After graduating just two seniors from their team last year, the Union Men’s Basketball team came into this new season looking to return their league-leading offense abilities in hopes of making a run at this year’s NCAA tournament.
However, after starting off the season on a high note with a 20-point win over Hartwick, the Dutchmen dropped their next five games, giving up a stunning 88 points per game on average over this dreadful stretch.
With one game left before heading into their winter break, Union was looking for a momentum shift to build up some confidence after their 1-5 start.
It took a strong showing from All-Liberty League second team forward Willie Hython ’16, with 18 points and eight rebounds, as well as 25 points and a sensational game-winning three-pointer from Deshon Burgess ’17, to best Rochester 72-69 in overtime.
This bounce-back game brought the Dutchmen out of their early-season funk and brought Burgess his second Liberty League Performer of the Week recognition so far this season.
With the second win of their 2015-2016 campaign under their belt, the Dutchmen took a three-week break from competition for the holidays, before entering conference play at the start of the new year.
The Dutchmen opened with a win against Clarkson, fueled by 23 points from Burgess and a highly influential nine points and 12 rebounds from captain Ryan Whelpley ’16.
Unfortunately just a day later, a 57-52 loss to Bard dropped Union to 1-1 in Liberty League action.
The Dutchmen came into last weekend hoping to recover their form against rival RPI and a strong Skidmore team.
Union showed off for its home-crowd last Friday night against the RPI Engineers, highlighted by a massive double-double from Hython, as well as strong performances across the board from the Dutchmen.
The game ended 73-65 in favor of the Dutchmen.
Less than 24 hours later, the energized group welcomed Skidmore to campus, both teams looking to climb the Liberty League standings.
The Dutchmen, led in scoring by Wade McNamara ’17 and Zach Bouton ’17 with 10 points each, unfortunately didn’t appear to have enough gas in their tanks.
After a strong performance the night before, they shot just 31 percent from the field en route to 74-63 loss against the Thoroughbreds.
The loss dropped Union to 2-2 in the conference, and 4-7 overall on the year.
With plenty of time left in the year to sneak back into the postseason picture, the Dutchmen will look to maintain their new-and-improved defensive prowess, giving up just around 64 points per game over their last five contests.
This, combined with the almost 73 points per game on average the Dutchmen have earned so far this year, should lead to more wins for a team looking to make its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005.