If the Waynesburg University men’s basketball team wanted to get off on the right foot when it comes to Presidents’ Athletic Conference play, there’s little doubt they did just that on Saturday.
Not only did the Yellow Jackets roll to a 74-48 road victory at Saint Vincent on Saturday, but senior guard Matt Popeck, a graduate of Washington High School, became the 35th member of Waynesburg’s 1,000-point club and sophomore Antone Baker dominated the glass in the victory.
Popeck not only cleared the 1,000-point mark, but did so with his second 30-plus-point output in his last seven games going back to last season. The veteran standout piled up a game and team-season high 36 points on 14-of-24 shooting that included an efficient five-of-10 effort from three-point range. He also pulled down nine rebounds and tied for the game high with three assists. His 36 points are the second-most scored in a single game by any PAC player this season.
Baker ruled the boards with 16 rebounds, including six on offense, over just 17 minutes of play off the bench. He also chipped in seven points to the winning effort. Junior guard Ryan Felberg and graduate student forward Nijon Kirkman also tallied seven points in the win.
Following Baker’s lead, Waynesburg outrebounded Saint Vincent (1-5, 0-1) by a 49-36 margin. The Jacket defense, which has given up just 59.0 points per game this year, second best in the PAC, held Saint Vincent to 32.1% shooting from the field and just three-of-18 shooting from three-point range (16.7 percent. That same defense kept the Bearcats without a double-digit scorer.
While both teams performed admirably in protecting the basketball, Waynesburg turned it over just five times, while forcing the opposition into 11 turnovers.
Waynesburg’s 26-point victory is its largest since a 66-39 triumph over Washington & Jefferson on Feb. 6, 2016.
Saint Vincent, 72, Waynesburg 67 -- The visiting Yellow Jackets fell into a deep hole early, but battled back throughout the game in their PAC opener.
Waynesburg (0-6, 0-1) trailed 13-3 with just over five minutes left in the first quarter. The Jackets cut the lead to nine following two free-throws by junior Leighton Croft to make the score 21-12.
Waynesburg was led by Kastroll, who went 7-for-10 from the field for 22 points. She went 4-for-5 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Avery Robinson added 12 points on five-of-12 shooting. Dansby posted nine points on the day, while senior Brooke Fuller chipped in a team-high nine rebounds.