BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – It’s the final piece to the puzzle.
It’s the last part of the Lebanon Valley men’s basketball team’s game that needs work. Consistency.
On Wednesday at Lou Sorrentino Gymasium, the ‘I’ word – inconsistency – reared its ugly head for the Flying Dutchmen, as they dropped a 64-51 decision to struggling Messiah. After the game was deadlocked at 25 at the break, the Falcons outscored Lebanon Valley 39-26 over the second 20 minutes of action.
By some accounts, it was the Flying Dutchmen’s weakest performance over what has been a surprisingly strong season. Lebanon Valley’s point output was its fewest to date, and LVC shot an ice-cold 26 percent from the field, which included two-for-17 from downtown.
The loss was Lebanon Valley’s second straight following five wins in-a-row. The Flying Dutchmen are now 11-6 overall and 5-3 in the Middle Atlantic Conference’s Commonwealth.
Last-place Messiah improved to 5-12 on the season and 2-6 in the circuit.
“It wasn’t good,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester. “Not only couldn’t we make shots, I don’t think they were good shots. We didn’t make good decision. And then we had to play defense to stop them, and we couldn’t.
“I’m surprised about two-for-17,” McAlester added, “because we have good shooters.”
The Flying Dutchmen had it going on early.
Lebanon Valley enjoyed a pair of eight-point leads in the opening seven minutes. LVC notched 12 of the first 16 points and opened a 12-4 margin on lay-in from Zach Mrozek.
A minute later, the Flying Dutchmen grabbed a 14-6 advantage on two foul shots from Andy Orr.
“Early, we were up eight,” said McAlester. “But we kept letting them (the Falcons) hang in, hang in and then we started missing shots. It was one of those games where we didn’t play well.
“I’m not pleased that we lost,” McAlester. “But it’s a young team, and we’re growing. We don’t want to forget this. But we want to learn from it.”
The flow of the contest shifted noticeably late in the first half. Lebanon Valley was still up 18-11 – courtesy of a jumper from Will Boccanfuso – before the Falcons outscored it 14-7 over the nine minutes ahead of halftime.
“We gave up 13 offensive rebounds,” said McAlester. “I thought they out hustled us.
“I don’t know why we didn’t play well,” continued McAlester. “I thought we were well-prepared. But once we started missing shots, we couldn’t get it back. We need to regroup. We need to go hard in practice. We have to be ready to go.”
Northern Lebanon graduate Sam Light, a sophomore guard, paced Lebanon Valley’s scoring with 16 points, on ten-for-ten foul shooting. Leading scorer Orr contributed 14 points, on seven-for-eight free throwing.
But Light was just four-for-14 from the field, and Orr was four-for-15.
LVC’s assist-to-turnover ratio was six-to-ten.
“Yeah, he was trying to get things going,” said McAlester of Light. “But we don’t want everyone else standing around watching him. But he was trying. It was a positive.
“Everybody focuses on Andy,” McAlester added. “He just didn’t score. He was off-balance sometimes.”
The Falcons created some separation from Lebanon Valley early in the second half, with a barrage of three-pointers. During its 21-7 run to open the second 20 minutes of play, Messiah drilled five three-point field goals, and opened a 46-32 margin, with 12:13 remaining.
Messiah shot 40 percent from behind the arc and notched 30 of its total points from there.
Lebanon Valley reduced its deficit to single-digits on only a number of subsequent possessions, before the Falcons opened a 64-46 bulge with 2:53 remaining.
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|Penn St. Harrisburg Tip-Off Tournament|
|11/14/2015||Roanoke College||Middletown, Pa.||W 101-98
|11/15/2015||Penn State Harrisburg||Middletown, Pa.||L 60-61
|Rinso Marquette Tournament|
|11/20/2015||Wilkes University vs. Rowan University||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|11/20/2015||Penn State Abington||Annville, Pa.||W 84-72
|11/21/2015||Wilkes Unversity vs. Penn State Abington||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|11/21/2015||Rowan University||Annville, Pa.||W 92-85
|11/24/2015||Misericordia University||Dallas, Pa.||L 65-68
|11/29/2015||Moravian College||Annville, Pa.||L 81-86
|12/2/2015||*||Arcadia University||Glenside, Pa.||W 83-74
|12/5/2015||*||Albright College||Annville, Pa.||W 89-72
|12/9/2015||Marymount University||Annville, Pa.||W 76-65
|12/12/2015||*||Hood College||Frederick, Md.||L 71-81
|12/21/2015||*||Alvernia University||Reading, Pa.||W 74-62
|12/30/2015||Marywood University||Scranton, Pa.||W 78-58
|1/6/2016||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||W 82-74
|1/9/2016||Wilkes University||Wilkes-Barre, Pa.||W 88-74
|1/13/2016||*||Widener University||Annville, Pa.||W 78-69
|1/16/2016||*||Lycoming College||Williamsport, Pa.||L 87-96
|1/20/2016||*||Messiah College||Annville, Pa.||L 51-64
|1/23/2016||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|1/27/2016||*||Hood College||Annville, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|2/3/2016||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|2/6/2016||Alumni Game||Annville, Pa.||11 a.m.|
|Hot Dog Frank Day|
|2/6/2016||*||Alvernia University||Annville, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|2/10/2016||*||Stevenson University||Stevenson, Md.||8 p.m.|
|2/13/2016||*||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|2/16/2016||*||Messiah College||Grantham, Pa.||8 p.m.|
|2/20/2016||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||3 p.m.|
Middle Atlantic Conference