The men’s basketball team is back in action. They recently started practicing again on Sunday, Oct. 15 in preparation for the 2017-2018 season.
The Tigers will open up their season on Monday, Nov. 13 with an exhibition game at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Last year, the Tigers completed the season with a 12-14 record overall and a 7-7 record in conference. They finished fifth in the regular season Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) standings. The Tigers’ season came to an end in the SCAC quarterfinals with a 71-65 loss to Southwestern University.
Despite not taking home the SCAC championship, the Tigers had an exhilarating season. They defeated the University of Dallas in double overtime with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from sophomore Brooks Mays, received a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Academic Excellence Award; three players earned all-SCAC accolades.
The Tigers have 12 returning members who are looking forward to getting back out on the court. Sophomore Danny Rivara led the Tigers in scoring last year, averaging 13.5 points per game.
Senior guard Matt Jones followed, averaging 11.7 points per game. Rivara also led the Tigers in rebounds, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.
The team has been working hard all semester long to prepare for the season.
“Everyone on this team has really taken full advantage of this previous off-season,” said junior guard Taylor Kim.
“I believe everyone has come back stronger and fine-tuned their game.”
This season, the Tigers are focusing on strengthening a few key points of their game, but one of the team’s top priorities is getting in good shape.
“As a whole, we’ve really focused on our conditioning to become a team that can wear down the opposing team on offense and defense,” said Matthew Colliflower, a junior forward on the team.
“Getting in good shape will allow us to be more ready for the season and will allow us to pay better as a unit,” said Kevin Owens, a junior center.
The Tigers are adding several new first-year players this season. The first-years are providing more competition for the team during practice, but one of their greatest strengths is their ability to shoot the ball.
“The first-year class poses a great threat from the three point line,” Colliflower said.
Adding players that can shoot from along the perimeter will give the Tigers a competitive edge they haven’t had in the past.
“We will really be able to stretch the floor and put some more points on the board,” Kim said.
On a more personal level, Kim used the offseason to work on shooting and ball handling.
Although conference play does not begin for a while, the Tigers are using pre-conference games to develop the team as much as possible. Once conference games roll around, the team will be ready to take down their SCAC opponents.
“I’m most looking forward to competing for a SCAC championship,” Colliflower said.
Although the date is undecided, the Tigers typically kick off their season with “˜Midnight Madness.’ Players from both the men’s and women’s teams have a three-point shootout, followed by a dunk competition for the men’s team.
The Tigers will open up their season at home on Nov. 15 with a 7 p.m. matchup against the University of Texas at Dallas. Conference play does not begin until Jan. 5, with a Friday night home matchup against the University of Dallas. Come out and support your Tigers after the New Year!
“I’m looking forward to getting out on that court and making this school, especially Danny Anderson, proud,” Kim said. “I believe we will come back much better than last year, and really bust some necks in conference.”