While you were away: Men's basketball

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 6:45 PM

The holidays bring about a time of much needed rest and relaxation for Edinboro students. They go home and spend time with their loved ones, receiving gifts and making memories, as well as resetting their brains for whatever lay ahead in the spring semester.  

However, not all students get exactly that experience; for Edinboro’s student-athletes, including the Fighting Scots men’s basketball team, the holidays brought an incredibly tough stretch in their schedule. And that’s why Edinboro finds themselves with a record of 5-8 after being 4-3 when winter break began.  

So what happened that led to the team dropping five of their last six games? The Spectator reached out to players of the men’s basketball team about their winter break contests. 

“We’ve just been unfortunate to hit one of the toughest parts of our schedule,” said graduate student Trey Staunch. “Losing sucks, especially when it starts to be continuous. As a team, we just have to get back to basics and play the game like we know how.”  

On Dec. 20, the Fighting Scots lost to East Stroudsburg University, 85-51, marking their fourth straight loss and dropping their record to 4-4. Though the score does not reflect a close game, Edinboro was able to keep it tight through most of the first half. The team’s second-leading scorer, Jaryn Simpson, missed the game with an injury.  

The very next night, Edinboro was able to bounce back by winning an overtime thriller on the road against Kutztown University, 88-86. The win came after senior Daylon Harris was able to sink two clutch free throws with only 0.9 seconds left on the clock. The win brought the team back over .500 for the season with a record of 5-4.  

“Some of the biggest highlights we’ve had over the last couple games are guys coming off the bench and producing and giving us solid minutes,” Staunch said. “We’re going to need that when we get deeper into January and February.” 

On Jan. 3, the Scots traveled up the road to Erie to play Gannon University — a 79-59 loss. Senior Anthony Coleman led the way for Edinboro, dropping 22 points in the PSAC West opener. Harris and Staunch also finished in double-figures. However, the effort was not enough to ring in the new year successfullyas they dropped to 5-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play.  

Three days later, playing at McComb Fieldhouse, Edinboro again lost to West Chester University, who at the time was ranked #10 nationally. Simpson led the way for the Scots with 27 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Harris and Staunch found themselves in double figures again, a theme over the winter stretch. Coleman, meanwhile, finished with only nine points, which snapped a streak of eight games with at least 10 points.  

Coleman would bounce back strong in the next contest, dropping 23 points in a heartbreaking loss against Pitt-Johnstown, 86-83. Simpson would finish with 18 points, five assists and 12 rebounds, another prime example of the powerhouse backcourt tandem coach Pat Cleary has. The loss would drop the Scots the 5-7 overall, including three straight losses.  

“We’re going to get another crack at these teams in our conference,” Staunch said. “We’re going to have to be mentally and physically tougher than them when that chance comes. If we buy in as a team, we can turn this season around over the next couple months.” 

A few days later, Staunch and Harris would lead the way for the Scots against California University of Pennsylvania, with 14 and 18, respectively. Coleman and Simpson would contribute 12 points each, however it would not be enough as Edinboro would fall, 108-71. The loss would bring the Scots to a 5-8 overall record and drop them to 2-7 in PSAC play.  

Obviously, this is not where the team hoped to find itself at this point in the season. Many things contributed to the current losing streak, but one of the biggest factors is injuries. Simpson missed the East Stroudsburg game and the Kutztown game. Coleman would not be able to go against Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Clarion University, two more losses that brings the Scots current record to 5-10.  

The team has its work cut out for it if theres hope of salvaging this season. The bad news is that the schedule won’t get much easier. The upcoming games for the team are all conference games against opponents the team already lost to once. The good news? The team doesn’t plan on quitting. 

“I feel confident in this basketball team moving forward,” Staunch said. “We just have to take it one game at a time and string some wins together. We have the talent and athleticism to compete in this league and turn this season around.” 

The team does find themselves in a hole, but a hole they believe they can dig themselves out of. It will depend on what type of mentality they have moving forward.  

“We just have to go back to the drawing board,” Staunch said. “And see who wants to play with that grown-man mentality.”  

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