The Morehouse College basketball team fell short of expectations last year when they lost by two points to conference rival Benedict College in the semifinals of the SIAC tournament, ending their season in frustration. Now the Maroon Tigers are preparing to tip off their 2015-16 campaign with a newfound sense of optimism, hoping to build off a 16-12 record that saw Morehouse drop a lot of close games.
“I hope going through losing about five or six games by four points or less gives us that experience to learn how to finish,” Morehouse head coach Grady Brewer said. “The first game of the season we lost by one with five seconds on the clock and in the semis by two with 20 seconds left, so having better execution down the stretch can hopefully lead to more victories.”
Shooting guard Austin Anderson was the team’s only graduating senior, so Morehouse returns almost the entire roster from last season led by preseason All-Conference selections point guard Tyrius Walker and center Tyrone Brown. Walker had a stellar freshman year, leading the team in per game scoring (13.8), assists (2.9) and steals (1.4). However, Morehouse is going to need the 6-foot-1-inch guard to lead in more than just stats if the team hopes to make another strong push into the postseason.
“Knowing me, it is my job to be a coach on the floor,” Walker said. “I want to help the freshmen coming in get adjusted to the pace of the college game and also get guys in proper position to help us execute in games.”
Last year Brown led Morehouse in rebounds per game (7.5) and finished second in points per game (9.7) while serving as the team’s defensive anchor. The 6-foot-9-inch center will lead a deep rotation of big men that features fellow seniors Robert Askew (7.1 ppg.) and Michael Hall (6.3 ppg.), who look to provide more scoring, physicality and toughness in the paint.
“Hopefully having another year again will help guys know one another and play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Brewer said. “It’s a plus for us being able to have all that length and we want to make sure we rebound the ball, and have good fundamentals to go along with that.”
The Maroon Tigers are projected to finish third in the East Division of the SIAC and open up their season Nov. 14 against Johnson C. Smith University, which defeated Morehouse last year after overcoming a 20-point deficit. The team hopes to rely on a strong defense that held opponents to 38 percent shooting and 28 percent from the 3-point line. The opener against the Golden Bulls provides the perfect opportunity to assess just how much they have grown since last season.
“This is the most important game of the season for us,” Brewer said. “We want to play together and for each other, and if we win every half we will win every game.”
Maroon Tiger Basketball Hopes for Fast Start This Season
Lee Williams Jr.