The Allegheny Men’s Basketball team had little to no time to be home for the holidays, a narrative that is not uncommon for the team as they are called in early every season. This season the men had to leave their hometowns the day after Christmas.
“It was tough leaving home the day after Christmas but I’m used to it because its always been like that since I’ve been playing ball,” Chris Milon, ‘16, said.
In addition to cutting their break short, the players had to make it back to campus in enough time to make practice that same day. The team was given money by the coaches for meals during their time on Campus over the course of the break.
“We had practice the same day. Sometimes we ate as a team. Other times we were given money to get our own food,” Connor Macomber, ’16, said.
Unlike first-year players on the team, veterans are used to having to cut their break extremely short for the sake of the sport and find their time on Campus to be enjoyable.
“Its kind of nice, I like being on campus without anyone here,” Gabe Siedman, ’15, said.
The team replaced the holidays at home with two a day practices and a series of games both away and at home. The players had to work hard to readjust after losing their forward Brandon Smith,’ 16 to an injury in the game against Kenyon.
“Practice was really hard, we had two-a-days. We had to get back in shape and we had to do extra work since Brandon [Smith] was hurt,” Milon said.
Jumping back into the game after a three week break and a few days of practice the Gators faced off against Stevenson on New Years Eve. Although the team had three players in double digits, the Gators fell to Stevenson at home. Josh Valentic, ’15, and Evan Zabriski, ‘17, both had 18 points followed by Milon with 15 points.
The Gators started the first half of the game strong maintaining the lead. Despite the Mustangs stealing the lead with seven minutes left in the first half, Milon pushed four points to allow the Gators to take the lead back. Followed by a layup from Zabriski and a three point shot from Macomber putting the Gators at a five point advantage at halftime. Coming into the second half of the game the Mustangs prevailed shooting 64 percent from the floor causing the Gators to fall behind.
After the Stevenson game, the majority of the team spent New Years Eve on Campus.
“I really do miss my family on the holidays,” Milon said. “On New Years my teammates came to our room to hang out.”
There were players who live nearby and had the opportunity of returning home for the New Years holiday.
“Some of them had the chance to go home to Pittsburgh for new years,” Macomber said.
Not only two days later the gators were on the road to Indiana to play two games back to back.
The gators faced the DePauw Tigers on Jan 3. Even with Isaiah Henderson, ’17, scoring 13 points in the first half, the Gators were unable to rise against the Tigers. The team had four players with double-figures in the game. Milon and Valentic were tied with 11 points and Zabriski had a total 15 points. Despite an attempt from Allegheny’s defense the Tigers went on an 11-0 run in the beginning of the second half to force the largest lead of the game 56-33. Unable to recover the gators fell to the Tigers with a final score of 85-71.
After returning from break the team was looking at two losses.
The day after facing DePauw, the Gators were back on the road to play against Wabash.The team scored a win against the little Giants due to their 18-0 run in the second half after trailing the Little Giants by six points at the half. The team had four players with double figures in this game. Valentic was 7-for-10 from the field scoring a total of 20 points in the game followed by Milon with 16, Zabriski with 15 and Macomber with 12 points. The team also performed defensively with a total of 11 steals, 9 of which were in the second half of the game. Leslie Jamerson, ‘15, contributed to the Gator victory in the paint with a total of 5 rebounds and two blocks.