BY Jeff Weisinger
Senior Sports Editor
It’s been a long time since CCNY’s Men’s Basketball team had positive momentum — any positive momentum — going into the holidays. The question now is if they can continue their current winning trend.
CCNY (5-3, 2-2 CUNYAC) enters Tuesday afternoon’s matchup against St. Joseph’s Brooklyn (5-4, 4-3) winners of four of their last five, having momentum out of the Christmas break for the first time in the Tom Green era. The current 5-3 record is the best eight-game start by the Beavers since they went 4-4 in the first eight games back in the 2012-13 campaign.
CCNY’s only loss came in a heart-breaking last-second bucket against John Jay on Dec. 8, their only loss in December so far.
Tuesday marks the first of a pair of back-to-back games for the Beavers, the second-time this season that they’ve had to deal with playing on consecutive days. CCNY played a pair of games in as many days in the Mulhenberg tournament back on Nov. 20-21.
“Right now we’ve ended the Finals on a good note,” Green mentioned. “But these next two games are extremely important to us. I’d like for us to be feeling really good going back into conference season.”
CCNY still has the top-ranked scoring defense in the CUNYAC, allowing just 66.6 points per game to opponents, however hasn’t shined that well on the offensive side, only scoring 67.8 points per game. They’re currently fifth in the scoring margin in the conference, scoring just over a point per game more than their opponent.
Khalil Hamer has continued to help lead this Beavers offense, averaging 15.9 points per game, ninth in the CUNYAC. Transfer Mark Richards is 15th in scoring, averaging 13 points per game.
“Tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be real huge,” Hamer said. “We’re coming off of Finals week, and everybody’s trying to get back into shape, so these two games right before we step into conference play are going to be real good for our momentum and our confidence for the remainder of the season.”
With wins against the Bears on Tuesday and against Manhattanville on Wednesday, CCNY can seriously set themselves up going into January’s playoff chase, building confidence and even more momentum when they take on the current CUNYAC leading Lehman Lightning on Jan. 3, followed by a trip to Staten Island for a game against the second-place CSI Dolphins on Jan. 5.
“If we win tomorrow, it will put us in a good pace to win on Wednesday,” sophomore forward Sal Palazzolo said. “Then next week we go right into league play and those are the games that we need because those are games that will take us to the playoffs.”
The biggest advantage that the Beavers have is their current home-stand. CCNY is in their third game of their current five-game home-stand and play seven of their next nine games in the Nat Holman Gym. Their only trips for most of January are on Jan. 5 to Staten Island and on Jan. 20 to Brooklyn College.
CCNY does, however, finish the season on the road, traveling for five of their final seven games of the regular season, including a three-game road-trip to end the year.
CCNY is currently fifth in the conference standings, just a half-game behind Baruch and two-games behind first-place Lehman College.