Men's basketball: Mules need wins to keep playoff hopes alive
After a five-day stretch in which they won two games by just nine combined points, Colby men’s basketball has dropped four straight, including three lopsided losses to New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) opponents Bowdoin College, Williams College and Middlebury College.
On Jan. 20, the Mules hosted Trinity College and fell behind by seven at halftime. That’s when tri-captain Ben Foreman ’12, the NESCAC’s seventh-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, got hot. Foreman poured in 18 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, as Colby used an influx of fans from the hockey game to rally to a 60-54 win. Foreman nailed five of his eight three-point attempts, was perfect from the foul line (11-11) and added three assists and three steals. Fellow tri-captain Kyle Donovan ’12 added 10 points, two blocks and two steals.
Just a few days later, Colby took on the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), and the two battled into overtime. Connor O’Neil ’15 pushed the Colby lead to 65-60 in the extra period. UMF pulled within two after a made three, and Foreman hit a free throw to put the Mules back up by three. Two UMF three-pointers clanked as time expired, giving Colby the 66-63 win. Tri-captain Eric Beaulieu ’12 led Colby with 19 points, 10 boards, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Unfortunately, the Jan. 24 win over UMF is Colby’s most recent victory. The Mules fell to Bowdoin on Jan. 28, 67-40, and to the University of Southern Maine on Jan. 31, 56-44.
This past weekend, the Mules hit the road for games against Williams and Middlebury. Colby kept it close against Williams, trailing by three with just under 18 minutes to play. Williams outscored the Mules 40-18 from that point on (led by 27 points from James Wang) to take a 76-51 win. Beaulieu lead the Mules with 14 points.
Facing Middlebury, the top team in Division III at the time, Colby fell behind early and didn’t gain ground, as Middlebury took the 72-53 win. Beaulieu scored 14 points to lead the Mules, matching his Panther counterpart, Ryan Sharry (the NESCAC’s leading scorer), point-for-point.
Colby sits in 10th place in the NESCAC with a 1-7 NESCAC record. This coming weekend, the Mules host Wesleyan University (5-3 in NESCAC) and Connecticut College (0-8). Hamilton College and Trinity, who are tied for eighth place and the final playoff spot, will face a tougher schedule. Hamilton hosts Tufts University and Bates College, while Trinity hosts Middlebury and Williams. If the Mules can get two wins to bring their record to 3-7, they have a shot at the seventh or eighth seed in the NESCAC playoffs.