By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
After splitting their first two home games of the season, the men’s basketball team’s offense erupted as they took care of business in a 95-81 victory against Bloomfield College last Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Bloomfield, N.J. The Pioneers (4-1) turned on the jets from the get-go as they jumped out to a 36-22 lead in the first half. Junior forward Greg Dotson scored seven points in the early stages of the contest, but picked up two quick fouls earning him a seat on the bench for the remainder of the half.
Although Dotson was sidelined, the Pioneers were able to hold on to a 49-40 advantage heading into the locker room. Senior guard Dillon Burns tallied seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the period, and sophomore forward Hunter Powell provided a spark off the bench in relief of Dotson, collecting 10 points and four boards.
Defensively, the Pioneers played lockdown defense as they limited the Bears (0-4) to just 35 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent behind the three-point arc.
In the latter stanza, the Pioneers allowed the Bears to come within two possessions until the Pioneers took flight going on a 16-6 run. Burns and Dotson drained back-to-back threes during that stretch. The burst was capped off by a fast break layup from senior guard Akosa Maduegbunam giving the visitors a 70-54 cushion. It was all LIU from there on out as they continued to bury shots from the floor shooting 50 percent on the day and 39 percent from downtown.
One key piece of the Pioneers second half success was Dotson who made up for his early foul troubles in the first half, scoring 15 points. Burns continued his aggressive play with seven points, dishing out four assists, and swiping two steals.
Five players scored in double figures for the Pioneers as Doston led the pack with 22 points. Senior forward Michael Phillip pitched in with 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Junior guard Jared Hall scored 14 points and Burns finished right behind him with 13 points, in addition to his seven assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Powell did all of his damage in the first half with 10 points and boards.
Head Coach Erik Smiles and the Pioneers are set to return to the floor on Saturday, Dec. 5, against Mercy College in an East Coast Conference showdown. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. from the Pratt Recreation Center in Brookville, N.Y.