By Adnan Basic
The Roosevelt men’s basketball team has made a blistering start to their 2017-18 season, winning their opening three contests.
It all started on Nov. 1, when they defeated East-West University in their opening game. East-Went had come to play, making 14 three pointers. Their fight was for naught, as Roosevelt proved to be too good on the day, winning by a score of 85-69. Next up for Roosevelt was a home outing against Marian University. The Lakers hadn’t started on the right foot, and found themselves down 15 points in the second half. However, the team showed a strong fighting spirit, making a comeback late and erasing the deficit. It was close until the end, but Roosevelt held on for 70-65 victory. Their third straight win came on Tuesday night, as they defeated Indiana University Northwest by a score of 93-80. It was an even contest early on, but Roosevelt was able to step up defensively, forcing turnovers and getting easy baskets on the break. Junior Jake Ludwig lead the Lakers on offense, dropping 31 points, increasing his points per game average to 24.3 on the season.
It has been a phenomenal start, but there is still much of the season left to play, and the Lakers will have to improve in certain aspects if they want to keep this good run of form going.
“The first 3 wins are good, but it really doesn’t mean much considering we have 28 more regular season games,” said head coach Joe Griffin. “It’s nice to be 3-0 but the most important thing is how much we are improving on a daily and weekly basis because we are not good enough right now.”
It is an especially remarkable start considering the fact that Roosevelt has never been much of a basketball school. The program had been dormant for 21 years before being brought back, and Coach Griffin is only the fourth head coach in the university’s history. This becomes a problem in recruitment, which is a massive part of college basketball.
“The biggest challenge that we faced is our significant deficit in scholarships available to enhance our recruiting. We are at the bottom of the NAIA in scholarship money, so it’s a monumental task compared to most of our peers,” Griffin said.
Senior Matthew Spahr, an IMC major, watched this team last season, and said he is excited for the future.
“The team seems to be growing together. You can tell they are comfortable with each other on the court by the execution of their plays,” Spahr said. “There are moves being pulled off that I haven’t seen done by a Laker in years.”
Roosevelt’s next game is on Sunday, as they welcome Aquinas College to the Goodman Center. The Roosevelt home stadium has brought the team success so far, and students say they enjoy watching games there.
“Attending games at the Goodman, there isn’t a bad seat in the stadium. You are as close to the action as you want to be,” Spahr said.
For some students, like freshman psychology major Angie Hurtado-Perez, she thinks it will become another new and exciting college experience.
“I remember sitting in the arena during freshman orientation, and thinking about how good everything looked,” Hurtado-Perez said. “It will be cool to see how everything is when there is an actual game going on. Hopefully they can win again.