The KU men’s basketball team dropped their fourth straight game Sunday in a 64-76 loss to the Mercyhurst College Lakers. KU hasn’t won a game since their 92-68 victory against Wilmington University, but have since lost in a one point thriller to Philadelphia University, a 91-75 blow-out against Holy Family University and another double-digit loss to unbeaten Gannon University.
Although this team has been less than exciting to watch so far this season, it’s much too soon to give up on them yet. In the most recent loss to Mercyhurst, the Golden Bears showed improvement and a reason for hope from head coach Bernie Driscoll. In yet another game, a freshman was the star in the first half of the game, in Tracey Peal. Peal recorded a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He was also five for nine shooting in the game and impressively was just one point shy of his double-double as the first half ended.
Paired with fellow freshman Ryan Connolly’s success against Holy Family University, it’s become clear that the current group of Golden Bear freshman certainly know how to open up a game. Connolly, who scored 13 points in the first half against Holy Family, also went three for four beyond the arc and came up with six rebounds.
Senior Micah Fraction was again given the task of leading a lackluster effort from his team. Fraction took well to the task however, recording a game-high 20 points. He was also six of 11 in field goals, and three of eight from beyond that arc. With his performance against Mercyhurst, Fraction has moved his total scoring this season to 131 points, an average of 18.7 per game. Fraction’s 131 points is also 26 percent of the teams total scoring so far this season.
Among a less-than-desirable offensive effort from the Golden Bears in the second half, KU and Mercyhurst both saw a lot of fouls, however KU was simply unable to overcome it. Mercyhurst was an impressive 77 percent from the free-throw line, hitting 27 of their 35 shots. KU, while equally impressive, was not good enough, hitting 68 percent of their free throws, going 23-of-34.
The game as a whole was on the physical side, with the teams combining for 49 total fouls and 69 free throws. Also, the three players fouled out of the contest. Turnovers were once again an issue for KU, with Mercyhurst outscoring the Golden Bears on possession changes 21 to seven.
Looking to put a four-game losing streak behind them, KU will face Shippensburg University on Dec. 8. Shippensburg has shared a rough start with KU, currently holding a record of 2-3, and a winless 0-2 in the PSAC. For both teams, this will be a near must-win situation, as KU currently holds a 1-6 overall record and a PSAC record identical to Shippensburg. The match-up against Shippensburg is the final game in a three-game road trip for the Golden Bears, who return home to finish up a five-game PSAC streak on Dec. 18 and 19, against Clarion University and Lock Haven University. All games are set to start at 7:30pm.
By Nicholas Carson