By Gage Nutter
Assistant Sports Editor

bb team.jpg
Photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal

Emotions were riding high after the Pride’s miraculous 71-70 win against No. 1 ranked Amherst College back on Dec. 14. The Pride were 3-5 going into the game and had been having an up and down season up until that point. However, when the final buzzer sounded to seal the team’s historic victory, a new energy was created on campus and in the team’s locker room. They felt like they could beat anyone, and they played like it. After the win against Amherst, the Pride rattled off three straight wins against Elizabethtown, Connecticut College, and WPI, which brought their record to a much-improved 7-5. A team that had some bumps along the road were now back on course.

It has seemed recently however, that the team has now began to swerve into those potholes that they were able to dodge for the past few weeks. In the team’s last four games they have a record of 2-4. In the four loses, the team has lost on average by 11 points.

Sophomore guard Stanley Davis knows that the team has the talent to succeed and string some wins together again. In basketball, stability is key.

“We need to be more of a forty minute team,” said Davis. “There have been a lot of games where we have been up at [the] half but we can’t finish. We need to work on our consistency.”

Davis also acknowledged that the team has something that cannot be coached, loud and proud fans that give them the chance to play well at home and maybe string some wins together.

“As of right now we are having problems winning on the road,” he said. “However, we do have a lot of success at home, and the next four games are at home against pretty good teams. This home stand we have coming up is just what we need to start putting some wins together.”

Freshman phenom Jake Ross (averaging 23 points, nine rebounds, and three assists on the season) is taking on the rest of this season one step at a time, and each step must be a step forward.

“We are going into each game with a ‘must win’ mentality,” said Ross. “We want to set ourselves in a good position record wise before we play teams later on like MIT, Wheaton, and Babson.”

Another advantage the Pride have now that they are in conference play is that they play every opponent twice. Ross and company are ready to seize that opportunity, and channel the confidence that they possessed following the Amherst win, back onto their side.

“You get to know the opponent’s personnel better,” Ross said. “Every player on our team has the opportunity to get a feel for what they have. If we come to play and we make shots like we have shown we can, I think we can beat anyone on any given night.”

Most people knew coming into this season that there would be some miscues along the way. When there are no seniors on the team, and half of the roster is compiled with freshman, mistakes are bound to happen. The team has veered off course from time to time, but they always find a way to get back on track. The Pride may be in a slump now, but don’t blink, because they could ride a win streak into the NEWMAC tournament.

 

Gage can be reached on Twitter at @GageNutter

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