Cal Times

Vulcans progressing, meshing as a team

Photo+of+the+California+Vulcans+men%27s+basketball+team+courtesy+of+Jeff+Helsel%2C+SAI.
Photo of the California Vulcans men's basketball team courtesy of Jeff Helsel, SAI.

Photo of the California Vulcans men's basketball team courtesy of Jeff Helsel, SAI.

Photo of the California Vulcans men's basketball team courtesy of Jeff Helsel, SAI.

Danny Beeck and Olivia Wilson

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Entering the 2017 season with seven seniors on the starting lineup for head coach Kent McBride, he knew that getting the younger players involved in the lineup would be imperative for success. Winning three of their first five to open the season, he was hopeful that this success would follow them throughout the duration of the year.

Fast forward to the middle of the season, and multiple injuries have impacted the Vulcans in both the defensive and offensive departments. A 9-12 record overall and 5-10 in conference play has seen a different look each game for the starting five. On CUTV’s Coaches Show, McBride touched on how the team has responded to these adjustments, and how they are looking to improve down the stretch.

“We have to battle ourselves to get up into a playoff spot,” McBride said. “We just have to play better. When you look at the top of the PSAC West, those teams know what they are good at, and they stick to it.”

The Vulcans took on the Rock of Slippery Rock on Saturday, and lost to their familiar foe by a score of 86-65. A game dominated by the lane presence of Slippery Rock’s Micah Till, the Vulcans were trying to match his intensity throughout the contest.

PSAC Freshman of the Week last week, Philip Alexander, tallied 11 points and shot 50 percent from the field. Fellow teammate, Jahmere Howze, led the team in both scoring, with 21, and rebounds, with 7. Matched up against Till for the majority of the game, Howze was challenged on both the interior drives, and covered Till on the perimeter shots.

Howze has been seeing the court quite a bit for the Vulcans this season, averaging 29.1 minutes, and 16.8 points per game. Registering eight 20 plus point games this season, Howze moves the ball around the floor and gets to the high percentage spots on the floor. Getting to the free-throw line and getting the “easy” buckets to fall is something that Howze can execute, as he shot 11-14 from the charity stripe.

A transfer from Temple University, Isaiah Lewis, has averaged 17.6 points per game, and is at the helm when he takes the floor. Point guard Cordell Smith is in his fourth season with the Vulcans, and leads the team in minutes played per game. Moving the ball and setting the pace for California is Smith’s game, and McBride makes it known how much he trusts him on the floor.

McBride and the Vulcans will take on yet another PSAC West opponent in the fourth place Edinboro Fighting Scots at 3 p.m. in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

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Vulcans progressing, meshing as a team