Tough winter schedule tests Bison

By Thomas Walter

Writer

The men’s basketball team had very little time over winter break to relax. Instead the Bison played teams such as George Mason, Richmond and No. 1 Syracuse in order to gain more experience in hopes of repeating as Patriot League Champions.

The Bison lost to George Mason 61-57, beat Richmond 79-65 and outscored Syracuse for most of the second half, but lost 80-61.

“It was a great experience for myself and my team because we were going to get to play in front of thousands in the Carrier Dome. We had nothing to lose and could just go out and have fun and play our game,” Cameron Ayers ’14 said.

Ayers had a couple of great games over winter break, scoring a career-best 23 points against George Mason and then against Richmond. 

“We definitely learned we can play with any team in the country and we can win. It was a good experience to play against different types of defenses and different types of players outside of the patriot league that will prepare us to succeed in the future,” Ayers said.

By playing such a tough winter break schedule, Coach Dave Paulsen and the Orange and Blue hoped to better prepare themselves to achieve their ultimate goal of another Patriot League Championship and NCAA tournament bid.

“The team needs to focus on one game at a time,” Ayers said. “We need to prepare mentally and physically for each opponent in order to win. We have a target on our back but it just makes the journey that more fun and challenging.”

Ayers was not the only Bison to have a successful stretch of games over winter break. Mike Muscala ’13, last year’s Patriot League Player of the Year, scored his 1,000th point, becoming the 33rd player in program history to reach this number. He is also the 17th person in program history to reach both the 1,000 point and 500 rebound marks.

Coming off their tough schedule, the Bison look poised to make another run at the league title. Starting their league play with six straight wins, the Orange and Blue currently sit atop the standings and have shown that they are the team to beat this season.

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