Red Flash play complete game in victory

LORETTO — The Saint Francis University men’s basketball team got a dominating win at DeGol Arena on Thursday night over Saint Francis-Brooklyn, 81-56.

The home squad controlled all aspects of the game, jumping out to a 32-point halftime lead. The Red Flash were able to empty their bench in the second half to polish off the 25-point conference victory.

“I was pleased with our guys focus, to start, from the defensive side,” Saint Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. “We did a great job of executing the defensive game plan, and against a team that likes to play in the half court like they do defensively. We needed to get some easy shots in transition, and I thought we were able to do that to start the game. Then the offense becomes a little easier.”

The focus of the Red Flash was clear in the first half, as they jumped out to a 48-16 lead. The idea was to get the ball as close to the bucket as possible. Saint Francis outscored the Terriers 26-6 in the paint in the opening half, led by Josh Nebo.

Nebo opened the game with dunks on two of Saint Francis’s first three possessions. His play, along with his teammates driving to the basket for layups and fouls, pushed the Red Flash to a 16-2 lead with 15:26 left in the half.

“My goal was to get back on track,”Nebo said. “The last game I didn’t play too well. I was in foul trouble. For this game I was focused on just getting back and track and continuing to play well.”

In addition to being strong on the offensive end, Nebo played a pivotal role in holding the Terriers to only 16 first-half points, ringing up four blocks and five rebounds before finishing with five blocks and seven boards.

Nebo was part of a strong team rebounding effort — the Red Flash outboarded the Terriers 23-15 in the opening half.

“Rebounding is the most important part,” Nebo said. “We feel that if we rebound we can get out in transition and play to our strengths. That was the goal, to limit them to one shot and get out in transition.”

The best stretch in the first half by Saint Francis Brooklyn was a 4-0 run over a one minute span that trimmed the Red Flash lead to 16-6. However, the home squad distanced itself the remainder of the half. In addition to its strong inside play and rebounding, the Saint Francis guards also turned in complete performances.

Sophomore Isaiah Blackmon filled up the stat sheet:. He had three of the Red Flash six steals in the first half while netting 12 points on the evening to go along with six rebounds three assists.

“We just came out hard,” Blackmon said. “Coach has been on us every day about going hard in practice and translating it to the game. That’s what I tried to do. We knew Brooklyn was going to come out deny, so there would be a lot of open lanes. Getting into the lane was pretty easy. That’s how we attacked it.”

Keith Braxton and Jamaal King hit early 3-pointers in the second half pushing the lead to 61-24. The lead grew to 43 points on a layup by Patrick Wrencher, at which point Krimmel worked in some of his bench players.

The only negative of the evening for the Red Flash was their play late. The Terriers rattled off a 17-0 run over a period of almost seven minutes near the end of the game, keyed by missed shots and turnovers. Saint Francis Brooklyn netted 15 points just off turnovers in the second half.

The victory moved the Red Flash to 2-1 in NEC play, and 5-9 overall. Saint Francis will host LIU Brooklyn tomorrow at 4 p.m.

“We have to come ready to play every night,” Krimmel said. “In this league, every year is so competitive. You have to have short term memory. We told the team last Thursday, when we lost a tough one at FDU, you have to have short term memory and be ready to bounce back and play on Saturday. The same thing now, here on Thursday. We have to have short term memory. LIU is coming in here. We have to put this one behind us. Remember the good things, and learn from this game, but be able to focus in on the scouting report for the next one. It happens pretty quickly. Four o’clock on Saturday will come fast.”

SAINT FRANCIS BROOKLYN (4-12): Montgomery 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 1-5 1-2 3, Hopkinson 0-8 2-2 2, Sanabria 1-10 2-2 5, Olafsson 3-7 0-0 8, Porter 2-6 3-3 7, Bodrick 3-8 2-2 8, Lasic 1-2 0-0 3, Nurse 0-0 1-4 1, Ford 2-5 0-0 6, Harris 0-1 1-2 1, Dunn 5-12 2-2 12. Totals 18-67 14-19 56.

SAINT FRANCIS (PA.) (5-9): Nebo 6-7 2-2 14, Blackmon 5-10 0-0 12, Gaskins 6-8 1-3 13, Braxton 3-6 2-2 9, King 4-5 0-0 11, Wrencher 3-3 0-2 6, Kuzavas 1-1 0-0 2, Umezurike 0-1 2-2 2, Wallace 0-2 0-0 0, Meredith 0-2 0-0 0, Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Wolford 1-2 2-2 4, Angelou 3-9 0-0 8, Klebon 0-0 0-0 0, McKeithen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-57 9-13 81.

Halftime–Saint Francis (Pa.) 48-16. 3-Point Goals–Saint Francis Brooklyn 6-29 (Ford 2-3, Olafsson 2-5, Lasic 1-1, Sanabria 1-7, Harris 0-1, Porter 0-2, Dunn 0-2, Williams 0-3, Hopkinson 0-5), Saint Francis (Pa.) 8-19 (King 3-3, Blackmon 2-3, Angelou 2-7, Braxton 1-1, Wolford 0-1, Gaskins 0-1, McKeithen 0-1, Meredith 0-2). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Saint Francis Brooklyn 31 (Williams 8), Saint Francis (Pa.) 41 (Nebo, Gaskins 7). Assists–Saint Francis Brooklyn 7 (Porter, Nurse 2), Saint Francis (Pa.) 16 (Braxton 4). Total Fouls–Saint Francis Brooklyn 12, Saint Francis (Pa.) 16.