Men’s basketball topples Fitchburg State, Wesleyan, stays undefeated

Cameron Brown

Last Thursday, men’s basketball (7-0) routed Fitchburg State 109-41. On Saturday, they defeated Wesleyan 80-65.

On Saturday after leading 31-28 with 4:34 left in the half, Kyle Scadlock ’19 and Michael Kempton ’19 powered the Ephs offense to put them up nine going into the break. The Ephs did not hit a three in the first half but were able to find success from mid-range and in the paint.

The Ephs shot 50 percent from the field. At the half, the statistical leaders for the men were Scadlock with 12 points, Bobby Casey ’19 with five rebounds and Henry Feinberg ’20 with two assists. The Cardinals shot 37.1 percent from the field. Austin Hutcherson lead Wesleyan with 13 points and five rebounds.

With 7:17 left in the game, James Heskett ’19 became the 36th member of the men’s basketball team to score 1000 points in his career. He is also the second member of the senior class to reach the mark this season.

“It was a big day for James,” head coach Kevin App said. “It was his birthday, his family surprised him at the game and he got to 1000. I think everybody saw James step up when Kyle went down last year, and that confidence gained has been fun to watch right now.”

At the end of 40 minutes, the Ephs shot 55.2 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc.  Heskett led the Ephs with 22 points, Scadlock followed with nine rebounds and Casey had three assists. The Cardinals shot 36.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc. Jordan Bonner led them with 18 points and Hutcherson followed with nine rebounds.

“I’m proud of this senior group,” App said after the game, “This is the first time they’ve beaten Wesleyan in this December Little Three game, and they’ve been leading this group in a fun way.”

“We had a tough four straight road games, and I thought the guys got some stops and gutted it out to make some plays down the stretch. Really proud of them for finishing … with a big win against a good team,” App added.

On Thursday, the Ephs downed the Falcons. The Ephs had the hot hand early, outscoring the Falcons 32-8 through the first 10 minutes of action. Four Eph players went 100 percent from the field during the first 20 minutes of action, propelling the Ephs to a 57-26 lead at the half.

“Really proud of the guys,” App said. “To get off the bus on a Thursday night after traveling down [to Fitchburg, Mass.] after class and come out and set the tone with our defensive energy that carried over to the offense. Our focus and defensive energy early was the reason why the result was what it was. “

At the half, the Ephs were shooting 63.6 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from behind the arc. The Ephs were led by Casey  with 20 points and Matt Karpowicz ’20 with nine rebounds and three assists. The Falcons were shooting 31 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from behind the arc. They were led by Nicholas Tracy with seven points and Andre Ruff with three rebounds, and they had two players with two assists.

The Ephs built on their lead, keeping the Falcons to only 15 points in the second half. The Ephs put up 52 points, and Marc Taylor ’21would finish his prolific scoring by registering the last seven points for the Ephs.

“The best part of every year is seeing guys step up with some confidence,” App said. “Marc has been playing great all year. From coming in early in the game and making plays and playing with confidence, then at the end of the game seeing him playing as a leader with some of the freshmen. Watching that growth has been the rewarding part. Mickey Babek [’20] continues to play with confidence, Vince Brookins, Jr. [’20] as well. Spencer Spivy [’22] came in and hit shots. That’s what these games are for, to get experience and confidence. Our leaders have been doing a great job with this group.”

The men will host Union on Thursday at 7 p.m. and hit the road on Saturday to face Springfield at 3 p.m.