Benson breaks assist record as UWF downs Spring Hill
By: Tony Mixon
The UWF men’s basketball bounced back after back-to-back losses to win in their home opener, downing the Spring Hill College Badgers 79-69.
UWF (3-2) benefitted from the play of senior point guard Raashan Benson, who became the Argos’ all-time assist leader.
Benson entered the game was three assists shy of breaking the all-time assists record at UWF previously held by Deondre Boynton. With 9:56 left in the game, Benson broke the record by dishing to Alassane Kah for an and-one layup.
“It’s a blessing man and it’s a credit to our teammates over the last three or four years,” Benson said. “They got to hit the shot for me to get the assist, so I pretty much owe them everything for the assist.”
Benson came a long way, from Memphis, but has become the staple of this program since he’s been on campus. Coach Jeff Burkhamer is especially proud of his point guard for his accomplishment.
“I’m really proud of Raashan,” Burkhamer said. “This was a guy we got as a walk-on tryout four years ago, he’s been a four-year starter and has done great things here. I think he’ll end up being a hall of fame guy at our school.”
Burkhamer appreciates his assists guys considering he’s an all-time assists leader and now he can share that bond with his Benson.
The game was a battle for the Argos from start to finish. The Argos had won their last eight against Spring Hill, dating back to 2014. Most of the games in that stretch have been lopsided in favor of the Argos.
The Badgers (2-4) came out firing from deep with the 3 ball as they hit seven in the first half and 16 for the game. UWF was down 12-4 at the first media timeout shooting 1-for-10 from field.
Spring Hill came out early in a 2-3 zone to force the Argos to make outside shots and contain their interior presence.
“We just had to settle down. We practice on zone everyday, so we were a little uncharacteristic with some of the stuff we were doing,” said Benson. “We weren’t ready to shoot, making lazy passes, not dribble penetrating the gaps.”
Benson’s assist record was the story, but it was his outside shooting that got the team going early on in the game. He channeled his inner Steph Curry as he hit 5-for-9 from deep with 21 points to lead all scorers.
“I just wanted to give us a little spark, I seen we were 1-for-10 in the beginning and we were struggling to shoot the ball,” Benson said. “Once that happened, everybody started to get it going and I think that helped us out a little bit.”
Jon Brown was second on the team in scoring with 20 points and going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
“I was real impressed with myself. I’ve been practicing my free throws a lot,” Brown said. “I’m just happy I can make free throws.”
Brown is Burkhamer’s type of player and thinks he’s a division one player.
“I love Jon’s fight, I love his enthusiasm, I just think he’s a type of guy we want in our program,” Burkhamer said. “He’s a got a big strong division one body and has an opportunity to be a terrific player here.”
This was the first time the Argos have played against a zone for an extended amount of time this season. Burkhamer believes there was a little excitement on the part of his players for the home opener and thinks they just needed to settle down.
The Badgers stayed close in the game because of 3-pointers tonight and Burkhamer thinks that communication is something that needs to be cleaned up.
“Communication has been a problem for the entire year,” Burkhamer said. “We talk about it every single day. That is something we got to get better at if we’re going to beat good teams.”
The Argos have over a week off until they play their next game against Christian Brothers at the UWF Field House next on Nov. 29.