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The Mass Media

An early look at men’s basketball shows promise

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The UMass Boston basketball court at the Clark Athletic Center.

The basketball season is underway for the UMass Boston men’s team, and after going 11–14 last year (1), they look to be even more competitive this time around. There have been some good takeaways from the UMass Boston Beacons, and some not so good takeaways that the team can improve on.

The season tipped off in Bridgewater, Mass., with the Beacons playing against Bridgewater State (2). Come halftime, the Beacons were down big, 22–44. The second half showed a lot more promise, though. The Beacons outscored Bridgewater State, 48–38, after halftime, but unfortunately came up short in their rally with a 72–60 loss to the Bears (3).

UMass Boston shot a lousy 30.9 percent from the field this game, and shots did not seem to be falling as the Beacons anticipated. Precious Okoh of Bridgewater State proved to be an issue on the court with his 26 points and four three-pointers (3). Bridgewater State has gone on to win every game since this match (4), which, in retrospect, made the Beacons’ second half look all the more impressive despite the loss.

The Beacons’ next match was out of state, where they went down to Newport, R.I. to play against Salve Regina (2). The first half was very close. Although the Beacons led, only a single point separated both teams, as the score was 35–34 heading into the break. However, UMass Boston made easy work of the Seahawks in the second half, winning the matchup 72–59 (5).

The shooting numbers were much improved this time around, as the 30.9 percent from their previous game turned into 42.6 percent in their bout with the Seahawks. Senior Malik Lorquet put up an impressive stat line of 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, all while shooting 64 percent from the field. Three other Beacon starters found themselves scoring double-digit points too, as Tommy Burris ended with 15, Emanuel Zayas with 13 and Xavier McKenzie with 11. A well-rounded scoring performance helped UMass Boston secure their first win on the season (5).

The Beacons traveled back to Columbia Point and finally got to play on their home court on Nov. 22 (2). UMass Boston’s home opener saw Colby-Sawyer College come to town. This match ended up being a nail-biter from start to finish, with the score being close for pretty much the entirety of the game. The first half saw the Chargers up by a single point, going to the half with a 41–40 lead, and the second half was just as competitive (6).

Colby-Sawyer took the only double-digit lead of the game with 6:37 remaining, but the next three and a half minutes were all UMass Boston. Three-pointers from Bobby Joy and Mariano Olivier-Rodriguez, along with layups from Xavier McKenzie and Emanuel Zayas, gave the Beacons the lead with just under three minutes to go. The lead would be exchanged back and forth for the rest of the game until the final possessions (7).

Omar Boone of the Chargers hit a fadeaway jumper with 7.2 seconds remaining, putting Colby-Sawyer up 80–79, and his shot would be the final basket scored by both sides (7). Despite the loss, UMass Boston had an incredible performance. Malik Lorquet, once again, had a monster game, scoring 24 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and ending up shooting a spectacular 66 percent from the floor. The bench stepped up during this game as well, with Bobby Joy’s 14 points and Mariano Olivier-Rodriguez’s 11 points proving how much depth the Beacons have (6). The bench duo hit multiple clutch shots in the second half to put UMass Boston back in the game (7).

However, Colby-Sawyer had a bench threat of their own in Omar Boone. Boone had an outstanding performance, scoring 22 points, pulling in nine rebounds and, of course, ended his night by hitting the game-winning shot to give the Chargers the victory over UMass Boston. It was a respectable bout from both sides and both teams left their all on the court (6).

The Beacons have things to work on, but overall, each game they have played has been an improvement from the previous one. Shooting numbers have increased every night and Malik Lorquet looks like he’s going to have quite a memorable senior season with back-to-back star-like performances. If the Beacons continue to put together better outings night after night, there is no reason to believe this team cannot go places.

Sources:

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-basketball/schedule/2021-22

  2. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-basketball/schedule/2022-23

  3. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2022-23/bridgewater-state-university/boxscore/5103

  4. https://www.bsubears.com/sports/mbkb/2022-23/schedule

  5. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2022-23/salve-regina-university/boxscore/5104

  6. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2022-23/colby-sawyer-college/boxscore/5108

  7. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2022/11/22/malik-lorquet-records-career-game-mens-basketball-falls-short-in-thriller-to-colby-sawyer.aspx

About the Contributor
Liam Crampton, Sports Writer