GOSHEN, Ind. – The 2012-13 basketball season started on a high note for the Maple Leaf men as they knocked off visiting Aquinas College 76-66 late Tuesday night.
"I was pleased with the energy we brought to the floor tonight," sixth-year head coach Gary Chupp said. "Our guys were tired of beating each other up in practice and were excited to get the season underway."
Aquinas scored the initial basket of the contest - a Kenny Gordon 3-pointer - but their 3-0 and a 5-2 leads would be the largest the visitors would have all night. Goshen immediately used a 13-2 run to take a 15-7 advantage just over five minutes in. Then, midway through the first half, the Leafs converted three-straight turnovers into baskets to stretch their lead to double digits for the first time (26-16).
The hosts hit 63.3% from the field in the opening period to take a 49-37 lead into the halftime intermission. The second half started poorly for Goshen, though, who missed six of their first seven field goal attempts letting Aquinas go on a 13-2 run and pull within one (51-50).
"We shot it extremely well in the first half because we had very good ball movement and were playing unselfish basketball," Chupp explained. "The first couple minutes of the second half our shot selection was terrible and that allowed Aquinas to get back in the game. To our credit, we got back to moving the basketball and stretched the lead back out to double digits."
After the Saints' run, the Maple Leafs quickly responded with a 10-2 streak to push the gap back to nine and were never seriously threatened again. Aquinas hit 54% overall, but Goshen forced them into 17 turnovers. Kenny Gordon was the high man for the Saints with 16 points.
All eight players who entered the contest for Goshen got in the scoring column, including a career high 16 by senior Tavo Parral who hit 4-of-6 from long range in under 18 minutes of playing time.
The point guard duo of senior Kyle Davis and Stefon Luckey each scored 15 points and dished out a total of 13 assists for the Leafs who hit 53% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Senior Matthew Martin was also in double figures in scoring, hitting 5-of-8 from the field for 11 points, while junior Matt Glick chipped in six point and a team-high seven rebounds.
"Our point of emphasis the last couple days has been rebounding the basketball and I was very happy allowing only four offensive rebounds all night," Chupp added. "KD (Davis) and Luckey both had solid floor games and I thought Tavo and Zawadzki both played extremely well off the bench tonight."
Goshen (1-0) will host its annual Maple City Hoopfest this weekend with Kuyper College at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Calumet College of Saint Joseph at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.