By Adam Levine
By Sophia Oppedisano
The Framingham State Rams suffered lopsided losses this week 110-59 against the Westfield State Owls Jan. 27 and 90-60 against the Bridgewater State Bears Jan. 31.
Framingham faced two of the MASCAC top teams - the number-two ranked Owls and the number-three ranked Bears - with a depleted roster.
Only 13 players were available during Framingham’s matchup against Westfield and only 11 against Bridgewater.
In both matchups, Coach Donald Morris Jr. played every available player on the roster.
Freshmen guards Algis Puodziunas, Korbin Gann, Geino Scaringello, and Makyle Hayes played eight, 10, eight, and 17 minutes respectively in the loss to the Owls. At that point, that was a season-high for each of them.
Hayes played 26 minutes during the Rams’ loss to the Bears - marking his new season-high of minutes played in a game.
Forward JD Okafor and guard Jahden Erold are two of the few returning players for the team from the 2022-23 season. Both players started for the Rams in the week’s matchups - playing key roles as veteran players.
Erold said that it’s a positive to get the younger players experience for the future.
Okafor said the younger players “still have a good mindset” despite the loss.
He said, “It’s all about the system that we're in and just making sure as long as we're in the right system, then the outcome is going to eventually come to the way that we want it to be.”
Knowing the team was missing valuable players, Okafor said the plan was to “just go out and play hard.”
He said, “We know Bridgewater. They like to leak out a lot once a shot goes up” because of the height of their players and the rebound capabilities of their roster.
Okafor said, “We just had to go out there play hard and try to get back on defense and compete.”
Despite the 30-point loss to Bridgewater, Erold said, “Our offense was a little more fluid. Defensively we got some things to work on, but that just comes with experience.”
After two more MASCAC losses, the Rams now hold an overall record of 5-16 and a conference record of 0-8.
Framingham travels to Salem State for another MASCAC matchup Feb. 3.
Erold said the rest of the season is “not going to be easy,” but he “definitely” sees progress for the future of the program.
Okafor said, “Framingham historically hasn't been that great, but we're seeing changes in the culture slowly year by year.
“It might take some time, but we just gotta keep grinding - keep trying to see that change in that culture and eventually we could get that championship that we're trying to get to,” he added.