The 2019-2020 season officially began for Wilkes, and the post-Marcus Robinson era started with a 122-69 win over PSU-Scranton.
“I was a freshman when (Robinson) and the other seniors took (Mullins) and I under their wing,” Rob Pecorelli said. “We have to step up and do what they did for us.”
“I thought we played unselfishly and tried to make the extra pass,” head coach Izzi Metz said. “We pushed the ball in transition and made a lot of three-pointers. That will be a strength of our game moving forward, but we always stress to our guys that it’s about the defense.”
The Colonels exploded in the first half for 63 points, including four players with double digits. Seniors Pecorelli and Mark Mullins led the team with 17 and 14 points. Freshman Nick DeMelfi followed with 12 points in his collegiate debut and sophomore Donovan Breeding added 11.
“(DeMelfi) has been showing us what he can do in practice,” Metz said. “He’s a guy who plays fearlessly and will not be intimidated by the atmosphere. He’s played in big games and big gyms, so I think he was excited.”
Wilkes controlled play in the first half, imposing its will on the offensive end of the floor. Wilkes took advantage of a size advantage grabbing 26 rebounds, six on the offensive end.
“There was a bunch of guys playing with confidence. We played really hard for each other and Coach put in a great game plan,” Pecorelli said. “We know if we do the little things, it will make us more successful down the road.”
The onslaught continued into the second half. Wilkes totaled 97 points with 10:20 remaining in the game.
Metz pulled his two seniors, Pecorelli and Mullins with around 15 minutes remaining. Pecorelli finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, just two rebounds and two assists shy of a triple-double while Mullins finished with a double-double, 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“Guys were getting open and getting me open,” Pecorelli said. “They were in rhythm and knocking down shots.
With the game out of hand, junior Noah Jackson electrified the Marts Center with a one-handed slam dunk.
The Colonels kept their foot on the gas for the rest of the game, finishing with five players in double figures in the points column. On top of the big games from Mullins and Pecorelli, DeMelfi scored 19 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Breeding finished with 16 points and Sean Coller added 11 points.
Wilkes 72, PSU-Scranton 28
The women’s basketball team needed some time to get rolling. But when they did, they looked very impressive.
“We played with a lot of energy and a lot of effort on the floor. We talked about that before the game and the 50/50 balls being ours,” said second-year head coach Tara Macciocco. “We also saw a lot of things that need improvement. We have a lot of young kids playing, and we saw a lot of young kids playing their first college game and having some jitters. We are still having players getting used to playing with each other.”
It took the first five minutes for the Colonels to shake off the rust, but once they got things going, they quickly established themselves as the dominant team on the court.
Wilkes played aggressively on the floor, finishing the game with 19 steals.
Freshman Macy Berryman had an impressive collegiate debut with 11 points in the first half, shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc. She added five more points in the second half to finish with a team-high 16 points. Berryman was the lone Colonel to reach double-digits.
Horton, Berryman and Alyssa Alfano dominated most of the minutes in the first half, with an even rotation amongst the rest of the players. Horton and Berryman finished the game with a majority of the minutes, at 28 and 27 respectively, but the rest of the team played a relatively even amount.
Freshmen did make a big impact on the game for Wilkes with all six of them playing significant minutes and having all five on the floor at once.
“I think we are still trying to figure out who the five are that need to be consistently on the floor,” Macciocco said. “Any given game somebody else can step up and hit a shot or two, but I do think the freshmen are going to have an impact this year.”
Wilkes allowed just 14 points in each half while exploding for 72 points in the game.
“I’m happy with the effort,” Macciocco said. “It’s good for the young players to get the first one under their belts and now we start looking toward our next game and preparing for that.”