ANDERSON — Shooting and transition have been keys to success for the Anderson University men's basketball program under coach Owen Handy, and that was carried out in full force Saturday against Earlham.
The Ravens shot close to 70 percent in the first half as well as 100 percent from the free-throw line for the first 30-plus minutes, and that translated into an easy win, 91-68, to open their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule.
Stanley Duncan was the main gunner for AU with 30 points, 22 in the first half, and was one of four Ravens in double figures.
Duncan, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Evansville, was 8-of-13 from the field, 5-for-8 from three-point range and perfect in nine tries at the line.
"My shots were going good and I was (also) able to get to the free-throw line," said Duncan, whose career high was 40 (three times). "I think tonight was one of my better shooting performances. I've been struggling a little bit, so I was just glad I was able to go out there and hit some 3s."
Duncan made four 3s in the first half, including one that provided AU a 50-31 halftime margin.
"It obviously started with Stanley and in the first half," Handy said. "He was hot as a two-dollar pistol. I think if we had dribbled over half court, he might have dropped it in from 47 feet."
Cole Hartman chipped in 18 points and was the game's leading rebounder with nine.
Mike Peters came off the bench and added 16, one shy of his career best, and made all seven of his foul shots.
Frankton product Maurice Knight contributed 12 points — mostly in the paint, where he hit 5 of 6 shots — and had six rebounds.
The Ravens (2-4) earned their separation thanks in large part to their accuracy. They made 16 of 23 first-half attempts (69.6 percent), including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
"The biggest part of that is, we worked for good shots," Handy said. "We had the discipline to take the right shots. There have been times this year that we've given in to the defense and settled for the shots that they wanted us to take. I think today that we took the shots that we wanted to take."
AU had a double-digit lead from the eight-minute mark of the first half on. Besides Duncan's four threes, Knight converted a four-point play and that put the Ravens ahead 35-19.
In the second half, the spread for the most part stayed around 20 points, though AU didn't shoot nearly as well as in the first 20 minutes (12-of-31, 38.7 percent). The Ravens ended at 51.9 percent (28-of-54).
"There was a stretch in the second half where I actually would have liked to see us slow down a little bit," Handy said. "I thought at halftime, we let their pressure speed us up faster than we wanted to play and we didn't have the composure or discipline to get the shots we wanted."
Foul trouble played a part in that, Handy said, and he had to sit starters until more time ran off. Those who were in the game played well enough to keep the lead as big as it was, he said.
At the line, AU — which has been among the national leaders in Division III in recent years — made all of its first 19 tries. A miss by Hartman with 9:35 left in the game was the first blemish. The Ravens finished 27-of-32 (84.4 percent).
AU visits Franklin Wednesday in the first of four in a row away for the Ravens. Their next home game is Dec. 29 against Hope.