Men’s Basketball team comes up big in season opener


Matt Stallknecht '15, Staff Writer

The Le Moyne men’s basketball team came up big in their home opener against Mansfield on Saturday night, a night that was dedicated to fellow Le Moyne athlete Pat Wiese.

The team played in front of a packed house that was filled to capacity with students, faculty, and fans, many of whom were sporting “Pray for Pat” t-shirts in honor Wiese and his fight against bone cancer.. Before the game, Wiese received a $5,000 check raised by friends and family, with an additional $1,400 added on from donations and t-shirt sales.. The check was delivered to Wiese in a ceremony that was met with universal cheers from the crowd.

Back on the court, the Dolphins used the motivation from their friend Wiese to kick start an electrifying performance on the court.

“If we’re gonna be good this year, we’re gonna have to be good against good teams,” said Le Moyne coach Steve Evans.

The Dolphins certainly lived up to Evans’ prediction on Saturday night, and they got started early. The team started the game with a blistering 17-2 run that set the tone for the rest of the contest.

Le Moyne sophomore Connor Mahoney and grad student Jim Janson were the stars of the first half, as Mahoney nailed key three-pointers to jump-start the perimeter game, while Janson provided important post play to give the Dolphins a formidable inside-out attack. At the conclusion of the second half, the Dolphins led 43-25 as Mansfield had begun to mount a comeback.

Mansfield couldn’t quite keep up with Le Moyne’s pace, however, and the second half ended up playing out largely the same as the first half. Le Moyne senior guard Nate Champion started off the second half with a fastbreak three-pointer, and he would go on to lead a scoring assault for the Dolphins as the second half pressed on.

Champion contributed 11 points in the second half and had a total of 18 points, six assists, and three rebounds on the night to ultimately led the charge for the Dolphins throughout. The team managed to keep the pace it built up in the first half in order to coast to an 81-69 victory.

The victory proved to be important, as the Dolphins opened the season with a 71-52 loss to Seton Hill this past Tuesday. The Saturday victory thus brought the team to 1-1 with a tough non-conference schedule ahead of them this season.

“I don’t think there’s a game on our schedule that we can take lightly,” said coach Evans in an interview with the Le Moyne Sports Network. “Every single non-league game is against a team that you would not want to play.”

Le Moyne gets a break from that non-conference slate this coming week with Northeast-10 matchups against New Haven and St. Rose. They’ll look to continue their newfound momentum in hopes that they can have a great season.