The Kenyon Lords basketball team had a rough start to the 2018-19 season, dropping their first 11 games before winter break. Since then, the Lords won their first game, but then proceeded to lose their next six, moving their record to 1-17 overall and 0-11 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).
The Lords finished out 2018 with two contests: one against Muskingum University on Dec. 12 which saw the Lords fall 86-60, and another three days later against No. 24-ranked opponent Wittenberg University, which they lost 82-70. The Lords fought hard against the visiting Tigers, but despite a strong second half performance, they were unable to pull ahead in the end.
Moving into the new year, the Lords started 2019 strong when they traveled to Waynesburg University to earn their first win of the season with a score of 88-73. The game saw strong performances from Carter Powell ’20, who recorded a game-high 21 points, and Ugnius Zilinskas ’21, who tallied 17 points, marking career highs for both players. Elijah Davis ’22 and Christian Watanabe ’22 also finished the game with 16 and 10 points, respectively. This contest saw one of the better shooting performances from the Lords: They finished the game shooting 40 percent from the three-point range and a season-best 46.3 percent from the field.
The game started off slow, tied 2-2 five minutes in, but the Lords took the lead at 8-2 with back-to-back three-pointers from Powell and Davis and never looked back. At the end of the first half, they had a strong 43-30 lead. In the second half, the Lords were able to maintain their double-digit lead, extending it by as much as 21 points at one time. With solid shooting from the field, the Lords were able to close out their strong performance with a win. Defensively, the Lords finished the game with 30 rebounds, Powell and Zilinskas each recording nine and Watanabe and Konrad Christian ’22 both recording five.
After Kenyon defeated Waynesburg, the Lords played six games against NCAC opponents, each time coming up short. Since Jan. 5, the Lords have fallen by a score of 66-57 to Allegheny College, 87-57 to Ohio Wesleyan University, 92-69 to No. 20 Wabash College, 91-80 to Hiram College and 62-54 to DePauw University.
The Lords suffered their most recent loss this Wednesday in a tightly fought 66-57 home game against Oberlin College. Despite coming in as heavy underdogs, the Lords were able to push Oberlin to their limits and forced the Yeomen to play to the final whistle. Though they had comparable statistics with Oberlin in nearly all facets of the game, the Lords’ field goal and 3-point percentages were the major factor in the loss: Oberlin shot 10 points better from the field, 44.6 percent to Kenyon’s 34.4 percent, and from beyond the arc, Oberlin shot 30 percent while the Lords shot just 23.5 percent.
This Saturday, the Lords will return to Tomsich Arena for another NCAC matchup against Denison University who have only won two games in the conference, one of them being against the Lords earlier in the season. It will also be Senior Day, where Tim Black ’19 and four-year starter Matt Shifrin ’19 will be honored before the 3 p.m. tip off.
Adam Schwager contributed reporting.