Men’s Basketball is flawless in last 10 games
Men’s Basketball put their nine game winning streak and unblemished conference record on the line on Feb. 1 as they hosted in-state rivals, the University of Mary Washington.
The Eagles sat at 12 wins and eight losses across the season and two and four in conference action headed into the contest. After falling behind by a few baskets early, the Captains looked to regain the lead as #20 Jason Aigner received a pass just behind the three point arc and took a shot.
The basket fell with just a few seconds left on the shot clock and gave the crowd of nearly 1500 a reason to cheer.
Aigner knocked down another three, and #33 Nick Parks found #30 Adrian Beasley who sank another shot from distance to bump the lead up to seven.
The Eagles would miss their following three chances and a layup by Aigner once again added to the advantage.
Mary Washington would convert on a couple of their next opportunities, but the Captains would still maintain control.
The ball would end up in Aigner’s hands, and the onus would be on him to continue to further the lead.
Stepping up to and answering the challenge would be no problem as he tickled the twin three more times to bring his accuracy to six for seven on three point shots.
A couple more baskets for the Captains were won via battles in the paint, one each from #10 Luther Gibbs, #31 Cutch Ellis and #4 Dalon McHugh before Aigner once again added another tally to his three point total to bring the margin to 19.
The Captains would close out the first half with two free throws from McHugh as they headed into halftime.
Aigner led his lineup and everyone on the floor with 19 minutes and 26 points.
Through the first half, he also converted on eight of his 10 three pointers and at least tripled the total points of all other competitors, even outscoring the entire Mary Washington side in the half.
Coming back out onto the floor, the Captains would start with the possession and begin to add on to the lead with another McHugh layup.
Both sides threw up matching threes with a few buckets intermixed as the lead floated around 17 for Christopher Newport while Ellis scored another three, bookended by layups from Aigner and Gibbs.
The Captains’ defense continued to cause the Eagles to struggle to find an offensive rhythm. Contesting almost every shot, Mary Washington would be unable to score a field goal for over four minutes in the second half.
Mary Washington also shored up their defense and began to provide more pressure on the Captains shooters and held them to only three baskets from behind the line.
With all the shots that were put up from distance, both sides would rely on their inside players to crash the boards and pull down rebounds.
For the Eagles, #11 Drew Johnson gathered five offensive rebounds to giftgift his teammates second chances. Johnson leads the conference with 185 rebounds, 139 of those taking place on defense. However, McHugh stood out head and shoulders among the rest when he grabbed nine defensive rebounds to limit second chance opportunities for the visitors.
McHugh would snag three more boards on the offensive side of the ball to bring his total to 12, and that, combined with his proficiency from the charity stripe, gave him the game’s only double-double and his seventh of the season, including four in his last four games.
The score differential slightly wavered in the final 10 minutes as Mary Washington made an attempt to fight their way back.
However, the Captains would hold the reins steady and remain composed, scoring nine of their final 15 points from the free throw line, shooting 70 percent through the whole game.
The Captains currently sit atop the CAC leaderboard with a record of six and zero while York is one position behind, only dropping the one conference matchup against Christopher Newport. These two teams will battle it out once again on Feb. 8, and the Captains defense will have a tough task in slowing down #5 Jared Wagner who dropped 24 points in the last meeting. He also currently leads the conference in points scored with 364.
Aigner, the Captains’ point leader, trails him by almost 100 points, sitting at 277. Wagner also fought for 12 rebounds. The upcoming contest looks to be a tight game and has heavy postseason implications based on the outcome.
Christopher Newport Men’s Basketball will be back in action on home court on Feb. 15 as they take on out of state rivals, Salisbury University.
~Austin Urch, Staff Writer~