For just the second time in Suffolk University men’s basketball history, a player has scored over 1,000 points and recorded over 1,000 career rebounds. The latest to accomplish this feat is senior Matt Pepdjonovic, and he is the first to do so since 1977.
The Rams starter had already joined the school’s 1,000-point club before his senior season started and accomplished the 1,000 career rebounds against Roger Williams University on Nov. 17. Despite these individual achievements however, Pepdjonovic is focused solely on being a team player.
“I’m just the second rebounder to do that and I’m proud but we could do better team-wise,” said the forward.
Pepdjonovic is referring to the fact his team got off to a 1-3 start on the season, with three straight losses to Roger Williams, Eastern Nazarene and UMass-Boston.
When looking at the latest loss, Pepdjonovic noted that the team had its ups and downs against the Beacons.
“We were able to score when we wanted to but we need to start games better and develop an offensive identity,” the forward said.
While the team is hoping to find that offensive identity, it is also looking to lean heavily on defensive play this year.
“We made the decision as a staff in the offseason that if we don’t really buckle down and defend teams, we’re just going to be average,” said head coach Adam Nelson.
So far, the team’s defensive efforts have seen mixed results. The Rams were able to keep UMaine-Fort Kent and Roger Williams to less than 70 points in both respective games, but won just one of those contests.
Still, Pepdjonovic believes defense is the key to this team’s success, saying “we have more athletes this year. We couldn’t play man to man a lot before. It will get better as we glue together and get better.”
The Quincy native is hoping, like the rest of his team is, to break into the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs and make more than a little bit of noise. This is a goal the team has been unable to achieve in recent seasons, but that doesn’t discourage Pepdjonovic.
“I feel better about these early struggles because they are fixable. We are a lot more talented than other teams in the [conference]. We dropped a couple games we shouldn’t have but we can’t dwell on that.”
It looks as if Pepdjonovic’s team has been able to move past those early struggles at least over the last few outings. The Rams won their first GNAC matchup against Saint Joseph’s of Maine Dec. 1 and their following game against New England College Dec. 3.
With those victories, the team officially ended its early season losing streak and will hope to begin a more positive one over this week of play. Suffolk will host Norwich and Tufts University this Thursday and Saturday respectively. The Tufts game will be the last of the Rams’ last before winter break with almost a month in between this contest and their road game against Emmanuel College on Saturday, Jan. 5.