BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – The last few seasons the Flying Dutchmen have gotten away from playing LVC basketball. But this current edition possesses the capability to return the men’s program to first relevance, and then prominence.
On Wednesday night at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, Lebanon Valley strutted those abilities during a 73-61 non-conference triumph over Penn State-Harrisburg. The Flying Dutchmen held PSU-Harrisburg to 37 percent shooting during a first half in which they opened a 33-26 advantage.
With the win, Lebanon Valley improved to 2-1 in the early going. The Flying Dutchmen have not registered a winning record since the 2010-11 campaign, and over the last three seasons have gone a combined 30-45.
The loss dropped Penn State-Harrisburg to 0-3.
“Absolutely,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester, when asked if this particular group has the ability to get the program back on track. “It’s just the numbers. We finished last year with eight guys. Last year we were just trying to survive. We weren’t practicing at the end of the season. We were just doing shooting drills.
“Last year we started 1-6,” added McAlester. “We’re in the plus right now. We want to get to the league (Commonwealth Conference) playoffs, and get better. There’s a couple of teams in the league who are very good. And we’re in with the rest of them.”
Senior point and catalyst Kevin Agnew tallied half of the Flying Dutchmen’s points during a decisive 16-7 run over a span of 4:30 in the middle of the second half. And when Zach Faulkner scored inside with 9:49 remaining, Lebanon Valley had its biggest lead of the evening at 56-42.
With LVC stroking its free throws down the stretch, the closest Penn State-Harrisburg could come was 62-54, with 4:07 remaining.
“I thought we played well,” said McAlester. “But I thought we missed a bunch of lay-ups. I thought we controlled the temp of the game, for the entire game. Today, we did OK at the three-point line (four-for-17), but we made them when we had to. And we made stops when we had to.
“We had energy, the whole time, even the bench,” McAlester continued. “We felt we could always take control of it.”
In 39 minutes of action, Agnew collected 17 points, dished out five assists and only turned the ball over twice. Lebanon Valley was led in the scoring column by emerging big man Andy Orr and his 20 points, and ten rebounds.
The Flying Dutchmen made good on 19 of their 24 free throws, and out rebounded the urban Lions 38-28. Lebanon Valley outscored Penn State-Harrisburg 34-18 in the paint.
“Oh yeah, this is Kevin’s team, absolutely,” said McAlester. “It’s good to have Kevin in the lead. He makes his free throws. And I thought Luke (Berguson) played great in the second half.
“Andy’s (Orr) a very talented athlete,” continued McAlester. “He’s got some hops.”
After the Lions notched the first four points of the contest, Lebanon Valley scored 14 of the next 17 points, and took a 14-7 lead, on a bucket from the pride of New Covenant Christian School, sophomore Nate Dawson. The Flying Dutchmen also registered the final six points of the first half – an inside move and short jumper from Orr and a lay-in by Zach Mrozek – to take a seven-point cushion to the locker room.
“Defensively, overall we did good,” said McAlester. “In the first half, they (his players) had lapses. But I think our post players are just going to get better and better and better.
“We’ll wait and see how good this team can be,” McAlester continued. “We’re young. We’re just going to get better. We have better players this year. We have more options.”
Kevin Agnew 5-5-7-17, Andy Orr 7-6-6-20, Travis Conrad 3-1-2-9, Zach Mrozek 2-3-5-7, Kyler Burke 3-2-2-8, Luke Berguson 1-0-0-2, Nate Dawson 2-2-2-6, Ricky Bugg 0-0-0-0, Collin Moore 0-0-0-0, Zach Faulkner 1-0-0-2, Matt McGonagle 0-0-0-0, Vince Soto 0-0-0-0, Will Boccanfuso 1-0-0-2, Paxson Hayes 0-0-0-0, Nick Pappas 0-0-0-0.
Totals — 25-19-24-73
Marquese Daniels 3-1-1-7, Nick Seefeldt 5-0-0-10, Tariq Bennett 2-0-2-5, Winton Lyle 3-0-1-6, Dan Downs 0-0-1-0, Donte Vaughn 2-3-4-9, Josh Johson 0-0-0-0, Dylan Hoch 0-0-0-0, Caleb Barwin 4-0-0-11, Zamir Courtney 0-0-0-0, Arick Sodini 6-0-0-12, Derjuan Murphy 0-1-2-1
Totals — 25-5-11-61
3-point goals — LVC 4, PSU 6
Total fouls — LVC 10, PSU 24
Fouled out — Lyle