The Bruins men’s basketball team took on the F4S Textilers on Oct. 24 in the first of two preseason games.
The Bruins were in control from the beginning, as they showed confidence on offense and found a variety of ways to score. The Bruins moved the ball well and found open shots on the corners.
The Bruins guards, led by sophomore transfer Larry Taylor, created multiple layups and free-throw opportunities by repeatedly attacking the paint, while the forwards matched up well against the F4S big men and were able to rebound effectively.
The Bruins brought intensity on the defensive end and generated points by creating turnovers and fast-break layups. Newer players got to see a good amount of playing time and were productive off the bench. Guard Taylor led scoring with 23 points, and junior Zach Mercado and sophomore Kyle Turner each turned in 14 as the Bruins won 86-64.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, BJU hosted the Piedmont College Lions to close the preseason. Junior guard Mercado and senior guard Evan Brondyke contributed several 3-pointers to spark the offense in the first half, and tireless defense provided the team with transition buckets.
The Bruins nearly held the Lions scoreless for the last five minutes of the first half, as they brought the score back to within two at 34-36, thanks to transition layups from guards Darnel Antoine and Jason McVey.
Kyle Turner, Jason McVey, Darnel Antoine and Zach Mercado started the second half for the Bruins. A turnover led to a short jump shot from Darnel Antoine, and Mercado followed with a 3-pointer to take the lead 37-36.
The Bruins couldn’t hold the lead, however, and they fell behind 39-40. Sophomore guard Ray Holden Jr. tied the score again at 47 with a strong layup in transition, but a short jumper put the Bruins behind again and another 3-pointer brought the Lions to 53.
The Bruins closed the lead to 55-53 as Mercado assisted freshman guard Cameron Kirkman for a jumper behind the arch, but several more 3-pointers buried the Bruins at 66-55 with 7:15 remaining in the second half. Guard Darnel Antoine led the Bruins with 16 points, Mercado added 11, and Turner proved to be a deep threat as well as a force in the mid-range as he added 15 points.
The Bruins women’s and men’s teams tip off their regular season tonight against the Johnson University Royals at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Davis Field House.