The first month of the season for Rams basketball is over and this squad has already been able to surpass last seasons win total. Coach Nelson has his team off to a 3-2 start to the season, with key wins over out of conference opponent Eastern Nazarene and as well as taking down their GNAC rival Lasell. Despite tough losses to New England College in the final round of the NEC Tournament and Division III powerhouse MIT, this Rams team is looking much improved upon since their 2009-2010 season.
In all three Ram victories this season, Sophomore Matt Pepdjonovic has had simply monster performances. Suffolk’s starting center posted 22 of the team’s 76 points and racked up an impressive 23 rebounds in the season opening victory against Eastern Nazarene and hasn’t looked back since. Pepdjonovic posted another double-double performance against University of Maine Presque-Isle in the opening round of the NEC tournament and just three days later scored a career high 28 points along with 15 rebounds in the overtime victory against Lasell. The Rams will definitely continue trying to find ways to feed Pepdjonovic the ball the rest of the way if they want to find themselves in post-season play this year.
The losses were tough for the young Rams squad, losing in the final round of the NEC tournament to host New England College and of course the 86-47 loss to the MIT Engineers at home. Coach Nelson and his team couldn’t recover from the 16-3 run the New England College Pilgrims were able to get on early in the first half of play, despite cutting the deficit to just three points off a clutch Connor Halpin bucket with just over eight minutes to play.
The MIT was just the opposite for the Rams, who actually had the lead in the contest through the first eleven minutes of play. It would be all downhill for the home team after this however, with the Engineer Freshman Josh Dunaway draining back to back to back three point shots on the 21-6 MIT run before the end of the half. Unfortunately for the Rams and their fans, the second half would be no different than the first as MIT would continue their route of the home squad, the game ending with 86-47 being shown on the scoreboard.
Though they may only be one game over .500, it’s important to note that their losses against MIT and New England College were in out of conference games, meaning that the losses don’t hurt their playoff chances as much as if they lost to GNAC foes Johnson and Wales or Saint Josesph’s next month; something Coach Nelson’s team will certainly look to avoid as the calendar now turns to December. Sophomore standouts Connor Halpin and Matt Pepdjonovic will need to continue their impressive start to the season and Coach Nelson will need to have more than a few tricks up his sleeve to pull out some important wins this month, but if November taught us anything about this young team, it’s that they’re out to prove that they’re contenders this season. Both division games will be played at the Regan Gymnasium, which will give Suffolk some much needed home court advantage in the two most important games of their December schedule.