Men’s basketball tops Bethany in dominant home opener
The Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team played their home opener against Bethany College on Saturday. The Tartans defeated the Bisons 82–74, bringing their record to 2–0.
After starting the game with an exchange of failed drives, Bethany struck first. Sophomore guard Ryan Maha answered with a three-point shot, and the Tartans would never surrender their lead. The Tartans slowly worked up their lead as Bethany tried to keep pace, with the Tartans shooting at 62.5 percent in the first half. Though Tartans were sometimes able to rack up a sizable lead, the Bisons were often able to keep the difference between the teams at five points.
The end of the half saw the Bisons make a 7–0 run, putting momentum on the side of the visiting team, but not for long.
The second half began with Bethany scoring twice, cutting the Tartan lead to 40–37. The Tartans struck back to increase their lead back to the equilibrium five points, but they also quickly picked up five fouls before Bethany’s first of the half. The back-and-forth play continued into the second half, with Carnegie Mellon continuing to maintain the lead but seldom have better or worse than a five point lead. At the final two minutes, the Tartans worked to preserve their 79–72 lead. As Bethany tried to make a last second comeback, junior forward Jack Serbin sealed the Bisons’ fate as he took the ball from Bethany and completed a final layup.
“We’ve started the season well,” Serbin said after the game. “Bethany was a good test. They’re very strong and athletic, but we managed to do well against them.” The Tartans are looking to build off the momentum from last year’s 14–11 finish, their first winning season since the 2008–09 season in which they finished 20–7 and made it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs. “We have returning starters who have played key roles, and we have some really strong freshmen.”
Still, Serbin knows there is plenty of room for improvement. “Today was about not beating ourselves, not turning over the ball.” Though the Tartans had six fewer turnovers than the Bisons, Bethany was better able to capitalize off of the extra possessions with three more points off of turnovers. The myriad of fouls that opened up the second half is also of concern, as future foes could utilize those opportunities to overtake Tartan leads or potentially put a game out of reach.
Nevertheless, the Tartans have plenty of reason to be optimistic about this season. Serbin recorded his second double-double of the season, racking up 24 points and 18 rebounds against Bethany. Maha tied his career-high of 20 points, making five three-pointers and making four assists. First-year forward and center Patrick Ehland had another strong performance with 14 points. Senior guard Jason Sebak and junior center Chris Shkil have also added valuable contributions offensively, with Sebak totaling seven assists and Shkil earning 11 points.
The Tartans will look to continue their two game winning streak when they host Allegheny College on Tuesday, Nov. 24.