The Saint Rose men’s basketball team used a strong run in the first half to regain the lead from Molloy and never looked back.
The Golden Knight defeated the lions 86-75 on Sunday, behind senior Julian Lipinski’s 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the floor. Lipinski also grabbed career high 12 boards, two coming at the offensive end.
Down 8-0 early in the first Saint Rose was getting beat in all areas.
One glaring issue was the fifty-fifty balls, which allowed Molloy more possessions to score.
But quick thinking by the veteran coaching staff for Saint Rose turned the tides of the game.
After a made basket Saint Rose switched to full court press that confused the Lions for multiple possessions.
Turning the ball over and taking rushed shots fell right into the game plan for the Golden Knights, allowing them to capitalize on the sloppy play by their counterparts.
“When we changed to our trapping zone I thought that really energized us,” said Interim Head Coach Mike Perno. “Once we started attacking them defensively and figured out what they were trying to do, our offense fed off it.”
Fed they did, as the Golden Knights couldn’t be stopped for a 6 minute span toward the end of the first half.
A flurry of threes from the Australian seniors Lipinski and Jack Jones led the charge.
A few seconds later Lipinski would convert a three point play followed by another Jones triple.
Lipinski called his teammate with another deep three putting Molloy on their heels.
A missed shot by the Lions allowed freshman guard Adam Anderson to get down the court quick to convert a layup.
The drought continued for Molloy and the threes kept raining for Saint Rose when senior guard Jamal Greenwood capped the 24-3 run with a triple of his own around three minutes left in the first half, then up 39-24.
At the break up 43-31, Lipinski led the way with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Jones contributed 8 points off the bench in 16 minutes.
“I just wanted to be aggressive and be the guy that is the problem for them,” said Lipinski. “I was trying to be relentless and I think it helps with scoring when you’re getting a lot of rebounds. That was the mentality, just attack them.”
In the second half Saint Rose looked more like themselves with a balanced scoring attack and team defense that kept the lead comfortable throughout the end phases of the game.
“Balance has always been something that we’ve been successful with in the past,” said Perno. “And I thought that we had some break out performances by some of the younger guys, who we need lifts from, and having balance makes you that much more difficult to guard.”
After only playing five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, senior Matt Cerutti tripled his minutes in the second. Scoring 11 points and going 5-for-6 from the floor, Cerutti showed a keen ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket.
“He scores the ball in a variety of ways, he can shoot it, can get to the rim, he gets to the foul line,” said Perno. “So I thought he really picked us up in the second half.”
Cerutti also added 7 rebounds in the second, leading Saint Rose.
Another strong performer in the second half was Anderson, who logged 13 minutes.
He showcased poise at the guard position which translated to 4-for-6 from the floor and 11 points in the second alone.
“He makes his freshman mistakes but he’s just so talented,” said Lipinski. “He makes plays on his own and he makes shots.
There’s a reason why he starts as a freshman, because we trust in his talent.”
Anderson wound up with 15 points for the game to go along with 6 rebounds.
Other key performers were junior guard Shane Herrity, who had 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting and 4 assist.
Sophomore guard Michael Wearne added 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and 4 assists for Saint Rose.
On the other side, sophomore guard Nolan Kelly scored 20 points and junior guard Curtis Jenkins put in 18 points for Molloy.
After playing back to back games Perno said his team will take the time to rest before their quick turnaround.
They will do a lot of non-contact practices before their matchup Wednesday away against Southern Connecticut State, November 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll do a lot of film study as a staff to try and get ready for Wednesday’s game,” said Perno. “Thursday will be a light one as well, mostly classroom sessions with some shooting and a little bit of sweating.”
The Saint Rose Golden Knights improve to 2-0 on the season while the Molloy Lions drop to 0-2.
Saint Rose first win came against Caldwell University, Saturday Nov. 11, downing them 74-56 behind Herrity’s 20 points and Lipinski’s 17.