Hunter Basketball Falls Short in Lehman Grudge MatchMen and women lose to Lightning in rematch from Homecoming brawl game
The last time the Hunter men and women’s basketball teams played Lehman College was at Hunter’s homecoming, and things got a little out of hand. A fight almost broke out at the end of the women’s game, and the men’s game ended up in a full-blown brawl. The women were able to grab a 62-53 victory, while the men weren’t as fortunate as they fell to the Lightning 61-60 in the final seconds of an intense game.
When the Hawks travelled up to the Bronx on Sunday, Feb. 5, ironically on Super Bowl Sunday, both the men and women had been warned not to start anything that would cause a fight, and there was an abundance of security guards in the gym, possibly outnumbering spectators. The fans and the players wondered what would happen at the games and how much tension there would be. Before the men’s game, the referees made both teams come to the center of the court and talked to them about sportsmanship and keeping a clean game.
The Lady Hawks were up first, but had a tough time from the beginning. At half time, they trailed 10 points, despite freshman Shatira Hamlet scoring a game high of 19. Senior captain Megan McKenna and sophomore Kristen Markoe scored 14 points and 11 points respectively, but it wasn’t enough to fight a slew of Hawk turnovers. Ultimately Lehman walked away with the victory by- a score of 69-61, dropping the Hawks’ record to 9-2 CUNYAC, 11-12 overall.
“The Lehman game was a tough loss for us since we were coming off a string of wins, said McKenna who recently scored the 1,000th point of her career against Medgar Evers. “We didn’t capitalize in key moments of the game and that allowed Lehman to come away with the win. Two of their better players really played well against us so the game can be looked as a game that taught us to go back to the basics so that we can play better defense in the playoffs. I’m confident in our team that we will come together when we need to be after experiences like this.”
The women’s game went without any fighting, and McKenna said that although tensions were high, the game went by without a problem.
The women’s CUNYAC Tournament starts Feb. 19, where they look to win their first championship in four years. The draw has yet to be announced.
On the men’s side, things were a little different. The Hawks were missing their top three starters from the lineup, but if they won this game they would move into the number one seed in the North division.
Despite the fight in the previous game, tensions weren’t as high as people thought.
“Both teams were really mature about it,” said graduating senior Mark Wnukowski. “We moved on from the fight.“
“We just wanted to beat them on the court,” senior guard Jeff Daza added. “Knowing we lost and I couldn’t do anything about it really pained me, but I knew we played hard and it just wasn’t our day.”
Senior Anthony Uter led the Hawk scorers with 14 points, while fellow senior Mark Courtien added 11 points. The Hawks were up 60-59 with just 19 seconds left, but a turnover and foul allowed Lehman to take the game 61-60, an identical score from the previous time they met.
“We were perfectly capable of winning this game, but one small miscommunication affects everything,” said Wznukowsi.
Both Daza and Wznukowsi said that if the teams meet again in the CUNYAC playoffs, they are confident that the Hawks will walk away with the victory.
The men’s basketball tournament starts Feb. 18.