A Push For The Post Season

Men's basketball gears up for final month of conference play, maybe even the conference tournament

Joseph Cogdell, Impact Staff

After ending the month of January with a 69-66 victory over conference rival District of Columbia, the Mavericks attempted to carry that winning momentum into the month of February.  With just 7 conference games left on the schedule, and in the season, if the Mavericks wanted to make a push for the East Coast Conference tournament, this would be their last chance to do so.  Unfortunately for Mavericks fans, that chance is about to slip away.

The month began with a home game against conference foe Dowling.  Since the Mavericks have only won two games in the conference, every game in the month of February is essentially a must win, in order for the team to creep into one of the top six spots in the conference and make the conference tournament.  The game started out as a Mercy fans dream, as the team jolted out to a seven point lead on a three-point bomb by senior guard Chaz Morrish.  Dowling retaliated quickly as they sparked and 11-3 scoring run within the next four and a half minutes and took the lead, 11-10.  After a three -pointer from the corner by junior Terrance Murchie pushed the Mavericks into the lead 13-11, Dowling continued their offensive attack and retook the lead 20-13 with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.  H

owever the Mavericks showed Dowling that basketball is definitely a game of runs as the ripped off a  7-0 offensive run within the next minute to tie the game at 20-20.  Unfortunately, the last nine minutes of the half proved to be a struggle for the Mavericks as they allowed Dowling to finish the half on a 22-7 scoring run and take a commanding 15 point lead at the break 44-29.  The second half was a terrific scoring half for both teams but the Mavericks were unable to cut into the Dowling lead efficiently enough.  The closest the Mavericks got in the second half was 49-40.  Dowling went on to win the 86-72.  Senior Olajide Keshinro played exceptionally well, scoring 21 points, and grabbing 19 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.  Keshinro also contributed four blocks and a steal.  Junior Terrance Murchie scored 14 points and senior P.J Walters added 12 points.  Despite the Mavericks outrebounding Dowling, they also doubled Dowling’s bench scoring, but just could not finish strong enough to win the game.

The Mavericks next stop was another conference showdown as Mercy visited Bridgeport, who the Mavericks defeated earlier in the season to capture their first win.  This game was one that the Mavericks wish they could erase as they started off slow and never really found their groove.  The team shot a miserable 35 percent from the field, and were dominated in every single statistical category.  What truly proved to be the difference in the game was Bridgeport’s dominating play in the paint, as they outscored Mercy 48-16.  Mercy was also outmatched on the glass, being outrebounded by Bridgeport 46-29.  Keshinro was the only Maverick to score in double figures, scoring 13 points and also grabbing six rebounds.  Although Keshinro was the only Maverick to break the double digit mark, the team set a season high with 12 players actually scoring in the game, but even with 12 players actually, scoring Mercy was blown out by Bridgeport, 98-58.

Mercy would continue their conference play on the road as they visited rival Molloy in a match up that would turn out to be a mirror image of their last game against Bridgeport.  The Mavericks would find themselves trailing Molloy by 29 points at halftime, 56-27.  Although the Mavericks defense stepped up in the second half, turnovers proved to be the deciding factor as the Mavericks committed 16 turnovers, which were converted into 25 points by Molloy.  Mercy was also dominated by points in the paint again as they allowed Molloy to control the inside, scoring 38 points in the paint to Mercy’s 16. Keshinro posted his seventh double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.   Murchie also contributed with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Although the season has been a disappointing one for the Mavericks, there have been several bright spots for the team.  Whether it be the outstanding play of senior guard Chaz Morrish, who has no fear in taking big time shots, or the stellar play of sophomore guard Nate Stitchell and Murchie, there is one Maverick who is in full stride and leads the pack.  Keshinro has been having a outstanding senior season, averaging 11.5 points per game while grabbing 9.1 rebounds as well.  Keshinro is currently leading the nation in blocks per game averaging 2.9 and is also fourth in the conference in field goal percentage and rebounds.  In the East Coast Conference’s weekly report, Keshinro was appointed to the honor roll for his outstanding play three times in weeks 9, 13 and 14.

As of press time, the have a few remaining games left. The Mavericks will once again find themselves on the road in a heated conference match up against Queens(N.Y) College.  In their last outing the two teams found themselves in a war with Queens College, escaping with a four point overtime victory against the Mavericks.  With only four games remaining for the Mavericks, a late run in the conference could help boost the team’s moral and help end the season on a high note.