By Matthew Snyder
Behind 16 points from hot-shooting senior guard David Medoff and eight points from junior forward Jack Gale, the University boys basketball team charged out to a 15-point halftime lead on the road against Marshall on Wednesday.
But it was the heady, all-around play of seniors Harold Getz and Chris Mah that allowed the Red Devils to withstand a fourth-quarter Marshall rally and emerge with a 67-50 non-league victory.
Getz and Mah combined for just 12 points, but filled up other areas of the stat sheet. Getz grabbed eight rebounds and had four assists, while Mah added four assists and five steals.
Mah’s final steal came with 1:35 remaining and Marshall (4-5) threatening to cut University’s (11-3) lead to single digits.
Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles said he made a point to congratulate Getz and Mah on their performances during the post-game handshake.
“I let [Getz] know after the game that I really was impressed with the way that he played the point, but I also liked the way that [Mah] handled the ball, and stayed under control, and distributed it to the right guys at the right time,” Miles said.
Both teams started slowly, but Medoff’s four first-half three-pointers buoyed the Red Devils early.
Marshall employed a number of high-pressure zone defenses, but the Red Devils broke them down with crisp perimeter passing to free up open looks for their numerous shooters.
“Not many people play zone against us, so it was great for us to have a chance to work against a zone,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “But when we see [that defense], often our eyes light up, because we know we’re going to get a lot of good looks. We’ve got a lot of shooters and we know that if we move the ball it’s just a matter of time before we get a good shot.”
Getz thrived against the pressure, frequently flashing to the free-throw line where he provided a number of dexterous passes to the wing and into the low post.
Marshall didn’t have much trouble breaking University’s pressure defense either. The backcourt trio of Jason Smith, Mizell Parker and Aumen Holliday each took turns bringing the ball up court and positioned themselves adeptly to take advantage of gaps in the press.
“We’ve played a lot of teams that played that type of defense, and we worked for the last week playing against the press,” Miles said.
While the press defense didn’t cause many turnovers, University’s half-court set forced Marshall to shoot just 35 percent from the floor and the Red Devils held a 50-29 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Phoenix twice cut the lead to 12 points during the fourth-quarter comeback. Marshall senior center Albert Collins matched his point total from the first three quarters combined with eight points in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to breach the considerable margin.
“I think one of the things I felt we did real, real well was mentally in the second half, we picked ourselves up,” Miles said. “If we can end on a note like that heading into the regular season, I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
David Medoff – 19
Jack Gale – 12
James Burton – 11
Harold Getz – 10
Will Carroll – 7
Albert Collins – 18
Aumen Holliday – 9
Keyon Hiedelburg – 8
Mizell Parker – 6
Jason Smith – 5