Despite a disappointing end to the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team’s season, the Hounds made a true comeback from a rough start to the season, according to Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard. He said he is proud of the team’s accomplishment, and hard fight to overcome their obstacles that plagued the men at the beginning of the season.
“We recovered from our start,” Gouard said. “We had a really rough first part of the season starting off 3-7 at the start, and since then, we’re 13-4. We’ve made some changes from some things that we were doing in the first semester, especially on the defensive end and guys ball handling a bit more, and that’s why you would see the results that you’ve seen. We didn’t hang our heads with a 3-7. Start we turned it around in December and here we are today.”
Redshirt junior forward/guard Alex Etherington said the team’s defense is what really struggled during the start of the season.
“We really picked up defensively,” Etherington said. “At the beginning of the year, our defense really struggled. And after we got back we really picked up our defense. So we’ve been clicking in that area, and our offense is coming along, too. We have better chemistry and we’re moving the ball well and sharing the ball as a team and that’s what really got us together, putting our defense and our offense together…We really came together as a team. At the beginning of the season we were 3-7 which doesn’t happen very often here. And after that we had a team meeting and we really picked it up. I think now we’re 12-3 after the new year. We really came together and bonded after the new year. We came together on the court and we bonded off the quart.”
The Hounds finished the season in the quarterfinals of the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament, losing to the University of Wisconsin Parkside Rangers on March 2.
The Hounds started off the game, with a 12-2 run right after tip off. Over the course of the first half, the Rangers fought to take over the lead, and eventually did in the middle of the first half. The Rangers advanced on the lead, finishing the first half 42-34.
The Rangers did not give up the lead during the second half, and advanced upon it up to 19 points. The Hounds fell to the Rangers 97-82, which knocked them out of the conference competition and ended their season.
Sophomore forward Jesse Kempson recorded his 46th season block against the Rangers, setting a new record for the program. Kempson also recorded 18 points on the day. Redshirt junior Ajay Lawton led scoring with 20 points, followed by sophomore forward Jimmy King with 17 points and four assists.
The team advanced to the quarterfinal game by defeating the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons on Feb. 26, winning 76-63.
Starting off with a tip from freshman guard Tate Hall, the Hounds were able to get the lead which they maintained for the rest of the game. Finishing off the first half UIndy was up 39-26. The second half was filled with fouls, adding up to 30, 14 coming from the Greyhounds.
Despite playing without lead scorer junior guard Eric Davidson, four of the starting Hounds, Etherington, Lawton, Kempson, each racked up 14 points each against the Tritons.
Prior to quarterfinals play Etherington said the team had hope for the tournament.
“We’re going to be playing Sunday [against the University of Missouri St. Louis], and we have to win that game to get to the conference tournament in Evansville,” Etherington said. “We played well and stayed with all the teams that we played, and we should have won all our conference games. All the games we lost were by less than 10 points so we were right there on every game”
The Hounds capped off their season with a 16-12 record overall, as well as earning honors from the GLVC.
Hall received the 2017 GLVC Freshman of the Year award and is the third in program history to be named to the title. Hall is one of few freshman who have earned a spot on Gouard’s starting lineup since he has been on staff.
Davidson, Kempson and King also earned a spot on the All-GLVC Second Team, and Lawton on the All-Defensive Team.