By Alex Wolfe
The men’s basketball team’s struggles continued last week, as they dropped a close game to Kean University on Wednesday 88-78 and were handled by Rutgers University-Newark 88-65 on Saturday night, bringing their record to 1-6 on the year.
“We struggled a little with a shot selection, when Rutgers went on their run,” head coach Kelly Williams said. “We never settled down after that point, and we continued to rush shots.”
Saturday’s game marked the first time in four games that sophomore guard Donovan Smalls failed to get at least 20 points in a game.
“I think Rutgers did a great job making him work for his shots, and we couldn’t get him a rhythm (Saturday night),” Williams said. “He has been on an unbelievable run this past week, and I know he is looking forward to the next game.”
Although the team has suffered through some tough losses at the start of the season, Williams believes that the only way for the Lions to go at this point is up.
“We just have to continue to practice hard and improve in all phases of our game,” Williams said. “I understand that we have a very young team, and (it) will take some time for this team to gel and get better.”
Throughout all of the losses this year, senior forward Steve Siracusa continues to out-hustle opponents, leading the Lions in rebounds with an average of 10.3 per game and placing second on the team, scoring 12.6 points per game.
“’Cuse is the glue of our team and he is committed to do anything for this team to make us better,” Williams said. “Rebound, scoring or playing the other team’s best player. He is the ultimate team player.”
Although the team’s frontcourt is generally smaller than opposing teams’, Williams does not believe that it will be a problem going forward as long as everyone can step up under the boards and grab some more rebounds.
“Size is not issue,” Williams said. “The teams in our conference are not very big at the four and five spots, so we match up well based on size, but everyone must contribute to rebounding.”
Unfortunately for the College, the schedule is not looking any easier in the near future. The team is on the road for three of their final four games for the season and will face a tough New York University team on the road on Wednesday.
“As we continue to mature and grow as a team, the schedule will not get any easier for us,” Williams said. “We have a very good NYU team on Wednesday, so we need to have two great practices, so we can try and get two victories this upcoming week.”