Ryan Starr (C’22) hustles in recent game against Johnson. Photo courtesy of sewaneetigers.com.
By J.T. Mitchell
On the first night of the annual Lon Varnell Classic, the Sewanee Tigers men’s basketball team defeated Johnson University (Tenn.) by a score of 97-85 to give new head coach Brian Emerson his first career win.
The game began with a couple of possessions of scoreless play until Michael Barry (C’20) hit a three-pointer to get things rolling for the Tigers.
After taking the lead over the Royals with 15:45 left in the first half, Sewanee proceeded to go on an 8-0 run, making the score 21-10.
Johnson fought back—thanks to some big buckets from Coby Jones—cutting Sewanee’s lead to two, 49-47, going into halftime.
After the half, the Tigers wasted no time as the team immediately went on a 19-4 run to push their lead to sixteen with 15 minutes to go. The rest of the half was all Sewanee. The Tiger defense stayed tough and allowed no chance of a Royal comeback, pulling out the 97-85 victory.
The biggest storyline of the night was Sewanee’s Joey Knox (C’21). The junior guard shattered his previous career-high of 16 points by scoring 32 on 12 makes.
The Davidson, NC native was content with the team’s win, yet he still acknowledged room for improvement.
“I think there were a lot of positives to take away from the game,” Knox said. “We still need to be a bit more patient when running our offense…Defensively, we need to talk to one another more and move as a team rather than just playing one-on-one defense.”
Knox and the Tigers can strive for that improvement this afternoon when they take on mountain rival Covenant at 5:00 p.m. CST.