Pfeiffer men’s basketball team looks to establish early-season identity

The Falcons hold a 2-3 record to start the season

MISENHEIMER — Now a few weeks in its 2023-24 schedule, the Pfeiffer Falcons men’s basketball team has started its seventh season as a USA South Athletic Conference member with a pair of wins and three losses.

Under the helm of sixth-year coach Pete Schoch, the Falcons (2-3) have posted victories over Averett (1-5) and Lynchburg (3-2) but have struggled offensively at times, staying under 73 points in losses to Randolph-Macon (2-2), Salisbury (4-3) and Guilford (4-0).

Most recently, Pfeiffer lost at home inside Merner Gym on Nov. 21 as the Guilford Quakers pulled out a low-scoring 64-57 victory.

Last year’s Falcons squad — a young group that lost six of its final eight games and finished with a 10-16 record (6-8 conf.) — featured a roster composed of mostly freshmen but also a few established playmakers like M.J. Armstrong and Taylan Rowe.

Rowe was a key architect in the Falcons’ 2020-21 season that resulted in a 10-2 record and a USA South East Division Tournament championship win over Averett that marked the team’s first USA South divisional title.

Ever since that strong showing in an abbreviated season, Pfeiffer has posted a combined 24-30 combined record.

With Armstrong and Rowe no longer on the team to provide their scoring output, junior guards Alex Cunningham and Clayton Robinson currently lead Pfeiffer in scoring with 11 points and 9.8 points per game, respectively.

Daymon Beckwith has provided 9.4 points per game and led Pfeiffer with 12 points in their recent loss to the Quakers. The junior guard was named the USA South Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for his performance in a win over Lynchburg where he scored 13 points with eight rebounds, adding five assists, four steals and one block.

Former North Stanly Comet Doug Smith has served as the anchor to the Falcons’ frontcourt in the first stretch of his sophomore year. The 6-foot-8 forward from Badin has recorded 6.8 points and a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game, while junior Daniel Fulp and sophomore Justin Gaten have each contributed to the Falcons’ forward rotations.

Following a brief early-season break, Pfeiffer will travel to The Citadel (3-4) for an exhibition match on Dec. 5 before heading to Campbell (2-4) on Dec. 12. The Falcons will then return home to host Johnson & Wales (2-3) on Jan. 2.

The conference slate of the Falcons’ schedule begins with N.C. Wesleyan (1-3) on Jan. 6 and will conclude with the USA South Tournament beginning on Feb. 20.

Pfeiffer finished fourth last season in its conference standings, trailing first-place N.C. Wesleyan and runners-up William Peace and Mary Baldwin. N.C. Wesleyan was recently chosen by the USA South men’s basketball coaches in their 2023-24 preseason poll as the favorite to top the conference standings again; the Falcons landed at sixth place in the poll.