The men’s basketball team won the first round of the 2019 MIAA Post Season Tournament against Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) (89-80) Friday, March 8 but lost the second round against Washburn (94-99) Saturday, March 9.
Head coach Kim Anderson was proud of the team and the work they put in during the game against MSSU.
“Well I thought we played exceptionally well against Missouri Southern,” Anderson said. “That is a team that had beaten us a couple of times during the regular season and I thought our guys came in really… focused and executed well, played with a great deal of energy… So, I was really proud of the effort and the way our guys played in that game.”
Anderson believes the whole team played good defense and shot the ball well against MSSU.
“I think our defense was good. Southern is a very explosive team,” Anderson said. “They are the leading scoring team in the league. I think we were like fourth, but I thought our defense was… above average of what we have been playing. Obviously, you have to win, or you are done. I think they sensed the urgency of that and we shot the ball pretty well I think. We did a good job defensively. We were able to kind of control some of their big guns and then we had good performances too. So, I think that made a difference.”
The whole team played well against MSSU, according to Anderson.
“In the southern game, our team all year has kind of revolved around Donovan Franklin, Grant Lozoya, and Demetrius Levarity and if I recall correctly I think A.J. Walker played extremely well in that game,” he said. “Any time you can have four guys get double figures like that… adds to your chances of winning. You can single out four guys, but I think the whole team played well. I thought Christian Edmondson did a good job. Our guys came in off the bench and played efficiently and I think that is the reason why we won. The whole team kind of contributed and made the plays when we needed to.”
Recruitment for the men’s basketball team has already started for next season as the team has six seniors graduating and leaving the team.
“We are working hard recruiting right now,” Anderson said. “We lose six seniors and obviously we lose guys (like) Grant Lozoya and Donovan Franklin (who) average over 20 points a game and Demetrius Levarity averages somewhere around 10. So, we obviously need to replace some scoring and that is kind of what we are looking for as we are out recruiting. We had some injuries this year; Ethan Steinbrun… (a) player that we have counted on starting and playing the post position missed the whole season (due to having) back surgery, so he should be back. We signed three young men early in the early signing period that I think will help us. We will continue to recruit here in the spring and summer and try to add some more players. But we also have nine guys coming back so some of those guys did not get a whole lot of playing time in games, but they certainly improved a lot in practice, so I am looking forward to next year. I think it will be a little bit different type team. It will probably be a team that the scoring is a little more spread out than it was this year. But we will continue to recruit this spring and summer and add some new guys and hopefully will be able to do better next year.”