Monarchs’ Defense Keys Upset Of Colonels
WILKES-BARRE — There was one specific spot on the floor J.P. Andrejko didn’t want to see a Wilkes player standing: On the foul line.
Not after the Colonels broke the NCAA Division III record for free throw shooting going 33 for 33 on Saturday in a win over Eastern.
With that statistic tucked away in the back of his mind, Andrejko figured a way to keep the Colonels from getting there. Andrejko went to a zone defense on Wednesday night, cutting off the lanes and forcing Wilkes to try to win the game from the perimeter.
But the King’s zone was active enough that the Colonels were rarely able to get a clean look at the basket when they spotted up behind the arc. And thanks to 13 unanswered points early in the first half, the Monarchs were able to lead wire-to-wire in an 81-53 victory at the Scandlon Gymnasium.
The win, the second consecutive for the Monarchs, improved them to 4-12 overall and 2-3 in the Freedom Conference. Wilkes dropped to 11-5 and 3-2. The Monarchs also snapped a six-game losing streak to the Colonels.
“We came out ready to play and got off to a great start,” Andrejko said. “Defensively I thought we did an outstanding job. I thought the zone did exactly what we wanted it to do. When they go 33 for 33 from the foul line the other day, we really didn’t want to foul a lot. We thought it would be a good idea not to put them on the line. We executed well.”
The execution on both ends of the floor was arguably the best for King’s this year.
After JJ Glinsky started the game with a 3-pointer, and Wilkes got a layup from Marcus Robinson to cut the King’s lead to 3-2, 40 seconds into the game, it was the closest the Colonels would get the rest of the night. King’s led 9-2 forcing Wilkes coach Izzi Metz to call a quick 30 second timeout to try and settle his team down. By the 10:56 mark of the first half, Metz had called his third timeout with the Colonels down by 16.
“All the credit goes to King’s,” Metz said. “They just outplayed us in every facet of the game. They were quicker to the loose balls and executed their offense with precision. They screened great, they were much more physical than us around the basket. The dominated us in every aspect.”
It was the defensive end of the floor that helped set up things on the offensive end for the Monarchs. King’s scored 14 points off turnovers, outscored the Colonels 36-16 in the paint, and held a 10-1 advantage in second-chance opportunities.
“The offensive end of the floor this year has been like a roller coaster,” Andrejko said. “Tonight it was really good. I thought we played well on the offensive end.”
Joe Lonardi came off the bench to lead King’s in scoring with 18 points. Noah Tanner added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and finished an assist shy of a triple-double. The Colonels did cut the King’s lead to 11 with 3:45 left in the first half, but Kevin Hunter hit a 3-pointer to spark and 8-0 to close the half.
“Wilkes is a really good team and we knew they were going to make a run,” Andrejko said. “We just had to weather the run. I thought we did a nice job offensively. We just told them not to turn the ball over and get quality shots. James Willis hit a couple shots, (Joe) Lonardi hits a couple jumpers. It was just a lot of people that really contributed. Everyone did their job tonight.”
Wilkes finished the night shooting 29.5 percent from the floor and 22.9 percent from the 3-point line. King’s shot 51.7 percent from the floor, and held a 47-28 advantage on the boards.
“I can’t explain it,” Metz said. “For whatever reason we have had a couple games like this wehre I didn’t think the energy level was great. We came back today, and for whatever reason, mentally and physically I didn’t see that edge we need to bring to a rivalry game on the road. Our defense wasn’t good enough on the point of attack on the ball. We never made them feel uncomfortable. It never got to the point where I felt we were going to chip away enough and make a run at them.”
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Bowen 1 5-6 7, Evans 0 0-0 0, Robinson 3 0-0 7, Pecorelli 4 4-4 15, Mullins 5 0-1 10, Walser 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Bova 3 0-0 9, Coller 1 0-0 3, Marshall 1 0-0 2, Basalyga 0 0-0 0, Chaffee 0 0-0 0, Robel 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 9-11 53.
Pawliczak 5 0-0 10, Hudak 5 1-2 11, Glinsky 2 0-0 6, Tanner 4 7-7 16, Millan 2 0-0 6, Willis 2 0-0 6, Lonardi 8 2-5 18, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Hunter 2 0-0 6, Mitchell 1 0-0 2. Totals: 31 10-14 81.
Halftime score: King’s 45, Wilkes 26
3-point goals: Pecorelli (3), Robinson, Bova (3), Coller, Glinsky (2), Tanner, Millan (2), Willis (2), Hunter (2).