Men's basketball off to 6-1 start

Andrew Arnao
Senior Writer

After falling by a final of 60-57 in a close game at Penn State, the men’s basketball team returned to their winning ways on Nov. 27 with a 62-49 home victory against Dartmouth. The victory marked the 100th win in Sojka Pavilion for the Bison, and gives them a 6-1 record for the year.

The Bison held a 0-9 record at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center going into the game, and at first it looked like the Bison would break their winless streak. The Bison charged out to a 10-2 lead, led by six points from guard Bryson Johnson ’13. Though the Orange and the Blue continued to hold the lead for the remainder of the first half, going into halftime with a 22-16 advantage, the Bison offense only managed to make 35.7 percent of their field goal attempts.

“We didn’t play well,” forward Brian Fitzpatrick ’13 said. “We were out of sync offensively and had too many turnovers in the first half. We should have been up by a lot more than six at halftime. In the second half, we still struggled to score, but Penn State started hitting shots. ”

Almost non-existent in the first half, the Penn State offense exploded in the second half to the tune of a 65.4 percent shooting percentage on field goals. Though the Bison were able to keep up at first, Penn State tied the game for the first time at 34-34 and eventually went ahead for good after breaking a 39-39 tie with a jumper. The Bison kept it close, thanks in part to a strong 14-point effort from guard Cameron Ayers ’14, who hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left to make the score 59-57. Penn State then only managed one of two free throws, but the three-point attempt from Ayers did not find the net as time expired.

Johnson led the team with 18 points in the loss, while forward Mike Muscala ’13 recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

“The Penn State game was tough because we started the game with too many turnovers and didn’t really get in a good flow offensively,” Johnson said. “We allowed them to stay in the game early and that allowed them to eventually take the lead on us and end up winning the game. It was a tough loss, but we will move forward and are already focused on Dartmouth.”

The Bison jumped out to another early lead against Dartmouth, delighting the home crowd with a 12-2 run to start the game. A rash of turnovers allowed Dartmouth to come back, and the Big Green managed to tie the score with six minutes remaining in the half. The two teams then exchanged leads over the next few minutes, with three free throws from Johnson giving the Bison a 25-24 advantage one second before halftime.

Though Dartmouth kept the score close, the Bison would not fall behind for the entire second half, and slowly began to break away. After Dartmouth managed to tie the score for the last time at 35-35, Muscala countered with a dunk, a three-pointer and four free throws to give the Bison a 44-35 lead. Dartmouth managed to crawl back to a 45-40 deficit, but a great steal by Ayers and back-to-back blocks from Muscala and forward Joe Willman ’13 kept the Big Green from getting any closer. Outstanding work on the foul line (8-8 in the last 1:20 and 29-34 overall) allowed the Bison to pull away for a double-digit victory.

Muscala and Ayers both had double-doubles, and Muscala also lead the team with 17 points. Willman and Johnson also had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The Bison look to continue their seven-game winning streak against Ivy League teams as they travel to face Columbia tomorrow.

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