By Mack Olmsted, Asst. Production Editor
The Jaspers’ men’s basketball season has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the fans, players, and coaches. Earlier in the season, the team had gone through a four-game losing streak, with losses against Niagara, Canisius, Rider and Monmouth. However, they have begun to redeem themselves with their new three-game winning streak against Quinnipiac, Fairfield and Rider. While the players are working hard on and off the court, the pressure is building for them with a current record of 14-11. Despite being three games over .500, the team is eager to improve before the MAAC Championships.
While times have been tough for the Jaspers, the team’s head coach, Steve Masiello has kept them motivated and helped them through when the season wasn’t looking good.
“We’ve had 11 weeks of great basketball,” Masiello said in an Instagram post published by the team’s account. “Our November and December were really good. I’m not gonna let 2 bad weeks affect 11 great ones. Now the mindset has to be let’s get back to those 11, not the last 2.”
Although the team lost four times after hearing those words, the message stuck with them and drove them to want to improve and compete at their best.
The Jaspers have begun to redeem themselves after ending their four-game losing streak with road wins against Quinnipiac and Fairfield. Although the team seemed like they were heading downhill, they came together and headed in a new direction with their 83-66 Quinnipiac win and 74-67 win against Fairfield.
Key players of the Quinnipiac and Fairfield games were forward Jose Perez, guard Ant Nelson and forward Josh Roberts. All three players spoke with The Quadrangle about how they felt the season was going.
“I feel like we’re getting back on track, like we still have not hit our peak as a team yet. The team has a lot to give when it comes to the game, we are still striving,” Roberts said.
Roberts believed that the coaching and practices were getting better and improving, the team has been communicating more while practicing to their max potential.
“Our approach to practice and games has just been different,” Roberts said. “We have been really serious. Everybody’s been focussing on knowing what they have to bring to the table, knowing that role and just really locked in on winning.”
Perez credits the coaching staff for their improvements, stating the camaraderie between players and coaches is what makes the team special.
“We have a genuine bond,” Perez said. “We just get along so well honestly. They want us to keep it rolling and be prepared for Atlantic City. That’s really what it’s about playing your best basketball March.”
Perez feels like he has a strong bond with the coaches and staff working with the team and that it helps them perform better during a game.
“I feel like teamwork is something that we really improved on as the years go on,” Perez said. “It’s something that we can always get better at but I feel like we are in a good place.”
Nelson shared these opinions on how the season was going and what the team hopes to do in the future prepping for games.
“The last two games went well, even three in terms of teamwork, we have been sharing the ball very well,” Nelson said. We want to see each other win. I feel like we have been sharing the ball a lot better.”
“It happens, it’s like a roller coaster ride,” Perez said. “You’re gonna lose some games that you are supposed to win. And now we’re in the mix of winning some games right now but we are going at our best. That’s what it’s all about, honestly, in college basketball.”
Overall Nelson looks forward to the rest of the season going head to head with Marist, Fairfield, St. Peter’s and Iona. Nelson is also looking forward to heading to the MAAC tournament.
“We all just want to finish out the season strong, get a good spot for the tournament, handle and succeed,” Nelson said.
The Jaspers are looking forward to their upcoming games as they face St. Peters on Tuesday, March 2 and Iona Thursday, March 3 in Draddy Gymnasium before they head to the MAAC Tournament on March 8.