Lions still undefeated, prep for new year

But for the better part of the next month, the gymnasium stands will be empty.

The Lions don’t play again until Jan.,Piano Row Gymnasium was rocking again on Tuesday night, as the men’s basketball team continued its perfect streak with a 91-81 victory over visiting MIT.

But for the better part of the next month, the gymnasium stands will be empty.

The Lions don’t play again until Jan. 8, giving them a full four weeks to rest up. According to senior guard Will Dawkins, the break has both postives and negatives.

“A lot of us are banged up, so it’s good to have a break from basketball,” the broadcast journalism and media arts double major said. “But we all need to stay in shape. That way, when we come back after the new year, we’ll be ready to roll.”

Although coach Hank Smith ‘s team is on a hot run going into their time off, he said that he feels his team, with an unblemished 7-0 record, has earned the rest they’ll be getting.

“We’ve been working so hard, it’s unbelievable,” Smith said. “Now, we’ll be able to recover from a few injuries, things like that.”

Emerson, which was already missing players with injuries entering the game against MIT, endured a few more during the contest. Sophomore guard Jeremy Shannon, who was back in the starting line-up after missing the previous game due to a leg injury, was transported to Mass General Hospital at halftime after sustaining an eye injury in the first half. Senior guard Joe Boylan also experienced problems with cramping during the contest.

The break comes at the perfect time for the Lions, because the game against MIT was an exceptionally physical affair. With bodies dropping to the floor and fouls at a premium, many players found themselves drained by the time the final buzzer sounded.

Boylan, a writing, literature and publishing major, said the physical style of play suits his team perfectly.

“We love it physical,” Boylan said. “Coach always talks about being aggressive, trying to bring the fight to teams, Plus, what you see in games, that’s not even half as physical as our practices are.”

Smith said the way his team played against MIT is exactly how he’d like them to perform every time they take the court.

“[Tonight] we played fantastic,” Smith said. “It’s the way the game is supposed to be played. Plus, we didn’t back down, did we?”

Although most players will be heading home for the holidays, the month-long break from games does not mean they will stop practicing. The Lions will reconvene in Boston on Jan. 2, and Smith wants them to be ready when that day arrives.

Players are expected to work out individually, spending time lifting and running in order to stay in shape. Some players, though, will be working on their games in a different capacity.

“I’ll be in the gym here until next week when I go home,” Boylan said. “But when I get there, I’ll be practicing with my high school team. My brother is a senior [in high school] now, so I’ll work with them, and try to stay in shape.”

Dawkins said he doesn’t think his team will slack off over the holidays, because they know what the consequences would be if they did.

“Coach trusts us,” Dawkins said. “But if the team hasn’t stayed in shape, we’ll be practicing four hours a day [after break], As a team, we have to man up.”