Men’s basketball returns from a successful weekend

Marie Collop, Campus Carrier Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s basketball had an exciting weekend of games on Friday and Sunday. The team won both games against two in-conference opponents, Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) and Millsaps College.

The Vikings had a come from behind win against BSC on Friday, coming back from as much as a 22 point deficit during the game. Junior Owen Jacobs led the team on Friday, scoring 23 points and earning his fifth double-double of the year. For his efforts, Jacobs was named the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) player of the week. He is the first Berry men’s basketball player to earn this honor since the team joined the conference.

                                                       Landon Fleeman, Assistant Photojournalism Editor
Berry won against Birmingham-Southern College on Friday and then defeated Millsaps
College on Sunday. 

Junior Lee McCloud made a three-point shot in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Vikings the lead that they needed. McCloud came in clutch with his free throws in the final seconds of the game, ensuring a win for Berry.

After winning an exciting game on Friday, Berry came out on Sunday and earned their first ever SAA weekend sweep, defeating Millsaps College 66-60. Both games proved to be a complete team effort with eight different team members scoring in the double digits over the weekend.

Going into the weekend, head coach Jeff Rogers said that this year the team’s biggest focus has been on improving every day.

“We have a very young team, so all year long our focus has been on getting better every day at practice and in games,” Rogers said. “Going into the second half of the conference season … we felt like having played everybody once, we had a really good opportunity to win a couple home games.”

Jacobs said his biggest expectations for the team were to “keep getting better and figure out a way to get over the hump.” He said that you always want to be playing your best basketball going into the SAA conference tournament.

With a team that has 10 freshmen, Rogers said every game has brought about a new situation for the team.

“We knew going into halftime [against BSC] that they were not 20 points better than us,” Rogers said. “We also didn’t feel like we had given them our absolute best effort.”

Jacobs said he believes that the big win against BSC was a total team effort.

“All of our guys gave significant contributions, and with everyone contributing, we really dominated the second half and were able to get a win,” Jacobs said.

The weekend would be a good stepping stone for the team, who has two more conference weekends before the tournament starts.

“Our guys are very aware that this weekend was more of a launching point for us, instead of a culmination of the end of the season,” Rogers said.

Jacobs said he believes that this weekend truly showed the team their place in conference.

“One of the main things we can take away from this weekend is the fact that we are right there knocking on the door, and can play with anyone in our league,” Jacobs said.

As for the remainder of the season and going into the conference tournament, McCloud said he believes this team can do great things.

“We believe that we are very talented, and that the sky is the limit for us moving forward as long as we continue to work hard and give our best efforts,” McCloud said. “We have felt that way all season.”

The Vikings will travel to Hendrix College and Rhodes College this weekend and will return home the following weekend to finish out conference play versus Centre College and Sewanee: The University of the South on Feb. 20 and 22. 

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