Men’s basketball wins one point thriller in home opener

On Tuesday, the Carnegie Mellon University men’s basketball team began the 2016–2017 season on the right foot with a thrilling victory at home against the Geneva Golden Tornadoes.

The Tartans took to the court and got to a fast start, quickly scoring two lay–ups. They swiftly gained a 12–3 lead on the Golden Tornadoes, taking advantage of four Geneva fouls within the first six minutes of the game. The Tartans defense forced Geneva to 1-of-10 shots made, taking command of the flow of the game. The Golden Tornadoes, however, fought back and drained six consecutive buckets to eventually take the lead at 20–18 halfway through the first half. The Tartans offense missed several shots, and were unable to get back into the groove they had at the beginning of the game. Both teams traded shots, but neither squad established a lasting lead.

As the half winded down into its final minutes, the Tartans offense began to find its momentum again, recovering several offensive rebounds and scoring on second chance shots. They also scored a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, and recorded five steals in the half. Carnegie Mellon ended the half on a 10–4 run and headed into the locker room with a 34–28 lead.

The Tartans came out of the halftime break with an aggressive offensive attack and soon amassed an 11–point lead over Geneva. The Golden Tornadoes refused to allow the Tartans to run away with the game, slowly coming back and cutting the lead in half. Strong defense from Carnegie Mellon stalled the comeback, but Geneva eventually took the lead with five minutes left to play. The two teams traded shots and the lead shuffled back and forth, but The Tartans went on to score three consecutive baskets to widen the lead. The final moments included two clutch free throws with 8.9 seconds left to overtake Geneva, 67–66. The Tartans held onto the lead, and escaped with the win.

Senior forward Jack Serbin lead the Carnegie Mellon team with eighteen points and twelve rebounds, the 32nd double-double of his career. Senior center Chris Shkil notched a team-leading five blocks, while also recording his fourth double-double of the season with thirteen points and fourteen rebounds. The two teams played with different styles; Geneva took nearly twice as many three-point shots as Carnegie Mellon, while the Tartans scored 42 points in the paint to Geneva’s 26. Another difference in the game was second chance points. The Tartans scored 16 points off of offensive rebounds, while Geneva scored 7 points. Carnegie Mellon won the turnover battle, with 11 turnovers to Geneva’s 14. They also scored more points off of turnovers than Geneva did.

In order to continue improving as the basketball season gets into full swing, The Tartans need to be more aggressive on defense to prevent opponents’ shooting and speed from overpowering them. The Carnegie Mellon squad began their season with a win, starting off with a 1–0 record. They moved on to play La Roche College two days later, but fell to the Redhawks 61–66, putting them at a 1–1 record for the season.

The Tartans go on the road on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to take on the Allegheny College Gators. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m.