PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Gwynedd Mercy University men’s basketball split its first two games of the 2017-18 season, but after a loss in that second game against Jersey City University, it has been nothing but W’s for the Griffins.
Gwynedd Mercy, located in Montgomery County, won its seventh in a row Wednesday night, improving to 8-1 on the season with a 96-81 road win over Lebanon Valley.
Head coach John Baron is in his 16th season leading the Division III Griffins and he is enjoying this early season success.
“I think the key to us right now is that our guys like each other,” Baron tells KYW Newsradio. “We kind of talk about the word chemistry and what it means, for us it’s about doing what it takes to win basketball games. We’re sharing the basketball, we’re rebounding, we’re making a commitment to defense and we have been able to score points in the past and we’re sticking with that tradition as well.”
Success is nothing new for Baron as he has led the Griffins to the NCAA Tournament five times during his career. He says they have a lot of players making this season’s success possible.
“There’s quite a number of guys [contributing],” Baron says, “but the top one is our big kid [senior] Will Davis from George Washington High School. He’s averaging [19.6 ppg], he had back-to-back 29 point games. [Senior guard] Rip Engle, on any given night can do well. Rip had 23 [points Wednesday] night. Rip is from Council Rock. Then [junior guard] Courtney Cubbage from Camden Catholic in South Jersey is probably our most athletic kid and is averaging fifteen [points] a game himself. Then we have a lot of other guys who have bought into their roles. We have a couple of kids that are known as our defenders. We have a couple that are our shooters. When you have role players that buy into their role plus a couple of kids that are all-around players, it’s just been making for a successful start so far.”
The Griffins are 4-0 in Colonial States Athletic Conference play. While they’ve already enjoyed a lot of success, Baron says his team can get even better.
“We always are working on pressure and turnovers,” he says. “I don’t think teams pressure us because we have a lot of quick kids that can dribble and we’re pretty good passers. But for us, I always say you have to know what can beat you before you can actually go forth and win. Zone offense is something we practice all the time, breaking the press and pressure defense. When teams pressure us, we’re always looking to eliminate turnovers.”
Gwynedd Mercy returns to the court on Friday night when the Griffins visit Kean.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleonkyw.