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Tarik Cool leads Titans to season opening victory

Tarik Cool, men's basketball
Tarik Cool, men's basketball

The Titans opened up their season with a victory over Pacific JV, 115-88.

How it happened: The Titans were briefly down 8-6, but a Will Graves three game the Titans a lead they would not relinquish. The Titans were on fire from the field in the first half, hitting on 67.5 percent of their shots and racking up 20 assists on 27 made field goals. Defensively there were moment where the Titans looked really good and locked-in, resulted in 12 steals, but other times where they were out of position, reaching or the recipient of a bad call; they were called for 13 fouls that led to 18 free throw attempts for the Boxers. The Boxers shot 34.5 percent from the field and 23.5 from three. The Titans made 9-20 from three and saw eight players score. Tarik Cool led all players with 16 points on 6-9 from the field and three assists, two steals and rebounds off the bench. Rodney Hounshell was a perfect 6-6 for 14 points. Graves was the third player in double-digits, with 10 points, four assists and two rebounds. Andrew Butterfield had 15 points for the Boxers, thanks to an 8-9 mark at the line.

The 2nd half saw a lot less ball movement that resulted in many open looks in the 1st half. The Titans lost of starting forward Cody Mathis at the 19:10 mark of the 2nd half after his fifth foul, Gabe Sorber picked up the slack inside with 13 points and six rebounds in only nine minutes. Cool had another efficient half with 12 points on 4-10 shooting and three steals. The Titans continued to deal with foul trouble as a team, picking up 16 fouls. They also didn't rebound, losing the battle 25-17 and 11-6 on the offensive glass. The Titans did maintain an aggressive approach on the perimeter defensively stealing nine balls. Their passing was not as frequent or crisp, but still managed 10 assists on 18 made field goals. The Boxers got 15 more free throw attempts, but improved their shooting to 42.5 percent and 30.8 from behind the arch.

Overall the Titans seemed to have good depth getting 55 points from their bench and hit 15-37 threes. They lost the rebounding battle 38-31 and as a result lost the second chance points battle 25-17.

What/who stood out: The Titans had assists on 30 of 45 made field goals and only had 13 turnovers. The Boxer had 19 more free throw attempts and 12 fewer foul calls against. Cool and Hounshell for the Titans Butterfield and Markell Mosier all fouled out as a result of a very tightly called game. Sorber had 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds in 18 minutes. Eight of the nine Titans had a steal and scored. Cool, a transfer from NCAA D2 Dixie State in Utah, finished with a game-high 28 points, five steals and four assists. Graves had 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Hounshell had 25 points on 10-14 shooting and 4-8 from behind the arch.

What it means: The Titans start 1-0 and played without two players, Jake Willemsen and Lucas Wilson, who should contribute and start respectively.

What's next: The Titan host the alumni at Titan Coliseum on Saturday November, 21 at 2 p.m.