Men’s Basketball Secures First Patriot League Victory

Brooke Tracey, Contributing Writer

The Bison men’s basketball team rebounded after a series of tough losses on the road and in Sojka Pavilion. In a close fought game against the Holy Cross Crusaders, the Bison tallied 68 points to their opponent’s 65, returning to Lewisburg victorious. This Bison victory is both the team’s first road win and the first win since Patriot League play began on Jan. 1. The team’s record now strengthens to 3-16 on the season and 1-7 in the Patriot League conference.

The contest was evenly matched throughout, but it was the Orange and Blue’s four-point lead in the first half that helped secure the victory. The Bison led by as much as 11 points in the first half of play. Rookie forward Ian Motta ’25 played a critical role for the Bison, tallying all 12 of his points in the first half without senior guard Andrew Funk ’22 on the court. The Orange and Blue went into halftime leading the Crusaders 36-32. 

While the Bison came out fired up in the second half, the Crusaders scored the first eight points, putting them in the lead by four. It was sophomore center Andre Screen ’24 that helped the Bison narrow the Crusaders’ lead with a big three-point play. After being down 52-50, the Bison regained the lead with a 7-0 run. The Crusaders did not accept defeat just yet, however, as they continued to fight and regain the lead 58-57. With less than three minutes to go, both the Bison’s defensive and offensive effort helped Screen grab his career-high 13th rebound and two free throws to finish the game off. 

With such an exciting victory comes many notable performances. As aforementioned, Screen notched a career-high in rebounds along with junior forward Malachi Rhodes ’23 who also recorded a career-high 10 rebounds. Junior guard Xander Rice ’23 anchored the Bison scoring with 16 points on the afternoon, closely followed by Funk who had 14 points. Not only this, but Funk also became the 44th Bison to reach 1,000 points in his career at the University – now currently 1,006 points. 

When asked about the victory, Funk said “it was great to get the win… and I’m very proud of the resilience” demonstrated by the team. Funk also said, “it’s surreal surpassing the 1,000 point mark in my career. I could not have gotten to this point without all of my teammates, coaches, and family who have supported my over the last four years.”

The Bison will return home this coming week with two games slated in Sojka Pavilion, the first of which is against Navy on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. tipoff against Loyola on Sunday, Jan. 30.

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