By Wade Foley
Coach Matt Moore, in his second season as head coach of the MVNU men’s basketball team, has led it to a 15-14 record as of Feb. 16.
The Cougars, who looked to build off of Moore’s initial season with the team last year, are currently ranked in the top five in Field Goal Percentage (49%) and Three Point Percentage (39%).
The Cougars are also currently tied for most wins by an MVNU basketball team in the first two years of a new head coach (currently 28).
The Cougars are fighting hard during this final stretch of the season to make the AMC tournament.
They are currently in sixth place and are battling to improve on that position as only the top five teams make it into the postseason.
The Cougars are 10-3 at home this season and second only to Walsh University (12-0).
The Cougars have been getting some great offensive production from a couple of their seniors as Brandon Short is averaging 14.5 points per game and Adam Grimm is averaging 11 points per game.
Juniors Robbie Taylor and Danil Zakhlebnyy have also helped out with a lot of the offense as Taylor is averaging 13.6 points per game and Zakhlebnyy, 10.5 points per game.
The Cougars have been rolling on offense as of late and are hoping to continue to stay hot as they prepare for the postseason.
“We have become, in a very short amount of time, one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country,” Moore said.
The Cougars have struggled some on the road, but are confident that they can turn that around in the postseason.
“We have made great strides this season in our pursuit to be one of the top teams in our conference,” Moore said. “We have beefed up the nonconference schedule from last year, which has allowed us to compete at a higher level on the road. Although we didn’t win all of those contests, I think it has helped our new players develop a sense of understanding of what it takes to compete at a high level.”
With the help of Moore, the Cougars have begun to grow both on and off the court.
“This is a team that truly enjoys one another as teammates, and it has been fun to see them grow in their relationships off the court,” said Moore. Even though the Cougars have faced some struggles and hardships throughout this season, they have remained close on and off the court. Senior Brandon Short takes pride in being part of a team that is so close.
“Before our team breaks from every huddle we always say ‘together,’” Short said. “I think this is important with any team because there’s always going to be hard times and outsiders looking in, and that’s when the team needs to stick together most.
“Our team always hangs out together, which helps us become closer and learn more about each other outside of basketball.”