Underclassmen step up in M. Basketball’s recent games

Colby Men’s Basketball has begun the season with drastic changes to last year’s lineup. Patrick Stewart ’16 is the only member from last year’s starting lineup to return this season. Even though Stewart graduated last spring, he spent his junior year sidelined due to injury, giving him an extra year of elgibility. Joe Connolly ’17 is the only senior on the team. With the team’s noticible lack of upperclassmen, the Mules needed its underclassmen to step up this season. They have done just that.

Last Thursday, the Mules handily defeated the Maine Maritime Mariners  75-54, after a close first half that had the Mules in front 35-32. Colby outscored Maine Maritime 40-22 in the second half, shooting a clean 50 percent from the field while holding the Mariners to an anemic 24.1 percent. Leading the way for the Mules was forward Stewart, contributing 18 points (6-12 FG, 4-5 FT) and seven rebounds. Colby also had strong performances from guard Maximilian Steiner ’19 (15 points, six assists, six rebounds), forward Sean Gilmore ’20 (13 points, five rebounds, two blocks) and forward Steven Daley ’19 (eight points, four rebounds). Rebouds and scores off the bench helped propel Colby to victory: the Mules outrebounded the Mariners 47-33 and the bench outscored the Mariners’ 27-9.

In the Mules’ first game against a NESCAC opponent last Saturday, December 3, Colby fell to the 4-2 Bowdoin College Polar Bears 76-67. The Mules struggled shooting from the field, making 34.3 percent of their shots. The Polar Bears had a 45.8 field goal percentage, a disparity that was somewhat offset by the fact that the Mules took 11 more shots. Colby did itself no favors at the free throw line, making only 11 of 17.

Other than its shooting struggles, Colby played Bowdoin evenly. The Mules held a slight rebounding advantage at the end of the game (42-40), had the same number of turnovers as Bowdoin (11), and gained 37 points from its bench compared to Bowdoin’s 28. It also made the most of its offensive rebounds, getting 15 second chance points and holding Bowdoin to only two in the same category.

Providing a scoring punch off the bench was guard Ronan Schwartz ’20 had a strong performance and led the team in points with 21. He also had six rebounds and a steal. The only other Mule to score in double figures was guard Ethan Schlager ’20 (11 points, five rebounds). Stewart struggled to shoot the ball but had a solid all-around game, posting seven points, three assists, five rebounds, two steals, and three blocks. Also contributing consistently for the Mules was  Gilmore  with seven points and four rebounds, Steiner with six points and one assist, and guard Sam Jefferson ’20 with six points and two rebounds.

The game does not count towards either team’s conference record, but they will meet again in a league matchup at Colby on Saturday, January 28. Hopefully by then the young Mules will have enough experience to challenge the Polar Bears.

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