by Caitlin McCarthy
Following an impressive eight game winning streak by the Sewanee Men’s Basketball Team, the Tigers faced a difficult loss to our rivals, the Rhodes Lynx. Prior to this meeting between the heathen and the church, the Tiger’s scores had been that of revelry and triumph. A full and spirited turn out at the earlier home game, where the Tigers pummeled the Lynx, carried over to fire up the men’s team for this contest. Head coach Bubba Smith and assistant coach Bradley Pierson, leaders of our dominating Tigers, looked to match their previous success in a road matchup against the rival Lynx. This second contest’s final score showed a loss to Rhodes, 58-66, but does not justly reflect the intensely aggressive A-game brought against our rivals.
After making the trek to Memphis, the game commenced with an immediate basket quickly followed by a 3 point jump shot, both by Valentino Bryant (C’14). A mere minute later another 3 pointer was made by Lewis Affronti (C’13). This immediate early lead prompted a very nervous Rhodes squad to call a timeout. Unfortunately, the Lynx proceeded to catch up with the Tigers just afterwards, a trend they continued throughout the game.
Following this early shift of momentum, Rhodes player Ryan Van Hoeck overdramatically dunked a basket, falsely presuming that this would intimidate the Tigers. This effort was no determent to Sewanee, who put the Lynx in their place seconds later when Bryant made 2 layups in a row. With the clock reading 8:46 remaining in the half the Tigers, who had been leading since the get-go, faced a tie score. The game remained close throughout the rest of the contest during intense back-and-forth.
Brett Bouldin (C’13) made a 3 pointer as the fluctuating game continued. Sewanee wisely upped their defense for the remainder of the second quarter. The first half was concluded by a sweet jump shot scored by Keshonn Carter (C’16) with just three seconds to go!
Anxiety was running high as the second half began, Tigers 23, Lynx 26. Determined to put the Lynx in their place, successive baskets were scored by Bouldin, Affronti, and Bryant. As these players upped the scores, the Lynx grew increasingly nervous and aggressive. With a total score of 30 points the Tigers continued to give 100%, but could not keep the creeping Lynx at bay, as they tied the game with 17 and a half minutes left.
The Lynx answered each Tigers’ basket during the rest of this high-energy, high-stakes game. Just as the Lynx started to take the lead, Nilan Hodge (C’16) made a layup, and then prompted his teammates to work together on the defensive end. As the team meshed together, beautifully executing plays and passes, Tyler Brown (C’16) and Bouldin made shots one after the other. Hope was instilled in our beloved Tigers as they advanced on the overconfident Rhodes team.
By the 3:38 mark the Tigers found themselves tied, once again, after the Lynx successfully made a layup, bringing the score up to a nerve-wracking 50-50. Unfortunately, the consistent pressure of the away game rendered the Tigers unable to keep the Lynx from racking up late points. The Tigers continued to give their all, but the Lynx had upped their aggressiveness. Despite a 3 point shot made by Affronti with 28 seconds to go, the Lynx finished with 66 points, narrowly defeating Sewanee’s score of 58. Disappointment trickled through the Domain following our beloved team’s loss, but the Tigers can take comfort in their enormously successful season thus far. Rhodes may have won, but they were still left in the lurch. YSR!