Renegades avoid Hawks comeback

By Nader Ihmoud

The Renegades basketball team is undefeated and as professional as ever.

The team defeated the Illinois Institute of Technology Hawks 83-74 Feb. 12, but for Head Coach Joseph Phillips, victory was not enough.

Heading into the second half, the Renegades had a 19-point lead after a 9-0 run to end the first half. The dominance did not end there. The team eventually built a 30-point lead against the Hawks during the 20 minutes of play that followed.

“We played good defense, and when we got out on the break, that’s when we scored most of our buckets,” said Andrew Jones, sophomore at Roosevelt University, which partners with the Renegades.“It started with the defense [leading to] a good late surge at the end of the first half.”

The Renegades played an effective 2-3 zone defense for a majority of the game, holding the Hawks to 25 points in the first half. Phillips was happy with his team’s defense but not fully satisfied.

“Our 2-3 zone was effective,” Phillips said. “We caused probably [more than] 40 turnovers tonight, but we need to capitalize on our turnovers more. I believe we can get more turnovers out of that 2-3.”

J’ron Anderson, a sophomore communications major at Roosevelt, agreed the 2-3 was effective and the team’s defense led to fast breaks that left Renegade players open on the perimeter.

“No egos, everyone was playing for the team,” Anderson said. “Drive and kick, drive and kick.”

With seven minutes remaining and a 24-point lead, the game almost got away from the Renegades when the Hawks went on a 21-4 run before Columbia scored the final 3 points to seal the game.

The offense grew stagnant and the defense could not get a stop. According to Phillips, his players began going one-on-one on the offensive end instead of distributing and finding the open man, which they did effectively throughout most of the game.

“Guys just got out of the game plan; they started doing their own thing,” he said. “[That’s] what happens when you start doing your own thing. You start seeing confusion and commotion.”

The Renegades switched from the effective 2-3 zone to a man-to-man defense and the Hawks began scoring and defending up and down the court.

“[The Hawks] couldn’t do anything with [the 2-3 defense],” Anderson said. “When we went man[-to-man], that’s when they went on their little run.”

The Renegades were still able to settle down and pull out the victory.

“We got too anxious,” said Lavell Harris, sophomore theatre major at Columbia. “Everybody wanted to do what they wanted to do, but we got back on track and pulled ourselves together.”