Basketball team shines in opening game

Despite a loss in a close game this past Tuesday against the Juniata College Eagles, Carnegie Mellon’s men’s basketball team showed signs that suggested future success in the 2011–12 season. Sophomore Asad Meghani showed that his off-season work has paid off, scoring a career high of 18 points and dishing out five assists. However, the most notable statistic was his 6/10 mark from behind the arc.

This tightly battled game was one of runs. The Eagles poured in 13 straight early in the first quarter. With an 11–3 run later in the half, the Tartans countered the Eagles’ run, taking a 24–23 lead. The theme of the runs was not lost as the Eagles bounced back with a 9–2 run to close the half, bringing the score to 36–29.

Meghani found his stroke in the second half with the Tartans down 45–35. His back-to-back threes helped get the Tartans back in the game.

“Asad Meghani is a great shooter, and he was on fire on Tuesday night. He played and shot extremely well,” said senior point guard Max Gordon.

This loss was tough, but after a big comeback by the Tartans late in the second half, hopes are high for this season. After trailing by as much as 65–48, Meghani and sophomore Christian Manoli’s plays plowed away at the Eagle’s lead to pull within one point. But the Eagles’ perfect free-throw shooting down the stretch sealed their 75–69 win.

Meghani’s 18 points were supplemented by Manoli’s 13, and senior John Duhring added eight points and nine rebounds.

This loss against the Eagles of Juniata College ends the Tartans’ four-game win streak. The 49.1 percent shooting from the field by the Eagles did the Tartans in, who only shot 44.4 percent. The Eagles’ hot shooting extended to behind the arc, pouring in 46.7 percent of their threes, 10 percent better than the Tartans.

“In terms of the whole game, we struggled to put things together both offensively and defensively. We had our stretches of playing well on both sides of the ball, but we couldn’t keep it consistent throughout the game,” Gordon said.

The Tartans’ fortunes were better this past Saturday in their game against Penn State Behrend Lions. In contrast to their loss to Juniata College, the Tartans were on fire, outshooting the Lions 51 percent to 40.8 percent.
“I think our high [field goal] percentage was because we shot fewer three-pointers and, rather, got into the lane and worked for easier shots,” Duhring said.

Four players scored in double figures, with six players scoring eight or more points. Senior guard John Duhring led the ballclub with 17 points, followed by sophomore guard Rashaun Riley, sophomore forward Sean Brophy, and first-year center Matt Loebbaka with 13, 12, and 10 points respectively.

The Tartans played the majority of the game trailing the Lions, but staying true to form, they were able to fight and take a late lead over Penn State Behrend and secure a win with clutch free-throw shooting by Brophy.
Carnegie Mellon (1–1) plays again on Tuesday against Allegheny College at Skibo Gymnasium at 7 p.m.