In both the 78-75 win against Case Western Reserve University (14-4) on Friday and the 83-74 loss to Emory University (6-12) on Sunday, the perseverance of the men’s basketball team was evident.
‘Our best quality is probably our determination,” junior guard Colin Cubit said. ‘Expectations were not as high as in the past for us coming into the year, and we’ve used that as motivation.”
The Yellowjackets displayed this positive mental attitude in the last few minutes of the matchup against the Spartans, who are in fourth place in the University Athletic Association.
With only three minutes remaining in the game, freshman forward Bill Serle hit a 3-pointer, tying the score at 69.
Case Western quickly responded to the basket sophomore guard Kevin Herring banked a 3-pointer to tie the game at 72 with 1:41 on the clock.
Senior forward Mike Chmielowiec then scored two points from the charity stripe.
‘I was just hoping that [the free throws] would go in and keep the game within striking distance for us,” Chmielowiec said. ‘Luckily, they did.”
Spartan sophomore forward Alex Hildebrandt retaliated with an old-fashioned 3-point play.
But UR was resilient. Chmielowiec hit a 3-pointer, sophomore forward Marcus Roberson grabbed two rebounds and sunk two free throws and Serle hit a running hook shot in the lane. Senior guard Max Kaplan ended the game with his fourth steal of the night.
‘Many people think of pressure as a bad thing, but I really believe it’s something great,” Roberson said. ‘It brings out the best of me, so I can step up and hopefully make a [big] play.”
The game was also special for Serle, who scored a career-high 24 points, and Cubit, who recorded 12 rebounds.
Equally impressive was Chmielowiec’s performance although playing with a foot sprain, he contributed 18 points and eight rebounds to the win.
‘I don’t think [the injury] affects how I play,” Chmielowiec said. ‘Everyone has bumps and bruises… so it’s just something [I] deal with.”
The Yellowjackets later had to cope with the offensive expertise of the Eagles, who are currently in sixth place in the UAA, who scored an explosive 57 points against UR in the second half of the game in Atlanta, Ga.
Despite solid individual performances by Cubit, Chmielowiec, Roberson, Novosel and junior guard John Charlesworth, the ‘Jackets often turned the ball over and failed to earn many defensive stops.
For the team, the loss is just another way of testing its determination.
‘We’ve been playing together for a long time now, and we’re about to click,” Roberson said. ‘We want it more than any other individual or team, and it’s going to show.”
Kravitz is a member of the class of 2012.