Bridgewater State University (BSU) men’s basketball competed in the Babson College Invitational over the weekend to commence the 2015-16 season. After a devastating 76-67 loss in the first game against Anna Maria, BSU concluded the tournament with a 66-64 victory against Framingham State University.
Bear’s basketball had four starting seniors graduate last year, including Michael Lofton, who was named the MASCAC men’s basketball player of the year in the 2014-2015 season. The fresh faced team has a lot to learn from their predecessors.
Head Coach Joe Farroba, who was recently been inducted to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame discussed the budding team following the tournament.
“We look young out there and have been frequently missing foul shots, however if we stay focused and more consistent, then I think there is defi-nitely playoff potential,” said Coach Farroba. “This year is definitely going to be tough with the upcoming games against some great teams. But, we’ve been picked to finish third in the MASCAC and the team is working hard and developing to meet or exceed those expectations.”
In the first of two matchups in the season opening tournament, Anna Maria overwhelmed the youthful Bears as they put a whopping 50 points on the scoreboard in the first half. BSU could not come back from the deficit and lost the season opener by nine points.
The inexperienced team put the loss to Anna Maria behind them, and got the win against Framingham State the following day. Many promising and skilled players contributed to the victory, including junior Fawaz Mass.
Mass put up 15 points in the loss against Anna Maria, and followed with a 19-point performance beating Framingham State. The potential star for-ward was named the MASCAC player of the week, and explained how the team overcame the loss against Anna Maria to get the win against Framingham.
“We realized we didn’t play well in the first half against Anna Maria, but played a better second half,” said Mass. “So we wanted to capitalize off that against Framingham and we were able to.”
The player of the week is excited for the new season, and further discussed his hopes for him and his team this year.
“I want to try to improve as a player and leader with each game and for the team to get better with each game in terms of defense and chemistry,” said Mass. “At the end of the season I hope we compete for the MASCAC title and win it.”
Coach Farroba, who has been part of BSU basketball for 30 years, brought up why he loves to coach in Division III.
“You hear all the time on the news about the struggles of Division I athletes and how they deserve to get paid, but you never hear of Division III athletes.” said Coach Farroba. “Division III athletes work almost or just as hard as Division I athletes but you never hear them complain. They don’t care about accolades, they truly just play for the love of the game.”
BSU basketball traveled to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Tuesday in Cambridge, suffering a harsh 64-47 non-conference defeat.
The Bears will look to get back on track when they face host Ithaca College in first round action of the Cortaca Classic on Friday at 8pm at Ithaca’s home court Ben Light Gymnasium.
Andrew Higginbottom is a Staff Writer for The Comment newspaper.