Back-to-Back Victories Propel Yeomen to 5–2

Harrison Wollman, Staff Writer

The Yeomen picked up two big victories this week, dominating the Earlham College Quakers 86–55 and defeating the Kenyon College Lords 72–64 to improve to 5–2 on the season.

On Sunday, the Yeomen were led by junior guard Jack Poyle’s 24-point effort and senior center and Review Sports editor Randy Ollie’s first double-double of the season, in which he racked up 16 points and 11 rebounds. After going into the locker room with a six-point lead at the half, the Yeomen exploded offensively in the second period, outscoring the Quakers 46–21. Poyle explained that defense played a key role in helping the Yeomen find their offensive rhythm in the second half.

“In the second half against Earlham, we really buckled down on defense and were able to string together a series of stops, and that allowed us to get out in transition and get the shots we wanted to open the game up,” he said.

First-year guard Eli Silverman-Lloyd also came up big for the Yeomen, setting his career high on Sunday with 14 points while shooting an effective 6–8 from the court.

On Wednesday, the Yeomen defeated the visiting Kenyon Lords in their first home North Coast Athletic Conference matchup of the season. Junior guard Nate Cohen’s performance highlighted the victory, scoring 16 points along with six rebounds and six assists. Poyle added 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds of his own, which was complimented by a 12-point, six-rebound effort from Ollie.

After a back and forth first half, the Yeomen stepped up their defensive intensity and were able to maintain a lead throughout the rest of the contest, holding Kenyon to just 34.3 percent shooting from the floor. Head Coach Isaiah Cavaco explained that the Yeomen’s defensive tenacity allowed them to secure a victory, despite committing 24 turnovers in the contest.

“We need to clean up that part of our game,” Cavaco said. “We stopped those turnovers from becoming points by doing a pretty good job defensively of keeping them away from middle drives.”

Coming off the two games which featured strong defensive efforts from the Yeomen, senior forward Matt Walker praised his squad for their improvements but was quick to point out that there is still much progress to be made.

“Our defensive discipline has gotten a lot better over these past few games, however it is still not where we would like it to be,” Walker said. “Communication and attention to detail has to be better.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Yeomen have established themselves as one of the premier three-point shooting teams in the NCAC. Over the course of the season, the Yeomen have made 40 percent of their three-point shots in comparison to the 29.1 average percentage that their opponents have shot. This comes in large part from the efforts of Poyle and Cohen, who have combined to make 33 three-pointers thus far. When asked how much the team’s strategy revolves around the three-point shot, Cavaco explained that the Yeomen will continue to shoot from behind the arc but will not give up a balanced attack in order to do so.

“I think three-point shooting will continue to be a big part of our game,” Cavaco said. “We just have to remember that getting the ball in the paint first will make clean threes possible by either driving or throwing it in the post. Our balance is very important on that end of the floor.”

As the Yeomen head further into conference play, Walker acknowledged that they cannot afford to get caught up in recent success and must continue to improve.

“We all just have to get better each day and be prepared to make a play at both sides of the floor,” Walker said. “Defensively, taking more pride in playing tough defense while remaining disciplined. Offensively, being prepared to make the right read and being prepared to shoot your individual shot.”

The Yeomen prepare for Saturday’s home contest against Wabash College’s Little Giants on Dec. 5. Tip off is scheduled for 3 p.m.