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Men’s Basketball Fighting for Final Playoff Spot

Freshman Guard Alpha Bah has played beyond expectations this season, paying short-term dividends and providing a building block for Brooklyn College for years to come. PHOTO/ Damion Reid
Freshman Guard Alpha Bah has played beyond expectations this season, paying short-term dividends and providing a building block for Brooklyn College for years to come. PHOTO/ Damion Reid

By Adam Zaki

Published: February 7th, 2018

The Brooklyn College men’s basketball team has earned itself an opportunity to compete for a City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) playoff spot, despite dropping its first ten games on the season. Since the new year, the Bulldogs are 6-6, with all of their wins coming against conference opponents.

The team has found a playmaker in freshman Alpha Bah, who has contributed outside of his position. As a guard, Bah has done an excellent job of impersonating a big man for the Bulldogs in the second half of the season. Bah is averaging 52 percent from the field and seven boards per game, while leading his team with 18 total blocks on the season.

With multiple players leaving the team from the frontcourt over the course of the season, Bah has had some difficulties adjusting to his new role. The zealous Bah was benched by head coach Rich Micallef last week against the City College of New York. In a post-game interview with WBCR, Micallef was asked about why Bah didn’t touch the court in Brooklyn’s 74-64 win. Micallef said he wanted to keep the reason for Bah’s absence “in house.”

After the win over Hunter College on Jan. 19, Bah spoke confidently about his game to WBCR and what he has to overcome in the future.

“I’m still trying to figure it out myself,” he said. “[Maybe] because I’m a freshman and I have a lot of years to go, but my fouling is a big problem.”

Bah continued to discuss developing his abilities while also fighting against getting into foul trouble.

“As my teammates tell me, I’m a big impact on the court, when I’m off the court, I see it all the time,” he said. “When I’m on the court, people fear me in the paint, so that’s the thing. I have to relax myself on fouls.”

Freshman guard Noah Shy has also played very well for Brooklyn College, providing a positive impact both with and without the basketball. Although he averages only 32 percent from the field and only seven points per game, Shy just seems to be in the right place at the right time, giving the Bulldogs a chance to compete every time he is on the floor.

Shy has scored in double digits eight times this season and has shown the possibility of becoming a future go-to shooting guard. Coming off the bench, Shy has worked his way into games to become an offensive catalyst while doing things in transition that provide opportunities for his teammates.

Shy also spoke to WBCR after the win over Hunter about his goals when he is out on the floor.

“I’m just trying to do the best I can,” he said. “I just try to lead the team and drive to the paint. [Coach Micallef] has faith in me, so I just use it.”

Senior guard Niv Konfino has been playing extremely well lately, providing opportunities with multiple boards and good ball handling on the fast break. In the past three games, Konfino has stuffed the stat sheet. In the win over Medgar Evers College on Jan. 23, Konfino posted a triple double of 22 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.

After leading the way in the Bulldogs’ best offensive performance this season, Konfino continued his dominance in the two following games. He scored 15 points, seven assists, and nine rebounds in a win over City College and then had a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds) in Brooklyn’s loss at Cairn University on Saturday.

In the past three games Konfino’s play has been dynamic. Throughout the season, he has made strides to be able to play competitively at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. With just three turnovers in the past three games, Konfino is improving his game at an exponential rate.

Sophomore guard Michael Tesoriero continues to play the point guard position, as he and Konfino have begun to adjust to playing alongside one another. Although he has struggled in the team’s past two outings, Tesoriero has been relatively consistent all season. He averages eight points and four assists per game. His best performance was against a tough and tall New York University team, in which he had 18 points and seven assists in a 74-64 loss.

Being named team captains this season, Tesoriero and Konfino are looking to make the best of their assets in their final year together on the floor.

In order to control their own destiny, the team must defeat the remainder of their CUNYAC opponents. After York College forfeited consecutive CUNYAC matchups at the end of January, Brooklyn has been launched into a serious position of contention. They sit at fifth place in the conference going into Tuesday’s road game against third place Baruch College.

The Bulldogs will host the College of Staten Island on Thursday, after being blown out Tuesday night at Baruch, 74-50. The Bearcats jumped out to a 28-0 lead, and Brooklyn was just never able to capture momentum in a hostile environment, down by a significant margin.

The team will finish its season on the road at John Jay College and York College, after hosting the College of Staten Island on Thursday.

 

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