Men’s Basketball Starts Season on a Loud Note

BY BRANDON WILFORE // Nov. 16, 2016 //

You know how people say that if your dog is getting old, you should get a puppy to liven them up and make them excited again? That’s exactly what Head Coach Matt LeVangie did this offseason.

Curry showed some life that fans haven’t seen in a while Tuesday night, when they battled visiting Lesley College to a double overtime loss, 87-83.

The Colonels came fresh out of the gate with three new faces and two proven ones beside them. Freshmen Dwayne Boothe and the George-Bellitti brothers, Jordan and Jaelen were accompanied by seniors James Pina and Paul Preziosi, marking their third and fourth years for the Purple and White, respectively.

Early on, both teams were exchanging buckets and looked pretty equally matched. From the opening tip, you could tell, these freshmen were good.

Curry fell behind but soon made a run after a few second-chance points, and the Lynx had to call a timeout to stop the bleeding. The Colonels led 26-25 and the gym was getting loud with three minutes to go until halftime.

At the break, it was all knotted up at 34. Curry dominated the boards in the first half, creating second-chance points and keeping it close. However, they also suffered 13 turnovers, many coming from lazy passes that Lesley would simply step in front of and take the other way for an easy layup.

The second half was just as tight as the first, with both teams grinding out defensive possessions and earning their way to the free-throw line. Jordan George-Bellitti stayed hot in this half and provided the offensive spark with his 10 points. However, turnovers would again plague the Colonels as they committed 11 turnovers in the second frame.

pina

James Pina (33) looks to advance the ball. Photo Credit: Curry College Athletics

 

Curry wasn’t out of it, though, as it only trailed by two points with less than 30 seconds to go and possession. Pina’s number was called, once again, and he pulled up from the top of the key and splashed the shot like he has so many times. This time, it tied the game 65-65 and sent it to overtime. The Colonels were flirting with a win for the first time since 2014.

The energy was visible in the gym as more and more students filtered in, just a little late. There was an actual College Basketball feel to it.

The teams again continued to swap baskets throughout the overtime period, then, with eight seconds left, Curry was down by two without the ball and in need to foul.

Luckily, the Colonels found the right guy to give the foul to, as senior Marquise Johnson stepped to the line in front of the entire crowd packing the Eleanor M. Katz Gymnasium. His first shot barely skimmed the rim as the crowd erupted with some cheers and some jeers.

Next shot; Left his hands and missed the rim by a good two feet. The gym exploded in laughter. Curry still had a chance.

Who says you can’t drive on campus as a freshman? Jordan George-Bellitti dribbled down the court and nailed a jumper to send the crowd into a frenzy, and the game to a second overtime period.

However, once James Pina fouled out, his team-leading 21 points also went to the bench, and the Lynx had their way at the free-throw line. The final buzzer sounded, and the Colonels fell 87-83.

“That one hurt, we needed that [one],” Preziosi said, after almost grabbing the first win since his sophomore year.

Although they lost, Tuesday’s game was a good sign for Curry’s upcoming season. Jordan George-Bellitti racked up 18 points and 9 rebounds while fellow freshman, DaShawn Williams was 4-4 from behind the arc.

Preziosi noted that these young guns will help, “I really like our squad this year, we are actually going to win games this year.”

Youth Movement: Curry has 21 players on the active roster; 13 of them are freshmen.

Senior Leaders: The two senior Colonels were the rock all night, combining for 32 points, 17 rebounds, and a 12-14 mark from the charity stripe.

High-Power Offense: Curry only eclipsed 80 points in 3 games out of 25 last season.

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