Men’s basketball wins three games over break

While most students studied busily for finals and then headed home for winter break, the Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team improved on its 11–2 overall record. The Tartans are currently ranked 19th in the nation and are on track for an extremely successful second half of the season.

The team received its first national ranking after defeating 21st-ranked Wooster 74–68 at home Nov. 25. Junior Jack Anderson led the Tartans with 19 points, followed by senior Ryan Einwag with 14 and senior Corey O’Rourke and sophomore Shane Rife with 13 each. Defensively, senior Terrance Bouldin-Johnson dominated with five blocks and five boards.

The Tartans continued their success as the host team of the Carnegie Mellon Invitational going undefeated to eventually win the tournament. In their first game, they defeated John Carroll University 81–79 with the game-winning basket scored by Einwag with 7.7 seconds left. In the championship game, the Tartans came away with a 61–56 victory over Catholic University.

In the last game before commencing University Athletic Association (UAA) conference play, the Tartans defeated the Eagles of Juniata College 75–56 to bring their record to 6–0. In the first UAA game of the season, the Tartans defeated the University of Rochester Yellowjackets 58–55. Defense made the difference in the close game, especially in the final five minutes when the Tartans forced the Yellowjackets into four turnovers. Bouldin-Johnson secured the win for the Tartans with a three-point play and a blocked shot in the final three minutes. The win moved the Tartans to 7–0 overall record, moving them to the 11th standing in national rankings.

The men’s basketball team continued its streak with a 79–64 win over La Roche College. Consistency on offense was key to the Tartans’ success, as the attack shot 56.7 percent from the field. Once again, Einwag led the offense with 19 points, followed by masters student Jon Wolleben with 14 and O’Rourke with 13.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, the Tartans recorded their first loss of the season, falling 70–82 to Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J. The Tartans started strong with a 14–5 lead, but could not hold onto it as the Ospreys went on a 10–0 run. Turnovers seemed to be the cause of the Tartans’ demise, as Richard Stockton scored 20 points off of 16 turnovers. Rife led the Tartans with 22 points, followed by Anderson with 13.

The Tartans rallied at the Cougar Classic held at Averett University, recording victories over the host and Ferrum College. The Tartans defeated Averett 69–59 and topped Ferrum 76–67. The unstoppable Einwag came away with 32 points and went on two 8–0 runs in the second half. O’Rourke helped Einwag tally the points as he contributed seven assists.

The Tartans opened with a 6–0 run against Ferrum and went into the second half with a 36–28 lead. The Tartans shot 45 percent from the field and 41 percent from the three-point line.

In their second UAA contest, the Tartans toppled New York University 78–57. The win moved the Tartans to an 11–1 overall record, while the Violets recorded their first loss of the season to bring their record to 9–1. With the score tied 9–9, the Tartans cashed in three straight three-pointers with two from Einwag and one from Anderson.
The Tartans took a commanding 32–18 lead with 5:43 to play in the half, but the Violets rallied to bring the score to 36–25 at the half. With less than two minutes to play, the Tartans sealed the victory with back-to-back three-point plays from Bouldin-Johnson and Rife.

Most recently, the Tartans recorded their second loss of the season to Brandeis University. The Tartans came out slowly, only shooting 2–14 while the Judges went on a 14–2 run to bring the score to 20–9. The Tartans battled throughout the game, but could not find a rhythm and fell to the Judges 69–57.

The Tartans next head to Lycoming College for their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday.