While most of us were still eating the left overs of our Thanksgiving turkey, the Suffolk men’s basketball team was already back on the court preparing for their game against UMASS Boston. Coach Adam Nelson said: “We’ve had five practices since the Thanksgiving break and really in all of them we were preparing for the game against UMASS Boston. Right now is the time of year when we are focused a lot on the scouting of the opponent, so we spent the last two-three days really going over UMASS Boston stuff and how we are going to defend it. So the practices have been really good.” The Rams played a close game against UMASS, but the game that will never be forgotten was the game against St. Joseph, a game in which the Rams shined brighter than lights on a Christmas tree, but first let’s focus on the UMASS game.
The Suffolk coaches analyzed the UMASS team and came up with a strategy that the Rams worked on during the practice: “UMASS Boston runs some ball screen sets that we need to defend, so we really worked on how we want to guard them, how we want to press them and how they are going to press us, and how we are going to break it, so we think we are pretty prepared for them. But our biggest thing with this group that we found out is that we need to show up and play every day. If we don’t come to play all the scouting stuff doesn’t matter, but if we step on that court ready to play, then it should be a good game” Coach Nelson said.
The Suffolk Rams challenged the UMASS Boston Beacons last Thursday in a close game that ended 92-78 to the Beacons. Even though Caleb Unni scored 18 points and Colin Halpin had a 17 point game it was not enough to secure the victory. UMASS Boston’s Rahshjeem Benson dominated the game and sealed the win for the Beacons with an astonishing 31 points. In this game the Suffolk team got some important knowledge that would prove to be vital for the important conference game against St. Joseph. As the wise Albert Einstein once said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” That would show to be absolutely true for the Rams in the game against St. Joseph. By gaining experience from the UMASS game, the Rams had the knowledge to play a smart game against St. Joseph. Coach Adam Nelson spoke about this important game: “St. Joseph is one of the best teams if not the best team in our league. They are 3-0 with wins over Bates, Bowdoin and Southern Maine already, so they are very good. They shoot [the ball] well, they defend really well. They play like a funky 3-2 matchup zone which is crazy, so we have to be ready; it’s going to be a dogfight here. That is our first conference game so it is a big test for us.”
Suffolk used all of their knowledge and entered the GNAC competition in style, beating the dangerous runners up from last year’s GNAC championship final, the St. Joseph Saints, 77-68. St. Joseph recently earned a top 25 ranking in a D3hoops.com poll, but that did not stop the Rams. The team that was ranked No. 2 in the GNAC prior to the season was a tough opponent, but after fighting for every single point as it was the most important one, Suffolk won the game. A glorious win for Suffolk in which Caleb Unni scored 29 points and Colin Halpin scored 25. Colin Halpin scored his 1000th point in this game and became the 27th player in Suffolk’s history to reach the magic number. Unfortunately, Suffolk doesn’t have much time to celebrate the incredible win as they play against New England College on Monday, and all of their focus will be on this match.
The Suffolk basketball team is certainly prepared for the New England College game, and so far the season has been going great. By beating second seeded St. Joseph College, the Rams showed everyone that they are ready to make a run for the CNAC championship. The basketball team won against the odds and gave the Suffolk Athletic Department an early Christmas present. An amazing victory is in the books and the team is now 1-0 in the conference.