoring Wayne State 28-7. The Flyers also played tremendous defense. They were able to have a plus-12 advantage in rebounds over Wayne State as well; the Flyers grabbed 34 boards to Wayne State’s 22.
Their biggest lead of the game was 28 points to Wayne State’s zero.
Finally, on Wednesday Dec. 4, LU took the court at St. Francis and came out on top with another 10-point victory. Lewis led the Flyers with a double-double, scoring 20 points and pulling down 11 boards; he also had three blocked shots. Jackson was second on the team in scoring with 17, and made his money at the free-throw line going 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
The Flyers will look to continue their high-scoring success as the season goes on as they trust the process that Trost instills.
Lewis played Cedarville over the weekend; to see the results check thelewisflyers.com. Up next, they’ll head Canton, Ohio to play Malone on Dec. 21. Following that game, they return to the NCA for a three-game home stand against Trinity Christian, Truman State and Quincy on Dec. 31, Jan. 3 and Jan. 5, respectively.