The Maroon

Wolfpack hopes momentum holds

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While many of us are keeping pace with the party spirit of Carnival, the men’s basketball team is working intensely to clinch its spot in a conference tournament.

With only five games left in the regular season, the ‘Pack must maintain its position as one of the top five teams in the west divisional standings in order to secure a spot in the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament. The team will end the last leg of its season playing all five games against conference teams, with four of the games against teams still in contention to earn a spot in the tournament beginning on Feb. 29 in Rome, Ga.

“As you get closer to the end of the season, there’s not a lot of room for error,” head coach Michael Giorlando said. “You just got to keep that momentum going and try to string a little run here, get four or five in a row.”

The ‘Pack will need to find that momentum if it wants to be certain that they will enter the tournament for the fifth year in a row. Players said they are confident about returning to Georgia and in their ability to top last season’s performance in the tournament.

“I think if we play to our team’s ability, I think we’ll do very well and put us in a great spot to go to the nationals,” said senior guard and biology senior Corey Gray.

Even though the team’s leading scorer, Ryan Brock, graduated last year, his absence has not created an issue for the team’s confidence in its ability to fare well in this year’s tournament.

“After last year, we finished — I think — fourth, and went all the way to the semis and lost by four or five points, and this year I think our team is even better than last year’s,” said Cameron Cates, center and management senior.

The ‘Pack has proven that it can compete with the best in the conference after bringing the second-best team in the SSAC, Southern Polytechnic University, to overtime in an away game on Jan. 7.

“It doesn’t even matter who we play as long as we all go out there with the same focus and same intensity every game. That’s all we really need,” said guard and political science senior Chris Joseph.

As one of the five players graduating this year, Joseph said that being able to live out his dream by playing college basketball motivates him to play even harder in every game.

“It motivates me to play even harder because I know what’s on the line; I may not touch a ball again,” Joseph said.

Garrett Galuszka can be reached at [email protected] 

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Wolfpack hopes momentum holds