Pfeiffer men’s basketball at .500 midway through season

The Falcons are attempting to defend their USA South East Division title

(SOURCE: Jesse Deal)

ALBEMARLE — The Pfeiffer men’s basketball team has started its 2021-22 season much the way it began — with as many wins as losses.

Led by fourth-year coach Pete Schoch, the Falcons (5-5, 2-1) have won two of their first three USA South Athletic games and are currently third in the conference behind N.C. Wesleyan (12-4, 4-1) and Averett (7-8, 4-1).

The Falcons and N.C. Wesleyan recently squared off in Misenheimer for the first of their two head-to-head games — a contest was originally slated for Jan. 8 before it was rescheduled for Jan. 23. In a 103-88 win, the Bishops expanded on a 42-40 halftime lead and pulled away from the Falcons for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Pfeiffer was set to play at Averett on Tuesday. The Cougars came into the game riding a five-game winning streak after losing eight of their first 10.

There is a growing rivalry between the two conference contenders. Last season, the Falcons ended their abbreviated season on a seven-game winning streak, defeating Averett on March 7 to win the men’s basketball program’s first USA South East Division title. The conference divisional title was the men’s team’s first championship since they were a member of Conference Carolinas (NCAA Division II) in 2017.

The 2021-22 Falcons have retained many of the key players from the previous season’s championship-winning roster.

Senior Jerome Savoy currently leads his team in scoring with 15.9 points per game while also averaging 4.5 rebounds. Nearly half of the guard’s shots have come from behind the arc with a team-high 51.6% shooting percentage from long range.

Savoy is one of five Falcons who are averaging more than nine points per game, joining senior guard Taylan Rowe (10.9), graduate student guard Craig Sabb (10.4), senior guard Donnie Haith (9.6) and senior forward Sean Scott (9.4).

Rowe, a graduate of West Stanly High School, scored a team-high 19 points in Pfeiffer’s loss to the Bishops, shooting 6 of 16 from the field with three made 3-pointers.

Sophomore forward Doran Miles — coming off a rookie campaign in which he led the team in field goals made (54) and rebounds (8.2) — has averaged 8.7 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds this season.

With 21 different players on the roster who have scored points, Pfeiffer has continued to spread the ball around with a heavy reliance on 3-point shooting. The Falcons have made 39.9% of their long-range shots while holding opponents to 34% from deep.

Pfeiffer’s next plays at Greensboro College (6-9, 1-3 USA South) on Jan. 9. The Pride has lost four straight.