An efficient performance from the forwards of the men’s basketball team propelled it to an 87-55 win against Wells College on Friday night at the Ben Light Gymnasium.
Senior forward Andrei Oztemel recorded a double-double with a team-high 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bombers (2–2). The Blue and Gold also received big contributions from junior forward Frank Mitchell, who recorded a season-high 17 points, and junior center Tom Sweeney, who added 12 points on six of nine shooting. Bombers Head Coach Jim Mullins said Oztemel had one of his best all-around games as a Bomber.
Oztemel said the off-ball movement of the offense was instrumental to their success in the paint.
“We’re working offensively on cutting to the basket when the ball goes into the post, and that’s what I did,” Oztemel said. “My teammates fed me the ball in good positions to score.”
The Bombers assumed control of the game in the second half, scoring 34 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, after only being held to 31 points in the entire first half. The Blue and Gold held junior guard E.J. Taylor, the Express’ leading scorer, to two points.
The Express (3–3) kept the game close in the first half with a high-pressure defense that forced 12 Bomber turnovers. Mullins said the turnovers came as a result of the team not playing as a unit in the first half.
“We didn’t think we were playing like a team,” Mullins said. “I was getting concerned, because we saw that over at Cortland, but I thought we did a great job moving the ball in the second half.”
Both Mullins and Oztemel said the 87 points is something the South Hill Squad is capable of putting up on a nightly basis. The Bombers put up 87 points despite only making four 3-point field goals in the entire game. They have averaged five 3-pointers so far this season, which is far off the average of nine from last season. Mullins said a change in offense is part of the reason behind it.
“We’re playing more of a motion offense,” Mullins said. “We’re trying to get the ball moving with cuts and screens, and we’re trying to not take contested shots.”
Mullins gave senior guard Eli Maravich his first start of the season and the move paid dividends as he recorded 12 points and six rebounds. Maravich said the win is a promising start to the Bombers’ new offensive scheme.
“We shifted more emphasis on pushing the ball and getting transition, and I thought our execution was solid,” Maravich said.
The Bombers will be in action on Tuesday night as they host Elmira College in their conference opener at 8 p.m. in the Ben Light Gymnasium. The Soaring Eagles have only won one of their last 29 games, but that one win came against the Bombers last season.