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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Men’s basketball falls in the battle of UMass

Forward+Connor+Walden+goes+in+for+a+shot+at+a+previous+home+game.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Forward Connor Walden goes in for a shot at a previous home game. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Clark Athletic Center witnessed a showdown between UMass Boston and UMass Dartmouth Wednesday, Feb. 7. Men’s basketball stepped in tall and ready to win their last home game of the year. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the ball rolling well on their side of the court. Although they scored a season-high 85 points, their defense wasn’t strong enough to keep the Corsairs at bay; UMass Dartmouth set the bar high with 101 points of their own, becoming the Beacons’ home wrecker, sending them back to Columbia point in low spirits. However, even though they lost the game and the end result was not exactly what they aimed for, this match was one for the books, as it saw both UMass teams going all out and showcasing their unique skills in every strata from start to finish.

The match began with junior forward Erik Donaldson losing the tip, but he was quick to retaliate, regaining possession and scoring first for UMass Boston. Sophomore guard Connor Walden made the most noise for the Beacons during his time on the court; he scored nineteen points in the contest, contributing to the teams’ season high, as reported by Beacons Athletics. [1] A foot injury Walden sustained prior to the season sidelined him until last month, but he’s been unstoppable ever since, playing lights out on offense and simultaneously solidifying himself as a centerpiece for the Beacons moving forward. His play helped the Beacons start off hot with a seven point lead.

The Corsairs were walking on eggshells around UMass Boston as they strained to cover the gap. Donaldson and Walden’s efforts in rebounding certainly contributed to the Corsairs’ growing apprehension that became more evident throughout. UMass Dartmouth was visibly getting desperate as players saw the match slipping away. The desperation translated to more fouling on the court, allowing room for the Beacons to control the clock and get into the bonus. However, UMass Dartmouth didn’t back down and picked up the pace in the second quarter,  successfully bridging the gap by way of an absurd 17-point run, jumping out to a seven point lead of their own come halftime, per Beacons Athletics. [1]

The trajectory of the game changed from there as the Corsairs padded the lead and raised the tension between the two teams. Junior guard Emanuel Zayas contributed to the game alongside sophomore guard Carson Meczywor, as they connected three-pointers as if it was second nature. Both of them put on a show on defense as well, locking their opponents down and forcing steals as the game came to a close.

Even though the Beacons lost, they accepted defeat and were respectful to their competition, even when their opponents did not deserve it. It was saddening to hear the bench of the Corsairs yell and try to weaken the Beacons’ spirit; their unsportsmanlike behavior was elegantly and rightfully ignored by the Beacons. Even through the opponent’s desperate attempts to get to the team, men’s basketball stood strong and held onto each other.

Sports is not just about competition, it’s a cumulative effort of teamwork, ethics, consistency and discipline, all while creating the feeling of unity. It’s about being there for one another through thick and thin. The Beacons effortlessly depicted all those skills, and it not only makes them good competitors, but reflects on them as individuals in society.

Through the entirety of the season, they faced every opponent head-on, no matter who they were, and still gave their all. They respected their competition and stayed calm throughout the matches, never resorting to tricks to win; the team always showed up dedicated to and practicing their craft.

It is believed that there is no failure in sports; that it’s impossible to fail in a sport. That being said, no one can chalk this season up to a failure. There are bad games and good games played by teams, but the bad performances help athletes prepare in order to have better ones in the future. This campaign was filled with many ups and downs, and even though it did not pan out as expected, the team still won fans over. They did not win something as temporary as a game; instead, they won over the people, and the difference could be seen in the increasing number of fans who started coming out to see the Beacons as the season went along.

[1] Men’s Basketball Comes Up Short In The UMass Classic from Clark Gymnasium – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer