BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – It’s funny how when you share the ball, you get contributions from a lot of different sources. That kind of unselfishness is especially important for teams trying to discover roles and identify combinations.
On Tuesday night at Lou Sorrentino Gymansium, the Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team took a step foward together, during a convincing 79-65 victory over Elizabethtown. The Flying Dutchmen established a 34-29 advantage by the break, then outscored the Blue Jays 45-36 in the second half of play.
No less than 11 different LVC players saw playing time and eight of them made significant contributions. Lebanon Valley shot a blistering 50 percent from the field and outscored Elizabethtown 17-4 at the charity stripe.
The triumph pushed the Flying Dutchmen to 3-3 overall. Elizabethtown fell to 2-2 on the year.
Lebanon Valley now leads the all-time series with the Blue Jays 15-13.
“The whole thing was good,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester. ” Eleven guys saw significant minutes. We’ve got subs in every position. We have guys who are similar.
“No, not really (that roles and combinations became a little clearer),” continued McAlester. “It’s sill who’s good in the flow. Our starters are clear. It’s just going with the flow. We have some young guys who are pretty good.”
Lebanon Valley played its best basketball of the evening in the middle of the second half, while the outcome was being decided.
Nursing a 45-41 edge five minutes into the half, the Flying Dutchmen hit the Blue Jays with a crippling 18-3 run over the next seven minutes, to open a 63-44 bulge. During that span, Luis Garcia notched four LVC points, Collin Jones tallied three, Mason Green nailed a three-pointer and Justin Baker, Jeremy Deihm, Joe Wright and A.J. Catanzaro all contributed a pair of points apeice.
Over the contest’s last seven minutes, Lebanon Valley did a good job of executing its offense, milking the clock and getting to the free throw line.
“It was better,” said McAlester. “We made three-point shots. We played better defense. We got a lead. Overall, I’m pleased.
“When the game was on the line, we played good defense, and we rebounded,” added McAlester. “We got guys involved. We ran the ball well, but we’ve got to get shots out of our plays. We only had 14 turnovers.”
Despite some early foul difficulties, Deihm paced the Lebanon Valley attack with 16 points. Guards Garcia and Tucker combined for 26 LVC points.
The Flying Dutchmen out rebounded the Blue Jays 47-35. Lebanon Valley limited Elizabethtown to 39 percent shooting from the floor.
“He got two quick fouls and that hurt him early,” said McAlester of Deihm. “He’s played enough games now. But six-of-ten from the floor, 16 points and eight rebounds, that’s pretty good.
“He (Tucker) and Luis are pretty good together,” McAlester continued. “We had two point guards out there. That was the first time they started together.”
Active and playing with energy, the Flying Dutchmen heled Elizabethtown score-less for a 5:06 span early on, to forge a 13-3 lead. Lebanon Valley’s 11 unanswered points came courtesy of a Green three-pointer and deuces by Trevor Covey, Deihm, Garcia and Tucker.
Then LVC outscored E-town 10-5 over the final 4:30 of the first half to take a 34-29 lead to intermission.
“It was back and forth,” said McAlester. “We got a six-point lead, then our guys maintained it and increased it. You’ve got to make your foul shots. We made some threes. We haven’t been shooting well. It was huge.
“I’m not really sure where we are,” McAlester added. “After the first two games, I thought we could be better than 3-3. But that’s not relelvant now. The last team we played (Gwynedd Mercy) was a really good team. They showed us where we want to be.”