By Tyler Wahl
The Rams Men’s Basketball team suffered a hard loss against MCLA on home court Feb. 7, 74-62.
With spectators finally allowed back in the gymnasium, the Rams got o3 to a hot start and pleased the home crowd.
Junior small forward Jahden Erold and senior guard Keith Hollman started the game o3 making a high
percentage of successful shots.
Despite the initial stellar play from FSU, the Trailblazers were able to hold a small lead through the majority of the first half.
The Rams were forced to take a 30 second timeout following a 6-0 run by MCLA and hoped to bounce back following their discussion.
Unfortunately, a turnover was committed soon after play resumed and MCLA extended the run to 10 making the score 24-13.
With just over six to play until halftime, the Rams looked to capitalize on scoring opportunities and bring the game back within reach.
While Framingham State succeeded in scoring through the remainder of the half, their defense still struggled.
MCLA shot a healthy 47.1% from the Feld in the first half. They also had good ball movement,
converting 11 assists on the half.
Framingham State was able to cut the deficit just before halftime when sophomore guard Ivan
Nyantenji hit a big three-pointer.
The Rams headed into the locker room with a 37-22 deficit to overcome. One aspect of Head Coach Donald Morris Jr.’s game plan for MCLA was the full court press – and they brought it into the second half with full force.
Due to the aggressive nature of a full court press, FSU was able to force seven turnovers in the second half.
Junior small forward Jaylen Swan spoke of the effectiveness of the press after the game adding, “It was something we had worked on in practice but we didn’t really expect to run it. It was more of a mid-game adjustment that our coach made that was really effective against them.”
The press was effective and the Rams were converting on more of their opportunities than in the first half.
Framingham State shot an efficient 50% from the Feld in the second half and were able to put up 40 points on the board compared to their lackluster 22 in the first.
Erold once again put on a show in the second half, finishing with 14 points on the night. Senior guard Trevor Manyak also helped put points on the board, finishing with 10 in the half.
While FSU outscored the Trailblazers 40-37 in the second half, it still wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of offense in the opening minutes.
The final buzzer sounded and the Rams were defeated 74-62 to close the night. Despite the team’s 3-19 regular season record, they still have hope for the playoffs.
After the game, Swan added, “I think the key to us finishing strong is not worrying about our record because at the end of the day, everyone in the playoffs is 0-0.
“Anything can happen, we need to win three games to win the championship – so we should take that mindset with us throughout the rest of the season,” he said.
The Rams will look for a win in their final home game of the regular season Feb. 16 vs. Salem State.