Bison defeat Army on Senior Night – Hold on against Loyola to extend winning streak to 3

Thomas Walter, Writer

Senior Night always has the emotions running high, but Feb. 15 was a success at Sojka Pavilion as the men’s basketball team was able to edge Army 73-61. Two of the Bison players honored, Cameron Ayers ’14 and graduate student Brian Fitzpatrick, turned in career-best performances. The Bison also recorded a 55-53 win in a Feb. 19 road match against Loyola.

“The main thought I had in my mind was to win the game, especially playing in front of the home crowd,” Ayers said. “Both my parents got to come and a couple family friends as well, and I couldn’t let them down. After winning the game it was definitely a special night.”

Fitzpatrick scored 15 points and Ayers poured in a game-high 22 points. Additionally, Chris Hass ’16 scored 15 points. Out of the nine players who saw playing time, eight scored to provide balanced scoring in a huge win for the Orange and Blue.

The contest against Army was very physical, but the Bison matched the military academy’s intensity. Dom Hoffman’s ’16 second consecutive start saw the Orange and Blue out-rebound an opponent.

“Dom brings a lot to the table for sure. He’s a very smart player and can knock down a shot consistently,” Ayers said. “He has definitely helped us on the glass a lot since his emergence into the starting lineup, but he’s been working hard each and every day and taking advantage of his opportunity.”

With 4:53 remaining in the second half the Bison lead was cut to six points. Feeling Army’s pressure, Ayers took over the game. He scored 10 of the Bison’s final 12 points to close out the Black Knights.

“The last three minutes were definitely great for me personally, but it’s all about getting the win for my team. I just try and do whatever they need me to do to get the win,” Ayers said.

Next, the Bison traveled to Loyola in hopes of building off the momentum from the previous two games.

“I think we need to keep working hard and build off of our successes. We’re remembering what it’s like to win again and we want to maintain that,” Ayers said. “It’s all about our positive energy every day and our attention to detail. We don’t have much time left in the season so we need to continue to grind it out and do whatever we can to win.”

Against the Greyhounds, Ayers would again play the role of closer in the nail-biter. The Bison’s defense was stifling, holding Loyola to just 6-32 from the field in the first half and building a 28-14 lead. But the Greyhounds came out charging to start the second half. They had clawed all the way back on the strength of a 21-5 run. They would lead by as many as six points, but key jumpers from Hoffman, who started his third consecutive game, propelled the Bison back into the match.

The Orange and Blue trailed 53-52 with 1:13 seconds left. The Bison could hold the ball for a final shot of the game, and there was no doubt about whose hand the ball would be in. Ayers ran along the baseline, caught the ball just in front of the Bison’s bench and launched a three that fell right into the bottom of the net. The game winner added to his game-high 22 points.

Behind the strength of Ayers’ excellent play the Orange and Blue have won three in a row and pull their record back to 13-13 overall and 8-7 in Patriot League play.

The Bison will go for their fourth straight win against Boston University in a nationally televised game on Sunday afternoon in Boston.

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