September 28, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 55°F


Men’s basketball squad seeks redemption in final stretch

Coming off a hot streak of six wins in its last eight games, the men’s basketball team is using its mid-season success on the road to help stay in the playoff race in the Empire 8 conference.

Senior co-captain Max Masucci said the Bombers’ success on the road is important for the team moving forward as it begins the final stretch of the season.

“We have done well on the road,” he said. “We’re playing as one on both the offense and defensive side of the ball, which is stirring up a lot of confidence.”

Statistically, the Bombers are putting up better numbers on the road than at home. The Bombers are 4–4 away from Ben Light Gymnasium this season, but only 4–5 at home. They have already won more games than last year’s squad with their record currently standing at 8–9 overall with eight games left in the season.

On the road this season, the Bombers have scored a combined 633 points, which is three more points than they have scored at home, even though they have played more games at home than on the road so far this season. They have given up 660 points on the road, 30 fewer points than they have given up at home. The Blue and Gold have been averaging six more 3-pointers, as well as a higher field goal percentage, when in opposing arenas.

Junior guard Sam Bevan said he liked what he had seen from the team in recent games.

“Our offense transition game has improved,” he said.

Bevan said even though he believes the team has played better on the road this season, he does not think it truly matters where it plays.

“Obviously, I think we have played better on the road,” he said. “It really has come to some guys on the team really stepping up for us.”

Though they have scored a high number of points in their wins, the games the Bombers have won on the road have been won with a gap of fewer than 10 points between them and their opponents. However, the Bombers have lost by 20-point margins in two of their road games this season, most recently, their 96–70 loss to St. John Fisher College.

The South Hill squad is 5–3 in conference play so far this season, and two of those wins came on the road against teams that are behind them in the Empire 8 standings: Hartwick College and Stevens Institute of Technology. These wins have allowed the Bombers to take hold of second place in the standings.

Senior co-captain Keefe Gitto said the team is gaining more confidence based on these wins.

“I think that we can beat anyone no matter where we play,” he said.

Gitto also said there is room for improvement as the Blue and Gold begin to close out their season.

“As long as our rebounding game continues and people continue to step up, we should continue the success,” he said.

Gitto said after the winter break stint started out with consecutive losses to both Hamilton College and Elmira College, the team had a players-only meeting to boost morale.

“Basically we just talked about how we all needed to step up our games,” he said. “I think it really woke us up as a team.”

As a result, the Bombers won three road games to start the year. The team has also improved its home record in 2015, winning their first three out of five home games as well.

Masucci said it is still too early to predict the turnout of the season with eight games left to play.

“It’s too early to tell what the outcome of our success will bring us,” he said. “But since the [University of] Scranton game, we feel a new confidence at home as well as a reassurance of our game on the road.”

With four of their last eight games on the road, the Bombers will try to take advantage of their spot in the standings as the playoff race quickly approaches. The most important road game left to play will be against Alfred University, the team right behind them in the standings. The Bombers defeated Alfred earlier in the season and will look to sweep the season series while away from Ben Light Gymnasium.

Bevan said despite the opponent or venue, the Bombers need to play as a team.

“I think we can beat anyone [we] just need to keep playing together,” he said.

Matt Rottler can be reached at or via Twitter: @@RottlerMatt