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MBB: Colonels inch closer to playoffs with win over DeSales

Nicole Gaetani

Ben Mandell, Asst. Sports Editor

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CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Wilkes University Colonels bounced back with a 72-67 win over the DeSales University Bulldogs. The Colonels came into the game looking to rebound after their modest five game winning streak was snapped on Feb. 3 against Manhattanville.

They entered the game tied with the Bulldogs for first place in the MAC Freedom, both with 8-2 conference records.

“One game does not define us,” Colonel Head Coach Izzi Metz said. “We are having an excellent season and we stumbled on the road (in Manhattanville) and we knew we did not play our best.”

DeSales came into this game riding high as they had a five game winning streak of their own. The Bulldogs last loss came to the Colonels back on Jan. 17 by a score of 72-66. DeSales came into this game with hopes of avenging their last loss and to be sitting in a lone spot atop the conference.

The game got off to a good start for the Colonels as Marcus Robinson (18 points) got going early, draining two three-pointers. Robinson’s hot start was mixed with good defense and some other nice plays by the rest of the team to put the Colonels on top 14-4 with about 16:30 left in the first half. Following a DeSales timeout, the game quickly turned and after a good run for the Bulldogs, the Colonels 10 point lead turned into a seven point lead for the Bulldogs. A good surge at the end of the first half though helped push the Colonels back on top to the smallest lead possible going into the break, 34-33.

The second half was better for the Colonels as they lead for a majority of the period and the brief time the Colonels trailed, they did not trail by more than four. Robinson continued to drain threes as he hit three more and finished 5-8 from outside the key. Rob Pecorelli (18 points) proved to be a huge player for the Colonels as well as he matched Robinson’s point total and provided a big defensive spark with two steals. The second half stayed close, as neither team was able to grab a lead bigger than double digits, and the Bulldogs kept the game within reach until Rob Pecorelli hit two free throw to put the Colonels up by seven in the final minute.

“It’s always a big game coming into DeSales, it’s a great shooting gym and I think everyone shot well today,” Robinson said. “It’s just good to stay locked in and get the win.”

Robinson and company have been playing well all season and the credit belongs to the entire Colonel team between the players and the coaching staff. The players provide the product on the court but the coaches have helped the players reach their full potential.

“We knew we needed to play a more consistent forty minutes, Metz said after the game. “I did not think we did that in Manhattanville and clearly today I think we did that today.”

In big games this season, the Colonels have had key players step up this season, whether it is Connor Evans, Marcus Robinson, Rob Pecorelli, Mark Mullins, Zach Brunner or even sixth-men Tommy Bowen and Mason Gross. All of these players have stepped up at some point this season to push the Colonels to victory. These players for the Colonels all have the same mindset, whether they are the team’s top scorer in Robinson, or the big man Zach Brunner.

“We’re just trying to get better every day,” Brunner said. “We want to keep playing our best ball so we’re going to go to practice tomorrow and keep getting better.”

The Colonels will be back in action Saturday at home as they play host to the Misericordia Cougars in a rematch of the overtime thriller that put the Colonels in sole possession of first place this season. The Colonels will have an opportunity to clinch a berth in the MAC Freedom tournament with a win or a King’s loss.

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MBB: Colonels inch closer to playoffs with win over DeSales