Men’s basketball secures return to Patriot League semifinals

Leah Fogelsanger, Sports Co-Editor

On Saturday, March 6, the Bison men’s basketball team pulled out a huge win over Lafayette to advance themselves to the Patriot League Semifinals. The game was close with the final score being 92-84 in favor of the Bison. The Bison’s return to the playoffs marks the 24th time in the last 31 seasons that the men’s basketball team has made it to the Patriot League tournament semifinals.

Forward John Meeks ’21 stood apart as he led the Bison with a 31-point and 11-rebound performance in the game against Lafayette, helping to lead the sixth-seeded Orange and Blue to a huge win to eliminate the third-seeded Leopards. This marks the third time he has posted a 30-point performance out of the five games this year.

Meeks, who just returned to practice this week, said that though it has been a challenging season, the team is still in good spirits. “Our guys have handled [the season] well. It showed in the Lafayette game when we were down. We responded well and ended up winning the game. Understanding that it’s playoff time, we have an extra sense of urgency and I’m excited to see how we finish. We are a very talented team and now we just have to go and show it.”

Other Bison athletes had great performances on the day as well with Xander Rice ’23 contributing 19 points, with a career-high four 3-point baskets; junior Andrew Funk ’22 scoring 14 points, and Walter Ellis ’22 adding 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the win. Center Andre Screen ’24 contributed big time in his 15 minutes off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.

While the Bison did pull out the win at the end, they were down for a good part of the game. Lafayette hit four of their first six 3-pointers on the day to which the Bison found themselves down on more than one occasion. However, as Paul Newman ’21 points out, “In the playoffs, it’s win or go home. We don’t want to go home unless it is with a trophy. So you have to play every minute on that court like it’s your last.”

The Bison showed they did not want to go home empty handed and pulled off the win that will send them on the road to second-seeded Colgate on Wednesday night March 10 in the semifinal round of the PenFed Credit Union Patriot League Tournament. Unfortunately, the Orange and Blue could not pull off a win against the Raiders with a final score of 75-105, officially ending their short season.

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