By Aaron Eshelman, Staff Writer
The men’s basketball team is 4-1 through its first five games.
The lone loss came in the season opener vs. Henderson State as part of the Great American-MIAA conference challenge. Since then, the Jets have been on a roll, winning four in a row.
“We have been able to defend at a high level the past few games, and we have been taking better care of the ball and executing our plays,” junior point guard Tyjil Hereford said. “We have been more successful at putting two halves together to finish games.”
Newman is making more than 50 percent of its shots this season, ranking ninth in the country for Division II, according to NCAA.com. This is due in large part to the scoring output by three players: junior forwards DeAndre Johnson and Kaleb Allison along with senior Marshawn Blackmon. The trio has combined to score more than 46 percent of the Jets’ points this season.
According to NewmanJets.com, Blackmon leads the team in points per game among players who have appeared in every game this season, averaging 13.8 points. He’s followed closely by Johnson, who is averaging 12.5 points, and Allison, who averages 11.5.
Many Jets had big offensive nights in the Nov. 13 game vs. Manhattan Christian, which the team won 135-60, setting a school record in the Division II era for points scored in a single game. Anthony Harvey Jr. scored a career high 17 points, all coming in the second half when he was 5-5 from three point land.
But no Jet had more of an impact than Kaleb Allison, who scored 30 points and grabbed 7 rebounds on a night he could not be stopped.
Newman followed that performance up with another win at home on Saturday against Northwestern Oklahoma State by a score of 65-53. This game was not as close as the final score implies as Newman carried a 40-22 advantage into the half. The Rangers would fight back hard in the second half, but Jawaun Davenport’s great night would prove too much to handle for NWOSU. Davenport scored 18 points, going 2-5 from three.
On Wednesday, the Jets hosted Cameron University. Cameron, 0-3, came into the game looking for its first win on the season. The Jets, lead by Blackmon and Davenport, had other ideas and led the Jets to a 65-57 victory. Blackmon led all scorers with 20 points, and Davenport was not far behind with 19. Davenport turned in another strong performance from behind the arc, going 2-6. Three-point shooting has been somewhat of a struggle early in the season for Davenport, but he appears to be coming along nicely.
Newman is back in action on Friday afternoon in Topeka, Kansas, facing off against Truman State as part of the Washburn Classic.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics.