The men’s basketball team has started the season strongly with an undefeated 3-0 record. Tuesday night, they achieved their third win after defeating Central Baptist College 101-98.
“We opened up last weekend, and I thought we did a lot of great things,” said David Niven, head coach. “We’ve really played together and defended—I thought we were really unselfish. I thought we went backwards last night. We’ve identified some of those weaknesses, and we had a chance today in practice and will have a chance in our next game on Friday to try and address some of that stuff. That’s just part of early season basketball.”
If you ask Coach Niven for his definition of a successful basketball season, he will not give you the numbers and statistics that most would initially imagine; he will not tell you how many games he wants to win. Niven’s goals are the same every year: maximizing the team’s potential, playing the best they can and getting the most out of each player on the team. When that happens, he deems the season a success.
Brennan Bowling, sophomore marketing major, said the team is working hard to make necessary improvements in order to become not only physically tough but mentally tough. Bowling believes that strengths of the team include their “hunger to compete” and the fact that they are not only a team but a support system.
The new players on the team this year have had a huge impact on the team, Bowling said. He gives praise to Serigne Mboup, graduate student, for having a strong impact on their interior defense as well as being a leader on and off of the court.
Friday, the men’s team will travel to Logan, Utah to play Utah State University at 8 p.m. and hopefully maintain their undefeated record.
“Utah state is a very impressive basketball team. They have some size and athleticism, but I have every belief that we can win this game,” said Bowling. “Utah State is know for having one of the best student sections in the nation, so it will be a hostile environment. This will be a perfect opportunity to show our toughness and our poise on the court.”
Meanwhile, the women’s team reached a record for the university Wednesday night, scoring 24 3-pointers in a 110-65 win against Rust College.
Mark Campbell broke his own record last weekend, becoming Union’s winningest coach after his 510th win. In his 17th season, his teams have won four NAIA national titles. Last year’s Lady Bulldogs won the Gulf South Conference championship in it first year of postseason eligibility at the NCAA Division II level.
The women are set to face Fisk University Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. at home.