On Saturday, March 2, Men’s Basketball won their first round game in the NCAA championship against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The team will now advance to play against Alvernia University on March 9. The game was incredibly close even though the team had a decisive lead of 85-76 by the end of the game.
At the end of the first half, the team trailed MIT by one point, 35-36. First-year forward Troy Spurrier closed the gap to be only one point behind by scoring the last four points of the half. Spectator and Junior Nick Pfisterer, who was wearing a Maryland flag as a cape as well as a sombrero, commented, “So far it’s going good, but the refs aren’t doing a great job.” This sentiment appeared to be shared by the rest of the crowd, who often shouted, “I’m blind, I’m deaf, I want to be a Ref.”
In terms of playing the game, Pfisterer said, “Our team needs to better pick and choose its shots, we need greater intensity of defense and smarter play on offence.”
Senior and teammate Devin Spencer commented that, “As long as the team stays focused and stays with the game plan, everything will work itself out.”
At the half, another Spectator, Matt Braun, said that his favorite moment of the game so far was, “Brendan [McFall]’s three pointer to tie the game 21-21” His and the rest of the crowds excitement was noticeable when sophomore guard Nick Laguerre scored 17 points in second-half, taking the lead even though MIT was nine points ahead. Laguerre finished the game as the team’s leading scorer with 19 points. Junior guard Donn Hill followed with 17 points, and Mcfall was the third highest with 13.
At 18:36 of the second-half, junior Jeff Haus made a shot, maintaining St. Mary’s position one point behind MIT. After this, MIT took its largest lead of the game on an 18-10 run, establishing a lead of nine points at 11:53. It was at this point that LaGuerre scored 12 points, allowing the team to take first place even though they had not had it since the 10:11 mark of the first half. Seahawks then went 11-16 in the final 2:36 minutes in order to secure the lead.
Hawkette and Junior Laura Rodriguez said, “It was a really close game.” She spoke about one of her favorite parts, stating, “I think it was funny when the crowd yelled ‘safety school’.”
Spencer described the game as, “a hard felt battle, it’s what you’d expect from a national team.” He also commented more generally on the team being Capital Athletic Conference champions, what allows them to play in the NCAA tournament. He said, “It feels good to bring the title back to St. Mary’s, it takes talent to do what our team has accomplished this season.”
Many seemed very excited about how the team will do in the NCAA tournament. Pfisterer commented, “We’ll be following St. Mary’s to the National Championship.”