The CNU men’s basketball team has looked impressive in the beginning stages of the season, winning three straight games before falling to Emory University on Nov. 24 for the first loss of the season.
The team was able to rebound with a victory against Eastern Mennonite University on Dec. 1.
The Captains began the season against Arcadia University, 79-66. As with many games this season, they were led by junior guard Mike Cherry, who started his offensive domination by scoring 24 of his team-high 100 points.
Freshman guard Rayshard Brown was an important addition to the team offensively, posting eight points and five assists.
Forward freshman Tim Daly, who currently leads the team with four blocks, also proved his worth early, collecting 15 rebounds.
One of the team’s major highlights of the season was its thrilling 84-83 victory over Randolph-Macon University, which was nationally ranked 16th at the time. The score was very close for a majority of the game after the Captains blew the 43-36 lead they had going into the second half.
Cherry and senior Tra Benefield, who is second only to Cherry in points and leads the team with 35 rebounds, once again drove their offense.
One of the most important players turned out to be sophomore forward Evan Thorpe, who managed to net 12 points, including the game-winner on a foul shot with four seconds left. Thorpe’s shot allowed the Captains to reach the team’s 800th career victory.
After the Randolph-Macon game, the Captains prepared itself for the Holiday Inn Captains Shootout, hosted at the Freeman Center. Their first challenge was a back and forth affair against York College (NY).
After taking an eight-point advantage early in the first half, the Captains allowed York to recover and take a 10-point lead of their own.
They were able to tie it back up before the half, and once they came back for the second half, the Captains were able to hold York off for rest of the game, coming out with an 89-83 victory. Benefield was a serious force in the victory, leading the team with 25 points.
Unfortunately for the Captains, their three game winning streak was cut short by Emory in the Shootout Championship. Several players had the best game of their seasons, including 27 points from Cherry and 20 points from Thorpe, who helped erase an 18 point deficit in a second half comeback.
It appeared hopeful that the team would be able to pull off the miracle comeback, as they tied the game 90-90 with less than a minute remaining. With 12 seconds remaining, however, the Captains went down 92-90, and they weren’t able to respond.
The Captains were looking to recover after the loss against Emory, and they found the opportunity in their game at Eastern Mennonite.
Benefield was unstoppable on the court, posting his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Cherry, Thorpe and sophomore forward Connor Laframboise, who make up the team’s top five scorers along with Benefield and senior Luc Atangana, each played solid games and got double digit points. Their efforts helped lead the team to a 68-59 victory.
The 5-1 Captains will play three more games on the road, including their first ever Capital Athletic Conference game against York College of Pa., before coming back to the Freeman Center to play CAC foe Salisbury University on Dec. 18.