Men’s basketball collects two victories

The men’s basketball team opened its season this past weekend at the West Penn Classic, collecting victories over Washington & Jefferson College 77–66 late Friday night and Grove City College 70–52 on Saturday.
The Tartans traveled to W&J Friday. Neither team could gain a substantial lead throughout the game, with the Tartans up 36–34 at halftime.

A free throw by W&J tied the game at 64 with 3:59 left, but the Tartans controlled the game from that point on. Carnegie Mellon ended the game on a 13–2 run, holding the Presidents to zero field goals over the final four minutes.

Sophomore forward Ryan Einwag led the Tartans, shooting 7–11 with 22 points. Junior guard Geoff Kozak and senior guard Brad Matta each scored 17 points, with Kozak dishing out four assists and Matta reeling in seven rebounds.

“We were just able to execute better than them at the end of game,” Matta said. “People say we’re a young team and W&J was the team that had 99 percent of their scoring back, and four senior starters, yet we didn’t play nervous.”

On Saturday, Carnegie Mellon used a balanced attack to defeat the Grove City Wolverines 70–52. The Tartans showed their depth by receiving strong bench play, and showed their balance by having four players score in double figures.

Einwag and sophomore forward Jon Wollebon led the way with 11 points apiece. Kozak and first-year forward Jack Anderson each scored 10 points in the win, with Anderson going 4–4 from the field and hitting both of his three-point shots.

Sophomore center Rob Pearson had the best game of his career, coming off the bench to haul down 13 rebounds, block five shots, and score seven points.

“Last night against Grove City was a team win,” Matta said. “We produced offensively and defensively. A couple of us, including myself, got into foul trouble, but others stepped up and put forth the effort and we played really well.”

The Tartans held Grove City to 34 percent shooting from the field and out-rebounded the Wolverines 43–25. Carnegie Mellon held a 32–22 lead at halftime, and Grove City could get no closer than six points throughout the second half.

“These first two games, we’ve gone and competed,” Matta said. “As a co-captain, I’m so proud of these guys. We’ve played with poise and really played as a team. It’s come from just being together on and off the court and learning to rely on each other more. Our goals for the season are basically the same goals we have every year. We want to win the West Penn Classic, which we did this past weekend. We want to win our holiday tournament, win the University Athletic Association, and enter the NCAA tournament.”

The men’s basketball team will next be in action this weekend when they host the Radisson/Carnegie Mellon Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The Tartans play Penn State–Fayette at 3 p.m. on Saturday.