Bearcat Recap: Men’s basketball lose consecutive games as season nears end


John Neves | Baruch Athletics

Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

While  the Baruch College Bearcats ended January undefeated in conference play, February has proven to be a tough month for the men’s basketball team after losing consecutive games amid increasingly tough contests.

A pair of games against York College took place the same week, both decided by less than 3 points.

In Jamaica, Baruch was cruising to a comfortable win against York, leading by 20 points in the second half. However, York slowly chipped the lead down to as low as two points with 30 seconds left.

A successful free throw by Baruch’s Emil Purisic would put the Bearcats up by three, therefore enough to secure the win 7330 after a missed 3-pointer by York’s Donald Hartley Jr..

Baruch was again poised to win at the Arc Arena leading by nine points with 1 minute 50 seconds left in the second half before York rallied once more with a pair of 3-pointers and freethrows to cut the lead to 1 point with 17 seconds remaining in the game.

However, the away team couldn’t capitalize off a turnover by Sean Donnellan after Mambe Koureissi missed a jumper with time expiring, allowing the Bearcats to win 8079.

The Battle of Lexington against Hunter College was Baruch’s most decisive result this month following a historic offensive performance from the Bearcats. They scored the most in regulation at the Arc Arena, winning 11295.

Their previous home game record was 111 points, which they scored in a 2005 contest against Brooklyn College. The game was a free-throw exhibition, as both teams combined for 85 attempts by the end of the match.

In perhaps the biggest upset of the season, Medgar Evers College triumphed over Baruch at The Arc Arena on Bearcats Appreciation Night. Jack Reese, Michael Richards and Adnan Bajrami were honored in their last regular season as a Bearcat.

The match was lopsided at the start as the home team led by 10 points with six  minutes remaining in the first half. However, Medgar Evers rallied, scoring 10 of the next 13 points to end the half.

Medger Evers maintained their exceptional play behind Dante Simmons, who excelled against Baruch, scoring 17 points in the second half alone.

Unfortunately, for the first time this season, the Bearcats were  unable to revive behind a deficit, trailing in the final 9:38 of the game losing 6571, ending their 10-game winning streak.

Their next contest against Lehman College was first overall in the CUNY Athletic Conference standings. Compared to the previous matchup at the Arc Arena, the Bearcats tightly contested a

24 lead. The Bearcats led by five with 4:28 left, but consecutive layups by Lehman’s Gian Batista cut the lead to one. The game was decided at the free-throw line with Will Feldman scoring a pair with 8 seconds remaining to seal the win for Lehman, 8076. Bajrami led Baruch in scoring with 39 points, and went 7-12 from the 3-point line.

With the win, Lehman leads the CUNYAC standings with one game left before the tournament. Baruch maintains home-court advantage and hosts a quarterfinal in a revamped CUNY Athletic Conference tournament.

All eight conference teams qualify for the tournament this year and will play in a single elimination game to determine the champion. Currently, Baruch will host Brooklyn on Feb. 19, a team the Bearcats beat in both of their matches this season.

Baruch can regain pole position if Medgars Evers can replicate their performance and upset Lehman in the Bronx. The Bearcats would have to win against John Jay College in another difficult matchup for the team after prevailing in their first encounter by four points.