Monday, 7 September 2009

Rob Massey's article from Guelph Mercury on Gryphs win over Mocs

Gryphon hoopsters drop Mocs

The trick now for the Guelph Gryphons is to make the momentum from beating an NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball team last until their next outing.

“That’s the game plan,” Gryphon head coach Chris O’Rourke said Sunday night at the Mitchell Athletics Centre after the Gryphons defeated the Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs 74-64 in their first game of the pre-season.

“We’ll work on our strength and conditioning for the next couple of weeks and then start up. We’ll work on fine-tuning all the weaknesses that we had from (Sunday) and weaknesses that we see in this team. That’s the goal, ultimately.”

In the game, the Gryphons lived in the land of the three-pointers as they sank 16 of 30 shots attempted from beyond the arc.

“It’s always a confidence builder,” Gryphon leading scorer Jay Mott said. “I think it’s the first one we’ve beat since I’ve been here. It’s nice. It’s a nice thing to start off the season with. It shows we’ve been working hard.”

“Any time you can play a D1 school and you beat them, it’s an accomplishment,” O’Rourke said.

Guelph grabbed the lead early and never let it go. The hosts held quarter leads of 19-11, 44-28 and 48-44. The Mocs never got any closer than four points in the fourth quarter as they were held to four field goals in the final 10 minutes. They kept the Gryphs within range, though, by hitting 12 free throws.

Any thoughts Tennessee-Chattanooga had of a comeback were laid to rest early in the fourth quarter when the Gryphs stretched the gap to 13 points thanks to four three-pointers — two by Mott and one each by Michael Petrella and Drew Morris.

Mott led all scorers with 29 points, 24 coming on three-point shots. Petrella had 11 while Dan McCarthy added eight and Charles Agyemang had seven. They were followed by Morris with six, Adam Bering and Colton Hood with four each, Matthew Howlett with three and Dan Latka with two.

“I had the easy job,” Mott said. “I was just standing there. The guards were penetrating and making the right passes. I just had to shoot the ball.”

“Jay’s a fifth-year guy,” O’Rourke said. “He’s always been a starter, playing a lot and a great shooter. He’s going to have to realize, too, that teams in our league are going to come after him and try to take him out of the game. He’s going to have to do other things — get to the foul line, put the ball on the floor, create for others. He is a great three-point shooter and when he gets on a roll, he can make a lot of shots.”

Ricky Taylor led the Mocs with 19 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter. Jeff Smith added 12 while DeAntre Jefferson had nine.

Tennessee-Chattanooga played in the NCAA tournament last season, but have lost all five starters.

“We had some guys that we are counting to be in our rotation that didn’t play today — three guys, really,” O’Rourke said.

Missing for the Gryphs due to injuries were Jonathan Moscatelli (toe), John Brutto (ankle) and Adrian Achonwa (shoulder).

For the Mocs, it was their second loss against OUA teams as they split a pair of games Saturday, losing 85-70 to the Toronto Blues in the afternoon before beating the York Lions 78-71 later that night.

Next game for the Gryphs is a pre-season tilt with Dalhousie at the Mitchell Athletics Centre Oct. 15.

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