By Michaela Gates, Staff Writer
It has been an up and down year for the Corsairs of men’s basketball as the team currently sits at 12-11. However, as the season winds down and the Corsairs began to prep for the first round of post season play in the LEC tournament; it is looking like they could make a fantastic post-season run.
This past Saturday the men of Corsair Basketball pulled off an amazing upset as they beat the no. 10 rank Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State. The unprecedented win comes as the Corsairs are gearing up to win the LEC post-season title. It is worth mentioning that as of today the Warriors of Eastern Connecticut will be seeded first in the LEC tourney.
While this win is huge for the Corsairs as far as the LEC goes, the bigger picture is that they have just shown the country what they are capable of. Yes, they beat the best team in the LEC, but also the tenth best team in the nation.
Given that college basketball playoffs are done with single game elimination rather than a series like the NBA; one has to wonder what kind of noise they can make going forward. To add to this, the teams two leading scorers for the night were not seniors as one may guess; but a sophomore and a freshmen.
Freshmen Jake Ashworth exploded for 31 points, while sophomore teammate Brandon Williams Jr. Dropped 28 along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Atakan Akcam, a junior out of Turkey, also added another eighteen points.
It is extremely rare to see two underclassmen take control of a game as Williams Jr. And Ashworth did in this contest. While it is common place in D1 basketball as players often get drafted into the NBA following their freshmen or sophomore year, it is not so in D3.
An extremely high rate of athletes in D3 in general, tend to stay for their four years, given that they often end up being leading their teams and the nation overall. However, every so often we see fantastic young talent like these two and they are certainly something to marvel at.
While these two young stars were very impressive, even more impressive was the fact that the team as a whole shot 80 percent from the free-throw line. In a game that was decided by a mere two points that was sunk on a buzzer-beater by Williams Jr., every point matters.
Games are often won or lost at the free-throw line and UMassD showed amazing poise at the line. A whopping 24 of their 101 points came directly from free-throw conversions.
Given the young age of this team it is hard to say if they can stay consistent throughout the playoffs as this is often an issue that goes away with experience, however once it is post-season anything is possible, and I cannot wait to see what magic they have in store for Corsair fans.
The Corsairs wrap up their regular season this Saturday at home against Keene State at 3 p.m.