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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s basketball’s heat check ran cold

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Hunter Berry
UMass Boston Men’s Basketball past game at the Clark Athletic Center. Photo by Hunter Berry / Mass Media Staff

UMass Boston students are back for the spring semester, and the men’s basketball team has fallen back down to Earth from their trip around the sun. It seems like the Beacons haven’t adjusted to the weather too well because they’ve been cold over their last few games—at least in comparison to how their games usually pan out. Three of the last four games have been losses for the Beacons, which is uncharted territory for the team. Their recent stretch is the first time this season that they have lost two consecutive games, a remarkable feat despite a recent rough patch of games (1).

The Beacons’ eight-game winning streak came to an end when they took on undefeated Keene State College on Jan. 14, losing a close 78–71 bout. The game still saw impressive performances by both forward Malik Lorquet, who scored 24 points and nabbed 19 rebounds, tying his season high in the category, and guard Xavier McKenzie, who joined Lorquet in the 20-point club (2). Unfortunately, the team was unable to put its name into the record books, as the loss denied them from the best start of the program’s history, on top of what would have been a record breaking ninth straight win (2).

Men’s basketball was able to redeem themselves in their next game, which was on the road against Southern Maine four days later on Jan. 18. Lorquet was amazing once again, securing double-double number 14 in just 17 games played with 18 points and 13 rebounds recorded (3). The real highlight of the night was junior guard Bobby Joy, though; he took full advantage of his first start of the season, putting on a scoring clinic with a career high 25 points. He helped the Beacons dig out of multiple holes during the game, and at one point gave the team momentum to claw their way back from a seven-point deficit in the second half (3). He proved he has ice in his veins too, nailing six straight free throws—and the Huskies’ coffin—which ultimately helped the Beacons prevail and give them something to celebrate about. The team later jumped for Joy all night following their 66–60 victory.

The Beacons’ windfall was short lived, though. They dropped their next two games, getting bested 83–71 to Eastern Connecticut State on Jan. 21 before they squandered a nailbiter to Western Connecticut State 79–75 on Jan. 25. The game against Eastern Connecticut was a disaster for the Beacons at the free throw line, shooting an abysmal .467 from the stripe. Sophomore forward Ike Eluwa was a bright spot for the team; he had a career high 21 points off the bench. However, despite his presence on the court, alongside the Beacons constantly clawing away at the Warriors’ commanding lead, the team couldn’t take control after being able to pull within four with 1:09 to go (4).

In their match against Western Connecticut State four days later, the Beacons’ kryptonite proved to be their turnover production, which stemmed from a lack of ball control. The Beacons blew a golden chance to take a win over one of the top teams in the division since the Colonials came into Clark Athletic Center having just one loss in 17 games played (5). Turnovers and steals proved costly in the end. The Beacons gave up twice as many turnovers to the Colonials, having 30 to their 15. On top of that, they had the ball stolen from them on 14 occasions, while they swiped the ball from them only four times.

Their mistakes ruined an offensive showcase that they put on, which would’ve likely won them the game if not for entering in and out of the turnover department all night. The team finished with a season high 12 three pointers made, and Lorquet once again put on an eye-popping performance with his 15th double-double on the year, but that wasn’t enough for the Beacons to pull out a win (5).

Regardless of their recent poor performance, the Beacons are still in great shape, heading into February with a 13–6 record. After all, they were just one game away from making history when they nearly broke records for largest win streak and best program start, which would’ve been 14–3 had they defeated Keene State.

If their past three losses have taught them anything, it’s that they have to come out better prepared and adjust as the game goes on. Making a house of bricks with your free throws or mishandling the ball like your hands are covered in margarine are going to give you the short end of the stick in both high leverage and close game situations. Then again, it would be uncharacteristic of the Beacons to go on a cold streak, so if anything, it’s time to put those games on the back burner and move forward with the confidence that they had when they were on top of the world just a few weeks ago.

  1. 2022-23 Men’s Basketball Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  2. Men’s Basketball Unable to Ground Owls at Home – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  3. Joy’s Career High Leads Men’s Basketball in Comeback Victory Over Southern Maine – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  4. Comeback Efforts Fall Short For Men’s Basketball on the Road Against Eastern Connecticut – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  5. Men’s Basketball Drops Back and Forth Battle to WestConn at Home – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Hunter Berry, Photographer