Basketball season came to an end twice over the weekend, as the NYU men’s and women’s basketball teams both lost in the second round of their respective NCAA tournaments.
Both teams started strong, with wins in the first round. The women’s squad trumped Lehman College 70-63, while the men’s team walked off the court with an 86-67 victory over Brooklyn College. Unfortunately, the momentum from Friday night wasn’t enough to keep either team going, as they were both defeated on Saturday. The women lost to Bowdoin College 48-62, while the men’s season ended with a tight loss to one-loss Christopher Newport University, 64-67.
The women began their championship journey at Lehman College on Friday night. The team fell slightly behind in the first quarter, but quickly recovered and held the lead for much of the game. The Violets continued to play well into the third quarter, with junior guard Kaitlyn Read starting off the frame with three straight threes. Down three early in the fourth quarter, the Violets went on a game-clinching 13-0 run, seizing control down the stretch. The dynamic duo of Read and senior center Megan Dawe were electric, combining for 43 points and 18 rebounds in leading the Violets to victory.
In the same night, the Brooklyn Bulldogs were trumped by the men’s team. After clinching the first two points of the game, the Violets stayed ahead of the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game. Senior forward Tony Bai’s three-pointer established a 22-10 lead by the time the second quarter ended. However, the Bulldogs put up a fight to end the half with a manageable four-point deficit against the Violets. In the second half, the Violets scored the first nine points, and reached a game-high of 19 points on several occasions, leaving the Friday night score at 86-67. Senior center Costis Gontikas led the Violets with 25 points, while senior forward Patrick Burns and sophomore guard Ross Udine combined for another 31.
But the women’s victory on Friday night was short-lived. Fueled by Friday night’s success, the Violets started strong with a nine-point lead over the Bowdoin Polar Bears, but lost their advantage and trailed 11-10 at the end of the period. The Polar Bears outscored the Violets 20-11 in the second quarter to extend their lead to double digits. The teams played evenly in the third quarter, nabbing 14 points each, but the Violets still needed a rally in the fourth. A successful pair of free throws by Read cut the lead to seven in the fourth, but Bowdoin closed the show, extending its lead to 15 points and eventually winning 62-48.
Despite a loss in the second round for the men, Saturday’s score reflected the fight that the Violets put up in facing the Christopher Newport Captains. The team started strong and held tightly onto a nine-point lead halfway through the first half. But the Captains played well in the last ten minutes and gained a 33-29 advantage at halftime. The fight was on in the second half, with the Violets eventually gaining a 56-50 lead, but the Captains rallied back to take a 63-62 lead with under three minutes remaining. A potential game-tying three pointer by Bai at the buzzer was off the mark, and the Violets’ season ended. Senior Max Ralby was disappointed that the season came to an end in a game the Violets could have won, but he isn’t taking his experience for granted.
“It’s very sad to see our season end, especially in a game that we were in a great position to win, but I couldn’t have asked for a better to team to be apart of and a better experience at NYU,” Ralby said.
With the season over, both teams will be forced to readjust, with a total of 11 seniors graduating this spring. The class includes 1,000-point scorer Dawe and UAA Player of the Year Evan Kupferberg. Though their time as Violets has come to an end, they greatly contributed to an exciting year of basketball for NYU and the last at Coles.
“We were able to accomplish so much this year and created so many great memories on and off the court,” Ralby said. “This senior class has really shaped the program for years to come.”
Email Suhana Jagadesan at [email protected]