For the Yellowjacket men’s basketball team, it’s two tournaments entered, two tournaments won. The men start off the season 5-1 with four of those wins being at home.
The Yellowjackets started their season off at the Chuck Resler Tournament, which they hosted. UR beat Green Mountain College, 68-59, in the first round in a hard-fought game.
Junior forward Marcus Roberson, junior guard Mike Labanowski and sophomore forward Bill Serle each scored in double digits in the win. Roberson lead the team with 11 points over 18 minutes.
At half time, the Yellowjackets were up by 21 points, looking to keep their game plan strong.
In the second half, the Yellowjackets would extend their lead to a game-high 28 points. Green Mountain wouldn’t give up and began to rally toward the end of the game but would be stopped by the Yellowjackets persistent attack.
The following day, the Yellowjackets’ played Tufts University with the Chuck Resler Tournament Championsip on the line. UR once again started the game with strong offense play. The ‘Jackets shot 71.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc and led 28-19 going into the second half of play.
UR held the lead in the second half but had Tufts hot on their tails the entire time. The ‘Jackets would eventually clinch the game with Labanowski and freshman guard John DiBartolomeo making six free throws and leading the Yellowjackets to a 67-61 victory.
Free throws were a key part of the win against Tufts. UR had 38 free-throw opportunities and made 28 of them. Roberson led the team in free throws with six on the night.
Labanowski led the Yellowjackets offensive with 12 points, two assists and two rebounds.
Roberson and junior guard David Gould scored 10 and eight points, respectively, in the win and would all be selected for the All-Tournament Team.
This marks the second time the Yellowjackets have won the Chuck Resler tourament in the past three years.
In between the home two tournaments, UR played its first game on the road against Nazareth College at Nazareth’s Kidera Gymnasium.
The scoring was even the entire game until an exciting final minute gave the Yellowjackets the edge they needed to win.
With little more than 30 seconds to go in the game, the ‘Jackets were up by three with Nazareth moving up court. Nazareth point guard Corey McAdam gained possession of the ball and drove into the lane. But sophomore forward Bill Serle got there first forcing an offensive foul against McAdam.
Nazareth could only foul and hope the Yellowjackets would miss their free throws. This was not the case, as the Yellowjackets added four points and would take the 67-60 win.
Serle led the team with 23 points and seven rebounds. Roberson and freshman forward Milan Moncrief added 10 points each.
On a three-game season-opening winning streak, the Yellowjackets entered the UR/Holiday Inn Airport Thanksgiving Invitational at the Palestra with high confidence.
In the first round of the tournament, UR held off Curry College with a 67-59 victory.
Curry led at the half and looked to have the game in control until a Yellowjacket 14-3 run in the second half. Labanowski led the run with eight points and would eventually finish with 11 points total.
DiBartolomeo had 15 points, eight assists, two blocks and two steals in the game, and Moncrief also added 15 points, four rebounds, one block and three steals.
The Yellowjackets would take that momentum into the championship game against University of Scranton, who came off a close first-round win.
Scranton could only keep up for the beginning part of the first half until the Yellowjacket lead began to expand. At the half, UR was up by 14, after having led by as much as 19 points.
The Yellowjackets would end up winning the game, 75-61, by constantly pressuring Scranton in the second half.
DiBartolomeo, who scored 11 points and had four rebounds and seven assists, would end up becoming the Tournament MVP.
‘To be able to start the season 5-0 and pull out some close games really helps our confidence and gives us some valuable game experience,” Gould said. ‘We still have a lot to improve on, but if we keep up the hard work we think we can have a really solid year.”
Late Wednesday night, the Yellowjackets took on rival Rochester Institute of Technology. UR couldn’t keep the defensive presure on the Tigers as they fell 58-63.
Now 5-1, UR travels to Emory University on Saturday to regain their winning streak.
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.