Men reclaim the lead of the Western Division
January 18, 2017
With the pre-season ending, the Raiders men’s basketball has taken lead of the competitive western division. Pierce has a record of 10-3 coming off a three-game winning streak. Coach Mendelson was very enthusiastic about his returning players.
“Makeleb McInnis a returning All-League player, along with Michael Hannon, Chris Drake, and Robert Rucker make a formidable backcourt.” Raider forward Hussayn Ford, the teams premier scoring big man, is the leader in total rebounds with 139 in the NWAC.
Ford’s best performance of the young season was against Big Bend on Dec. 03. It was his second-best game scoring wise with 27 pts while shooting 92 percent (11-12) from the field. Ford is the Raiders leading scorer in points per game averaging 15.92.
The Raiders are number two in the league with 1284 total points. Pierce’s offense follows the style of the Showtime Lakers; “The Raiders play an up-tempo style that results in a fast-paced fun game to watch” Mendelson said. They are in the top three in the league with 264 total assists. Their offense is one of the better groups when shooting at the line averaging 73 percent for the first 13 games.
Although Pierce has yet to break 100 points in a game this season, their offense is scoring consistently on defensive turnovers in late game situations. The defense has been able to make plays when the game matters, which is evident in the fact that they have 142 turnovers which is second best in the league.
The Raiders have been looking like a playoff team in recent games. They beat the Clackamas Cougars, quite convincingly by 23 points on the road. The Raiders dominated the Cougars in the rebounding category by nearly 13 percent both offensively and defensively.
In the first half, the Raiders seemed to struggle from downtown in 3-point territory. Later in the second half, Pierce regrouped and decided to play more in the paint which forced the defense to play more aggressive opening spots for the Raiders sharpshooters on the perimeter.
Pierce enters the regular season with a record of 12-3. “Returning 8 players has helped the Raiders off to a great start this season at 12-3 and ranked 3rd in the NWAC” Mendelson said. The first game of the regular season for the Raiders is Jan. 11th at home against western division rival Lower Columbia. The matchup is early in the season but could be a key component to who will go to the playoffs and the overall postseason seeding’s.