Men’s basketball loses in first round of ECAC

The Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team ended its season last Wednesday when it lost in the first round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region tournament 84–75 at the hands of the Lebanon Valley Flying Dutchmen.

The Tartans earned a bid to the tournament after finishing 12–12 in the regular season.
Last Wednesday the Tartans, seeded sixth in the eight-team tournament, traveled east to Annville, Pa., to play the third-seeded Flying Dutchmen, who came into the game with a record of 14–11.

The Tartans got on the board first with junior guard Geoff Kozak sinking a three-pointer in the opening minute of the game. After a basket at the other end, Kozak hit another three, putting the Tartans up 6–2.

The Tartans’ lead ballooned to 21–9 at the 12:09 mark, in what would end up being their biggest lead of the game.

At this point, the Flying Dutchmen lowered the deficit some before a three-pointer from senior guard Brad Matta increased the Tartans’ lead back into double digits at 30–19 with 6:40 remaining. The Tartans saw their lead cut to 39-33 heading into halftime, with Kozak scoring a team-high 12 points in the first half.

In the second half, the Flying Dutchmen took their first lead of the game, 44–42, with 17 minutes remaining. The Tartans kept their poise and retook the lead shortly thereafter thanks to another Kozak three-pointer.

Two free throws at the 8:41 mark from first-year guard Jack Anderson provided the Tartans with a 63–56 lead. Lebanon Valley scored on its next four possessions, tying the game at 65 in the process.

The Flying Dutchmen scored seven more points in a row to cap off a 16–2 run, turning the Tartans’ seven-point lead into a seven-point lead of their own. Sophomore forward Ryan Einwag hit a three-pointer for the Tartans with 1:22 left to cut the deficit to four at 74–70, but the Tartans couldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

Lebanon Valley answered with a three-pointer to bring its lead back up to seven, and the team hit its free throws in the final minute to seal the win and end Carnegie Mellon’s season.
Kozak led the Tartans with 19 points. Einwag added 13 points, and Matta, playing in his last game, finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Anderson was the only other Tartan in double figures, with 10 points.

Sophomore guard Corey O’Rourke finished with seven points, but he led the team with career-highs in both rebounds and assists. O’Rourke pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out nine assists in the loss.

The Tartans finish the season with 12 wins and 13 losses and a record of 5–9 in University Athletic Association games. Matta is the lone senior graduating from this year’s team.

“I’ve loved it,” Matta said. “The many experiences I’ve had as a student playing D-III basketball you can’t trade in. We’ve beaten a Division I team, I’ve played against Pitt, a top team in the country that’s also from my city, and seeing how the student section has grown the past few years has been really impressive too.”