They showed their true colors.
Despite a difficult start to the season, the Big Red men’s basketball team has already proven that they will show no quit. Typical of a Bob Ghiloni coached squad, this group has shown game in and game out that they will battle for a full forty minutes.
After coming off back-to-back road losses the prior week, the Big Red were ready to get their feet back under them with a couple of North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) home matchups this week, the first of which — against the Hiram Terriers — was a game to remember.
81-80 L vs. Hiram Terriers
The Big Red really were tested mentally after they saw their deficit blow up to 20 points with just over ten minutes to go in the second half. In a back-and-forth battle where they had hung around all game, it almost seemed certain that they would respond and at least cut back into the Terriers’ lead.
And they did. Emphatically.
In fact, a beautifully drawn up and executed set play for the Big Red got the ball into the hands of Claude Chandonnet ‘19 to nail a go-ahead three-pointer with just 6.8 seconds remaining.
The three from Chandonnet gave the Big Red their first lead of the game since the opening minutes to put them up 80-79.
Unfortunately for the Big Red, however, the Terriers responded with an answer of their own and converted on a game-winning layup with under one second remaining to steal the win, 81-80.
Matt Doyle ‘19 led the way in the comeback effort that came up just short for the Big Red , finishing with a game-high 14 points on 5-8 shooting from the field including 2-3 from three-point range. Doyle also had five rebounds and eight assists on the night.
Chandonnet ‘19 added 12 points of his own on 4-7 shooting from behind the arc with a memorable go-ahead bucket in the final seconds for the Big Red.
How does a team respond to a such a heartbreaking loss?
It’s always a good time for a team to really look in the mirror and ask themselves what specifically is holding them back.
Alex Meurer ‘20, has been a solid contributor off the bench at guard so far this season for the Big Red, averaging 9.0 points per game on an efficient 46.0% from the field. Meurer ‘20 speaks to some of the areas of improvement for the Big Red.
“Early on we struggled with our team defense and turning the ball over. We’ve been working really hard in practice everyday playing in gaps and in helpside. Also we’ve been focusing on valuing the ball and every position. Having a sense of urgency for the ball is huge for us,” said Meurer.
70-61 W vs. Kenyon Lords
The Big Red had a chance to respond against the Kenyon Lords who entered Saturday’s game winless at 0-8 (0-3 NCAC).
One half of back-and-forth basketball left the two teams knotted at 30 points apiece. This is where the Big Red could really show their fight, as losers of three straight games and tied at home at the half.
Once again, they answered the call. This time, it was a 9-0 run early in the second half, and the Big Red started to pull away. Fueled by their relentless defensive effort and timely shooting, they grabbed the lead and never looked back.
Although the Big Red will look to continue to clean up their turnovers (they finished with 16 for the game, four more than Kenyon’s 12), they will certainly be pleased with their efficiency shooting the ball; they shot 54.3% from the field from the game including 8-22 (36.4%) from three-point range. Most importantly, they made them when it counted most. Six of the team’s eight three-pointers came in the second half.
It was a full team effort to get the job done at home for the Big Red who had five players with eight or more points.
Nate Haller ‘20 led the team with 11 points on 4-5 shooting (3-4 from three-point range) in just 22 minutes. Matt Gerics ‘20 added 10 points on 4-4 shooting. Other major contributors included Doyle ‘19 who filled the stat sheet with nine points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Jake Livingston ‘21 had a strong showing with eight points to go along with seven rebounds, and Meurer ‘20 had nine points off the bench.
The win brings the Big Red to 2-5 on the young season (1-3 NCAC). The team will have its final game before a two-week break on Wednesday, December 12 when they will take on Capital (6-2) on the road at 7 p.m.