By Robbie Loeb
Without injured second leading scorer forward Josh Hearlihy ’12, the basketball team took home third place in the annual Desert Heat Classic in Palm Desert, Calif., from Dec. 27-30. The Wolverines went 3-1 in the tournament, falling in the semi-finals to Lincoln of Brooklyn, N.Y. before closing out the tournament with a victory over Burbank. Forward Derick Newton ’14 averaged 19.8 points per game throughout the tournament.
The Wolverines won their opener against Skyline of Washington 70-58, behind guard Francis Hyde’s ’13 20 points and three steals. Hyde was deadly from long distance, canning six out of seven 3-point attempts. Newton added 16 points and 10 rebounds and center Zena Edosomwan ’12 put up 11 points and grabbed 19 boards.
In their next matchup against Bishop Manogue of Las Vegas, the Wolverines cruised to a 92-54 blowout, with five players scoring in double figures, all led by Newton with 20 points. The team shot a season-best 71 percent from the field en route to the 38 point massacre.
The only loss of the tournament came at the hands of Lincoln in the semi-finals, 81-70. The Wolverines were never in control of the game since leading 6-5 at the early onset and trailed by as many as 19 points. Newton led the Wolverines in scoring once again with 28 points and nine rebounds, shooting a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc, while Edosomwan posted 20 points, corralled nine boards and swatted away four shots. Despite solid offensive outputs by Newton and Edosomwan, the Wolverines found little else from the rest of the team in terms scoring contributions, with point guard Michael Sheng ’14 as the third leading scorer with just eight points. The Wolverines had trouble moving the ball around, dishing out only five assists throughout the very much one-sided game.
The Wolverines bounced back from their 11 point defeat with a 60-52 victory over local opponent Burbank in the third-place match. Down 26-30 at half-time, the Wolverines dominated the second half, outscoring Burbank 34-22. Edosomwan led all scorers with 23 points on 11-14 shooting, but struggled from the charity stripe, knocking down just one of seven free throw attempts. Edosomwan grabbed 13 boards and blocked four shots, and Newton added 15 points.
The team plays its first league game tomorrow at St. Francis and its home opener Friday against Notre Dame.