Men’s Basketball

Bucs Men fall to D3 Whittier College 87-70

Photo - Park University Athletics

(Mesa, AZ)  The Park University Gilbert men’s basketball team finished its non-conference schedule with an 87-70 home loss to Division III Whittier College at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Ariz. The Buccaneers finished November with a 1-3 mark, but when you look at the brutality of their schedule, the Buccaneers should be battle tested headed into conference play.

The Bucs faced Division I and II teams in exhibition contests, Whittier is a D3 school and in their NAIA slate, the Bucs faced off with two teams receiving votes in the top-25 poll.

The Bucs came out and played a solid first half only trailing by two, shooting 44 percent in the first half, and holding the Poets to only 34 percent. The Poets shot 35 percent from beyond the arc in the first half which made up for the poor shooting inside of it. The Buccaneers were the opposite, only shooting 20 percent from long range (2-10), while making 54 percent of their two-point baskets. Zach Lewkowski led the Bucs with seven first half points, while LC Ballard and Olgierd Dmochewicz each had six in the first frame.

Buccaneers head coach Gordon Stubblefield had to think he was watching an instant replay of the second half from Saturday’s contest against Western New Mexico which saw Mustangs shoot 56 percent from the floor and could not seemingly miss.  For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Whittier could have dropped a boulder into a thimble with as well as they were shooting.  The Poets shot 50 percent in the second half, but more devastatingly they shot 58 percent from three-point range, dropping 11 of 19 trifectas, many with a hand right in their grill to contest the shot. The Poets did not limit their range on these shots, nailing many from as far back as 30 feet. Park Gilbert struggled to keep up, making only one long range bomb in the second half.

The Buccaneers played even with the Poets in other categories, as rebounds, assists, turnovers and bench points were all close. The Bucs dominated points in the paint with 30 to only 12 for the Poets, but Whittier was able to turn the Bucs 11 turnovers into 10 points, while the Park was only able to convert WC’s 10 turnovers into four points in its favor.

Lewkowski led the Buccaneers with 16 points followed by Vincent Cookewith 13 and Dmochewicz with 10. Dmochewicz also had a double-double as he corralled 12 rebounds. Both Cooke and Lewkowski were even in plus/minus while Kylan Shorts (+2) and Ray Johnson III (+4) were on the positive side of the ledger. Aiden Moreno led Park with six dimes and the 5-10 Ballard added seven rebounds to go along with nine points.

The Buccaneers now have 10 days to prepare for the start of conference play as they will travel to Redding, Calif., to open up Cal Pac Conference action against Simpson University on December 1. The Buccaneers lost to Simpson at home last year 81-65 in the first and only matchup between the two schools.

Press Release courtesy of Park University Athletics – Preston English 


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