What’s a better way to kick off Veterans Day weekend than with a 25-point win and a triple-double performance, all while at home?
On Friday, the UNH men’s basketball team played its first game of the season against Division III school Lesley University at Lundholm Gymnasium. The Wildcats won in convincing fashion as they defeated the Lynx 85-60, starting the season at 1-0. It was a stellar game for both senior co-captain Jaleen Smith and junior guard Jordan Reed.
Smith earned himself a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Smith was also efficient shooting from the field as he shot 6-10 and 1-2 from three point range. Smith’s efficiency translated to the charity stripe as he made 7-10 free throws.
“I’m not surprised. You have to understand I get to see him every day. I see him practice every day. The level he plays in games is the level he has in practice every day,” head coach Bill Herrion said of his guard’s performance. “Your best players are your hardest working players in practice. I think he is really underappreciated. He doesn’t get the respect he deserves and I think he is a really, really good basketball player.”
As for Jordan Reed, he had to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules. In his Wildcat debut, Reed earned the start against Lesley and proved to the UNH faithful just what they had been missing.
Reed had 13 points, which was the third highest for UNH on the game, with nine points coming from three-point range. He also accounted for two steals for the game, proving to be a very reliable defender on the perimeter.
“It was great. The feeling was insane. It’s such a relief [to play] after waiting a year and not playing,” Reed said about his UNH debut. “It’s hard to envision how it would go after being out so long. It was just the best feeling in the world to go out there and go to battle with these guys.”
As for the game, it was all UNH in the first half. UNH went on a 14-2 run in the middle of the first half. During that run, UNH nailed four three-pointers. That run sparked the UNH offense as they went up 16-7 and never looked back. By the end of the first half, the Wildcats had a commanding 47-17 lead over the Lynx. Jaleen Smith earned the majority of his stats in the first half with 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
UNH’s first half dominance was because of the stifling defense on the primate by Jordan Reed and in the interior by junior Tanner Leissner. It’s offense relied heavily on jump shots and the fast break, which allowed them to ignite their run and create their lead. However in the second half, UNH eased up on Lesley.
Lesley outscored UNH 43 to 38 as Lesley’s Lamar Mitchell came off the bench and scored 14 points in the second half compared with the four points he had in the first. However, the lead was too great for the Lynx to overcome as UNH held on to win 85-60.
“In the first half we looked really good. But in the second half we started off slow and that kind of messed with us the rest of the game,” Smith said about the team’s performance in the second half. “I feel like in the second half we were over helping. Going forward, he have to be smarter when deciding when to help and when not to help.”
UNH goes on the road as they travel to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia to face Temple University on Monday, Nov.14 at 7 p.m.