Tech’s post players led the Jackets to a 31-point win over Le Moyne last Friday at the Coliseum, 85-54. Sophomore forward Gani Lawal and senior center Alade Aminu posted double-doubles to lead the team. Lawal led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Aminu scored 17 with 12 rebounds and junior forward Zachery Peacock added 13 rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Maurice Miller had four assists and six points and the anticipated debut of freshman combo guard and McDonald’s All-American Iman Shumpert left the coach with something to be desired.
Shumpert had just four points on 1-7 shooting, but did have eight assists. “He’s capable of better, he’s a good player but he’s capable of better,” said Head Coach Paul Hewitt.
Prior to the game, Tech learned it would be without senior shooting guard Lewis Clinch for the early part of the season after he was declared academically ineligible. Because of this, the Jackets saw more of sophomore shooting guard Lance Storrs (0 points, four fouls) and freshman walk-on guard Nike Foreman (eight points, three rebounds).
“There’s a chance [Foreman will play] with our numbers as they are now. Lewis is going to miss the first semester. We’re looking to find a guy that will step in and make some shots and some plays. Derek Craig could be another guy we might see,” Hewitt said.
Preseason All-American junior forward Laurence Ekperigin had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Dolphins.
The Jackets got off to a slow start in the first half. Tech scored just six points in the first six minutes of the game, but held Le Moyne to just two points. The trend continued as the Jackets had just 12 points halfway through the first half. The Jackets would score just 34 points in the first half, but did hold the Dolphins to 22.
The Jackets came out in the second half and began to turn things around. In the first half, Shumpert and Miller combined for seven assists and five turnovers. In the second half the guards combined for five assists and no turnovers.
Tech went on an 18-6 run to start the frame and never let up. Aminu scored six points and accounted for a steal within the run and Foreman hit one of his two three point baskets.
The Jackets continued to pour on the points with a 17-5 run through the ten minute mark. Lawal continued his good with 11 points and two assists in the second half.
“Moe Miller played better in the second half. He played the way we needed him to play and established himself defensively on the ball and established the tempo. I think the only adjustment was that Moe decided to play in the second half,” Hewitt said.
The regular season kicks off with the home opener this Friday against Winston-Salem State at 8:30. The Jackets beat the Rams two seasons ago when they won 97-46 led by Anthony Morrow’s 21 point outburst.