By LJ VP LaFiura – 1851 Contributor
On Saturday, the men’s basketball team lost to Johnson and Wales, 73-55, at the Athletic Center. Much of Johnson and Wales’ lead can be attributed to a 39-19 halftime lead.
Senior guard EJ Day led the Lasers in scoring with 18, shooting 6 of 21 from the field. Johnson and Wales got a significant boost from first-year guard Josh Zangerle. Zangerle had a double-double with 31 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 10 of 17 from the field and 7 of 11 from behind the arc.
“We were not defending him well,” said graduate forward Kevin Vanderhorst. “We had a game plan we didn’t follow, so things like that happen.” Despite recently reaching the 1,000 point milestone on Thursday, Vanderhorst struggled, scoring eight points in the contest.
Johnson and Wales used defense to boost their offense early in the first half. The away side shut down the Laser’s offense early, allowing them to have a nine-point run in the first five minutes of play. The Men’s Basketball Team made progress in breaking down the Johnson and Wales defense in the coming minutes, but they could not cut into the deficit, trailing 19-10 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Despite Bobby Fiorito, one of Johnson and Wales’ leading scorers, being challenged by playing with two fouls, the Wildcats extended their lead over the coming minutes. Leading by 12 going into the under eight timeout, the Wildcats offense continued on a 14-6 run, increasing their lead to 39-19 by halftime.
“We weren’t really getting into our offense, it really put us in a big hole,” said senior guard Kevin Nunez. Nunez added eight points, eight rebounds, and two assists to today’s effort.
The Lasers’ offense got into a rhythm in the second half, but it was only enough to keep the deficit from getting any larger. Their best effort to get back in the game came with 10 minutes remaining. Sophomore Tate Niemela hit a pair of threes in a rally, cutting the deficit to 14 points.
“The coaches had us really prepared,” said Nunez. “At the end of the day, it comes down to us, and we just didn’t perform well.”
The loss makes the men’s basketball team’s record 12-8 ahead of their matchup against the University of St Joseph. The last time the Lasers saw the Blue Jays, they lost 90-56 on the road.