M. Basketball eighth seed after two close losses

Mules slated to play Trinity in upcoming quarterfinal matchup

After falling short to the Jumbos of Tufts University last Friday night and then to the Bates Bobcats in their final league game on Saturday, the Colby men’s basketball team will be the eight seed in the NESCAC league tournament and will play at Trinity College next Saturday.  Both home losses were decided by less than ten points.

On Friday, despite a game-high 26 points from Ryan Jann ’16, the Mules lost 72-64.  Although they trailed by eight points at halftime, the Jumbos battled back with a strong team performance, as they shot 57.7 percent from the field in the second half and had four players finish the game with at least 10 points.  Colby played well in the first half as they held Tufts to just 25 points on 29.4 percent shooting and outrebounded them by nine rebounds, but 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes by the Mules kept the game close and ultimately made a huge difference in the loss. 

On Saturday, the Mules fell to Bates by a score of 82-77.  The Bobcats led by 15 at halftime, but Colby battled back to be down by just two points.  Five players scored at least 10 points for the Mules, as Jann led the way with 19 points and captain Luke Westman ’16 scored 12 on 5-6 shooting and added six assists. This was also the final home game for three-year captain Connor O’Neil ’15, who added 14 points, three assists, and two steals.  Bates had no trouble scoring, as 10 players got on the scoring sheet, and a big 3-point shot from the left corner sealed the deal in the game. 

Colby finished the season with a record of 13-11 and had a 4-6 record in league play.  This record is more impressive than it looks on paper, as two key starters, Chris Hudnut ’16 and Patrick Stewart ’17, have struggled with injuries all season. Colby’s offense has been fantastic all year, as the team is fast in transition and shoots efficiently.  Jann has consistently led the way in scoring with his relentless driving to the basket. Westman has been productive at point guard due to his intelligent passing and smooth feel for the game of basketball.

Unfortunately, defensive effectiveness has been low all year; however, head coach Dan Strahorn has built a program with strong hope for the near future, as the Mules will return most of their productive players next year.

This season is not over as the Mules travel to Hartford, Conn. to battle Trinity College in the league quarterfinals next Saturday.  Trinity boasts a top-ranked defense to combat Colby’s offense, but the Mules are not an easy out and will be a force in the NESCAC next year and for years to come.

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