MISENHEIMER — USA South conference play is underway for the Pfeiffer University men’s basketball team after falling to N.C. Wesleyan in an 80-60 road loss on Jan. 7.
Attempting to correct course after a dismal start to the 2022-23 campaign, the Falcons (3-7, 0-1 USA South) had previously snapped a five-game losing skid with a 30-point home victory over Mid-Atlantic Christian (5-6, 0-0 USCAA) last week before succumbing to the surging Bishops (10-3, 2-0 USA South).
Fifth-year Pfeiffer coach Pete Schoch and his team will now look to regain a sense of rhythm as its sixth season as a USA South member continues and its young roster gains valuable experience. Compared to last year’s older squad that finished with a 12-11 record (9-5 USA South), more than half of this roster is freshmen.
In their conference-opening loss, the Falcons experienced turnover problems and were outrebounded by a margin of 46-24 as they failed to erase the Bishops’ 13-point halftime lead. Freshman guard M.J. Armstrong had a team-high 12 points and five rebounds and sophomore guard Daymon Beckwith posted eight points.
Freshman guard Ty Black added nine points off the bench.
Despite a 43.6% shooting percentage from the field, Pfeiffer’s 60 points were a season-low after averaging more than 76 points per game up to that point.
It was a tough shooting night for fifth-year guard and Oakboro native Taylan Rowe, who has posted a team-high 29.5 minutes played per game. Rowe — a former West Stanly star — was a key player in the Falcons’ 2020-21 season that resulted in a 10-2 record and a USA South East Division Tournament appearance where he scored 19 points in a championship win over Averett.
The Falcons returned to play on Jan. 10 with a road game at Brevard College (4-9, 0-2 USA South) and will now host their first conference home game of the year as Mary Baldwin (7-6, 2-0 USA South) travels to Misenheimer’s Merner Gym on Jan. 13.
Pfeiffer has faced the Fighting Squirrels only twice in school history. The Falcons had wins of 108-71 and 108-90 last season.