Men’s basketball welcomes Davis with booming season-opener


Kyle Adams

The Bison were buzzing with anticipation this past weekend, as one of campus’s most popular athletic programs opened its season on Nov. 13 at Sojka Pavilion. The men’s basketball team returned to action, projected as the preseason No. 2 team in the Patriot League after hiring new head coach, Nathan Davis. The Orange and Blue debuted their new system first against Shenandoah and faced a quick turn-around in welcoming Wake Forest on Nov. 15.

Starting the year with two home contests was something guard Chris Hass ’16 could not remember doing up to this point in his career.

“The students that were there made the atmosphere great,” Hass said. “And opening the year at home was huge … it was a blast,” Hass said. 

As the Bison’s only preseason all-league selection, Hass knew that he would shoulder increased responsibility this year as a new system was implemented under Coach Davis.

“Being a leader this year is different than others. Coach Davis’s system is totally different, so this year is a huge year for the leaders to step up vocally and also with our actions,” Hass said. 

In the season-opener against Shenandoah, the offense looked explosive against a clearly inferior opponent, as the Bison were able to open the game with a 57-31 first half advantage. The Orange and Blue set records in points in a half (57), assists in a game (29), made field goals (42), and total points (107). Perhaps most impressively, DJ MacLeay ’17 did not miss a shot in the game, going 5-5 from the field for 10 points. Davis’s team boasted five double-digit scorers, something that Hass warned could become a problem if handled incorrectly.

“We have so many offensive weapons this year and it’s easy to have guys trying to make plays by themselves, and that is happening sometimes, so we just need to limit that,” Hass said.

The Michigan native contributed 18 points for his team. The final score of 107-61 was the first triple-digit scoring effort for the program in over two decades.

Nana Foulland ’18 set the tone for the night by hammering down a dunk for the team’s first points of the season. From that point, there was no looking back for the versatile offensive barrage, as Shenandoah was quickly buried 27-9. Foulland led the team in scoring a career-high of 20 points, posting eight rebounds.

The team showed off new additions to the team Kimbal Mackenzie ’19, Nate Sestina ’19, and Nate Jones ’19, all of whom made their first career shots in a Bison uniform. Mackenzie undoubtedly had the most impressive coming out party by tallying seven assists and 17 points by shooting 7-9 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc.

After the onslaught that demonstrated the potency of their offense, the Bison matched up against a much more challenging opponent in Wake Forest. In the first half it appeared that even a national caliber foe could not slow down Davis’s fast-paced offense, as the Orange and Blue took an 11-point lead into the locker room. After having a share of the lead for about a 20-minute period that spanned most of the first half and the beginning of the second, the offense stalled and Wake Forest took command of the game. The Bison fought against a slim deficit for most of the half until their opponent constructed a nine point lead and eventually won by a score of 90-82. Davis’s men showed their resiliency by fighting to get the deficit within three points after a pair of Zach Thomas ’18 free throws brought the score to 78-81. Once the lead grew greater than one possession and time began to dwindle, the Bison resorted to fouling to preserve the clock but never could get themselves back into this one in the final minutes of play.

Foulland had another solid game in the post with 11 points, nine boards, and three blocked shots. Thomas got back on track by netting seven of 12 shots on his way to an 18-point performance. Hass led all scorers with 26 points, which included a first half buzzer-beater. Guard Ryan Frazier ’16 was the final double-digit scorer for the Bison, adding 14 of his own. Frazier also led the team in assists, racking up four in his 32 minutes on the floor.

The squad then went on the road on Nov. 18 for its first away game of the season against Robert Morris, winning 81-76. Thomas led all scorers with 19 points, while Hass added 18 of his own. The offense shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, and increased that percentage to 53.3 percent in the second half.

The Bison will be back in action on Nov. 21, when they face Manhattan on the road. 

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