December 6, 2016
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University Men’s Basketball team pulled off a thrilling 74-73 win over Illinois Tech Scarlet Hawks after Connor Dartt made a 15-foot jumper with 3.8 seconds left in the game, sending the Stars to 3-2 on the season and putting them above .500 for the first time since December of 2010.
The Stars started the game on fire from the field going 4/4 from 3-pt range and building a 14-6 lead, but the Scarlet Hawks played strong defense and took a 40-35 lead heading into halftime. The Stars came out sluggish in the second half and at one point were down as much as 13, but the Stars fought back and played suffocating defense cutting the Scarlet Hawks lead to just three with just two minutes left in the game. The Stars finished their comeback with a great block by Josh Mayberry with seconds on the clock, sealing the win for the Stars.
The gutsy win is indicative of the Stars strong team play.
“The team has started the season with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy,” Head Coach Mark White said. “The returning players all came back stronger after an offseason in the weight room and the incoming players worked hard over the summer.”
The Stars came into the season ready to compete, and the results have shown, but there are still several things that can be improved upon.
“Fundamentally, we must improve on the defensive end of the floor and make a continued commitment to defensive rebounding,” White said.
Other than improving on the defensive end, the Stars look to improve on staying focused and playing a complete 40 minute game.
“One thing that we can improve on right now is maintaining our focus the whole 40 minutes; sometimes we might stray away a little bit and then have to get back on track,” Senior guard Josh Mayberry said.
According to White, their goal is to improve every day and to work hard and focus during each practice, weight session, film session and game. With the increased experience on the team, the Stars hope to improve every day and achieve their goals.
“This team is different from last season because all of the guys are more experienced, and the freshmen came in very focused and work hard,” Mayberry said. “Our team goals for the season are to make the conference tournament and ultimately win the NACC conference tournament and make the NCAA national tournament.”
The Stars have started out the season strong, but know that the season is still young and it will not be easy.
“In order to have a successful season, each player has to buy into the season, even the ones that don’t play as much, they still play an important role on our team,” Mayberry said. “We have to remain positive in all situations.”
The Stars will look to continue their three game win streak on the road as they head to Wisconsin for their next two games to face conference rivals, Concordia University Wisconsin and Edgewood College.
The Stars next home game will be Saturday, Dec. 10 against conference rival the Milwaukee School of Engineering.