June 4, 2023
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Shootaround: Recapping Bombers basketball matchups vs. Clarkson and Wells

The men’s basketball team split its first two games before Thanksgiving and have two more this week. Beat writer Christian Araos looks back at the team’s first two games and forward toward this week’s matchups.

North Country split

The Bombers were defeated in the final of the North Country Invitational by host Clarkson University 65-63 on Nov. 17. Clarkson’s junior guard Marques Charlton hit a 15-foot buzzer beater to win it for the Golden Knights. Bombers’ Head Coach Jim Mullins said Clarkson’s performance didn’t surprise him and said the team is not quite where he hoped it would be.

“It hopefully served as a wake-up call,” Mullins said. “Collectively, I think we’re pretty good. I don’t know if I were to go so far to think they don’t have to work to win — I certainly hope that’s not the case — but we ran into a good team up there, and it may be a lesson well learned.”

Maravich stands out

After a two-year absence from the team, senior guard Eli Maravich made a solid impression in Potsdam, N.Y. Maravich recorded four steals in the Bombers’ 76-69 win against SUNY-Potsdam in the season opener. Against Clarkson, he scored a team-high 17 points and made four 3-pointers. Mullins said Maravich has been the team’s best player so far. Expect him to become a solid sixth man for the Blue and Gold as the season wears on.

Early offensive concerns

While it is still early, the Bombers are having trouble getting points on the board. The Bombers are shooting 42 percent from the field and just under 26 percent from behind the arc. Mullins said the team is still trying to gel on offense.

“I sort of expected that coming in, so we emphasized defense and rebounding, as they’re effort-related things,” Mullins said. “No matter how great your effort is, that doesn’t mean your offense is going to flow better. It comes down to getting a feel for one another, knowing where the other is going to be, when they’re going to be there.”

End-of-the-semester stress

Like the rest of the student body, the Bombers will have several tough tests before the end of the semester. The South Hill squad will face six opponents between Tuesday night and Dec. 15. Of those six opponents, the Bombers lost to five of them last year. The tough going begins Tuesday night with a matchup at SUNY-Cortland. Mullins said they might be the best team in the region.

“Their guard play is excellent — they really shoot it,” Mullins said. “[They are a] 20-win team who basically lost no one to graduation.”

Wells College was defeated handily by Hartwick College on Sunday, so the Bombers will be favored when the two teams meet in Ben Light Gymnasium on Friday. But the Bombers will look to avoid a slip-up like they did in their 73-72 loss to the Express last year.