The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Annie Hubert, Guest Writer • April 13, 2024

Riddled with cracked cement and overgrown weeds, the courtyard that lies between Grewen and Reilly halls has been left untouched by the Le Moyne...

‘It Felt Like a Gift From God’: Le Moyne Students and Surrounding Community React to Eclipse
‘It Felt Like a Gift From God’: Le Moyne Students and Surrounding Community React to Eclipse
CMM-274 Class, Guest Writers • April 11, 2024

Amanda Wood started her day off in a taciturn mood at Le Moyne College, underwhelmed by all the talk of the big event. Monday was just any other...

Le Moyne College Responds to Surge in Campus Car Break-ins
Le Moyne College Responds to Surge in Campus Car Break-ins
La Quida Cummings, Guest Writer • April 10, 2024

In response to a recent series of car break-ins across campus, Derek McGork, director of Security, used a recent interview with The Dolphin to...

Spotlight: Cellist Jordan Gunns Musical Journey
Spotlight: Cellist Jordan Gunn's Musical Journey
Daniel Mondelli April 9, 2024

This Wednesday, April 10th, Le Moyne will host a performance by cellist Jordan Gunn in the Panasci Family Chapel at 7:30 pm and will be accompanied...

Flags and Acknowledgements: Le Moyne Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation with the Haudenosaunee
Flags and Acknowledgements: Le Moyne Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation with the Haudenosaunee
Isabella Allen and Carly Nicolai April 5, 2024

“We honor the Onondaga Nation, the original people on whose land Le Moyne College stands.” You may have heard this recited at school-sponsored...

Men’s Basketball Dolphins Have Home Tourney Showdown Wednesday

Le+Moyne+College+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+coach+is+surrounded+by+his+graduate+players+and+their+families%2C+in+a+ceremony+honoring+their+key+contributions.+Photo+courtesy+Greg+Wall+and+Le+Moyne+athletics.
Le Moyne College men’s basketball coach is surrounded by his graduate players and their families, in a ceremony honoring their key contributions. Photo courtesy Greg Wall and Le Moyne athletics.

In a season where the Le Moyne College men’s basketball team was picked to finish dead last in the conference in the NEC’s preseason media poll, the Dolphins rounded out conference play with a 74-58 victory at St. Francis University Saturday evening to finish with a 9-7 conference record. The win Saturday night clinched Le Moyne a home game in the Northeast Conference’s postseason conference tournament, which will be played against Fairleigh Dickinson University at 7 P.M. this Wednesday, on the Ted Grant Court at Le Moyne.

Fairleigh Dickinson is the same school that earned national attention a year ago by beating Purdue, a No. 1 seed, in the NCAA tournament, and school officials are hoping fans from the college and community will provide the Dolphins with passionate support. Luke Sutherland had 22 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal for Le Moyne, in the St. Francis win. Kaiyem Cleary scored 16 while Darrick Jones Jr. added 12 points.

“I am very happy with our team’s performance overall this year,” Le Moyne head coach Nate Champion told us through an email. “The jump to Division I was a big one for our group and they have embraced the journey and done a great job putting Le Moyne in the national spotlight.”

In preparing his team for the intensity of a Division 1 schedule, Champion cited a strong non-conference schedule headlined by early games with heavyweight programs such as Georgetown and Villanova. Champion also told us he highlights where the team struggles while preparing the team, so his players know what to improve to perform at a higher level.

The surprising Dolphins have been led by Cleary, a fifth-year senior from Manchester, England who transferred to Le Moyne from Ball State University in Indiana. Despite being new to Le Moyne, Cleary had a longstanding relationship with Champion, dating back to Champion’s days as an assistant coach for Florida Southern College. When we had a chance to talk to Cleary in November about his decision to come to Le Moyne, he told us, “It was a no-brainer.”

Cleary leads the team with 15.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game – closely followed by Sutherland at 15.0 ppg – with Cleary’s season highlight coming in a game on Jan. 27 against LIU, where he had 43 points and shattered the school record for most points scored in a single game, a record that had stood for 70 years.

When asked about what goals remained for the season, Cleary gave a very straightforward answer: “Our goal is to win the NEC Championship. Even though this is our first season in Division 1, we have already proven we are top contenders. The league had us projected last which we didn’t like, so we’re here to win it all.”

A bold statement, but not one that comes without precedent. In 2020, Le Moyne’s fellow NEC member Merrimack College shocked the college basketball world by winning the NEC’s regular season championship in its first year as a Division I member. Three years later, Merrimack would win the NEC tournament championship, despite not being eligible for the NCAA tournament.

With the NEC tournament looming, the Le Moyne men’s basketball team is looking to become the next school to shock the world as D-I’s newest member. In a season where there wasn’t much expectation, the players embraced the challenge and have achieved what some believed unthinkable.

Last Wednesday, in the set-up to the St. Francis win, Le Moyne took on Wagner in a pivotal game the Dolphins needed to win to help solidify their playoff berth. Le Moyne pulled it out, led by Jones, a senior guard.

Jones scored 21 points, his season-high, shooting 5-of-9 from 3-point land. He had this to say about his shooting success: “It’s just being in the gym every day and trying to get the same shot up day in, day out. This repetitive nature builds confidence and just really sharpens the tools for game time.”

Following the game, we asked Jones what it’s like being able to compete in the conference tournament – and what it’s going to take to make a push in the playoffs.

“As the postseason conference tournament is right around the corner, our sense of focus and motivation doubles,” he said. “We are all paying attention to the little details and banding together, and it is definitely starting to show in what we do at practice. We are taking it game by game.”

The showdown against Fairleigh Dickinson, where school officials are hoping for a big Dolphins crowd, will allow Le Moyne to try and extend its now-historic season as a first-year D-I program.

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