Men’s basketball falls to Hiram, keeps high hopes for remainder of season

Despite a late rally in their contest against Hiram College (13-5, 7-4) on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, Allegheny (2-16, 2-9) failed to complete their second half comeback in the NCAC matchup.

The Gators trailed by 16 points at halftime, and as high as 22 with 17 minutes left in regulation. With less than a minute remaining in the game, Allegheny had cut down Hiram’s lead to just two points but failed to pull out the comeback finish as Hiram closed out the game at the free throw line with just seconds left in regulation.

Evan Schweitzer, ’16, recorded his first career double-double when he recorded double digits in two of the five statistical categories, posting a team high of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Two other Gators also tallied double digits in the scoring category with Evan Zabriski, ’17, at 15 points and Brandon Smith, ’16, with 11.

Our outlook for the remainder of our season is to keep improving and competing.  We want to get better everyday as people, players, coaches and a family,” Simmons said.

Simmons believes his team can still make a run in the conference tournament despite knowing how competitive the NCAC is, along with their current standing amongst their conference opponents.

“The NCAC is one of the top three Division III conferences in the country, with some very talented student-athletes and some very good coaches.  For us we need to focus on us,” said Simmons. “We need to get better everyday, value the basketball, allow the offense to work for us, guard the basketball, and rebound.  If we do those things, we will give ourselves a chance to be successful.”

Conor Macomber, ’17, has high expectations for the team as the season comes to a close with only seven games left.

I hope that we play as hard as we can and try to finish out the season strong because you never know what can happen. We still have a chance to make the conference tournament barring a strong finish. As we all know, anything can happen once you’re in,” Macomber said.

As one of the many seniors on the team, Macomber made it clear what the team needs to do to ultimately make the conference tournament and potentially make a run at the championship.

“We need to focus on the opportunities in front us. We have the talent and experience to give ourselves a chance. We just need to grow as a team and find ways to win in the second half,” said Macomber. “You can’t play good basketball for 22 or 32 minutes, you have stick to it and play to the best of our ability for a full 40 minutes to achieve what we work for each and every day,” he added.

Donte Wallette, ’18, wants to make the conference tournament for the second consecutive season since his career at Allegheny started one year ago.

“I just want to see our team make the tournament because once you get in, you never know what can happen. Every team has an equal opportunity to make a name for themselves in the tournament,” said Wallette. “I believe our team has the talent and the work ethic to make a run at a conference championship and everyone on the team knows we have the capability to beat any opponent on any given night.”

Simmons believes his team has learned a lot over the course of the season but there is still work to do during the remainder of the season.

Our men have learned to be accountable to themselves and each other both on and off the court.  They have also learned how to handle adversity which comes in many different ways; not winning, losing a player to an injury, roles, and time management between academics and athletics,” Simmons said. “In regards to what we need to work on with the remainder of the season, I would go back to saying, value the basketball, allow the offense to work for us, and rebound.”

The Gators will return to the court on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, facing Kenyon College at 3 p.m. in the David V. Wise Center. The team will be taking part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers initiative, as donations will be accepted throughout the day for the American Cancer Society as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.