By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Goshen College’s men’s basketball team is off to a 2-0 start.
The Maple Leafs used an early push to get out to a big first-half advantage over visiting Kuyper College (Grand Rapids, Mich.) before pulling away from the Cougars in the second half for a 101-68 victory in a Maple City Hoopfest contest.
Goshen (2-0) fell behind early 5-2, but that deficit did not last long at all: The Maple Leafs promptly ripped off a 20-0 run to take early control of the contest at 22-5.
The Maple Leafs led by as many as 20 in the opening half before Kuyper closed the half on a 9-0 run with mainly Goshen reserves on the floor. Goshen led 50-36 at the break.
Goshen coach Gary Chupp was pleased to look at the stat sheet and see that his Maple Leafs shot 55 percent from the field (37-of-67). Goshen was 9-of-15 from beyond the arc.
“We played fast and got a lot of our points in transition,” Chupp said.
Playing fast, however, does not always mean taking the first shot available on a trip down the floor, Chupp said.
The Maple Leafs averaged a possession about every 13 seconds.
“We were more patient in the second half,” Chupp said.
Chupp was also pleased with the energy his team brought to the floor — especially in the opening 10 minutes of the first half. Goshen again got balanced scoring, with four players in double figures. Senior guard Kyle Davis led the way with 25 points. Senior forward Matthew Martin had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds; and junior guard-forward Jerron Jamerson added 18 points.
Senior guard Tavo Parral added 10 points off the bench.
Goshen emptied the bench and got its entire roster into the game late in the contest, and reached the century mark in the closing minute on four consecutive points by senior forward Hayden Putt, an East Noble product.
The tournament, which switched last year from a championship to a classic format, continues tonight with a 7 p.m. contest between Kuyper and Calumet St. Joseph.
The Maple Leafs wrap up the tournament Saturday afternoon with a game against Calumet St. Joseph.
LOOSE LEAFS: Goshen was 14-4 in the history of the Maple City Hoopfest coming into this year’s tournament … Both Kuyper and Calumet St. Joseph are participating in the Maple City Hoopfest for the first time … Goshen won the tournament six of the nine times it was hosted as a championship tournament … Thursday night’s game was the second of a five-game opening homestand for the Maple Leafs.