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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s basketball struggles and gets swarmed by Wolves

Men%E2%80%99s+basketball+player+Carson+Meczywor+goes+for+a+layup+during+a+home+game.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Men’s basketball player Carson Meczywor goes for a layup during a home game. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Men’s basketball’s final score from Wednesday, Dec. 6 was 85–59 in favor of the streaking Western Connecticut State. It’s West Conn’s sixth win in a row after dropping their first—they’ve outscored opponents by 127 points over their last three, according to westconnathletics.com. (1)

Not exactly the way UMass Boston would have liked to respond after just coming off their second win of the season. The Beacons were flustered offensively from the jump, and the Wolves’ overwhelming defense wrote the story.

UMass Boston was held scoreless until six minutes into the game, as Clayton McLaren finally knocked his second free throw down, making it 9–1. The early deficit was an opportunity the Wolves took and stuffed in the bag.

The first half was a series of offensive breakdowns from the Beacons and punishing runs from the Wolves. Keyshawn Jones stunned the Beacons and put the game on thin ice going into the half, hitting a buzzer beater to push the lead to twenty. It was evident the Wolves’ smooth sailing set in from there.

Jaheim Young and Cameron Gallon combined for 32 points and 17 rebounds in the game. (1) The Wolves’ two forwards looked comfortable on both ends of the floor and from every level. They maneuvered and moved the ball fluently, and each had the touch from three. Four combined threes separated these two multilevel scorers. 

Young especially caught eyes. A versatile defender that looked polished offensively, West Conn put him in the middle of their offense, and he was a nightmare for the Beacons. Quick off the dribble and capable from all three levels scoring the ball, he’s a talented passer with vision as well. 

West Conn’s defense held the Beacons to their second lowest scoring total of the year, according to Beacons Athletics. (2) A consistent full court press along with the integration of a zone denied everything the Beacons tried. Even Emanuel Zayas, the Beacons leading scorer this year was stilted to just five in 30 minutes of play. 

A sloppy and unorganized Beacons offense will need to bring it together quickly. Multiple games under .500 now, a turning point has to be imminent. But this is just their second in-conference game of the year, and they have fielded now a 1–1 record in the Little East Conference; there’s plenty of games to stay alive.

In fact, all but one of their remaining games are in-conference. A sort of a fresh start for the team to get back on track may be imminent. Stringing together games is always great, but conference games hold different weight. The Beacons have to feel the urgency—in a good way, important games bring that motivation.

Fixing inconsistencies on offense is the key to retreading the tires. They need to be settled and reorganized, at least enough to stop turning it over and hurting the decent work on the defensive end. It’s hard to tell what they want or where their focal point is; they need to decide how they want to win games and how they are going to impose that on their opposition. They shouldn’t speed things up when it’s not their game, UMass Boston doesn’t have the firepower for that, and it showed against the Wolves.

It is, however, a long season, and bumps are expected. UMass Boston has suffered some spine-breaking losses that were not far off from being big-time wins. They have shown glimpses of a competitive team, like their overtime duel with Curry College. But this was an overall demolition from Western Connecticut State, the Beacons’ second worst loss of the season. It’s a matter of moving up from here, and Salem State is next. 

 

  1. 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Schedule – Western Connecticut State University (westconnathletics.com)
  2. 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer