Men’s basketball earns share of first place

Ajan Caneda, Senior Writer

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After John Azzinaro ’17 nailed several timely three-pointers to secure a 65-63 home win against Navy on Jan. 14., Chris Hass ’16 posted a clutch four-point play in the final minute and boosted the men’s basketball team to an 81-75 home victory over Army on Jan. 17. Four nights later, on Jan. 21, the Orange and Blue took down Loyola (Md.) 75-61 on the road for their third straight win.

“Our ability to close tight games has really come a long way from the beginning of the year,” Hass said. “Now that we have been in those positions in multiple games, we have been able to get closer as a team and make better decisions in crunch time from us being in that position multiple times this year.”

With 53 seconds left in the second half against Army, Ryan Frazier ’16 was the catalyst for the biggest shot of the game when he dished the ball to Hass who drained a right-wing three pointer while taking a foul from a Black Knight player. The Bison were up 75-70 at that point and hit several free throws to claim the win.

“Because we are skilled at every position and we have great depth on our team we have been able to win two in a row against two tough teams,” Zach Thomas ’18 said.

The Orange and Blue led 38-30 at halftime behind a collection of three-point shots from Hass, Thomas, and Azzinaro. The team was 5-8 from behind the arc in the first half and shot 60 percent overall in the game from three-point range.

In the second half, the largest lead for the Bison was nine points early in the period thanks to a Stephen Brown ’18 three, but Army registered a three-point basket at the 12:39 mark to give the Black Knights their first lead of the second half.

The advantage was short-lived, as Thomas secured a lay-up on the next possession followed by an emphatic dunk by Nana Foulland ’18 and three-pointer by Steven Kaspar ’15. A Kaspar free throw with 3:29 left put the Orange and Blue up for good.

“Our team is extremely deep, which gives us an advantage over other teams because we are able to keep our players fresh,” Thomas said. “When you have close games like we have had recently it is important to have fresh legs to perform well at the end of the game.”

Hass posted a game-high 23 points, including a 4-8 showing from three-point range. Foulland added 17 points and nine rebounds while Kaspar finished with 11 points and six assists. The Bison held a 26-14 edge in bench points and shot 50.9 percent from the field.

The Orange and Blue continued their hot shooting at Loyola. Hass had another explosive game with 26 points, going 10-15 from the field. Kaspar added 14 points, four assists, and two blocks. Azzinaro posted nine points on three-pointers and Cory Starkey ’15 registered seven points and nine rebounds. The Bison thoroughly dominated the game by shooting 27-51 (.529) and draining nine three-point baskets.

Following the action, Azzinaro earned 5th Quarter Fresh Bison Athlete of the Week honors and Foulland garnered his second Lids Team Sports Patriot League Rookie of the Week award.

The Bison (10-10, 5-2 PL) travel to Boston University on Jan. 24 to take on the Terriers followed by a home game against Lehigh on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.

 

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