Menís Basketball Starts Clicking
The Oberlin men’s basketball team launched the 2006-2007 season at the State University of New York Brockport Classic in New York on Nov. 17, dropping its season opener to the hosts, 66-78. The Yeomen played St. Lawrence University on Nov. 18 in the team’s final game of the Classic. St. Lawrence proved too much for Oberlin, winning the game 80-60 despite strong performances from senior co-captain Quinton Spencer, junior guard Matt Godwin and sophomore center Michael Loll, who all reached double digits in points.
Oberlin’s next game was in Berea, Ohio where they played Baldwin-Wallace College in a non-conference contest. The hosts led the way for most of the game, but the Yeomen looked like they were headed for a victory when they pulled in front 47-46 with 18 minutes left in the game. However, an 11-0 run later in the half combined with a 49.2 shot percentage from the hosts was enough to sink Oberlin’s hopes. Winning the game 81-66, Baldwin-Wallace improved its season record to 2-1, while Oberlin fell 0-3.
On Nov. 25, Head Coach Isaiah Cavaco and his team traveled to Lexington, Virginia to play Washington and Lee University in another non-conference game. It was a close game heading into half time, with Oberlin trailing by eight points. Led by junior Jordan Beard who scored 16 points on the night and Spencer’s 13 points, the Yeomen launched a comeback, taking the lead 44-43 with nine minutes left in the game. However, Washington and Lee’s junior forward Chatham Bienemam, who totaled 25 points on the night, helped lead the opposition to a 22-8 run and taking the game 65-52. The Yeomen returned home 0-4.
On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Yeomen hosted Cleveland rivals Case Western Reserve University in their first home game of the season, despite speculation that the game would be moved or postponed due to the recent fire in the locker room. Coach Cavaco admitted that Oberlin’s first home game was an important one, saying, “To be a good team, you need to win home games. Other teams should be afraid to come to your court.”
Backed by an enthusiastic crowd, Oberlin went into the game hoping to claim their first victory. First-years Jerome Goings, Dylan Venables and Joe Blasher were out to impress on their home debuts and Spencer looked to add to his point total that is nearing the 1,000-point mark, needing 42 points heading into the Case Western game.
Led by Loll, who totaled 20 points and nine rebounds, the Oberlin team defeated Case Western 78-64, despite trailing the Spartans early in the first period. Claiming their first win of the campaign, Oberlin moved up to 1-4 while Case Western dropped to 1-3. In response to inquiries about how the night’s performance compared to the team’s earlier games, coach Cavaco responded, “The performance level today was about the same as in our previous games. Tonight we made the extra pass instead of taking shots too early. That made the difference.”
Oberlin shot the ball very well, finishing the game at 53 percent from the field, and 54 percent from three-point range. The Yeomen also received solid contribution from the substitutes, as they outscored Case Western 27-16 in bench points.
After claiming his first career victory as the Oberlin head coach, Cavaco will look to carve a winning streak out of the upcoming home games. The North Coast Athletic Conference gets underway for the Yeomen on Saturday, Dec. 2 when Wabash visits, followed by games on Dec. 6 and 9 against The College of Wooster and Hiram College, respectively.