By Kirti Chakote
Before its pair of away games this past weekend, the Union Men’s Basketball team (16-3 overall, 8-2 conference) had a great double-overtime thriller against conference leader, Hobart College (16-6 overall, 12-1 conference).
In the closing minutes of regulation, the Statesmen trailed by nine points, but rallied and tied the game on a free throw with 11.8 seconds left.
During the first overtime, Hobart fell behind by four, but again forged a tie on a jumper with eight seconds left. Union got off a shot at the buzzer, but it hit the side of the backboard.
Union led by two, 82-80, entering the final minute of the second overtime, but Hobart drained a three-pointer with 34 seconds left and made two free throws with seven seconds remaining to clinch the victory. Union took an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer that just drew iron. The Dutchmen suffered a close loss, 85-82. Starting center and Captain Keven Donohue ‘13 led the way with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Donohue became only the sixth player in Union Men’s Basketball history to record 1,400 points. He ended the night with 1,414, and is now just 12 points away from Sam Poulis ‘95. Donohue was also named to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week for the week of Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.
Sophomore guard Terell Winney and senior guard and Captain Joe Mason chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“Most of what happened [to cause the loss] were our mistakes,” said Mason. “We just need to do a better job of executing. We obviously did a better job of that this time than the last time we played them. To beat them, we need to pay better attention to the scouting report, and find the key guys who are open down the stretch.”
Fortunately, the Dutchmen returned to their powerful winning-ways this past weekend against Clarkson University on Friday and St. Lawrence University on Saturday.
In stark contrast to the first meeting between Union and Clarkson, neither team could get much going offensively in the second contest. The two teams combined to score just 48 points in the first half. In the previous game the two teams had tallied that many points in just over 13 minutes.
However, a nine-minute stretch in the second half changed the tempo of the game. Clarkson led by 11 points, 33-22, following a three-pointer at 18:33. After that score, the Knights went cold from the field, but the Dutchmen made a 17-0 run to convert the 11-point deficit into a six-point advantage.
Clarkson did not allow Union to take complete control; it pulled back to within one.
A three-pointer pulled Clarkson within three points late in the game, but the Knights could only score one more point the rest of the way. Union won in a low-scoring contest, 53-48. Mason had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards—his second double-double of the season—and Donohue had 15 points and eight rebounds, as well as three blocked shots. Junior center Brian DeBisschop also had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Dutchmen.
Union’s impressive performance continued against St. Lawrence. Early on St. Lawrence went up by three, 16-13, on a layup.
However, Union fought back with a 24-4 run ignited by four first-half three-pointers scored by Keith Callies ‘14, to take its largest lead of the game at 15 points.
The Dutchmen took a 44-32 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, St. Lawrence went on a 15-5 run over a seven minute span to cut Union’s lead to one point, 53-52. However, the Saints gained the lead with 5:51 remaining on a free throw, but Winney came through again for Union, making back-to-back shots to give his team the edge once again. Though the Saints cut the deficit to one point on two more occasions, the Dutchmen would not give up for an 80-73 victory.
Callie’s led the way with 22 points. Winney finished with 18 points and six rebounds for the Dutchmen, while guard and Captain Matt Petrone ‘13 added 12 points and seven assists.
Union clinched a playoff berth with its win on Saturday, and has two games remaining in the season before the Liberty League tournament begins.
The Dutchmen hope to ride this incredible season well into the playoffs and, hopefully, into the NCAA tournament. “For us seniors, it’s down to the final wire. We need to finish out the way we envisioned we would when we came to Union four years ago,” said Mason.
The team continues its quest at RPI this Saturday at 8 p.m.