The Best NESCAC Games This Season

If this photo gives nightmates to Ephs' fans, we apologize. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)
If this photo gives nightmates to Ephs’ fans, we apologize. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

Unlike some other NESCAC sports (*cough* football *cough*), in men’s basketball we see teams regularly battle all the way down to the wire. This season seemed like there were even more close games than usual. In total, six conferences games went to OT this year, twice the number from last season. Many more came down to one or two plays down the stretch. There were so many good ones that I decided to go back and count down the very best. Honestly, some of the games that got left out were great in their own right.

10. January 30: Bowdoin 85 over Colby 82, Brunswick, ME.

This was the best game I saw in person this season, and I feel wrong putting it this low. After all, it did feature the reigning NESCAC Player of the Year Lucas Hausman ’16 going bucket-for-bucket down the stretch with Chris Hudnut ’16, who was unstoppable on this day. Hausman would finish with 35 and Hudnut with 32. The difference was the 20 points the Polar Bears got from point guard Jack Bors ’19. Bowdoin led by as much as nine with 6:13 left in the game, but there wasn’t ever a doubt that Colby was going to make a run late. In overtime Jack Simonds ’19 had the first six points, and Hausman scored the next seven. Colby had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but John Gallego’s ’16 shot was no good. That this game is so low tells you a lot about how many quality finishes there were.

9. January 23: Colby 64 over Amherst 62, Waterville, ME

Colby entered this game 0-4 in conference while Amherst was 4-0. With that being said, this wasn’t nearly as big an upset as two years ago when a young Colby team shocked an eventual Final Four Amherst team in Waterville. The Team from Central Mass was ice cold, shooting 33.3/26.5/52.9 for the game. Luke Westman ’16 had just two points and fouled out halfway through the second half, but John Gallego ’16 stepped up to score 13 points. The Mules also benefited from Chris Hudnut ’16 playing well while still getting back to full strength and scoring 17 points. A controversial Connor Green ’16 offensive foul call helped to seal the deal for Colby in the final minutes as Gallego hit his free throws. A last second three by Green for the win failed to land, and Colby got their first conference win.

8. February 7: Colby 99 over Hamilton 95, Clinton, NY.

The highest scoring game of the NESCAC season, this was one of many games that went to overtime under weird circumstances. Down four with under 20 seconds left, Chris Hudnut ’16 hit a three to make it a one-point game. Hamilton missed one of two free throws, and Ryan Jann ’16 got fouled on a three point attempt essentially as time expired. He hit the first two but missed the third and the game went to overtime. The Mules controlled the extra period to give themselves new life in the NESCAC playoff race.  Patrick Stewart ’16 was dripping from three point land going 6-6 from beyond the arc to lead the way with 22 points. All five Colby starters finished in double figures.

7. January 15: Middlebury 85 over Tufts 82, Middlebury, VT.

At halftime the score was 40-40, and at the end of regulation it was 72-72. The theme of this game was Middlebury’s bench scoring 35 total points. An astonishing nine Panthers scored at least five points, a feat made even more incredible by the fact that the game was close the entire way through. The game went to overtime because of a cold-blooded three by Vincent Pace ’18 coming off a high ball screen. With ten seconds left in overtime and Middlebury up three points, the Jumbos got a great look to tie the game up. The three from Stephen Haladyna ’16 went in and out, and the Panthers got the big home victory.

6. January 10: Trinity 76 over Williams 75, Hartford, CT.

The final game of the first weekend was a dandy with the young Ephs pushing the veteran Bantams all the way to the end. The victory was a coming out party for Ed Ogundeko ’17, who scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The final 10 seconds were frantic with Shay Ajayi ’16 first putting Trinity up 74-73 on a fast break layup. Then he committed a stupid blunder fouling Cole Teal ’18 70 feet away from the basket. However, Jaquann Starks ’16 raced the other way for a layup to pull out the win for the Bantams. The loss was the first of a few late heartbreaking conference losses for Williams.

5. February 6: Middlebury 67 over Colby 65, Middlebury, VT.

The first half of this one was a smothering defensive performance from the Panthers, and the score was 35-22 Middlebury at halftime. The game really got going at the beginning of the second half when Colby went on a 32-10 run to turn a 15-point deficit into a seven-point lead. Credit has to go to Middlebury for not folding at this point and coming right back with an 11-3 run that made the score 58-57 Middlebury. The rest of the game was neck and neck. After Adisa Majors ’18 tied things up 65-65 with 0:30 left, Colby could have held for the final shot. However, Luke Westman ’16 drove and missed a layup. Jack Daly ’18 leaked out on the rebound for an easy bucket, and that proved to be the final difference.

4. January 30: Amherst 89 over Trinity 82, Hartford, CT.

The game between the top teams in the NESCAC fell on travel weekend with Trinity undefeated at 5-0 and Amherst at 4-1. This game was uptempo and close throughout, but it lacked any real drama. Amherst led the entire second half, and the Bantams never got the lead below five points. The Team from Central Mass was not slowed down at all by Connor Green ’16 having just seven points. Johnny McCarthy ’18 and Jayde Dawson ’18 both scored more than 20 points to pace Amherst. Ultimately, this game was the only conference loss for Trinity, but it didn’t hurt them since Amherst lost on the road to Colby and Tufts, thereby ceding homecourt advantage to the Bantams.

3. January 22: Wesleyan 78 over Tufts 77, Middletown, CT.

Another fantastic finish in this one. The decision by Vincent Pace ’18 to go for the steal with Tufts up two points, five seconds left, and Wesleyan in-bounding the ball with 90 feet to go was a bad one. That sent BJ Davis ’16 to the line where he calmly hit both free throws. In overtime, Joseph Kuo ’17 made a layup with under 30 seconds left to give the Cardinals the win. Kuo, Rashid Epps ’16, and backup big man Nathan Krill ’18 combined for 50 points and 23 rebounds as the size of Wesleyan was too much for the perimeter-heavy Jumbos. Both teams shot terribly from the foul line and committed a ton of turnovers in an ugly contest.

2. January 16: Amherst 88 over Conn College 86, Amherst, MA.

In the moment, the Camels pushing Amherst to the brink seemed like an indication that Conn College was going to make a major run this year. That didn’t happen, but this game was still a lot of fun to watch. Defense was optional in the first half after which Conn College led 49-45. Lee Messier ’18 was 5-5 from the field in that first half to lead the Camels with 13 points. But it was Jayde Dawson ’18 who took over down the stretch with 19 second half points. At the very end of this one, Conn College tried to run an inbounds play designed for David Labossiere ’19 to tap in an alley-oop, but his attempt missed and Amherst escaped on their home floor. This game more than any, between the presumed top team in the NESCAC and a team that went winless in NESCAC play last season, is an indication of how close teams played each other this year.

1. February 5: Wesleyan 66 over Williams 63, Middletown, CT

The number one game didn’t go to overtime, but it was a barn burner nevertheless. Williams and Wesleyan have played some great games over the past two years, and this one was probably the best. In front of a raucus home crowd, it was all BJ Davis down the stretch. In their first meeting this season, Davis had already beaten the Ephs on a runner with less than two seconds remaining. In this game, Davis scored the final 15 (!) points for Wesleyan to turn a 56-51 deficit into the eventual 66-63 Wesleyan win. The combination of the home atmosphere, the recent history of these two rivals (this win gave Wesleyan the Little 3 title), and the quality of the shot made this a clear choice for the top spot. I mean, just watch the video of Davis’ shot and try to tell me there was a better moment than that this year.

The North Remembers: Stock Report 2/15

Matt Palecki helped the Polar Bears to a 2-0 weekend and a NESCAC playoff bid. (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)
Matt Palecki ’16 helped the Polar Bears to a 2-0 weekend and a NESCAC playoff bid. (Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics)

What a weekend for Maine rivals, Bowdoin and Colby, as the two swept Conn College and Wesleyan to both get into the NESCAC tournament with Bowdoin as the No. 7 seed and Colby the No. 8 seed. Both teams have shown plenty of promise this season, but it wasn’t until this weekend that we saw how good these teams can really play. When I watched these two go to overtime back on January 30, it was hard to imagine that both of them could possibly miss the NESCAC tournament. Now they both got in and are beginning to look dangerous.

Let’s start with Colby. The Mules looked dead at 1-6 in conference after blowing a last minute lead at Middlebury last weekend. Then they finished with three straight wins, with their two this weekend being comfortable ones. The all-senior starting five gets all the press, but senior guard John Gallego ’16 deserves some recognition himself. The quick backup is one of many short NESCAC point guards making an impact this season (Jaquann Starks ’16, Jack Dwyer ’18, Tyler Rowe ’19, etc.). He had nine points apiece against Wesleyan and Conn College. Against Amherst, Colby’s first NESCAC win, Gallego had 13 big points. The senior is a difference maker for the Mules.

The real surprise is probably the defense that Colby has played. I’ve said it before, but it doesn’t make sense that a team with five seniors starting should be so bad defensively. Yes, they play three big men essentially in their starting lineup meaning they give up quickness to teams. Still, they should be able to make up for it by playing as a unit on that end. This weekend they did, keeping Conn College to 73 points and then Wesleyan to just 64 points. The Mules certainly benefitted from some poor shooting on the part of the Cardinals considering Wesleyan shot 7-33 from three point land, but give credit to Colby for coming up big on the defensive end this weekend after having that be their Achilles Heel in some games.

As for Bowdoin, a team dear and near to my heart, they got big contributions from their role players while relying on their big two. Lucas Hausman ’16 and Jack Simonds ’19 combined averaged 48.5 ppg in the two wins. And while I know it sounds crazy, neither of them shot THAT well this weekend, going 8-25 (32 percent) from the three point line. What they did do exceptionally was get to the free throw line and finish there. The two went 27-30 from the charity stripe, and they drove Wesleyan and Conn College crazy with their ability to get calls.

However, the real stars, especially yesterday, were point guard Tim Ahn ’19 and center Matt Palecki ’16. Ahn looked like he was losing his spot in the rotation to Jack Bors ’19 a few weeks ago, but an injury to Bors has kept him out and opened the door for Ahn to play his best basketball. Coaches often say that by the end of the season, being a freshman isn’t an excuse anymore. Ahn hasn’t played like a freshmen down the stretch. He did something I haven’t see him do all season: attack and finish at the rim. He has shown the quickness to get past his initial defender, but until yesterday Ahn wasn’t looking for his at the rim. He scored 10 points in Friday and Saturday’s game.

Meanwhile, Palecki was his typical workmanlike self with 12 points and 14 rebounds against Conn College. In both games this weekend, Bowdoin controlled the boards, something they haven’t done much of this year. Palecki makes up for his lack of leaping ability by using his wide body to keep offensive rebounders out of the paint. He used that same wide body to slow down the likes of Joseph Kuo ’17 and Zuri Pavlin ’17 with great effectiveness. While Palecki can sometimes fall in love with ill-advised threes, he does a lot of the dirty work for the Polar Bears.

One problem for Colby and Bowdoin is they now have to go on the road in the NESCAC playoffs. For both of them, three of their four conference wins came at home. Whatever, we’ll get there in a couple of days. The two Maine teams made good and salvaged what looked like lost seasons. Even though they are the seventh and eighth seed, Bowdoin or Colby is capable not just of upsetting a top team but going all the way for a Cinderella run.

Stock Up

Shooting Guard Lucas Hausman ’16 (Bowdoin)

Averaging 26.5 ppg in a NESCAC weekend would be incredible for most players, but it’s just another normal weekend for Hausman at this point. He finishes the 2015-2016 regular season averaging 25.1 ppg overall and 26.0 ppg in NESCAC games. Those are historic numbers: the best averages that anybody has put up on record in the NESCAC which goes back to 2000. Hausman is far from a perfect player; he does go to a D3 school after all. His defense is subpar, his rebounding numbers are not good, and he doesn’t create well for others on offense. One or two plays every game he looks like a legitimately bad basketball player. But to deny how freaking good he is at putting the ball in the basket is stupid. Nobody makes tough shots like he does, and he makes those shots efficiently to boot. Regardless of what happens in the NESCAC tournament, Hausman is the Player of the Year.

Small Forward Stephen Haladyna ’16 (Tufts)

The Jumbos had just one game this weekend, and they took care of business against Williams to secure a home NESCAC playoff game. Haladyna led the way with 22 points, the only time this year that he has scored more than 20 points in a contest. He had been pretty quiet in NESCAC games before Friday. Tufts is at their best when they are able to be balanced scoring the ball. Guys like Haladyna and Ryan Spadaford ’16 need to be big part of the offense for Tufts to make a run. The Jumbos sit at 19-5 overall and look to be in good shape for making the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens in the next two weekends, but a win again over Williams would secure their spot for sure I think.

Stock Down

Middlebury Defense

The Panthers weren’t quite up to the task this weekend, and the most disappointing thing has to be the number of points they let up. Amherst scored 83 and Trinity had a blistering 97 points. Now, the Bantams were clearly hot shooting the ball (55.7 percent from the floor in this game), but it is still a little disappointing to see Middlebury give up that many points in regulation. The two games weren’t even that exceptional in terms of pace as Amherst shot the ball 60 times and Trinity 61 times. The two losses aren’t surprising in and of themselves, but I wasn’t expecting their defense to be the major problem. The Panthers have to get that sorted out by this weekend.

Conn College

What a tough end to the season for the Camels. They made so many strides this season, but they end up falling just short of making the playoffs. The Camels pushed Tufts and Amherst to the brink and had a quality home win over Middlebury, but they ended up losing their final five NESCAC games to finish 3-7. The Camels are big, tough on defense, and capable of scoring in bunches. They lose senior leader Bo McKinley ’16, a player that has been a constant through some very dark days for the program. Credit to him for doing anything he could to make the team better over the past few years. This team will be a terror for teams next year in large part because of him. And they will be a terror with their young nucleus having another year to grow. Zuri Pavlin ’17 and Dan Janel ’17 are a load to handle in the frontcourt. Tyler Rowe ’19 and Lee Messier ’18 are going to score a lot of points, too. Conn College missed the playoffs this year, but they will get there soon enough.

Cardinals Soaring after 2-0 Weekend: Stock Report 1/26

PG BJ Davis '16 is driving the Cardinals on their current revival tour. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)
PG BJ Davis ’16 is driving the Cardinals on their current revival tour. (Courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

The NESCAC conference schedule is a fickle beast with only 10 games. With most teams playing twice within a 24-hour span, things can quickly change for a team. Perhaps nobody better exemplifies that than Wesleyan. We already knew after Monday’s blowout victory over Amherst that the Cardinals were not about to fold, despite the 1-3 conference start.

The game Friday night against Tufts was a perfect display of 2015-2016 NESCAC basketball: two veteran teams with different styles going down to the wire with both teams making critical mistakes that changed the outcome. Wesleyan outlasted the Jumbos in overtime to get the win 78-77, but the game only went to overtime because of a gamble that backfired magnificently on Vinny Pace ’19. With five seconds left and the score 70-68 in favor of Tufts, Tarik Smith ’17 missed his second free throw. Wesleyan did not call timeout and quickly looked to outlet the ball to BJ Davis ’16. Pace was aggressive and went for the steal on the outlet pass, but he was a split-second late and fouled Davis instead. Of course, Davis made both to send the game to overtime.

The win over Tufts was huge, obviously, and the Cardinals kept up their momentum the next day by cruising to a win over Bates. After pounding the ball inside vs. Tufts, Wesleyan shot 56.1 percent from three and made 13 threes as a team in the 82-67 win – assuaging some fears about their recently horrendous three point shooting.

Now the Cardinals are ranked #25 in the Top 25, Davis just won NESCAC Player of the Week Honors, and Coach Joe Reilly is the D3 Coach of the Week. Not a terrible weekend.

Looking ahead, Wesleyan has tough but winnable games left against Williams and Conn College. Then they play the bottom three teams in the conference (Hamilton, Bowdoin and Colby). No win in the NESCAC is an easy one this year, but the Cardinals are feeling way better about where they are right now than they did just one week ago.

Stock Up


Oh, who is that team alone at the top of the NESCAC standings? That would be the Bantams, who “just win baby win.” Guys like small forward Eric Gendron ’18 are giving the Bantams a much more dynamic offensive attack. That smashmouth defense is not quite as fearsome as in years past, but the Bantams still get after it on that end. As usual, the Bantams are getting no love on a national level as they are not in the Top 25 of the poll. Why a team that came within a shot of making the Final Four last season and is undefeated halfway through the conference season is unranked is beyond me. The Bantams have some questionable early season losses, I get that. That is almost by design, however. Coach Jim Cosgrove plays a long bench in order to get his secondary guys experience, and sometimes that means the Bantams lose a suspect game. Still, the Bantams are 15-4 and should be ranked.

Colby’s Toughness

The Mules badly needed a win this weekend, and they got one against Amherst. What impresses me the most is that the Mules got close to beating Trinity on Friday night, also. After losing a tough game in the weekend opener, it would have been easy for the Mules to not show up against the most talented team in the league. Instead it was an inspired performance with Chris Hudnut ’16 fighting through his recent injuries to lead the way with 17 points. Starting point guard Luke Westman ’16 fouled out of the game with nearly nine minutes left, but backup John Gallego ’16 had eight points in the second half, including the free throws down the stretch that helped secure the victory. Sure, Colby benefited from bad shooting from Amherst to get the win, but you still have to give all the credit to the veteran Mule squad.

Conn College Forward David Labossiere ’19 

The Camels split this weekend, falling just short against Tufts on Saturday but taking care of Bates handily. On Friday night Labossiere scored a career high 23 points to lead the way. On Saturday, he was quieter with 13 points, nine of them in the second half. Labossiere is great at getting to the rim, combining the leaping ability to get clean looks with the balance to finish those looks easily. He isn’t shooting a lot of threes (less than 2.0 per game), but he is making over 50 percent of them. In NESCAC games, Labossiere is third on the team with 12.3 ppg. The balance that the Camels have been playing with recently is exceptional and a big reason why teams have struggled to slow them down. The Camels are going to be a handful for the rest of the season, and they project to be a major player over the next couple of years.

Stock Down

Bowdoin Defense

Between the second half against Amherst Friday night and the first half against Trinity Saturday, the Polar Bears allowed 107 points in the equivalent of a 40-minute game. Amherst scored 56 in the second half by crashing the offensive boards and taking advantage of their size. The Bantams scored 51 in the first half because they made every open three that Bowdoin gave them. Defending the three point line has been a problem for this team all year. What is just as frustrating is the continued lapses in defending simple pick and rolls or allowing players easy back cuts. Given the makeup of this team, Bowdoin is never going to be a good defensive team, but their performance in those two halves is inexcusable. At 1-4, the Polar Bears need to figure it out very soon, or else they risk missing the NESCAC tournament all together.

Amherst Point Guard Jayde Dawson ’18 

Dawson really looked like he had turned the corner as the point guard for Amherst. Heading into Saturday, he had shot above 50 percent in three straight games while leading the team in scoring twice. Then Saturday against Colby, his shot went cold. He finished 3-18 from the field (2-11 from three), and Coach Dave Hixon played Reid Berman ’17 over him down the stretch because of his ineffectiveness. Dawson is still going to start and be the guy in the game at the end of most games, but Saturday drove home how limited of a point guard he is. If his shot isn’t falling, Dawson is capable of changing his approach and finding ways to get his teammates the ball … A.K.A. be a point guard. He is a scorer first and a passer second. Not surprisingly, Dawson finished Saturday with zero assists. Almost as damning in a weird way is that he had zero turnovers meaning he continued to take shots instead of trying to create for his teammates.

Strong Starting Five for Mules: Colby Season Preview


Editor’s Note: Things can be a little confusing now that the season is underway. Consider the rest of our previews as season predictions based off of a compilation of conversations with coaches and players and observations from the first couple of games.
All statistics that appear next to players’ names are from the 2014-15 season.

The high point for the Mules last season was a span of less than 24 hours after they had beaten Hamilton to move to 3-0 in NESCAC play and stood atop the NESCAC standings. From then on, the schedule stiffened and the wheels came off for a 1-6 finish and the eighth seed in the NESCAC tournament.

Oh, and their best player Chris Hudnut ’16 was lost to a knee injury for the second half of the NESCAC season. The Mules never caved in any games, and they came incredibly close to upsetting Trinity in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs. A few important players are gone because of graduation, but the core, made up of a huge 2016 class, is back to try to get Colby out of the middle of the NESCAC standings.

2014-2015 Season: 13-12 overall, 4-6 NESCAC (t-8th); lost to Trinity in NESCAC quarterfinals 66-63; did not qualify for NCAAs.

Head Coach: Damien Strahorn (Colby ’02), 5th year, 41-57 (.418)

Returning Starters: Five

G Luke Westman ’16 (13.1 ppg, 73.2% FG, 1.9 A/TO, 4.8 rpg)
G Ryan Jann ’16 (13.4 ppg, 38.5% 3PT, 5.8 rpg)
F Patrick Stewart ’16 (11.4 ppg, 43.3% 3PT, 6.9 rpg, stats from 2013-2014)
F Sam Willson ’16* (11.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 87.9% FT)
F/C Chris Hudnut ’16 (19.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.8 apg)

*Started all 25 games after Stewart ’16 injured his back in prior to the start of the regular season.

When healthy, these five seniors are the best group of seniors any NESCAC team can throw out there, and they offer balance and ball-sharing in a lot of places. Willson and Stewart are both more power forwards than wings, which won’t be much of a problem on offense because both of them are able to hit from deep. On defense though, the Mules will have to worry about keeping up with smaller teams that will push the ball and try to take advantage of the Mules lack of defensive speed.

Projected Starting Five:

PG Luke Westman ’16

This point guard comes into his senior year as a co-captain of this Colby team. Westman is a player who has the ability to fill the score sheet in different ways. He is never going to shoot threes, but he does almost everything else. While being the most consistent mid-range shooter for Colby, he also will be an important player in facilitating the offense, as well as strengthening the backcourt defensively with his ability to force turnovers. He’s arguably the most athletic point guard in the NESCAC also.

SG Ryan Jann ’16

Last season, Jann led the team in 3PT field goal percentage (38.5) which helped open things up underneath for teammate Chris Hudnut ’16. Averaging a team second best 13.4 ppg, Jann’s role as a scorer will surely be called on again, and in heavier doses considering the loss of Colby’s other 3-point weapon Connor O’Neil ’15. The key is balancing that volume with efficiency so that Jann is not taking shots away from Hudnut.

G/F Sam Willson ’16

After Patrick Stewart ’16 was lost for the season with a back injury, Willson was asked to step into the four spot and fill the empty space in the starting rotation. Willson quickly adjusted to his role underneath providing the Colby offense with a weapon to complement Chris Hudnut inside the paint. Even when Hudnut went down and Willson had to play center, he fought valiantly and was able to do enough to keep Colby in games.

F Patrick Stewart ’16

Stewart comes into this year as one of the biggest uncertainties for the Mules. It’s already been well documented that he missed his entire junior season with a back injury, after being a consistent starter since his freshman year. While he’s stationed down low on paper, Stewart has the ability to drift out beyond the arc and knock down the long shot. That threat from three is something most NESCAC coaches dream of in their forwards, and Stewart has it for real.

F/C Chris Hudnut ’16

Co-captain Chris Hudnut has been the go-to guy for Colby since he was brought into the program three years ago. The team leader in points per game and rebounds per game, his presence will be greatly appreciated after he went down last year with an ACL tear 17 games into the season. The best part of his game has to be his crafty moves in the post, but don’t count him out for a three pointer here and there, as Hudnut has the confidence to take any shot on the floor if left open.

Breakout Player: G Joe Connelly ’17

Assuming the Mules don’t catch the health bug this year like they did in their 2014-2015 campaign, the starting five is projected to be all seniors. That being said, one player that seems poised for a breakout year is junior guard Joe Connelly. Connelly appeared in all 25 games for Colby last year, and although he didn’t have electric numbers that would cause opposing defenses to fear him, it’s clear that Coach Strahorn has a lot of confidence in his game. Connelly is a player whose motor can run with the best in the NESCAC, and who’s not afraid to get inside the paint to help out with the rebounding game of the Mules. With or without injuries to the starting five, I believe Connelly will be a player who will provide a spark for this team.

Everything Else:

If you haven’t gathered it by now, the big story for Colby going into their 2015-2016 season is whether or not they can stay healthy. While the losses of Stewart and Hudnut last year were significant blows to the team’s success, it gave upcoming players an opportunity to step up and make their presence known. The depth of this team is something that their head coach has noted as being a strength going into this year. Besides Connelly, guards Pat Dickert ’18 and John Gallego ’16 provide more offensive play-making off the bench.

The Class of 2016, which makes up the entire starting five, plus a few more, was the first recruiting class of Coach Strahorn. The seniors will be the driving force of this team, and while they have all contributed up to this point, it will be interesting to see how successful they will be as one unit out on the court together.

One big question going into this year is whether or not Colby can find a way to shore up their defense. We said the same thing last season, but I can’t say we saw any improvement as they were ranked second to last in the NESCAC in points per game (72.1). Offensively they have the weapons both inside the paint and beyond the arc to challenge opposing defenses, but in the end defense is going to be something to watch for the Mules this season.