By Ann Brunn
The men’s basketball team saw their remarkable season come to an end on Saturday, March 7, when they fell to third ranked Randolph-Macon College, 85-71, in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Lions ended their season with a 20-9 overall record despite having once been 4-6 to start the month of January and going on to win their first NJAC Championship in 22 years. They also captured their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1989 when they beat Marietta College, 89-73, in the first round of the tournament on Friday, March 6.
As a team, the Lions shot 51 percent from the field and an efficient 12 of 26 from behind the arc to propel themselves past Marietta and into the second round.
Senior guard Randy Walko led the charge with 32 points which marked his sixth game this season where he scored 30 points or more. Walko also nabbed nine rebounds. Following suit and shooting an electric 75 percent from the floor, including 80 percent from three point range, junior forward Travis Jocelyn collected 22 points. Rounding out the box score with a double-double was senior forward Ryan Jensen as he tallied 15 points, 11 rebounds and added seven assists.
In what was a back-and-forth match for the majority of the 40 minutes of play, Randolph-Macon ultimately pulled past the Lions to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Walko ended his last game as a Lion with 23 points and seven rebounds. He finished his career with 1,537 points which has him in fifth place all-time in the College’s history in points scored. Walko also finds himself in third place in program history with 193 made three pointers and eighth place all-time in rebounding with 537 boards. He ended the season 11 points shy of the College’s single season record of made free throws with 181 made foul shots.
Jensen surpassed the 600 rebound mark during this game which put his collegiate total at 605 rebounds which is good for seventh all-time.
Junior guard PJ Ringel totaled 155 assists on the season, which is second-most in a season in the College’s history. He now has 240 assists entering the 2020-2021 season and is currently in eighth place on the all-time assists list.
The Lions will graduate five seniors, Walko, Jensen, Mike Walley, Mike Chapman and Tommy Egan, who had been an integral part of the program during their four year tenure at the College. Their leadership helped shape the team and spark an unforgettable season.