CIRCLEVILLE, OH - There is a lot of hype surrounding the Trailblazers' basketball program as the season kicks off this year. Last week, the men were ranked #28 in the NAIA Preseason Coaches Poll, and picked to finish second in the RSC behind NAIA powerhouse Indiana University East. On Saturday evening, the Trailblazers kicked off their year with a matchup against the Bears from Shawnee State University. OCU was able to come out hot, jumping to an early ten point lead four minutes into the game. However, the Bears would find their rhythm and take a two point lead into halftime. The second half would prove to be close, but in the end the Trailblazers were able to hit a few key shots and come up with a couple of steals to win the game by the score of 79--72. Marquis Jackson put the team on his back in the second half, getting 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists while only committing two turnovers in the game. "Coach told us we had to play defense, because without defense, we were going to lose," said Jackson. "We all our a family. We hold each other accountable and we play hard. This team is a fighter. Last year we fought, but I have a good feeling about this team."
Following the win, Head Coach Tony Stockman had this to say about his team's effort and communication: "When you win, you always feel good, but it being the first game there were a lot of mistakes and a lot of things you have to clean up but that is how it goes. We fought through it and made the plays we needed to make to win the game." The Trailblazers will now rest up for another home game against Marygrove College on Wednesday.
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