The Kenyon men’s basketball team had an unfavorable 0-8 start to their 2018 season.
The Lords played their season opener at Tomsich Arena against Geneva College traveling from Beaver Hills, Penn. The Lords ended up falling to Geneva College 72-57. The Lords had strong play from both Matt Shifrin ’19 and Carter Powell ’20. Shiffrin put up a game-high 16 points along with two assists while Powell had a game-high 16 rebounds and contributed 12 points.
Kenyon then traveled to Albion, Mich. for the Albion College Tournament, where they took on Trine University and Albion College. In the game against Trine, they struggled to get their shooting stroke, only shooting 35.7 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from outside the arc. Alex Cate ’20 was the leading point scorer for the Lords with 10 points. Powell also contributed with nine points and nine rebounds. The final score was 79-53 in favor of Trine.
In the following game against Albion College, Shifrin and Elijah Davis ’22 both scored 11 points for the Lords, but they were outmatched by Albion. The final score ended 112-61.
The team traveled back to the Hill in order to take on Earlham College during Thanksgiving break. It was a back-and-forth affair all the way until the end, but a late run by the Quakers in the final minutes ended up sealing the victory for Earlham. Shifrin scored a team-high 17 points, while Powell shot 50 percent from the field and added 12 points. Kenyon fell 69-59.
Their first match following Thanksgiving break, Nov. 26, saw the Lords host Westminster College. It was a tough first half for the Lords that saw them put up a 24.2 shooting percentage from the field. They got back into the game in the second half, bringing the differential to as little as three points. After the comeback was almost complete with 4:06 left in the game, the Lords were not able to secure another basket, leaving them to be defeated 67-56. Shifrin finished the game with a double-double: 18 points and 11 rebounds.
On Nov. 28, they began conference play against The College of Wooster, who came into the contest ranked 16th in the country, according to D3Hoops.com. The final score was 90-70 in favor of the Fighting Scots. Kenyon started out the game strong with Kamal Aubakirov ’22 scoring 11 points in the first 13 minutes and going 3-5 from three-point range. The Scots got themselves into the game and commanded the lead for the rest of the contest. Aubakirov led the Lords in scoring with 17 points. Davis also finished with 13 points.
The next opponent for the Lords was DePauw University. The team got off to a hot start by leading by as much as 11, but it was short-lived. The Tigers fought back to take the lead before going into halftime. In the second half, the two teams went back and forth, but the Tigers free-throw shooting proved to be the divider. Shifrin had a monster night by tallying a career-high 34 points, beating his previous record by 11 points. But this was not enough to overcome the Tigers, as the final score was 83-75.
Thursday night, Kenyon took on the Yeomen from Oberlin College where they fell by a score of 84-69. Davis led the team in scoring with 23 points.
“With each coming game the improvement that our team is making is noticeable,” Tim Black ’19 said. “Every team we have played are good teams that would do well in our league. We are getting better, and we should be competitive in our league.”
The Kenyon men’s basketball team will continue to play conference foes when they travel to Granville, Ohio to take on the Denison University Big Red on Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.