Friday, September 22, 2023

Blue Raiders effort leads to victory over Bethune-Cookman


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Story by Quinterious Mabone / Contributing Writer

It takes a team effort to win games, which is exactly what the Blue Raiders men’s basketball played with to cruise past the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Friday.

The Blue Raiders defense was once again at the center of attention, turning 12 Bethune-Cookman turnovers into 18 points, leading to a 35-23 halftime score. The Wildcats were held to just 19 shots from the field in the first 20 minutes, compared to 29 chances for the Blue Raiders.

The second half was no better for the Wildcats as they turned the ball over eight more times, leading to seven points off the change of possession to pull away down the stretch. The Blue Raiders held the Wildcats to 22 shots while attempting 24 shots in the second half.

The effort paid off, and head coach Nick McDevitt was pleased with his team’s mindset. “I was really pleased with our team tonight,” Nick McDevitt said. “Our effort was good [from] tip to buzzer. We didn’t get everything right every possession, but I thought our effort was right. Every guy that went in contributed in some form or fashion.”

The player who stood out amongst the others was junior DeAndre Dishman. He scored 10 points while dishing 3 assists out to his fellow Blue Raiders. One of his assists led to freshman Teafale Lenard Jr. getting an easy dunk in front of a frozen Wildcat defense.

“It’s a big energy play,” Dishman said. “I got the ball in the post, and (Lenard) is one our bigger guys on the court, so I looked for him to cut. And I know he’s explosive and he can finish at the rim.”

Lenard read his fellow Blue Raider teammates mind, and it paid off in dividend. “I know Dish has really good vision,” Lenard said. “I saw No. 30 (Joe French) look toward him, and I thought it was the perfect time to cut.”

The other play who stood out amongst the others was reserve sophomore Isiah Turner. He scored 10 points while shooting 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. In all, McDevitt’s seven substitutes combined for 35 points on the night.

“I think our team is deep, McDevitt said. “I don’t know that we have the ‘LeBron James’, where clearly he’s your best player. But also there’s no one that is down there on the bench to start the game that you don’t feel like you can put into the game and he can contribute. I think because of that, it allows us to play 10-11 deep, and perhaps force your opponent to play deeper than they want to.”

The Blue Raiders will look to continue these efforts next week as they host the Winthrop Eagles on at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

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