By Tyler Wahl
The Framingham State Rams Men’s Basketball team fell short to Wheaton 83-64 in a heated home match Nov. 16.
The first half was a back and forth contest, resulting in three early scoring ties and five overall lead changes.
The first noticeable run came early in the first half when Wheaton rattled off 10 consecutive points to put the Lyons up 23-16.
A few tough driving layups from sophomore guard Brett Okundaye and sophomore forward JD Okafor brought the Rams within one point of tying the game.
The Rams’ scoring run was capped off by a three point jumper from sophomore guard Justin Fitzpatrick. This forced Wheaton to take a 30-second timeout and regroup.
The Lyons played great defense and were patient on offense for the remainder of the first half, giving them the 41-36 advantage heading into halftime.
It was clear the coaching staff for Wheaton was experienced, as the Lyons continuously pushed the score ahead directly after their timeouts.
Despite the great shooting percentage and defense from the Lyons, the Rams were able to keep it close through a few three-point Ield goals and some free throw opportunities.
Both teams were eager to take the court after halftime. Despite Wheaton extending their lead to 11 early in the second half, the Rams continued to fight.
The Rams were able to cut the deficit to eight at one point, but their lack of care for the ball on offense led to the team’s downfall.
Framingham State committed 20 turnovers throughout the match, resulting in 27 points-off-turnovers for Wheaton.
Okafor pointed out the team’s turnover struggles saying, “We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We’re getting too many turnovers, which ends up being a momentum shift and has led to a lot of our losses.”
Okafor was the top scorer for the Rams in the match, finishing the game with a total of 19 points on 7-12 shooting.
Despite his solid individual performance, he still showed frustration in himself following the loss, adding, “I think it all has to do with our turnovers in the second half. I had seven turnovers myself, which is just unacceptable. I was giving them too many opportunities to score.”
Turnovers are a continuous struggle the team must overcome. In their away game vs. Endicott two nights before, the Rams also gave up 22 turnovers resulting in 34 points for the opposing team.
In the last two games, the Rams have committed 42 total turnovers, resulting in a whopping 61 points from Endicott and Wheaton combined.
Wheaton went on to lead by as many as 21 in the second half and a miracle comeback looked to be out of the picture for FSU.
The team fought hard to the Inal buzzer, but the turnovers and less-than-stellar shooting percentage from the Rams dug them in a hole they could not escape from.
Wheaton shot 51.8% from the Ield compared to Framingham’s 37.5%. The Lyons also moved the ball around more, resulting in 14 total assists compared to six for the Rams.
The Rams looked to bounce back and improve on their 1-4 record Nov. 18 against the Wentworth Leopards.