Men's basketball loses first two

By Greg Stevenson

Senior Writer

The men’s basketball team faced two major-conference opponents on the road during the opening week of the 2011-2012 season, falling to the Vanderbilt Commodores 80-68 and Minnesota Golden Gophers 70-58. 

“It was a very frustrating loss for us because we came in the game expecting to win,” Mike Muscala ’13 said of the Vanderbilt game. “I felt that we were ready to play, and played tough and composed for most of the game. They were a very athletic team, and it was a game we definitely need to learn from moving forward.”

Against the Commodores on Tuesday, perimeter defense ruled the court in the opening 20 minutes. The Bison limited Vanderbilt to 2-15 shooting from beyond the three-point arc and trailed by just a point at the halftime break.

The No. 18 Commodores opened the second half strong, outscoring the Orange and Blue 20-8 in the first six minutes to push the lead to 47-34.

In all, four Bison registered 10 or more points. Consistent mid-range jumper Joe Willman ’13 earned 17. Joshea Singleton ’15 and Brian Fitzpatrick ’13, also finished in double-figures.

In their season opener versus the Golden Gophers, the Bison took a  five-point advantage thanks to outside shooting from Bryson Johnson ’13. His four three-pointers were a game high and helped him tally 16 points overall.

Down the stretch, the Orange and Blue didn’t record a field goal after being ahead 53-48. Trevor Mbakwe of Minnesota scored nine in that period, turning a close game into a blowout.

“It felt good to start the season off shooting well, but it would have been nice to carry that late in the second half when we needed it most,” Johnson said. “It was tough because we should have won the game. Anytime you fall up short of what your team goals are, it’s always disappointing. But it shows us that we still have a lot to work on and that we are a very competitive team.”

Looking for their first victory of the season, the men’s basketball team takes on St. Francis tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. After finishing last season with a 13-game home winning streak, currently the 17th longest in the nation, the Bison look to defend Sojka Pavilion.

“I’m really excited for the first home game,” Muscala said. “We owe St. Francis from last year, so I urge all the students to come out and cheer us on.”

(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)