This season has not gone as planned for the Stevenson University men’s basketball team. Their 8-1 start outside the MAC Commonwealth disappeared in a 3-13 conference record as of Feb. 13 that featured a nine-game losing streak. However, in that streak were some hard-fought losses that could have gone either way.
The team had a two-point loss to Alvernia University on Jan. 13, and they lost by four at home to Arcadia University a week later. The Mustangs also had an eight-point loss to Hood College, a seven-point loss to Lebanon Valley College, and a seven-point loss to Messiah College.
Head coach Gary Stewart said the team got snake bitten after some of those tough losses.
“When you look at conference play, it’s typically been one, two or three possessions, and we got snake bit because we didn’t win those. We lost the overtime game here to Widener by a point. We missed a shot at the buzzer that would have been a two-point at Albright, which is once again a one-possession game, so losing a couple of those and all of a sudden we lost confidence. For us, unfortunately, in a 40-minute game … we’ve been pretty good 35 minutes.”
Senior Danzel Wright said the team is not doing the little things they need to do to win.
“We are a very talented team who has all the pieces to be great. We are just not competing hard enough to win. When we were winning, we did all the little things to be successful, but, as of lately, we kind of strayed away from that.”
The Mustangs also suffered back-to-back losses by 20 points each at Widener University on Feb. 3 and at home to Hood College on Feb. 7. Things finally broke Stevenson’s way on Feb. 10, Senior Day, as the Mustangs faced Lycoming College, snapping their nine-game skid by upsetting their opponent, 71-68, a shock to the 16th-ranked Div. III team in the nation.
Freshman Kobe Colston had 20 points to lead the Mustangs and Danzel Wright, the lone senior, chipped in 17. Freshman Evan Joseph had 13 and Junior Keith Moody had a double-double for 10 points and 13 rebounds. The Mustangs trailed midway through the second half until they went on a 12-0 run and never looked back after that.
“It’s a challenging league,” said Stewart. The Mustangs lost their final regular season game Feb. 13 in a heartbreaker at Alvernia University, 68-64, shooting 40 percent overall as Wright had 19 points and 5 rebounds. The MAC Commonwealth tournament begins Feb. 19. The top five seeds compete in the event.