By AJ Pascuzzo
With a shaky start to begin their season, the Bridgewater State University men’s basketball team has improved steadily and is now rounding into form as the end of the regular season draws near.
Starting off the season with a 1-5 record, the Bears needed a change of scenery to hit their stride.
The Bears took a trip to Las Vegas over winter break to play in a tournament against Ramapo College and Linfield College. They swept the tournament and started to find their groove.
Bridgewater State put it all together in mid January, as they ripped off a five game winning streak including winning their first four conference games of the season and now stand at 13-10 and 7-3 within the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).
“The kids have put their interests aside for the team and they do what the team needs, which has been a big difference between winning and losing,” said Bridgewater State head coach Joe Farroba. “They are willing to practice hard so they are successful for the game, which is a big need.
“We need to improve our rebounding as a team. We don’t rebound the ball as well as we should. We have become more consistent on the defensive end of the court which is important because defense wins games.”
After their midseason winning streak, the Bears lost their first conference game on Jan. 25 to Salem State University, 60-59. Bridgewater State bounced back with a 87-60 blowout win over Fitchburg State University.
But recently, the Bears dropped two conference games to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Westfield State University.
However, the Bears were resilient once again, picking up an 86-72 win over Framingham State University on Saturday. They made it two wins in a row on Tuesday, with a 75-70 win over Worcester State University.
In first place in the MASCAC, the Bears feel they are in a good position with the regular season coming to a close.
“I feel as though we definitely turned our season around and we really came together as a team after our Vegas trip,” said junior forward and captain Michael Lofton. “We’re now 7-3 in the MASCAC. Our conference is definitely something we want to win this year, especially after losing in the semifinals of last year’s tournament to Fitchburg.”
Some key players who are helping with the team’s success include Lofton, junior guard Justin Clark, and senior forward Michael Grandfield, who are also the captains of the team.
Farroba mentioned that senior guard Brendan Monteiro has been a huge scoring plus for the Bears. Monteiro recently captured his 1,000th career point on Feb. 1 in a 72-67 loss at MCLA.
For the Bears though, it is still all about getting back to the MASCAC championship game.
“There is still a lot of basketball to be played,” Farroba said. “The kids have positioned themselves to make a run at a championship and I really like the improvement as a team that I am seeing since the beginning of the year.”
The team has put themselves in a good position coming down to the wire, and they hope to enjoy some postseason success.
“I feel really good going into the end of the year with our team,” Lofton said. “I really like the group of guys we have on this team and we’re all cool with each other so we feel confident.”
Bridgewater State will try to keep on improving Saturday when they travel to face Fitchburg State. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
AJ Pascuzzo is a Comment Contributor. Editor-in-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at email@example.com