Men’s Basketball posts 14-8 record in strong season

While many students have enjoyed some time off this January, winter teams have been hard at work since the conclusion of the fall semester. The men’s basketball team has been particularly  busy, facing  many ups and downs, including a trip to Florida, an outbreak of the stomach flu and a ten-game winning streak. With only a handful of games remaining in their season, the men hope to finish strong.

Just before winter break, Colby got the best of league-rival Bates in a nail-biting overtime win. In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Wadsworth Gymnasium, the Mules came back from 13 points down in the fourth quarter, with Luke Westman ’16 hitting an NBA range 3-point shot  with ten seconds left to force overtime. Colby led throughout most of the overtime period and ultimately won 78-74. Unfortunately, the game did not count towards the NESCAC standings. However, it was still an important win for the Mules, extending  their winning streak to six games, and providing  a positive note entering winter break.

The men’s time off was short, however, as the team traveled to Orlando, Florida, at the end of December to compete in the Land of Magic Classic, one of the nation’s largest Division III tournaments. Their first game was a dominant 93-70 win over The College of St. Scholastica, followed by a close match against the 16th-ranked University of Mount Union. The Mules trailed Mount Union at halftime, but came back with 57 points in the second half to secure the win. Colby performed phenomenally in Florida, beating a team in the top 20 and gaining their seventh- and eighth-straight wins.

Back at home, the men extended this streak even further with an 88-58 win against the University of Maine-Farmington. Colby went on an early 20-0 run, and their lead steadily increased for the rest of the game, with the Mules leading by 49 points at one point in the second half. The dominant win was followed by yet another against Pine Manor on January 5. Pat Dickert ’18 and Patrick Stewart ’16 each had 23 points in the contest, with Ryan Jann ’16 recording 22. Colby’s top players performed extremely well, and Pine Manor only pulled ahead  once the whole game.

Unfortunately, a close loss to Bates a few days later snapped what was the Mules’ longest win streak since the 2009-10 season. Despite the outcome, the Bates game  was a good showing for Colby, with continued quality performance from their top players. The next day’s matchup against Tufts brought another NESCAC loss, this one on account of a number of sick Colby players and coaches. After the contest against Bates the day before, a stomach virus hit the team, contributing to a weak performance  against the Jumbos, who beat the Mules  92-65.

The Mules’ spell of bad luck continued when captain Chris Hudnut ’16 had to sit out the next game against Williams with an injury. It was Colby’s third league game in a row on the road, and the men struggled to find consistent play. They had a few promising pushes, but could not capitalize on them.

In a non-league game against Maine Maritime Academy on January 19, senior Westman reached 300 career assists, and Colby triumphed 80-65. Unfortunately, the win did not provide the Mules with enough momentum to beat Trinity in their next game. On January 23, however, Colby earned its first NESCAC win of the season in front of an enthusiastic crowd at home for Fill the Stands Day. In the Mules’ 66-64 defeat of Amherst, Jann reached 1,000 career points, joining teammate Hudnut in the club. The contest came down to the last minute, with Jann scoring the winning basket.

Colby’s struggle for consistency continued, however, when the men lost their next two games in overtime to Bowdoin and Husson. After a close February 2 win over Southern Maine,

the Mules suffered another league loss to Middlebury on February 5.

Fortunately, Colby then came out with an overtime win against Hamilton College, putting them at 14-8 overall and 2-6 in the league. With only two games left in the regular season, both of which are NESCAC matchups, the Colby men’s basketball team is hoping to find the drive and consistency they need to finish the season on a high note.

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