Currently 17-4, the men’s Crusader basketball team has high hopes of winning the American Southwest Conference this season but has to get through a few other teams before accomplishing that.
The four games lost were all conference games, which have hurt their standings in the ASC, despite the fact that they are currently leading the conference rankings.
Head coach Ken DeWeese has an alright opinion about the team record but doesn’t like the fact that they have lost four conference games. Whether they should have won those games or not, DeWeese knows that basketball is an unpredictable sport.
“There is no college basketball game relatively easy for anyone. If not, Duke wouldn’t have lost to St. John’s by 15,” he said.
One of the conference games the Cru lost was against Howard Payne University. HPU currently has one of the worst records in the ASC, and that makes it a hard loss for forward accounting major Greg Wiernas.
“We simply didn’t play well. Nobody could make a free throw or a field goal, but the main reason was our defense,” Wiernas said. “We really were unable to stop one of their players, and as a result he made the game winning shot.”
DeWeese agrees about the lack of defense on the court. However, he thinks a bigger problem has caused the team to slip at times.
“We could be better defensively, but the big thing we are having a problem with the last month or so is scoring consistently,” DeWeese said. “You want to score one out of every three possessions, and we’ve had periods of time where we go seven or eight possessions in a row and don’t score.”
Howard Payne came to Belton Feb. 3 for another showdown against the Cru. They weren’t as lucky. The final score was 115-69 in which the Cru dominated since the tip-off. Guard Dean Pele is happy the way the game turned out especially since losing to the Yellowjackets in their first meeting.
“The second time, though, I think we were trying to prove a point and I think we did,” Pele said.
With the ASC title so close, the men’s basketball team is trying just to stay focused on each game and not look ahead.
Wiernas said, “I do believe we have the talent to win the ASC but we need to take one game at a time right now due to the importance of each and every game this time of the year.”
The Crusaders recently played the Sul Ross Lobos in Mayborn Arena on Feb. 5 which proved to be a close game. The men lead at the half by seven and eventually won 75-70.
The Cru will hit the road for the next three games rounding out regular play at home against Texas Lutheran University. If they win the ASC, the Cru will go to the NCAA.