Middle of the pack: Ten games remain in conference play

By Samuel Brouwere

Sports Reporter

The Griffs’ men’s basketball team is continuing to advance through their 2015-16 season. The Griffs have played many important games this season, and many of these occurred during the winter break.

The Griffs played four non-conference games over break and gathered a record of 3-1 in those games. The Griffs won a home game against Boston University and lost a road game to the Dartmouth Big Green. The Griffs also went across the country to play in the 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic in Las Vegas, NV. The Griffs had much success in Las Vegas, as they won both of their games over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks and the Nicholls State Colonels. The game over the Warhawks was quite remarkable, as the Griffs had overcome a 13-point deficit with 1:10 left in regulation and went on to win with a score of 108-96 in triple overtime. The Griffs have no more non-conference games to play in their 2015-16 regular season schedule.

The Griffs also played eight conference games and assembled a record of 4-4 in those games. This gives the Griffs a total conference record of 5-5 which puts them in seventh place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The teams currently ranked in front of the Griffs are the  Monmouth Hawks, Saint Peter’s Peacocks, Siena Saints, Iona Gaels, Manhattan Jaspers, and the Fairfield Stags.

In the conference games, the Griffs won four games on the road over the Jaspers, Marist Red Foxes, Niagara Purple Eagles, and the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Griffs also lost a road game to the Hawks, and home games to the Jaspers, Peacocks, and Saints.

The Griffs win that stands out among the group is the win over the Griffs’ longtime rival the Purple Eagles. The two teams played at the Gallagher Center on January 22. The Griffs went on a 13-4 run in the closing minutes of the game to seal a 70-61 win over the Purple Eagles. Malcolm McMillan was a key in the Griffs’ victory as he scored a team-high 17 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.

Despite the Griffs’ conference record of 5-5, the team will have opportunities to improve the record. The Griffs still have 10 conference games to play, and five of these are at home. The team should be optimistic. Coach Jim Baron spoke to his expectations of the team for the remainder of the season by saying, “To be as good as we can be. We want to get to the playoffs and then try to win the championship.”

In the remaining games the Griffs will play six games against teams that are currently above them in the standings. The Griffs will play the Gaels and Stags at home and will also play the Gaels, Peacocks, Saints, and Stags on the road. The Griffs still get to play four teams that are currently below them in the standings. They will play home games against the Rider Broncs, Purple Eagles, and Red Foxes. In order for the Griffs to rise in the MAAC standings they must capitalize on the games against the teams ranked below them and win some of the games against the teams above them. The Griffs will play the Stags and Broncs on the road this weekend.

The Griffs will play the Stags, who are currently ranked sixth in the MAAC, Friday night. This will be the first time the Griffs have played the Stags this season. A key for the Griffs will be to slow down the production of Marcus Gilbert, as he is averaging 19.1 points per game. Overall the Stags will be a good test for the Griffs.

The Griffs will play the Broncs, currently ranked eighth in the MAAC, on Sunday. This will also be the first time the two teams play this season. The Broncs are currently being led by Teddy Okereafor, who is averaging 14 points per game. It will be important for the Griffs to slow down his production. The Griffs will have many opportunities to increase their conference record and rank and it will all start this weekend.

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