The men’s basketball team is vying for a spot in the MAC Commonwealth championship. With only a handful of games left in the season, the Mustangs are rallying to finish strong.
Stevenson (8-13 overall, 6-6 in MAC as of Feb. 6) lost to Widener University on Feb. 6, 83-68. Earlier this season the Mustangs had defeated the Lions 65-64 in the last second of the game with a layup by sophomore Sean Mayberry. In the second matchup, Widener outshot Stevenson 53.3 percent to 42.6 percent.
Head Coach Gary Stewart, who recently secured his 300th career victory, believes that a strong foundation is the key to success on the court. “Simplistic things like passing the ball, how to pivot, how to utilize a screen…we really have a fixation for fundamental improvement,” he said.
Sophisticated strategies are not always necessary. Daily improvement is important to the team. Rather than focusing on the outcomes, Stewart believes the core of basketball is in the process. Winning the MAC tournament would be a “by-product” of the team playing to its abilities.
The players note that bonding as a team is exceptional. Through sport injuries, personal hardships and illnesses the team has overcome adversity.
Senior Christian Roberts said, “The team and I try to spend a lot of time together off the court, and that makes us a lot closer on the court.” While reflecting on the season, Roberts points to the game against Emory University as one of the team’s proudest moments. Although the Mustangs lost, the energy of the players echoed throughout the gymnasium.
Alvernia University is the last school Stevenson will play at home this season. The game is scheduled for Feb. 20. In the past two years, the Mustangs have lost to the Crusaders in the MAC championship. With a conference record of 6-6 as of Feb. 9, and an 8-13 record overall, the Mustangs hope that their last four games (Lebanon Valley at home Feb. 10, Albright and Hood away Feb. 13 and 16 respectively, and Alvernia at home Feb. 20) will give them the boost they need entering the playoffs.
Making and winning the conference tournament are the goals of the team in order to get a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Mustangs will host the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen on Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.