By Tyler Wahl
The Rams Men’s Basketball team fell to the No. 2 seeded Salem State Vikings in a 101-55 playoff battle Feb. 22.
Salem State had home court advantage and put that to use in this playoff matchup. They went on a 10-0 run to start the game and had their home crowd buzzing with excitement at the start of the first half.
Following a timeout from the Rams after the 10-0 run, Framingham State finally got on the board with a ferocious dunk from graduate student forward Josh Dumay.
The Viking’s offense was on fire, however. Despite FSU’s best effort, Salem State ran off to a 23 point lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the half.
A three-point jump shot from senior small forward Keith Hollman showed the Rams still had some fight left in them – they closed the lead to under 20 as the half progressed.
The Rams put 22 points on the board by the end of the first half, but it was no match for the Viking’s frequent scoring.
The final score at the half was 45-22 in the Vikings favor – and the statistics for the first half showed exactly why the Rams were down by such a large deficit.
Framingham State shot an underwhelming 27.6% from the field in the first half while Salem State shot an efficient 58.1%.
Salem State played well throughout this first half – and the entire game – because of their pesky defense and care of the ball on offense.
They caused 10 turnovers and only gave up four to FSU during the half. Framingham State was also out rebounded by a small margin going into the second half.
While FSU managed to put more points on the board during the second half, Salem State was still able to keep up their offensive pace and run away with the lead.
The Rams finished with a respectable 33 points on the half, but Salem State’s 56 points made the final score 101-55 bringing the season to a close for FSU.
Despite the hard loss and rough stretches the team endured throughout the year, senior Trevor Maniak reffected positively on his time as a basketball player at FSU.
He said, “The biggest lesson we took away from the season as a team was that you’re not going to win every game. You go out and play, but one thing you can make sure you do is get better each and every day you step on the court.”
Maniak also talked about the FSU basketball program as a whole after the game. He added, “The basketball program has had its moments of bad and good. I played for three different coaches in my time here and each taught me something different.”
Despite the struggle to win games this season, Maniak also has hope for the program going forward.
“I learned a lot in my years here and I believe the basketball program can turn things around in a couple of years. They are on the right track to being great,” he added.
Junior small forward Jaylen Swan also spoke about the season and the program after the game saying, “I feel great about our program regardless of the way our season went. We never gave up on each other and our coaching staff didn’t either.”
He also spoke on the development and average age of the team adding, “We have a bright future ahead of us especially since most of the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores, so we are only going to get better. I am extremely proud of us this season – those are my guys until the end.”
The men’s basketball team will resume play at the end of this upcoming fall as they look to prove their competitiveness in the MASCAC conference.