Men’s Basketball Looks To Bounce Back In Division Play

Roadrunner Forward Peter Wilmes (left) looks to grab a rebound during the game against Umpqua on Jan. 15. (Photo Courtesy of LBCC News Service)

Linn-Benton Men’s basketball started the season with a high paced offense and impressive defense that were impressive for such a young team, but conference play has not treated the Roadrunners very well, going 0-4 in the south division thus far. The team started the season with a 5-2, with a one point loss to Wenatchee Valley. Since then, the team has suffered a 1-9 overall record with a sole comeback win against Walla Walla. The Roadrunners first got beat down by a tough holiday schedule, going from tournament to tournament for weeks and playing on the road before they entered conference play against the top three teams in the NWAC South, back to back to back. The toughness of a schedule so brutal can blindside a team, and after various departures and injuries before the new year, it hit LBCC in full force.

“We forget to do the little things that tie into competing down the stretch like taking care of the ball and getting quality shots,” said freshman Kadeem Nelson.

A major aspect playing into the lack of success for the team are their shooting woes the past two games, shooting under 40%. It’s something the team knows they can fix once they tackle the offensive scheme in the film room. LBCC started the week off hot with a tightly played defensive half against the Umpqua Riverhawks, down 35-33 against the #4 team in the NWAC.

“Things sped up in the second half. We tried to match that speed but we just couldn’t match that,” said Kyree Davis, who finished the contest against Umpqua with a team high 19 points on 7-19 shooting with five steals, four assists and seven rebounds.

The next highest shooting percentage on the night for the team was sophomore Peter Wilmes going 3-7, with 7 points. With the roster missing various pieces the team had earlier, they’ve been forced to improvise against teams that have been at the top of the food chain. The gauntlet slowed down for the Roadrunners this past Saturday against the Portland Community College Panthers, who sit at sixth in the south division, but the shooting woes remained. As a team, LBCC shot 39.6% from the field and 22% from three. Sophomore Seth Cullison, led the charge off of the bench with 15 points and five rebounds. The loss gives the Roadrunners their fourth loss in division play, making them 12th overall in the division.

“We can work around [the issues], you’ve seen it. We can’t let up in the second half, we need to finish games with effort and hard work,” said Davis.

The Roadrunners look to catch a break against the Clark Penguins, who boast an impressive 8-8 record on the year. It’ll take all of the pieces to come together for the Roadrunners to capture their first division victory, one leaders and coaches alike are itching to grasp.

Story by Cam Hanson