By Adnan Basic
A record breaking 2017-18 season for the men’s basketball team at Roosevelt University has finished, as the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the NAIA national championship.
Roosevelt qualified for the tournament after going 26-8 in the regular season, breaking the previous school record for amount of wins. The team had also made a deep run in the CCAC tournament, before losing in the finals to Governors State University.
Roosevelt was drawn against Southwestern College in the first round of the national tournament. The game had been delayed as a result of previous games going to overtime, meaning tip off didn’t take place until after 11 p.m. The game was a back and forth affair, as both teams made runs throughout.
Down late, the Lakers tried for one last comeback, coming within four points of their opponents. However, Southwestern killed off the game with two consecutive baskets to seal the victory for them.
Roosevelt had done well defensively on the night, only allowing 65 points to a usually high scoring side. However, the Lakers were let down by their offense, going cold from the three point line, and missing too many shots that could’ve been converted. In the end, it was a deflating end to a wonderful season, but the team are able to look back at everything they did this season with pride.
Now, the Lakers are looking to build off of the success of this season, and shift focus toward the future.
Junior Carson Hughes, who is an IMC major and Daktronics NAIA Scholar Student-Athlete, echoed this belief.
“For next season, our main goal and hope is to get back to the National Tournament. Hopefully it’s somewhere else other than South Dakota, but we’ll take it. All jokes aside though, we want to win the conference next year and get an automatic bid to the national tournament,” Hughes said.
For Roosevelt students, it has become a joy to watch the team play at home. Games at the Goodman Center were packed, and the energetic crowd gave off a great atmosphere.
Senior IMC major Matthew Spahr had followed the team throughout his time at Roosevelt, and was overjoyed to see how well the team had been doing.
“It was a great experience to watch these players from my freshman year until now. You could see their comfort level with each other grow significantly, taking it all the way to the national tournament,” Spahr said.
The future is bright for Roosevelt basketball, as the team will only be losing three players. Junior journalism major Ian Jackson hopes Roosevelt can build off the success of this season, and further advance the development of the program.
“I think the future is bright. Now, any opponents will have the Lakers on their radar next year as the team to beat. With a lot of returning players coming back next year, they should look to repeat this success next season,” Jackson said.
With lessons learned and additional experience gained, next season could see Roosevelt break even more records.