Men's basketball enjoys hoop dream season
Carnegie Mellon has long been known as being one of the top universities for computer science and business, but now the school can add another honor to that list: a nationally ranked basketball team.
The Tartan men have been having one of their best seasons in decades, setting new records and climbing up the national rankings. As of press time, the Tartans were ranked number 11 in the country according to D3Hoops.com. At 14–2, they’ve gotten off to their best start in school history, including an upset win over Princeton University’s Tigers.
Going into their December 28 matchup against the Tartans, Princeton was 27–0 against Division III teams, and despite a losing record of 2–7, the Tigers’ record against Division III opponents spoke for itself.
But Carnegie Mellon came ready to play, despite not having played for 17 days. The Tartans trailed 32–29 at the half but rallied in the second half of the game to pull off the upset, beating Princeton 51–46. “If it’s not the biggest win for us, it ranks right up with the biggest,” said Tartans coach Tony Wingen.
The Tartans also ended UAA opponent Rochester’s winning streak in early December. The Rochester Yellowjackets had not lost a conference game at home in 23 contests until the Tartans defeated them 72–71. It was the Tartans’ first win at Rochester since 1996.
Meanwhile, the team’s success has become contagious on the Carnegie Mellon campus. “A nationally ranked basketball team is a new experience for CMU, and it’s a great one,” said university president Jared Cohon. “We’re very proud of Coach Wingen and the men’s team.”
Happy with their progress, the players attribute their success to the team chemistry they have developed. “This has definitely been an unbelievable season for us,” said junior guard Brad Matta. “I can’t remember a season where I had such great teammates. We all look forward to practicing and playing alongside one another.”
Conference opponents are beginning to see the results of this teamwork firsthand.
In a match against NYU on January 8 in New York, the Tartans went in with an 11–1 record. The Violets of NYU were undefeated at the start of the game with a record of 11–0. The two teams fought it out in regulation, but needed double overtime to determine a winner.
With the Tartans leading 87–85 in double overtime with only seconds remaining, junior forward Greg Gonzalez made two free throws to preserve a huge win for the Tartans.
The game also saw the recording of senior co-captain Clayton Barlow-Wilcox’s 1000th career point.
Despite a 72–69 loss against Case Western Reserve on Friday night in Skibo Gymnasium, the size of the crowd in attendance proved the Tartans’ success has not gone unnoticed.
The Tartans brought home a victory yesterday against Emory, winning 96–88.