Feb. 8 was a tough day for the Trojans as they suffered their second consecutive loss against the University of Saint Francis. The final score was 82-84.
Less than a minute into the game, the Cougars had two successful free throws. The Trojans soon followed with a shot by sophomore Jason Hubbard, resulting in a 2-2 score.
As the first half continued, the Trojans began falling behind as the Cougars scored 7 more points, giving them a 92 lead.
At 12:18, the Trojans seemed to be pulling ahead with a free throw by junior James McCloud resulting in a 15-14 score. However, their comeback only lasted 19 seconds. Just after McCloud’s two-pointer, the Cougars broke the Trojans’ lead.
From there, the struggle continued until the end of the first half. The first half ended with a 43-43 tie.
The Trojans continued to fight in the second half, but to no avail.
Head Coach Josh Andrews said he was impressed with the team’s resolve.
According to Andrews, they couldn’t keep the Cougar’s lead guy, sophomore Antwaan Cushingberry, from getting past their defenses.
Sophomore CJ Penha, a top scorer for the Trojans, said he admired Cushingberry’s skill and said the team simply couldn’t keep him from shooting over them, giving the team quite the struggle.
Even with the loss, toughness and a willingness to struggle are characteristics that reinforce Andrews’ pride in his team
“We feel like we are playing some really good basketball,” Andrews said. “Most teams at this point don’t continue to get better, but I think we are continuing to improve.”
Despite their Feb. 8 loss, things seem to be looking up for the Trojans. On Feb.11, three days later, the Trojans rose again to a 98-69 victory at home against Goshen College.
The Trojans managed to achieve and maintain an early lead, enabling something very special to happen: everyone on the team had some playing time.
“It was really fun to be able to play all of our guys,” Andrews said.
He also said this was a unique opportunity to allow everyone on the team to take part in winning the victory.
The contrast between this game and the St. Francis game can make someone ask: why did everyone get to play in this game, but not others?
“We had an early lead and it’s just fun to have everybody to participate in the win,” said Andrews.
Andrews also said Goshen had a lot of injured players.
Senior Mason Degekolb said being able to take care of business and having everybody on the court made the game a memorable one.
At the end of the night, it was also announced that with the Trojans’ victory over Goshen, Andrews had won 100 games.
“It’s a cool milestone,” Andrews said. “The guys are the ones who get wins. I’m proud of the guys and I am grateful for the opportunity to coach here.”
Andrews also said he and the Trojans look forward to competing in the last three games of the season.
One of those last three will be against Indiana Wesleyan which will take place on Feb. 22. Will the Trojans start a winning streak? Stay tuned.