BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – Contributions from everywhere.
A steady, intense effort throughout.
The perfect blend of defense and offense.
The Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team has played well this season, but never better than it did last night.
And the fact that it occurred during its conference opener was more than mere coincidence.
On Wednesday night at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, the Flying Dutchmen served notice that they are a force to be reckoned with by stomping Widener 78-55. Riding a swarming defense and the heady play of emerging point guard Marquis Davis, Lebanon Valley settled the outcome not long after halftime.
With the MAC Commonwealth opening triumph, LVC squared its overall record at 3-3. Widener dropped to 4-2 on the season and 0-1 in the Commonwealth.
“It was the first league game, at home,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester. “You can’t lose at home. And then you’ve got to try to steal a few on the road. No, we didn’t need to get back on track. We’re on track. We’re a good team. But we’re still young.
“It’s too early now (to tell if his club can contend for the Commonwealth championship),” McAlester continued. “We’re as good as anyone in the league. It depends on who progresses. We’ll have a better feel after the next three games. The best positive today was Travis (senior guard Conrad) being back and in the flow.”
Seven minutes into the contest, Davis drained three-pointers on successive possessions to give Lebanon Valley an 11-9 lead it would never relinquish. Davis contributed another two-point jumper, Conrad drilled a pair of treys of his own and junior center Andy Orr converted an old-fashioned three-point play, as the Flying Dutchmen opened a 22-11 bulge, 8:12 before halftime.
“He’s a leader. He’s a leader by nature,” said McAlester of Davis, who seems to have solidified the Flying Dutchmen’s player rotation. “As the point guard, he’s not afraid to go to guys. He gets along with Sam (shooting guard, Light). He plays hard. He only shoots when he’s open.
“Marquis was running the team,” continued McAlester. “They (the Pride) slumped off him and wouldn’t play him, and he hit threes. But a lot of guys contributed. We got some big rebounds.”
The Flying Dutchmen netted the final five points of the first half to take a 32-20 advantage to the locker room. Light knocked down a pair of foul shots before teammate Ricky Bugg played beat the clock – nailing a three-pointer after LVC had covered the length of the court in five seconds,
“I don’t know what their shooting percentage was, but it couldn’t have been high,” said McAlester of The Pride. “They had 20 points at halftime. Then we came out in the second half and instead of letting them back in it, we extended the lead.”
The Flying Dutchmen limited The Pride to 36 percent shooting from the field, and 19 percent from distance. Lebanon Valley made 45 percent of its shots and 88 percent of its free throws.
Davis led all scorers with 21 points, a total that included six three-pointers. Orr was good for 11 points and nine rebounds.
With Davis showing the way, Lebanon Valley went 12-for-30 from beyond the arc. All 16 Flying Dutchmen who dressed played, and 13 scored.
“Everyone’s got to contribute, and we’ve got to play defense,” said McAlester. “We can’t rely on Sam and Andy, even though they can do some things. The other guys need to step up. And if they do, it’s going to make us a really good team. And guys need to develop.”
If the outcome was still hanging in the balance at halftime, Lebanon Valley erased all doubt with the 15-2 burst with which it opened the second half. Orr accounted for six of those points, while Davis had four, Bugg three and Light two.
The Flying Dutchmen’s lead maxed out at 59-30, with 9:06 to go, on two charity tosses from Light.
“It was the first league game,” said McAlester. “We’ve been playing well. Teams are keying on Sam and Andy. Sam did a good job of moving the ball, and so did Andy.”
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2016-17 Lebanon Valley College Men’s Basketball Schedule
|11/15/2016||George Mason University||Fairfax, Va.||L 65-90
|Rinso Marquette Tournament|
|11/19/2016||Penn State Mont Alto||Annville, Pa.||W 85-70
|11/20/2016||Wesley College||Annville, Pa.||W 58-53
|11/22/2016||Misericordia University||Annville, Pa.||L 85-90
|11/27/2016||No. 23 Franklin & Marshall College||Annville, Pa.||L 67-73
|11/30/2016||*||Widener University||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|12/3/2016||*||Alvernia University||Reading, Pa.||3 p.m.|
|12/7/2016||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|12/10/2016||*||Hood College||Frederick, Md.||3 p.m.|
|12/17/2016||Cairn University||Annville, Pa.||3 p.m.|
|12/19/2016||Elizabethtown College||Elizabethtown, Pa.||7 p.m.|
|12/28/2016||Brooklyn College||Daytona Beach, Fla.||7 p.m.|
|12/29/2016||Clark University||Daytona Beach, Fla.||9 p.m.|
|1/4/2017||*||Lycoming College||Williamsport, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|1/7/2017||*||Albright College||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|1/11/2017||*||Arcadia University||Glenside, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|1/18/2017||*||Messiah College||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|1/21/2017||*||Alvernia University||Annville, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|1/25/2017||*||Stevenson University||Stevenson, Md.||8 p.m.|
|1/28/2017||Alumni Game||Annville, Pa.||11 a.m.|
|Hot Dog Frank Day|
|1/28/2017||*||Hood College||Annville, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|2/1/2017||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|2/4/2017||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|2/8/2017||*||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|2/11/2017||*||Messiah College||Grantham, Pa.||5 p.m.|
|2/14/2017||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|