Lions defeat Lyons behind team-first play


Rachel Culver

Senior guard Jack O’Connor scored 24 points and pulled down six rebounds against Wheaton on Saturday.

By Brendan Walker

Four players scored double-digit points in the men’s basketball team’s fourth conference win, a 14-point victory against the Wheaton College Lyons on Saturday.

Wheaton came into this matchup on a six-game losing streak and ranked last in the NEWMAC. The Lions extended the Lyons’ losing streak with a 97–83 victory.

The Lions led 42–35 at the end of the first half. Wheaton’s starters shot six of nine from the field, but the Lions committed 15 fouls to help Wheaton keep the game close. Four Emerson starters committed two fouls and the bench committed another six. The Lions maintained their lead despite the foul trouble by shooting five percent above their season average for the half.

“Instead of sitting back and letting the other teams dictate, we wanted to try to dictate the pace and tempo today,” head coach Bill Curley said in a post-game interview. “When you get aggressive like that, you got to expect some calls. We just got to worry about ourselves and control what we can control.”

The foul calls shifted in the other direction during the second half. The Lyons committed 18 fouls, doubling their first half total.

“I’m not one to really say the refs had an effect on the game, but I think we got a lot more calls in the second half than the first half,” freshman guard James Beckwith said after the game. “I think that definitely affected the outcome of the game.”

The Lions shot above their season average on Saturday, and they shot over 50 percent from the field in both halves. Sophomore center Jarred Houston, senior guard Jack O’Connor, sophomore guard Zach Waterhouse, and Beckwith finished the game with ten or more points.

Curley emphasized the importance of the team’s unpredictability on the offensive end.

“We made it a priority to try to go vertical more with penetration or with cutting and passing on time and on target,” Curley said. “The guys did a fantastic job of sharing the ball tonight.”

The Lions recorded 24 assists on 31 made field goals, and shot 52 percent from three-point range.

“I think the ball movement, and I think being at home, we shoot the ball really well here because we’re going to get our shot,” Beckwith said.

Zach Waterhouse scored 17 points on seven of 12 shooting, including a thunderous put-back dunk in the second half.

The Lion’s face Babson College on Wednesday, January 29, at 7:00 p.m.