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Men’s Basketball Eyes Bounce Back After Disappointing Season

By Andrew Smith

Last year, the Panthers had a disappointing season as they finished with a 12-17 record and were eliminated from playoff contention in the first round by Pace University. It was a hard pill to swallow but they are ready to turn things around this season.

Redshirt junior Matthew Price reflected on the disappointments and what lessons the team learned. “Last year was tough, we didn’t win as much as we wanted to but we learned a lot about ourselves and as a team. We lost in the first round of playoffs to Pace but the last couple weeks of our season and honestly throughout the whole season we showed countless glimpses of us playing at a high level as a team that could compete for a championship,” he said. 

Matthew Price expressed disappointment when discussing last season but stressed how the team showed signs that they could compete at a high level. Photo by AU Athletics

Price is from Brookline, Massachusetts, and entering his third season on the team. The guard made 28 appearances last season and started in 17 of them. He had a fantastic game when the Panthers traveled to Caldwell University on Dec. 14, 2022, to take on the Cougars. In this game, Price set a career high in points (19) and went 4/6 from the three-point line.  

To further progress his game, Price focused a lot on ball handling and his play off a pick and roll in the offseason.

Dayshaun Walton was named the NE10 Rookie of the Year last season and has another incredible season in store. Photo by AU Athletics

A significant performer of last season was Dayshaun Walton, who had a rookie season to remember. Walton, from Albany, New York, was named NE10 Rookie of the Week four times and was eventually named Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of the season. Walton scored a season-high in points (38) against Southern New Hampshire University and finished with an average of 14.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game.  

When looking back at last season and what the major takeaways were, Walton said, “We have to buy into the game plan and just always play with a chip on our shoulder.”

The men’s basketball team welcomes four new incoming first-year students on the team as they hope to turn the tables in 2023. New players are a great way to bring change to the roster and add a spark to the lineup.  

In addition to the first-year students, the team is also welcoming graduate student Conor Regan from Chestnut Hill College. As a Griffin, Regan started 79 out of 82 games and averaged double digit figures in scoring across his final two seasons.  

Both Price and Walton have high hopes going into the season as they took necessary steps to prepare over the summer. Price said, “I think we improved defensively as a whole. Working in the weightroom as well as coming in this year physically bigger as a team helps on the defensive end.”

“I believe that we have gotten better in shape because of the style of play that the coaches want us to play in and also defensively too,” said Walton.

When looking at the schedule, Walton expressed his excitement about playing Pace at the home court on Jan.  30, 2024. Pace was responsible for ending their season last year and Walton is anticipating the rematch.  

“I’m looking forward to every game. It’s a blessing to play with my brothers everyday and play a sport at such a high level,” said Price.

The Panthers have already started the season on the right foot as they captured the victory in the home opener on Saturday, Nov. 18 against American International College by a score of 85-78. Walton is picking up from right where he left off as he scored a team high in points (25) and a team high in minutes played (37). Price was dominant from deep as he had a team high (4) three point field goals made.  

Be sure to come out and support our Panthers as they look to have a bounceback season.

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