Lord’s basketball (0-1) returned to campus late Tuesday night after a hard-fought 68-47 away loss against Division-I Miami University (Oxford, Ohio, 1-1). Televised on ESPN3, the Lords faced the RedHawks in the latter’s home opener. It was the first time that the teams have played against each other since 1982.
Led by Head Coach Dan Priest, the team began its season against a tough non-conference rival on the road. The last time the Lords defeated the RedHawks was in 1924.
From the get-go, Miami’s length and man-to man defense was hard to breach. The Lords turned the ball over on their first two possessions and did not score for the first three minutes of the game. However, the Lords kept up with their Ohio opponent through most of the first half. Seven minutes later, Miami was up only 14-10.
Miami forward Rod Mills, who led all scorers with 12 points, sparked a 15-0 run in the first half over a 4:40 stretch that quickly ballooned the lead to double digits. By halftime, Miami was up 34-21.
In the end, Bennett Grigull ’18 led the Lords with 11 points and three 3-pointers on 3-8 shooting; Miami improved to 19-9 in the all-time series between the RedHawks and the Lords.
Despite the loss, the team feels pretty good about their performance and start to the season. At lunch the next day, players sat down and watched a replay of the game together.
“The general vibe is pretty positive,” point guard and team co-captain Tim Connolly ’16 said. “They’re obviously the toughest team we are going to face all season. The things that made them different from most Division III teams was their athleticism and their size, and most of their length — their arms were incredibly long. They would get into the passing lanes so quickly.”
After the game, Connolly learned that his parents were watching the game back home.
“We knew the game was going to be televised, and that it would be on ESPN3,” Connolly said. “But I was under the impression that it was only going to be a local thing. I didn’t know that my parents in San Francisco could watch the game. My mom was watching and sent me pictures. Some of my friends tuned in and sent pictures of me playing.”
The Lords have three returning starters seeking to improve on last season’s 7-18 record, including Connolly, center Brien Comey ’16 and starting guard Alexander Powell ’18. Last season Connolly led the team with 14.8 points per game and Comey led the team in rebounds, with 6.2 per game.
Kenyon’s road trip will continue into the weekend when they will face Grove City College (Grove City, Pa.) tomorrow and Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Pa.) on Saturday in the Geneva College Tournament.
Tim Connolly quotes:
“It was pretty crazy. It was unreal. The game was on ESPN3 so you can go back and watch it online. We sat down as a team at lunch and watched some of it. It was so weird to see the ESPN thing next to Kenyon and to see yourself on a jumbotron. It was kind of like a dream come true.”
“We knew the game was going to be televised, and that it would be on ESPN3. But I was under the impression that it was only going to be a local thing. I didn’t know that my parents in San Francisco could watch the game. My mom was watching and sent me pictures. Some of my friends tuned in and sent pictures of me playing.”
“We went into the game pretty loose. We talked about not being expected to win, so we wanted to go out there and do everything we could to pull-off an upset. We played them close for a little bit.”
“It was surreal to us. We didn’t understand the concept of being on TV. Something about being on ESPN was definitely cool though.”
“The general vibe is pretty positive. They’re obviously the toughest team we are going to face all season. The things that made them different from most Division III teams was there athleticism and their size, and most of their length—their arms were incredibly long. They would get into the passing lanes so quickly.”
“We would have liked to play them a little bit closer, but we played them decently close, and they’re going to be the hardest team we will play all year.”
“What made it really difficult on us was that they did this thing called ‘downing-the-screens’. They would cut us off from going towards our screens. They would funnel us into a hole between their big man and their guards. You don’t see it that often. We’ve practiced against it, but they were more effective at it than any team I’ve ever played.”