This past Saturday, the men’s basketball team traveled up to Collegeville, Pa., to face the Ursinus College Bears in a pivotal Centennial Conference matchup.
The Jays dropped their previous game to the Swarthmore College Garnet and looked to establish another long winning streak.
Sophomore guard Ethan Bartlett shared his thoughts about what this game meant to the team.
“It was really important,” he said. “We always want to get off to a good start because at this point in the season we are trying to put together a complete game of solid execution on both ends of the floor.”
The Jays did just that, as the team jumped out to a very comfortable lead in the first five minutes.
Off of the strength of four three-pointers, they took an early 14-2 lead. Bartlett was a big part of the run, sinking a pair of triples.
Ursinus tried to not let the game get away from them and trimmed the deficit to eight with 14 minutes left in the first half.
However, a couple of buckets by sophomore forward Tom Quarry pushed the lead back up to a commanding 24-10 with about 10 minutes left in the first half.
Quarry explained what the focus was on offense that allowed the Jays to fly out to an early lead.
“Ursinus is a really good team, so we knew we had to be really sharp on offense,” he said. “I think we were really intent on making the correct reads and putting them in situations where they had to commit more than one defender. This allowed us to get a lot more open shots.”
It seemed as though the Jays were slated to break the game wide open. After a fast-break dunk by sophomore forward Chid Nnake, the Hopkins lead ballooned to 16 with five minutes left to play.
The Bears stormed back soon after, and sparked a 10-2 scoring run to close out the half.
Ursinus picked up where they left off to start the second half, hitting a three-pointer to cut the lead to six.
The Jays responded almost immediately, as Quarry and Bartlett hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the lead back to double digits.
The sophomore duo put together a solid game, as they scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Bartlett shared how his performance was indicative of his new role in the offense this season.
“I’ve been feeling more comfortable picking and choosing my spots as the season’s gone on,” he said. “I didn’t play much last year, so it was a bit of a transition earlier this season, but it has gotten easier as the year has progressed.”
The pair of three-pointers were answered by another run by the Bears, as they reduced the lead to three points with 16:07 left to play. Hopkins responded swiftly with six straight points from Nnake and junior guard Conner Delaney, and they pushed the lead back to nine.
The two teams traded scoring runs until the Bears cut the margin to six points with five and a half minutes left in the game.
At that point, Delaney took over the game scoring 12 straight points in the final five minutes of the game. In that span, he outscored Ursinus 12-4 and virtually iced the game himself.
The Jays took the game by the score of 74-68, as Delaney finished with 23 points and seven assists. Nnake had a solid game himself, notching 11 points. Hopkins increased their conference record to 14-2.
Quarry explained the team’s mentality as they move forward and close out their regular season.
“Winning Conference games is the best thing we can do and it felt good to get back to our winning ways,” Quarry said. “We are now doing everything we can to win our last regular season games and prepare for the Conference tournament after Senior Night on Saturday.”
The Jays host Haverford College this coming Saturday in their final regular season game before the Centennial Conference tournament.