The Taylor men’s basketball team looks to kickstart their year in stride, as they started the season with a win against Concordia University, 98-86.
Junior Jason Hubbard led all scorers with a career-high 35 points. He made 10 of 15 shots, going with 10 rebounds, four assists and one block.
“Jason having a big game was a huge boost to the team as a whole” said senior Vincent Miranda.
Junior CJ Penha followed this performance with a 22-point double-double. He said after the game that “My coach puts a lot of trust in me not only to score but to make the right plays and get the open to guys”. He put an emphasis on the upperclassmen getting minutes and performing well.
The team shot 57.4% for the entire game. They made 30 of 35 free throws, as well as outscoring Concordia 22-7 in fastbreak points. Concordia did have quite a push in the second half. They had a 22-8 run and had the lead with 11:32 to play. The Trojans quickly answered with a 14-8 run, led by sophomore Zach Baugher. This helped the Trojans get a 10 point cushion, which helped them win.
Senior James McCloud, Miranda and Baugher all finished with 12 points each. All three were in the starting lineup. McCloud and Baugher combined to go 10-13 from the field, and Miranda had a career high nine free throws, along with six rebounds and four assists.
The men’s team has not had a lot of scrimmages together, and the game showed how ready and prepared they are for the season, their conference, and for the school.
“The expectation is to lead and have a relationship with every member of the team; that they know on and off the court I’ll be there,” Miranda said.”I’ll have the guys get behind me, and me getting behind the guys, and breed confidence in the team.”
With the new style of play, Miranda believes that there is going to be a lot of different options, but more options as well.
“There is so much to prepare for, there are so many different options out of our offense. It’s going to be hard for teams to queue on one or two actions” Miranda said.
Some personal goals he has are staying engaged with the team, the players, and the season. His eyes are set to have a great year.
Josh Andrews, head coach of the Trojans, said he is impressed with how the team looks this season.
“We got a lot of length,” Andrews said. “We have built our system with versatility. We have brought back our two leading scorers that we can give the ball to. It is a very different look, a different system, but these guys are doing a great job with it.”
In the winning game against Concordia, Andrews says he would grade the game based on spirit and competitive level.
“When I say spirit, I mean are we doing the things that we are working on, are we playing in our team emphasis, moving together on both ends of the floor,” Andrews said. ”Our competitive nature; do we just have a real passion about us?”
Andrews believes this year’s team is a physical, feisty and tenacious team.
The basketball team has only had one scrimmage before this, and they have not gotten a lot of reps against other teams against them. They currently have 29 games in the schedule, and they have a lot of time to get better.
With the pieces that the Taylor men’s basketball team has this year, their hopes the future is high. Following this win against Concordia, they then play Thomas More College on Oct. 30. Regardless, the coaches and players agree; this team has what it takes to make it a special season in Odle Arena.