By Adam Zaki
Published: December 6th, 2017
For the second consecutive game, the Brooklyn College men’s basketball team fell by a score of 74-64 to continue its grim start to the season. After traveling to Hunter College on Friday, the Bulldogs gave the Hawks a reason to celebrate on their homecoming, as a rocking Hunter College Sportsplex deemed too much for the Bulldogs to handle down the stretch.
For the first time this season, the Bulldogs were able to take a lead going into halftime. By a score of 32-30, the Bulldogs seemed to have an opportunity to get their first win of the season. They matched Hunter’s intensity, had solid ball movement, and were able to turn defense into offense in the first half.
The Bulldogs’ starting lineup played well individually, as their front court was able to be productive on both ends of the floor.
Maynard Grant and Ben Batash both went 5-of-10 from the field with four rebounds on Friday, while scoring 13 points and 10 points, respectively.
Henry O’Reilly shot 4-of-10 from the field, earning 10 points along with a pair of assists and rebounds. He has cooled off as of late, after emerging as the Bulldogs leading offensive scorer on the season. O’Reilly seems more comfortable passing the ball to his teammates than he did in the team’s earlier losses.
Guard Alpha Bah played well for Brooklyn, contributing as a pressuring ball-handler and quality defender off the bench. He had four points and five rebounds, as well as a key rejection against Hunter’s Danny Fusco with just less than five minutes remaining in the first half that silenced a cheering Hunter College Sportsplex.
In the loss, Bah earned himself a season-high 31 minutes. The freshman proved that he is an asset coming off the bench, and if he finds more opportunity to contribute on the scoreboard, Bah could be the shooting guard that this team so desperately needs.
Guard and senior captain Niv Konfino played a season-low in minutes on Friday and was a non-factor as a result. Guard/forward Roki Mendoza didn’t touch the floor in the contest, after seeing limited action in the loss against NYU on Nov. 27. Prior to the NYU game, Mendoza was a regular starter for the Bulldogs.
A combination of Hunter’s ability to clog the passing lanes and BC’s lack of confidence down the stretch impeded a Bulldog comeback. Time and time again, the Bulldogs passed the ball around the perimeter, unable to find the lanes inside to give themselves opportunities in the post.
In the second half, the ball handlers seemed almost hesitant to shoot, looking to stay conservative in shot selection when Hunter began to build a lead. Rather than taking what the defense gave them, the Bulldogs looked to force certain plays offensively, resulting in multiple drained shot clocks that took time off the game clock, something that proved detrimental to Brooklyn later on in the matchup.
After Grant made a basket inside and subsequently hit a free throw, Brooklyn cut the deficit to as little as two points with two minutes and 43 seconds remaining in the game. After an exchange of baskets in favor of Hunter, a Batash make from distance cut Hunter’s lead to two once more with one minute and 12 seconds remaining.
Hunter’s Matt Franks answered Batash’s three with a jump shot, and soon after, free throws from Hunter’s Danny Fusco and George Keener allowed the Hawks to end the game on a 10-0 run.
Hunter’s defensive game plan against Brooklyn was blatantly obvious: step into the passing lanes and force Brooklyn to take shots from the outside. Despite shooting a season-best 44 percent (25-of-56) from the field as a unit, the Bulldogs were unable to come together in the final minutes and lost a heartbreaker to continue their winless season.
Their next contest will be at home against Stevens Institute of Technology on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The Bulldogs will look to break a streak in what will be 380 days since the team’s last win on their home floor.
Tip-off is set for 7:15p.m. on Tuesday. For updates on the score against the Ducks, please visit the Brooklyn College Athletics website.