The men’s basketball team will began their new season on Nov. 5 with a loss against Seattle Pacific University in an exhibition match. The Pioneers lost 96-65 against the NCAA Division II side. During the game the Pioneers made 38 percent of their shots from the floor while Seattle Pacific made 52 percent. Markel Leonard ’18 scored 13 points on the day, the Pioneers highest scorer.
In the first half, the Pioneers kept the game within single digits, but foul trouble prevented them from coming back. The Pioneers had a total of 11 personal fouls in the first half alone. The half ended with Seattle Pacific holding a 48-30 lead.
After halftime, the Pioneers could not make a dent into the lead held by Seattle Pacific. Though Cory Coombe ’17 and Kyle Owens ’18 made big impacts off the bench, scoring a total of eighteen between them. Also in this game, fellow Nicko Briker ’20, Andrew Vickers ’20, Zeke Crawford ’20, Andrew Paniccaci ’20 and Sam Yamamoto ’20 all saw their first college minutes.
Markel Leonard ’18 said after the game, “I think we played well in spurts. We got a lot of good looks that we wanted to get. Just have to rebound the ball and get into our transition break better. Once we get rebounds and keep teams off the glass we will be fine.”
The Pioneers’ next game will be at Warner Pacific on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m..
This year the Pioneers will be looking to improve on their previous 10-14 record on the whole and 6-10 in Northwestern Conference play this season, which saw them fall just short of the post-season.
Leonard believes the team has improved with the new freshman class stating that, “We have the size, IQ, coaching and athleticism to compete at a high level this year,” and that the “intensity on defense has improved”. These new improvements are crucial if the Pioneers want to win the NWC title this season.
As the Pioneers continue to warm up for the upcoming regular season and the freshman class slowly integrate into the squad, Markel is looking forward to “getting wins on the home floor.”
The men’s basketball team will have their next game at Warner Pacific on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.. The first NWC match is Dec. 2 against Pacific Lutheran at 8 p.m. at Pamplin Sports Center.