Mike Stetson, Sports Information Director
UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. – The Warriors started the 2020-21 season with a strong effort on the road Friday night only to come up short in a battle with Indiana University Northwest.
The RedHawks won the battle of the boards, and with it, held off the Waldorf men’s basketball team, scoring an 89-77 victory over the Warriors in the first game of the Jaguars Tip-Off Classic hosted by Governors State.
“This was a very good game to play,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “I’m proud of our effort and fight.”
The Warriors (0-1 overall) came out fighting and led early as a Jeff Lee layup with 7 minutes gone put Waldorf in front, 16-13, before the RedHawks made a surge.
Led by their effort on the boards – the RedHawks outrebounded Waldorf 53-38 on the night, 18-7 on the offensive end, and grabbed 13 offensive boards in the first half – Indiana University Northwest surged out to a 47-30 advantage right before the break on a Damond Crosby putback.
“We made a lot of mistakes on the defensive end in the first half and we put ourselves in a hole,” Jenkins said. “We gave up way too many second-chance points.”
But the Warriors kept battling.
Charging out of the locker room, Waldorf closed to 52-45 down on a Tristan Ferguson dunk but the RedHawks’ extra opportunities made it tough on the Warriors to complete a comeback.
Waldorf got as close as 80-74 down with 2 minutes left on a Quincy Minor Jr. free throw, but no closer.
“The second half was much better,” Waldorf’s coach said. “We made some runs to cut into the lead quite a few times; didn’t give up as many rebounds; we just didn’t have enough to finish it.”
Minor Jr. led the way for Waldorf with a career-high 32 points on the night, while Ferguson added career-highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double, and Lorenzo Smith added 14 points in his Warrior debut.
Waldorf is back in action at the Jaguars Tip-Off Classic at 3 p.m. on Saturday when they take on tournament host Governors State.
“I believe this team will be a lot better tomorrow,” Jenkins said.