By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the men’s basketball team (12-11) decimated Mercy College Mavericks (7-14), 85-57, in an East Coast Conference tilt at the Pratt Recreation Center.
After starting the contest on an impressive 24-8 run, the Pioneers never looked back. The hosts shot the ball efficiently all night long, as they finished above 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point range. On the side of the ball, the Mavericks couldn’t put multiple possessions together and get going while the Green and Gold kept the pedal to the metal.
Sophomore forward Greg Dotson collected 18 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, and two steals while senior guard P.J. Torres knocked down 16 points in 19 minutes of action off the bench. Junior guard Dillon Burns racked up 11 points and dished out six assists, and junior guard Chris Orozco tallied nine points, five boards and a pair of steals in the victory, as well.
The Pioneers returned to the floor Saturday, Feb. 14, where they fell short to ECC rival St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartans (16-9) by a final score of 68-64 at Aquinas Hall.
Trailing 36-30 at intermission, the Pioneers came out on a 13-3 burst in the opening five minutes of the second half, giving the visitors a slim 43-39 advantage. Burns buried a three-pointer to tie the game during the run, which shifted the momentum in favor of the Pioneers.
From there on, the two teams traded buckets, until the Spartans tied the game at 53 apiece. Over the next four minutes, the hosts managed to grab a slight edge. Although the Green and Gold hung around and kept the game tight, the Spartans iced it thanks to a pair of free-throws via freshman guard Shaquille McFarlane at the six-second mark.
Dotson and senior forward Tyuan Williams each recorded a team-high of 15 points and crashed the glass for eight rebounds in the defeat. Burns finished with 14 points, three assists, and two steals. Torres had another solid showing with five points, five assists, and three boards.
Head Coach Erik Smiles and the Pioneers will look to bounce back when the return to action today. They will finish up their two-game road trip in Rockville Centre against Molloy College. Opening tip is set for 7.30 p.m.