The NYU men’s basketball team started their season on Saturday, Nov. 16, with the NYU Tip-Off Tournament.
In the first round matchup, NYU faced off against Drew University Rangers. The Violets were able to jump out to an early lead against their opponent by 28-9 halfway through the first half. The Rangers were able to step up their game and cut their deficit to 46-35 after the first half.
The Violets were led throughout by LS sophomore forward Evan Kupferberg. He started off hot and stayed that way, recording 16 points in the first half alone.
NYU was able to lead most of the game because of their effectiveness in the paint. While both sides were playing fast-paced basketball, NYU had the edge with skills down low. SCPS sophomore center Costis Gontikas earned nine points for his work in the trenches and was able to record two blocks in the first half on the defensive end. The Violets dominated in the first half because they were able to out-rebound their opponents by a margin of 27-12 including grabbing nine more offensive rebounds.
The second half offered much of the same. While Drew got off to a hot start and cut NYU’s lead to six, the Violets eventually proved too much to handle. Gontikas continued his first-half dominance by leading the Violets with 10 points in the second half.
“Defense as well as rebounding on both ends of the floor were the keys to winning,” Gontikas said about the Violets’ dominate game.
“My determination to get rebounds helped me in the paint a lot,” he said. “But this was a team effort, and everyone helped each other.”
The Violets eventually won 85-68 and advanced to the final of the tournament.
In the final, the Violets squared off against the State University of New York at Morrisville Mustangs, who are ranked number 20 in the nation. Although they weren’t favored to win, NYU controlled the game until the final whistle.
The first half remained close, and the Violets were only up two points with five minutes remaining in the opening frame. However, thanks to a team effort, the Violets widened the margin to nine before the end of the first half.
The Violets owned the second half though. The Violets dominated the boards and remain stout defensively. They eased to an 80-63 win for the championship title.
“We’re looking to communicate better on the defensive end and then execute within our offense,” Gontikas said.
The men’s team will play next Saturday, Nov. 23 against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts at Coles Sports Center.
Ferenc Puskas is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]