‘I’m just happy I was able to get it done’: Men’s basketball center hits 1,000 points

Senior+center+Jarred+Houston+fighting+for+points+in+the+paint+against+Clark+University

Photo: Kayla Buck

Senior center Jarred Houston fighting for points in the paint against Clark University

By Tyler Foy, Sports Editor

Six minutes into the second half of Saturday’s game, Emerson center Jarred Houston sank a layup that would cement his place in Emerson Basketball’s thousand-point club. 

Houston’s thousandth point was just one part of his contribution to the Lions’ 83-65 victory over Clark University, in which he was the highest scorer. Due to a shift in COVID-19 protocols,  Houston was able to meet the career milestone in front of live spectators—including his family.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Especially with last year, not being able to have a season. Having my family there was good too.”

The Lions, who play in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, entered the game on a two-game losing streak. After a back-and-forth overtime loss to Babson College on Jan. 30, the Lions took on Worcester Polytechnic Institute three days later and fell 76-47. 

“We lost a heartbreaker to Babson and I think it’s sacked a little bit of our energy,” said Head Coach Bill Curley. “We really tried to bounce back from that and then WPI just had the little hangover effect where we tried, but we were wearing snowshoes that day.”

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Nevertheless, the pair of losses allowed Houston to break the thousand-point threshold at home, entering the match with 989 points over the course of his collegiate career. With these factors, Houston said there was a “bit” of pressure on his shoulders going into the game.

“[It was my] first time [this season] with external spectators. I have my family here, and you kind of know that the number’s around there,” he said. “I’m just happy I was able to get it done, so we can focus on the rest of the season.”

Houston racked up 22 points, 22 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Senior guard Zach Waterhouse—who reached the 1,000 point threshold on Jan. 17—also had 15 points in the game as the Lions’ third-best scorer. Curley said the duo has been a major part of establishing a winning culture in the locker room. 

“These guys, they came in as freshmen and just set the tone,” Curley said. “They brought in a new era and eventually won a NEWMAC Championship [in 2019].”

The game against the Cougars didn’t start off easy after the team went down 11-6, but the momentum swung in the Lions’ favor after the entrance of senior point guard Chad DiCenzo and junior shooting guard Max Davis, who scored 11 of 19 unanswered points—bringing the score 25-11. 

The Lions continued to build their lead, but Clark’s defense—with three of the top five NEWMAC players with steals—made pivotal stops before the end of the half. Nevertheless, the Lions entered the locker room up 42-26 when the buzzer sounded for halftime. 

 Houston was just two points away from 1,000 points with the entirety of the second half to play, but he was just happy to be in the lead.

“I was just happy to be up by 16,” Houston said. “We had a rough last two games, so I want to get back on the winning side.”

The second half started with both sides trading threes—the Lions edging out the Cougars. Houston was fouled just three minutes in, giving him two chances at the free-throw line. He missed his first free throw, but the second put him one point from history.

Four minutes later, Houston received a pass underneath the basket from senior guard Nate Martin, which he converted to a layup. That layup put him in a class amongst the Emerson greats. 

The court erupted in applause as most fans knew the significance of the moment. The Lions took a timeout not too long after the layup, allowing the milestone to be officially announced to the crowd.

With the energy of Houston’s thousandth point behind them, the Lions closed out the game with an 83-65 victory, pushing their conference record to 6-4.

The team’s next game would be a match-up against the Coast Guard Academy, who they last faced the Coast Guard on Jan. 17—winning 75-59. The Lions completed the series sweep against Coast Guard on Wednesday, winning 79-61.

Curley said the goal for the team is to peak at the right time heading down the stretch.

“We only got [three] games left in the regular season,” he said. “It goes by in a blink of an eye, we have some goals we want to accomplish. Yeah, we had a tough week. But everything we want to attain is still right there.”