The Colby men’s basketball team ended their regular season with a bang, comfortably defeating Amherst on Friday night and Hamilton on Saturday’s Senior Day. Friends and family members packed the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, creating an incredible atmosphere for each of the games and fueling the Mules’ high energy levels from start to finish.
Heading into the weekend, the Mules were 3–5 in conference play and desperately needed to improve their conference record. Reflecting on the disappointing end to last year’s season, Jack Lawson `25 discussed the time and effort the team dedicated to improving as a unit and fostering a sense of community.
“This season has been much different compared to last. We are finding success because of how much more connected we are as a group. It started with a collective group effort of the work we put in last spring, throughout the summer, and into the fall. Everybody on the team was much more invested and didn’t want to go out with any regrets this year,” he said.
The team’s hard work both on and off the court was displayed at full capacity this past weekend. On Friday, the Mules flexed their muscles and excellent shooting ability on Amherst. A combination of impressive ball movement and timely plays on both the offensive and defensive ends contributed to the Mules taking a 37–34 point lead into the second half.
In the second half, the Mules continued to grow their lead. An incredible move to the rim by Will King `23 resulted in a three-point play. The Colby offense continued to shine, as the Mules converted their next three shots beyond the arc. King cashed two and Noah Tyson `23 followed, nailing the jumper with a defender right in his face. Amherst was forced to call a timeout to stop the run, sending the Colby crowd into an absolute frenzy.
At the end of the half, excellent defensive stands along with flashy offensive plays, both collectively and individually, contributed to the Mules finishing the game 71–56. King led with a team-high of 24 points and 5 assists.
The team built on its impressive victory against Amherst by defeating highly-ranked Hamilton 87–70 the next day. Alec McGovern `23 spoke on the Mules’ victories this past weekend:
“We feel like we can beat anyone in this conference. We needed these two wins this weekend and our team stepped up and got it done. Our biggest worry heading into the weekend was the size advantage, but guys were able to step up and contribute in the ways we needed,” he said.
The back-to-back victories elevated the Mules to a three-game win streak to end their season, all against NESCAC rivals. The drive and determination encapsulated by the men’s basketball team have the squad feeling extremely confident heading into the postseason.
“The team is feeling great. We are playing our best basketball at the right time. Our upcoming playoff game versus Wesleyan is going to be a great one; they beat us on home court earlier this year, and we are confident that we can learn from that and come out with a win,” McGovern added.
The Mules are on fire at the moment, and the sense among the team is that each and every team in the NESCAC playoffs is beatable. If the Mules continue to shoot the ball at a high percentage, maintain solid defense, and rely on more individual brilliance from a number of their players, they will undoubtedly be a team to reckon with in their hunt for a NESCAC championship.
~ Mason Groves `23