Stevenson men’s basketball loses 81-74 to Widener, the Mustangs’ fourth straight loss; York up next
By Jared Luma
A hot-shooting first-half and a double-double by Nate Arrington weren’t enough to help Stevenson’s men’s basketball team Wednesday night as the Mustangs lost 81-74 to Widener at the Owings Mills Gymnasium.
Arrington, a sophomore forward, scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Mustangs, while graduate student guard Connor Walsh scored 14, grad student forward McKale Williams also scored 14, and senior point guard KJ Holton added 12. Dominic Dunn led Widener with 23 points and 9 rebounds.
Stevenson (11-10, 5-7 in the Mid-Atlantic Conference) lost its fourth consecutive game and is now tied for fifth in the MAC Commonwealth Division standings with York College. Only the top five teams in the division qualify for the conference tournament later this month.
“The league’s good, and it’s hard to win a game,” coach Gary Stewart said after the game. “’There’s nobody in our league [where we will] say ‘we’re good on Wednesday or Saturday.’”
Wednesday night’s game was a reversal from December’s matchup at Widener, a 63-48 Mustang victory.
In the rematch, Walsh scored all 14 of his points in the first half and the Mustangs made 7-of-14 3-pointers to overcome eight turnovers in the half. Yet it took a Holton traditional three-point play with 0.4 seconds left to forge a 38-38 halftime score.
“We’re doing some good things, but we just can’t sustain them,” Stewart said.
The Mustangs grabbed a quick six-point lead in the second half, 46-40, and led 60-57 with nine minutes remaining after a basket by first-year forward Zach Bolgert. But Widener went on an 8-0 run to grab a lead it never relinquished. The Pride made 7-of-8 free throws in the last two minutes to put the game away.
To start the game, Widener broke out to an early 5-0 lead. However, Walsh helped to get the Mustangs going, scoring all 14 of his points in the first half. Both teams were hot from behind the 3-point line with the Mustangs going 7-of-14 from 3 in the first half and Widener going 4-10. As the half went on, both teams continued to go back and forth with Williams scoring 10 points on 4-5 from the field and 2-2 from 3.
With 4.2 seconds remaining in the first half and the Mustangs down by 3, senior guard KJ Holton drove the length of the floor for an and-1 layup to beat the buzzer. His free throw tied the game at 38 going into halftime.
Moving into the second half, the Mustangs came out strong, scoring 8 points in about 3 minutes.
Sophomore forward Nate Arrington scored 10 of his 13 points in this half. The Mustangs were able to maintain a small lead, but they soon got into foul trouble. Widener, which only shot 7 free throws in the first half, shot 23 in the second half compared to the Mustangs’ 10.
Stewart mentioned that the difference between the halves was that in the first half, there was only one free throw discrepancy between the teams. However, in the second, Widener got into the double-bonus very early on into the half. Stewart said the Mustangs “played on their heels,” which allowed the Pride to move the ball on offense.
Williams said winning is a mindset. Williams said the team, during practices and games, sometimes has lacked the right mindset they needed in order to be successful.
Stewart said Stevenson plays on a very tough conference and it’s normal to have a great team game and still somehow lose. Coach Stewart is optimistic however, saying that he thinks they still have room to improve in multiple areas.
Stevenson has Saturday off before it hosts York in a pivotal matchup next Wednesday at the Owings Mills Gymnasium.
“In a situation like this, you want to keep playing. From a basketball perspective, you want to keep playing,” Stewart said. “We’ll do what we need to do this weekend to get our ready for next Wednesday.”
In the nightcap, the Stevenson women surrendered a 10-point 32-22 halftime lead and lost 55-53 to Widener. Laci Johnson led the Mustangs with 11 points, and Emori Jeselskis added 10.
Stevenson (7-14, 6-6 in the MAC) was outscored 22-10 in the second half, but came back to tie the game at 49-49 with 7:09 left on a layup by Maleah Smith. The next Mustang field goal came with just 50 seconds left, a Johnson 3-pointer that brought SU withing one point at 54-53. A Widener free throw made it 55-53, but Stevenson’s final two possessions ended in a missed 3-pointer and a turnover to give Widener (7-14-, 4-7) the victory.
The Mustangs play York College next Wednesday night in the Owings Mills Gymnasium. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.