Rowan Men’s Basketball Opens Their Season With two Wins

A Rowan men's basketball player finishing his layup. Rowan win their first two games of the 2021-22 season this past weekend. - File Photo / Ben Stephens

This past Friday, Rowan Men’s Basketball tipped off their 2021-2022 season with two wins at Messiah University in the annual Towneplace Suites Tip-Off Tournament. 

The Profs headed into the weekend with plenty of offseason work under their belt, having almost two years to prepare for this season. Head Coach Joe Crispin was determined to use the first two games of the season to showcase his team’s preparation and talent. 

“All of our guys have the freedom to shoot,” Coach Crispin said. “I hope teams get a look at us and go, ‘Oh, this is going to be a little different. This is going to be different from the normal.’”

The Profs were able to live up to Crispin’s words, grabbing two wins at the Messiah Tournament to kick start their season. The team defeated the United States Coast Guard Academy 111-83 on Friday night, followed up by a 111-89 victory over Messiah on Saturday. Rowan outscored their opponents by a combined 50 points throughout their first two matchups of the season. 

Crispen gave all of his players the green light to shoot and score, and the team took advantage of those opportunities. In the first game against Coast Guard, Rowan took 79 shots, shooting 48.1% from the field. Junior guard Hafeez Melvin led the way for the team by scoring 17 points, with senior guard Arian Azemi with 15 points and sophomore forward Andrew Seager with 14 points.

The team’s win was largely influenced by their defense as well, tallying 20 total steals and three blocks in that game. Six of those steals came from Azemi, who was one of 11 new players that made their debut for the Profs on Friday night.

Rowan was able to repeat much of their first-game success in their second game of the season against Messiah. The Profs scored exactly 111 points again, led by their six players who scored double-digit points.

Melvin with 19 and Seager with 18 points led the way for the Profs again, with sophomore guard Marcellus Ross adding 16 of his own points to the team total. Azemi, along with junior guards Connor Dickerson and Ryan O’Leary, also scored in double figures. 

While the first two games saw the Profs win in dominating fashion, they will only have a few days to prepare for their next game against Marymount University. Rowan will be hosting the Saints in the team’s home-opener this Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. 

Will Rowan be able to continue to ride their early-season success? Will the team be able to continue posting high numbers by spreading the ball around?

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