Behind a career-high 28 points from senior guard Devante Chance (communications media), the Crimson Hawks cruised to a big win over Urbana University Friday, capturing a 96-62 victory to tip off Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s highly anticipated 2014 season.
Chance made six of eight 3-pointers to help lead IUP’s offensive explosion.
“I was feeling good,” Chance said. “I had a lot of life in my legs and was able to get a lot of life on my jump shot.”
Chance didn’t take credit for IUP’s dominant start to the season, however.
“I credit my teammates for finding me and my staff for helping me put the work in to improve and be confident with the shots I take,” he said.
IUP started the contest on a 36-7 run in which the Crimson Hawks had 18 rebounds against only four for Urbana. During that stretch, IUP also hit 75 percent of their shots, compared Urbana’s 11-percent mark.
Two other players, junior Brandon Norfleet (communications media) and redshirt sophomore Cornell “Manny” Yarde II (computer science), hit double-digit scoring totals. Both players had 11 points against Urbana.
The leading rebounder for the Crimson Hawks was guard Shawn Dyer (graduate, criminology), whose 10 rebounds made up the only double-digit total in that category for the night.
All across the board, No. 15-ranked IUP dominated. In all phases of the game, the Crimson Hawks had some kind of statistical edge. IUP outshot the Blue Knights from the field 63.2 percent to 26.9 percent, while the Crimson Hawks also led Urbana from beyond the arc with a 47.4-percent mark on 3-pointers. The Blue Knights connected on just 17.4 percent of three-pointers.
Every player that entered the game for IUP scored points, and head coach Joe Lombardi primarily used reserves for the waning part of the second half against Urbana.
The Crimson Hawks were similarly successful in their second game of the season, a matchup with Johnson C. Smith University.
With 11:03 left in the game, junior big man Tevin Hanner (junior, sociology) threw down a dunk that ignited the crowd, his teammates and coaches. More importantly, Hanner’s dunk might have put the exclamation mark on a blowout win for the Crimson Hawks, an 85-59 decision at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
The team was led by Dyer’s game-high 22 points.
Helping IUP extend its halftime lead to 20, Dyer knocked down five of six 3-pointers and connected on six of seven total shots through one half of action.
The team as a whole shot 50 percent from the field and an even higher 52 percent from beyond the arc as the offense was rolling on all cylinders.
Four players reached double figures for the Crimson Hawks, as all but one player registered at least a point against the Golden Bulls.
The defense for IUP was dominant, too, as it forced 17 turnovers and limited the Golden Bulls to a 36.8-percent shooting rate from the field. Johnson C. Smith also finished with just a 3-point shot percentage of just 14.3.
Chance had eight assists as the director of IUP’s fluent offense, which also got five assists from Dyer. But Lombardi’s trio of big men – Hanner and fellow forwards Devon Cottrell (junior, communications media) and Daddy Ugbede (junior, communications media) – were standouts as well, combining for 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
IUP returns to the KCAC court for a 7:30 p.m. contest against West Virginia Wesleyan College Wednesday.