Men’s basketball heads into conference play after mixed start to season

The men’s basketball team will begin conference play on Jan. 2  with an opportunity to improve on last year’s 4-10 record in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.

The team played its last non-conference game against Brandeis University on Dec. 11.

The team’s 5-6 record includes victories over Lesley University, Pine Manor College, Suffolk University, Emmanuel College, and Curry College. In addition to losing the first game of the season against Division I opponent Boston University, the Lions lost to Gordon College, University of St. Thomas, Amherst College, Tufts University, and Brandeis University.

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Highlights from the season include junior forward Jack O’Connor’s season-high 32 points in a 91-84 victory over Pine Manor. Freshman center Jarred Houston added 22 points and 15 rebounds on 10-14 shooting from the field, his strongest performance of the season.

Freshmen such as Trevor McLean, Zach Waterhouse, Nate Martin, and Houston have all averaged over 21 minutes per game. Waterhouse averaged 14.6 points per game.

Junior guard Jack O’Conner ranks first in the conference with 21.6 points per game. Senior point guard Geoff Gray averages 8.9 rebounds per game which places him second among all NEWMAC players—no other guard averages more than seven rebounds per game. Gray also sits third in the NEWMAC with 19.9 points per game.

Emerson will challenge 7-1 Coast Guard for their first game back on Jan. 2. Coast Guard dominated on both ends of the floor this year and won every game by at least 10 points while holding opponents to an average of 66.1 points per game.

Junior Packy Witkowski recently scored 40 points for the Bears in a Dec. 6 matchup against Connecticut College.

The following week, Emerson will face Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who won the conference last season and advanced to the fourth round of the NCAA Division III tournament. An annual preseason coaches poll selected MIT as the favorite to win the NEWMAC. With a record of 9-1, they rank third in the NEWMAC.

On Jan. 16, the Lions will travel to  Worcester Polytechnic Institute to square off against the 8-0 Engineers. WPI has held opponents to a 39.1 percent field goal percentage, tied for the best in the conference.

The men’s basketball team did not respond for comment.

Emerson will play every team in the conference at least once after a Jan. 19 matchup with 9-1 Wheaton and a Jan. 23 game against 6-3 Babson.

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