By Grant Miller
Illinois Institute of Technology’s freshman guard Anthony Mosley schooled the upperclassmen Thursday night with his third consecutive 20-point game in a loss to Aurora.
“He was calling me soft,” Mosley said about Spartan junior guard Jordan LaGrone. “I had to show him a thing or two.”
Mosley, one of IIT’s four freshmen starters, jawed with LaGrone early in the second half before stealing a pass from him and dunking the ball on a fast break. With LaGrone on the bench the next possession, Mosley then beat the shot clock with a jumper en route to his 22 points, glaring at LaGrone as he ran back on defense.
“Let him talk, he’s a bench player,” said Mosley, who also scored an acrobatic lay-up against Aurora senior starter Tyler Hall.
But while Mosley won his individual battles and combined with junior Samuel Rarick for 51 points, he and the Scarlet Hawks lost where it mattered most as Aurora left with a 79-68 victory.
After the game, IIT head coach Todd Kelly told Mosley the Scarlet Hawks “are your team” and even said Mosley and Rarick are unguardable.
“Everybody’s playing to hold them down,” Kelly said. “I don’t think anyone can stop them one-on-one.”
IIT assistant coach Roy Ramos, who works with the Scarlet Hawks’ guards, lauded Mosley’s improved shot-selection and increased effort on defense.
“He doesn’t take plays off on defense like he used to,” Ramos said of the former Whitney Young standout. “He’s dropping his high school habits.”
Kelly said he “can’t complain” about the Scarlet Hawks’ defense that held the Spartans to 17 points below their season average, and he credited freshman guard Jason Morris with holding Hall, Aurora’s leading scorer, to 5-of-17 shooting (29 percent) for 15 points.
Kelly blamed the loss on poor free-throw shooting and low scoring from role players. No other Scarlet Hawks players besides Mosley and Rarick scored in double-figures.
Another factor, Kelly said, was the injury to IIT freshman starter Parker Joncus, who went to the bench early in the second half with a twisted ankle.
Kelly pointed to leading rebounder Jake Digiorgio, another freshman starter who has struggled under increased attention from opponents. Digiorgio’s averaged five rebounds in the last three games, half his season average.
Aurora head coach James Lancaster attributed his team’s victory to starting four experienced seniors opposite IIT’s four freshmen. But Lancaster admitted failure at stopping Mosley and Rarick.
“I don’t want to play them in two years,” Lancaster said.