The IUP men’s basketball team opened the 2015-16 season with a convincing victory over Urbana University which featuring five different players scoring in double digits.
Devon Cottrell (senior, communications media) highlighted that group, scoring a career-high 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting in 20 minutes.
This game was one of runs, as Urbana held a 12-point lead with 10:35 left in the first half. IUP went on an 8-1 run to bring the game closer, and Cottrell capped off that run with a dunk before Jacobo Diaz (freshman, management) and Brandon Spain (junior, communications media) helped spark the team.
IUP led 39-36 at half before coming out on a 9-1 run, then it later went on an 18-2 run over six minutes to put the game out of reach.
IUP showed some physicality, out-rebounding Urbana 40 to 25, led by guard Anthony Glover’s (sophomore, marketing) game-high nine rebounds. He also recorded 12 points. The Crimson Hawks also had 50 points in the paint compared to Urbana’s 22.
Brandon Norfleet (senior, communications media) poured 17 points on top of that, going 7 of 16 from the field while adding five assists and two steals. Big men Tevin Hanner (senior, sociology) and Daddy Ugbede (senior, communications media) both added 10 points, shooting a combined 8 for 11.
In the team’s second matchup, IUP led Bowie State University by 24 entering halftime, up 45-31. The action got interesting after halftime, however, as Bowie State scored a dozen straight points before eventually taking the lead.
IUP couldn’t guard Jordan Goodman, who scored all 16 of his points in the second half. Goodman is a 6-foot-8 transfer from University of New Mexico and a former five-star recruit coming out of high school.
Norfleet had a nice day himself, scoring a career-high 25 points in the loss and shooting 8 of 15 from the field and 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. Spain was the only other Crimson Hawks to score double digits, putting up 12. However, Spain was 0 for 6 from the 3-point line and missed clutch free throws, going 4 for 9 from the line.
IUP as a whole shot 17 of 28, 60.7 percent from the free throw line and only 26 of 60 from the field, 43.3 percent. Perhaps the most telling stat for IUP was a 3 for 21 clip from beyond the arc.
Through the first two games, the new acquisitions look comfortable in head coach Joe Lombardi’s system, especially Diaz.
Diaz averaged 6.5 points and nine rebounds in 22.5 minutes. Lombardi’s son, Dante (freshman, business) made his first start versus Urbana, going 3 of 7 for seven points, three rebounds and three assists. In his second game, he struggled, shooting 1 of 9 for three points in 15 minutes.
IUP will travel to Erie Wednesday to take on Mercyhurst University. IUP lost twice to Mercyhurst in the regular season, but beat the Lakers in the PSAC Tournament.