Men’s basketball looks to maintain momentum

Published: February 18, 2016

JILLIAN WALL
Sports Correspondent

FARRELL

FARRELL

The men’s basketball team aims for success as the playoffs are right around the corner.

With a 19-5 record and the regular season coming to an end, the Royals hope to transition their momentum into the playoffs.

Senior co-captain Brian Farrell explains there are high expectations as the Royals continue their season, as a Landmark Conference championship victory would mark a three-peat—their third victory in three continuous years—for the Royals.

“If we won the Landmark Conference this year, we would be the first team under (Carl) Danzig to three-peat. It would be the ultimate way to leave our mark in the history books at the University of Scranton,” Farrell said.

Farrell attributes the team’s success in the season thus far to two main sources: leadership from the team captains and the team’s dominant presence inside the paint on the court.

“Our leadership from captains Brendan Boken, Marcus Thomas, Patrick Calvey and myself have been key in our push toward playoffs. Our inside presence from Brendan Boken and John Vitkus with solid contributions from Drew Schankweiler and Brandon Feinberg off of the bench have been a main reason to success,” Farrell explained.

Junior center John Vitkus also attributes the team’s success to its defense.

“Our defensive intensity has been working really well for our team this season. It has forced teams to take low percentage shots which work very much in our favor,” Vitkus said.

As for improvements that should be made as the team progresses, there are not many the players can think of.

“I think we are playing our best basketball right now,” Farrell said.

Vitkus agreed stating, “As of right now I really do not see anything that we need to change as a team. We’ve been successful with what we’ve been doing and we hope to keep it up.” Later, he added, “If there was one thing to improve upon going forward it would be our execution. Sometimes we don’t execute plays to the best of our ability late game when it really counts. That can be the difference between a game coming down to the final buzzer or blowing a team out.”

Eleven of the team’s 19 wins have been by double digits.

The Royals have even managed to beat two nationally ranked teams: No. 11 Christopher Newport and No. 17 Susquehanna.

Vitkus explains that this kind of momentum is because of the team’s sharp mindset.

“We do a very good job of focusing on the next game we have and nothing more. We don’t overlook any opponent and have been playing each game as if it could be our last. If we keep this mindset and style of play going into the playoffs we’re going to be the team that no one wants to play,” Vitkus said.

Another aspect that makes this team so unique is the bond shared between teammates.

“The bond our team has off the court is what makes our chemistry on the court so special. The bond that we share is a tradition and a brotherhood that will carry on later throughout our lives. It’s a bond only a few are lucky enough to have at this school. A bond that makes all those late nights and tough days worth it,” Farrell said.

“It’s nice knowing you’ve got 14 other guys that have your back,” Vitkus added.

With the added pressure of becoming possible three-peat Landmark Conference champions in the back of its members’ mind, the team understands just how special it would be to be successful is the playoffs this year is, especially for the senior players.

“Not many people can say they’ve won three back to back conference championships and that would be a very special memory to have. As a team, I think that we all want to see the seniors go out with a conference championship, we underclassmen owe it to them,” Vitkus said.

“These senior guys have given this program everything they have from their freshman year, it’s only fair that we return the favor and do everything in our power to win them another championship,” Vitkus said.

Contact the writer: jillian.wall@scranton.edu

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