Men's basketball closes out season
The Colby men’s basketball team’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoff chances were dashed on Friday, February 11, as they were unable to overcome the Wesleyan University Cardinals in Middletown, Conn. The Mules were able to salvage a win in their Saturday game versus Connecticut College, the final game for Colby’s five seniors.
Although the Mules needed to win both of their weekend games to qualify for the conference tournament, they fell to the Cardinals, 70-65, behind 21 points on 9-11 shooting from Shasha Brown ’13. Mike Callaghan ’13 added a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Wesleyan.
Senior guard Christian Van Loenen led the team with 21 points and seven rebounds. Mike Russell ’11 added 18 points and 15 rebounds for his Kevin Love-esque 15th double-double of the season.
The Mules trailed by six at halftime before rallying to even the score at 46-46 with ten minutes to play. Wesleyan sunk a go-ahead three-pointer from Derek Beresford ’13 with 9:20 remaining to break the tie. The Cardinals never fell behind again.
The next day, Wesleyan faced off against Bowdoin College in a winner-take-all contest for the final spot in the NESCAC tournament. Bowdoin fended off a furious 16-point rally by the Cardinals to hold on for a one-point victory, 72-71.
With the team’s playoffs aspirations put to rest, Coach Dick Whitmore started his five seniors in Saturday’s matchup with Conn. College. After a first-half stalemate in which the two teams fought to a 28-28 tie, Colby used a three-pointer from Noah Atlas ’11 to take the lead at 38-36. Although the Camels hung tough, Colby never trailed again en route to a 56-50 victory.
Russell scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for yet another double-double. The Mules’ co-captain became just the fifth Colby men’s basketball player to score 1,300 points and pull down 900 rebounds. His 1,301 points and 931 rebounds are good for 13th and sixth, respectively, on Colby’s all-time leaderboard.
Fellow co-captain Van Loenen was all over the court against Conn. College, contributing 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a solid all-around effort. Van Loenen finishes his Colby career with 620 points and 221 assists. Ben Foreman ’12 added 12 points, including three three-pointers. Eric Beaulieu ’12 scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Atlas added six points in his final game.
After Colby’s final home games, Coach Whitmore expressed gratitude for all those who contributed to Colby men’s basketball’s success on and off the court. His thankfulness was far-reaching, as he singled out not just Colby’s student helpers but also the game staff, training staff, office administrators and anyone else who assisted the team this year.
Coach Whitmore, however, wanted to be sure to honor his “most loyal workers from the class of 2011, Carson Phillips-Scott, Matt Hellinger and Ross O’Connor. Their work and loyalty over the past four years has been immense. I was remiss in not honoring them on Senior Day on [February 5], but would like to publicly extend my admiration and thanks for four years of quality contributions, [going far] beyond the norm. I will be forever grateful.”
Colby’s victory at Conn. College marks the final game for Colby’s seniors, Russell, Van Loenen, Atlas, David Havlicek and Gus David. The Echo congratulates them on their success and wishes them all the best in their final semester and post-graduate lives.