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Owls dial in from deep to down Quakers

GAMBIER, Ohio — In their first home game, the Kenyon College men’s basketball team overcame a tough start, turning an early 14-point deficit into a 15-point win at the final buzzer. The Owls defended Tomsich Arena against the Earlham College Quakers (0-2), winning 74-59 and starting the season with a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign.

For the second game in a row, Anthony Testa led the Owls in scoring and David Mazon III notched a double-double. Testa, a junior, scored 17 points on an efficient 5-7 clip while adding a trio of assists, steals, and rebounds while blocking two shots. Testa did most of his damage from distance, shooting 4-6 from three-point range, which doubled the next-best three-point output.

Mazon III, a sophomore, did a little bit of everything, scoring 13 points and securing a game-high 10 boards. The forward added two assists and two steals, and he displayed efficiency at all three levels, shooting 3-5 from the floor, 2-3 from deep, and 5-6 from the free throw line. Fellow sophomore Jackson Kennedy set a career-high with 12 points, making 3-of-4 shots, his only three-point attempt, and 5-of-6 free throws. 

The Owls and Quakers had very different scoring breakdowns, with Kenyon getting seven-plus points from six players and Earlham being a two-man show. Miles Versa (nine points, four assists, three steals), Nick Lewis (seven points, three rebounds, two steals and assists), and Gefen Bar-Cohen (seven points, seven rebounds, three blocks) were part of Kenyon’s balanced attack. Conversely, Earlham got a game-high 27 points on 18 shots from Tommy Makabu, while Jaden Terry added 11 points on 15 shots. No other Quaker took more than seven shots or scored more than six points.

Earlham’s dynamic duo was rolling from the jump, helping the Quakers race to a 15-2 lead. Makabu scored 11 while Terry scored four over the run, and Earlham pushed the lead to 14 at 25-11 with 7:44 left in the half. The Quakers shot 10-18 while holding Kenyon to a 3-15 clip, and the Owls coughed it up seven times as things looked bleak.

However, Alex Boyd knocked down a triple to spark a 20-8 Owls run that featured three threes and a defensive effort that held Earlham to three makes on 12 shots. Kenyon cut the deficit to two at the half, and their newfound momentum carried the Owls through the second 20 minutes.

After being outshot 40.6 percent to 34.6 percent in the first frame, the Owls shot a scalding 52.4 percent (11-21) in the second half while nearly doubling Earlham’s 26.9 percent (7-26) clip. The hot shooting included a 6-9 mark from three-point range and a 15-19 mark at the charity stripe.

The Owls took their first lead of the game just over two minutes into the second half and never gave it back. A 12-6 run that featured five Testa points helped the Owls go up 47-41 before the Quakers pulled within two, but Kenyon outscored the visitors 27-12 over a nearly 10-minute stretch to push the advantage to 17 before a late Earlham layup. The Owls’ shot 7-11 overall, 3-4 from three, and 10-13 from the line over the stretch and turned the Quakers over seven times thanks to six steals.

Kenyon’s 31-point turnaround from their largest deficit to their biggest lead is thanks partly to a plus-27 mark from three-point land as the Owls shot 10-17 while holding Earlham to a 1-13 clip. The home team also controlled the boards to the tune of a 43-29 advantage despite getting outscored 28-16 in the paint, and their plus-three mark on the offensive glass turned into a plus-nine edge in second-chance points.

After six days between their first two games, the Owls have a quick turnaround with a game on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Grove City College (1-1). The matchup against the Wolverines is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

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