Men’s basketball bounces back into conference

THE MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM is currently 4-5 overall, with a 2-0 conference record. Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics

The men’s basketball team is nine games deep in its season with a 4-5 overall record and a 2-0 conference record. 

The team started its season out with a tough loss against Wichita State University, but bounced back quickly with a big win against Cameron University. 

When it comes to the game plan for each game, sophomore Matthew Green said the team is sticking to what it knows best. 

“We’re just trying to get back to the fundamentals of our defense,” Green said. “Also, our offense has been pretty stagnant lately, so we’re trying to get people moving around more, have more ball movement, and get people cutting to the basket. We need to make more shots in general.” 

Senior Damien Akao pointed out a few of the players who are the team’s go-to when the team needs a big stop or a shot. 

“When we need a basket, we rely heavy on Ben Ayre to make a play. Ben has good vision,  so even if he is not the one scoring, he is able to draw multiple defenders and is able to find the open man,” Akao said. “Defensively, Kevin Bryant is big for us. His effort on defense is contagious. He makes a lot of effort plays such as taking charges and diving for loose balls.” 

Although the record is not what the team would like it to be right now, Green said the team’s chemistry is holding strong and that is a big help for them right now. 

“The chemistry has always been good. We all can still hangout with each other,” Green said. 

Akao said the team hasn’t lost its closeness even though there have been a few injuries. 

“We’ve had some injuries, but the team’s spirit is high and we are looking to get better everyday.” 

Green said the team is focusing on making sure it knows what the strengths of each player are so it can utilize what it has. 

“We’ve been trying to get better at the things we’re good at,” he said. “We’ve known since the summer what each player is good at, so we’re trying to show that more and whatever that person is good at is what the team tries to highlight.” 

The Jets have had multiple games that come down to the last minutes, Green said. Some, the Jets ended up on top, but not always. 

“We make small mental mistakes during those games,” Green said. “We turn the ball over or defensively we let the other team get to the rim. Coach always says that it’s the small things that matter and that’s what we are working on now as we move forward.” 

The team is on a two-win streak right now. Their next game is at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at home against Northwestern Oklahoma State, who is currently 6-1 overall. 

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2017 issue of The Vantage.

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