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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s basketball drowns Rhode Island College

Dong Woo Im
Guard Emanuel Zayas dribbles the ball on the court. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

UMass Boston Men’s Basketball took their home court atmosphere in with a splash, drowning Rhode Island College’s Anchormen. The Beacons successfully defended Clark Athletic Center, sending the travelers packing with an easy 64–50 Little East Conference win. Sophomore guard Fidendi Francois and sophomore forward Connor Walden were the pillars that kept the team afloat. Francois and Walden were so determined to win that they both contributed to team highs in scoring, which was followed by a smashing performance all around.  

According to Beacons Athletics, Walden finished with 19, as he netted 57 percent of his shots, while Francois finished with a season high of 14 points, hitting nothing but net with six shots of his own. [1] The first half was opened with a lay-up by Kourouma Ousmane of the Anchormen, giving them the upper hand, but it wasn’t long before the Beacons caught up and rained on their parade. The first half saw shots on shots, as the Anchormen struggled to keep the lead, and the Beacons strained to cover the gap. They were successful in snatching the lead from right under Rhode Island’s Anchors, as Walden connected a much awaited three-pointer to help the Beacons jump out in front.

Sophomore forward Erik Donaldson, in partnership with Walden, contributed with eight boards, a season-high for him. UMass Boston’s star guard Emanuel Zayas stepped back from being the primary scorer for this match; instead, he showed off his immaculate skills as a facilitator and defender. He led the Beacons in steals, and combined with his nine points and team-high four assists, he was doing it all on the floor. The Beacons not only outscored the Anchormen’s starters but also received quality minutes from their role players. The bench was a vital difference maker, and they outscored the Anchormen’s bench by an absurd margin at 30–4.  

The team continued to heat up the court throughout the first half until they eventually entered the locker room with an 11-point lead at 31–20. Zayas picked up his pace in the second half, opening with a three pointer and extending the lead to 13. The Anchormen held onto anything they could to halt the Beacons from running away with the game. Isaiah McCallum helped close the gap to seven with a three ball, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Beacons at bay, as they were determined to go home victorious. [1]

The second half was a constant power struggle, as it determined the trajectory of the evening. UMass Boston focused on keeping the lead by countering their opponents’ meek attempts at sneaking a basket. The crowd went wild, as they witnessed shot after shot being knocked down. Sophomore guard Hector Perez—after basking in the success of his viral game winner, came to the Beacons’ rescue—as he connected with more three-pointers for UMass Boston. They left the Anchormen awestruck, and Rhode Island struggled to even the score. [1]

The Beacons seem to have woken up from their deep slumber. What was a rather slow season for the team at the start feels like a complete 180, as if the Beacons are leaving imprints on their opponents week after week. The team started off rocky, but as games passed, the Beacons proved it was just a rough patch, not a rough season.

As Michael Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded.” (2) An important lesson can come from one of basketball’s greatest players, and it’s that failure is life’s best teacher. The team has learned from every lost match and every missed shot. These opportunities for learning translated to more baskets and wins on the court. Even though their standing in the Little East Conference has improved, it is still not the best, but even if this season is almost over, the Beacons still have a long road ahead of them. 

Men’s basketball intends on coming back stronger next season, but they still look to close the last two home games with a bang as they bid this season goodbye. Their spirit and attitude helped them get this far and allowed them to overcome the adversity they faced earlier on. They gracefully accepted every loss, humbly celebrated every win and have showcased their impeccable skills, proving that they have immense potential as individuals and as a team. If utilized properly, they can bring any foe to their knees.

  1. Francois and Walden Combine for 33 As Beacons Sink the Anchormen – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. https://www.phillipsbrooks.org/cf_news/view.cfm?newsid=1167#:~:text=Michael%20Jordan%20has%20said%2C%20%E2%80%9CI,that%20is%20why%20I%20succeed.%E2%80%9D
About the Contributor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer