The victory brought the Lions one game closer to balancing the season's overall record, which now stands at 9-10.,In Suffolk's stuffy, subterranean gymnasium, Emerson's men's basketball team dominated play last Thursday against the Suffolk Rams, defeating the cross-Common rivals 81-66.
The victory brought the Lions one game closer to balancing the season's overall record, which now stands at 9-10. The team's conference record is 8-4.
Emerson took the lead early on and maintained it for the remainder of the game. At halftime, the margin had ballooned to 12 and although Suffolk opened up the second half with a six-point salvo, Emerson's defense quickly put a stop to the momentum. Suffolk consistently trailed by 10 or more points during the half as the Lions attacked Suffolk's defense with persistent passing and sound shooting.
Head Coach Hank Smith said he was pleased with his team's performance last Thursday.
"Sometimes a ten-point lead isn't commanding," said Smith. "Last night was a commanding lead, only in the fact that it was very difficult for them [Suffolk] to run their offense. We were scoring easier than they were. It was a solid lead. We had a couple of breakdowns, but overall I'd have to say we played well. We controlled the whole game."
Sophomore guard Will Dawkins attributes playing well to following an executed game plan.
"Suffolk is the type of team that runs a set play in a set offense," Dawkins said. "Our coaches do a great job of scouting teams so we knew every play that was coming."
Smith said he thought this win was a good indicator of the team's abilities but stressed the importance of considering each game on its own, separate from the rest of the season.
"You take every game individually," he said.
Taken as a whole, it is clear the team is improving. After five consecutive defeats at the start of the season, the Lions have since won nine of their last 14 games. The margin in half of the team's ten losses has been less than five points, and seven of nine victories came by a double-digit difference.
"Honestly, we play scared down the end of games," Dawkins said. "We turn the ball over under pressure, miss free throws. We're a young team, but that's no excuse."
The team's ineptitude down the stretch has become one of Smith's main concerns.
"Hopefully we'll get to a point where we're winning all those close games," said Smith.
Fortunately for the Lions, the game against Suffolk was never in doubt. Senior Center Steve Georgoulis had another standout game, scoring 25 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.
"These are my last few games, so I gotta play hard," Georgoulis said. "I'm going to play hard until I can't play anymore."
"Steve's really picked it up," Dawkins said. "He's put his game all together his senior year. I think he has to be the leading candidate for player of the year."
Dawkins, limited somewhat by foul trouble, had 14 points and junior Guard Alfredo Tovar added 13. Transfer student Morales Hendricks also contributed 11 points.
With only four games remaining in the regular basketball season, Dawkins said he believes every game from this point is important.
"Straight up, we gotta win out," Dawkins said. "If we win out, we won't have to play a game outside of Boston to win the GNAC."