During a season there will be many different types of games. Some of them will be memorable, some less memorable, while some of them you would rather forget. You remember the wins, the losses, the ups and downs, but there is always that one game which you remember the most, a team-effort win that defines a season and is remembered forever. This win is both special and unique not only because you win against the odds, but also because you do it as a team through an entertaining and tactically intelligent way. When all these elements come to life on the court, you can only expect a dynamic, intense and brilliant game, as if it was taken out of a dream and transformed into real life. The Suffolk University Men’s basketball team’s 92-91 victory against No. 18 ranked in the country Albertus Magnus was a true spectacle of a game in which the Ram’s dream was transformed to the Ram’s reality.
The way the team played that night was a pure joy to watch. They really showed an exemplary performance that all teams, not only in the GNAC, could learn something from. The Rams proved that when they play “their own” game they can beat any team in the GNAC Conference. After a game like this there is no doubt that the Suffolk men’s basketball team is going for the GNAC championship this year. The Rams have played many great games in the years of being in the GNAC conference, but this one definitely stands out as one of the absolute best wins, if not the best, since Suffolk’s outstanding GNAC championship title game against Johnson and Wales back in 2002.
When head coach Adam Nelson was asked weather this was the best game of his career as a coach he modestly said: “It was a good quality win against the first place team in the league, they’ve only lost like four games, I think four games in the league in the last three years, so it was a good team. They were nationally ranked, they dropped out, but they are still getting votes from the top 25 poll, so we beat a quality team at home and we did it in a good way so we are happy about it. We know we have a good team and we are very talented. We hit a rough patch in the middle of the season and we are starting to play well now, we are just finally playing up to our potential and we are doing it at the right time. There are only two weeks left of the regular season and then the play offs start so we are starting to gel at the right time so I’m happy about that. This shows we can beat anybody in our league when we are focused and we play hard.”
Judging by the last couple of games, the team has been in great shape and the only bump on the road was Anna Maria College. In this game Suffolk had a frustrating amount of turn overs, which in the end cost the game. Yet hopes were high prior to the Albertus Magnus game and the Rams confidently entered the court: “We won three out of four coming in to this game, we struggled a little bit at Anna Maria on Monday so we kind of refocused in the last few days of practice. I thought we would match up pretty well with Albertus so I definitely thought we had a shot” coach Nelson said.
Every team has its key players who are able to change the outcome of a game and create the difference in the match. Albertus Magnus has a lot of great players but the most outstanding of them all is Darius Watson, who was recently awarded player of the week in the GNAC Conference. This tremendous athlete scored 30 points in his 33 minutes of play against the rams. In his 21 games this season he has scored 482 points in 675 minutes, making his average an incredible 23 points per game. Coach Nelson and the rest of the Suffolk staff knew that he is a player to watch out for.
“They’ve got a really good player in Darius Watson so we tried to deny him the ball all over the place, when he caught it we would double team him at all times”. No question that Darius Watson is an extremely talented player, but Suffolk’s Jhonneris Mendez did not care about that and made a vital steal from Watson in the last seconds of the game. Colin Halpin (26 points, 1 assist) and Caleb Unni (20 points, 7 assists) both played an amazing game as well. In the end it was Mendez who secured the victory for Suffolk and made the whole bench including coach Nelson and his assistant coaches’ jump out of their seats and scream their lungs out in celebration. Regan Gym was ecstatic; everyone in the crowd screamed in joy and the noise level reached an ear-splitting volume. Coach Nelson described the last seconds of the game and Mendez heroic steal:
“It was great, it was unbelievable. We had just scored and we were up by one and there was less than 30 seconds to go. They call a time out. We knew that the kid Watson was getting the ball, so we had to double team him. When we double teamed him, Mendez just took it from him. He played like a man, just took the ball from the kids hand.”
This win is an astonishing achievement and not only a glorious highlight for the men’s basketball team, but for the whole athletic department of Suffolk University. Moments like these are what student athletes live for. The Rams made the dream come true and won against the odds, beating a top class team. David defeated Goliath and created perhaps the biggest upset in the GNAC Conference this season.