Zack Peñalva, Sports Editor
It was the end of a very successful season for the men’s basketball. After falling to 19th ranked Indiana University-East 90-79 in the KIAC Semifinals, the Eagles finished with a final record of 20-11. Despite fighting back to get a one-point lead at the end of the first half, the Eagles gave up 52 points after the break.
It was the second time the Eagles lost to IUE this year, the first was a 93-77 loss that back on Jan. 31. During that game, Asbury was outrebounded heavily and IUE shot an impressive 56 percent from the floor. In the rematch, the Eagles did a better job of keeping up with the Red Wolves under the basket, but fouls ended up playing a major part. IUE was sent to the line 15 times in the second half where they made every free throw.
For head coach Will Shouse and other fans of the basketball program, there are bright spots, most particularly that was a season of growth. Last year’s team went out in the opening round of the KIAC Tournament and had three less wins than this year’s team. On top of that, this year’s team made their home court a fortress where they only gave up one loss. But for all the improvements, the Eagles still had their weaknesses, particularly when it came time to go on the road.
The Eagles were never able to play at their best away from home. Counting the most recent loss against IUE, the Eagles had an abysmal 1-9 away record. The biggest problem came from poor offensive production. At home, Asbury would average around 89 points a game, a figure that would drop to 72 points when they played somewhere other than the Luce center. Interestingly enough, their defense was about the same either way, around 76 points allowed.
In a team filled with juniors, sophomores and freshman, Shouse will have an experienced unit to lead in the upcoming season. Jordan Gilbert and Kristian Svendsen will both be able to return for their senior year and will be joined by sophomore Kristian Morgan that started in last two games of the season. It’s also important to remember that junior Kyle Lamb, who missed the end of the season with a knee injury, will be looking to return to action by next winter.