By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
On Saturday, Nov. 14, the men’s basketball team (2-0) tipped off the 2015-16 campaign with a 71-55 triumph over the University of the Sciences in the Delaware Express Tip-off Tournament at the Jones College Center in Wilmington, De.
Junior forward Greg Dotson led the team in scoring and recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Dotson also recorded three blocks and three steals to his stat-line. Senior guard Dillon Burns looked sharp in his 24 minutes off the bench, collecting 12 points, seven assists and three steals. Burns and Dotson also knocked down two treys apiece from downtown.
After surrendering 12 unanswered points heading into halftime, the Pioneers lost all momentum. The Devils extended their lead to 10 in the third quarter, 38-28, before the Pioneers finally came alive.
A 36- 12 onslaught put the Green and Gold in front for good as they cruised to their first victory of the season. During the stretch run, Dotson came up clutch, tallying eight points. Senior guard Akosa Maduegbunam also provided a spark off the bench during the run with a key three-pointer.
LIU was sharp from behind the three-point line throughout the game, shooting over 47 percent. Junior guard Jared Hall, Dotson and Burns each drained two three-pointers. The University of the Sciences struggled as they shot just 28 percent from the field and were outscored by the Pioneers in nearly every category.
LIU’s bench was outstanding; scoring 32 points with Burns’ 12 leading the pack. Senior forward Michael Phillip also chipped in with seven points, seven boards and a game- high five blocks in just 19 minutes of action.
Coach Smiles and his LIU squad returned to the floor in Wilm- ington on Sunday, Nov. 15, where they edged out Goldey Beacom College 79-72, improving their record to 2-0 on the season.
After leading 40-33 heading into the locker room, the Pioneers found themselves in a tightly contested game as the injury-plagued Lightning fought hard and gave the visitors a run for their money. Freshman guard Corey Taite canned a trey for the Lightning bringing them within one of the Pioneers. However, Hall threw a wrench in the hopes of a comeback for Goldey Beacom when he converted a four-point play after making a three and sinking the foul shot, giving LIU a 73-68 edge late in the contest.
On the following possession, Hall, the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, dropped in two free throws putting the game to bed. Hall’s performance was highlighted with 26 points, six steals and five rebounds. Dotson earned another double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards. Traite and junior guard Shakeem Wilson each posted 17 points for the Lightning, but it wasn’t enough as the Pioneers survived a late-game scare.
The Pioneers will host the LIU Post Thanksgiving Classic this weekend where they will open up play against Post University on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. This matchup is one of several being held over the weekend at the Pratt Recreation Center in Brookville, N.Y.