Team seeks early tests

Team seeks early tests

Sophomore forward A.J. Leahey (right) looks for a pass from freshman guard Dale Clancy Jr. (left) last Friday in the Sports Center against Penn State-New Kensington.

Emily Moore, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown men’s basketball players are starting off their season early with a few games, both non-conference and conference.

On Friday, the Pitt- Johnstown defeated Penn State- New Kensington at home in a 118-40 blowout.

Eight of 10 Mountain Cats had double digits in points.

Senior guard Matt Palo led the way for Pitt-Johnstown with 17 points while freshman forward Ajan Smith added 16 points,  three assists and three steals in his debut.

The team was 10-for-22 from the three-point line and 16-for-23 for the free throw line.

Today, they are to play Clarion University at home.

The final early season game is Saturday against Slippery Rock University.

The early season games are something the players hope to use to their advantage.

“Having the early season games is a way for us to get used to an actual game,” said junior guard Nate Snodgrass.

Scrimmages got the players ready for the games to get in an actual game that matters, Snodgrass said.

The players also have been using the early season games to establish the kind of basketball they would like to play throughout the season, according to senior forward center Ian Vescovi.

Vescovi recorded a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in last Friday’s game.

“Games like this offer a chance for us to play in a real game, compared to a scrimmage or practice, and iron out some of our flaws,” said Vescovi.

According to Snodgrass, the early season games help players get a feel for the competition they are going to face once the season begins in earnest.

Preparing for the early season games can be a bit different the team preparing for a regular in-season conference game.

Vescovi said Clarion and Slippery Rock are teams they directly compete against in the conference.

“As far as conference games go, we have experience dealing with opposing players and coaches from previous years,” said Vescovi.

Preparing for these early season games is not much different, according to Snodgrass.

“No matter what, if it is a non-conference or conference, we always prepare to win. Preparation is similar either way,” said Snodgrass.