Men’s basketball starting the new year strong

The Mercyhurst men’s basketball team has got off to a hot start in 2013. The Lakers have won 4 of 5 since Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

They have collected wins against Notre Dame, Mansfield, Bloomsburg and Cheyney. Their only loss came on Jan. 11 to West Chester on a buzzer beater, 68-66.

Senior Luis Leao is a big contributor to the Lakers’ success.
Luis Leao takes a free throw.: Brian Vail photoLuis Leao takes a free throw.: Brian Vail photo
He has started 15 games averaging 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and playing in an average of 30.5 minutes a game. The presence of Leao on the court makes it difficult for teams to adapt.

He is a force on the boards and a shooting threat. He is averaging .848 percent at the free throw line.

Leao recently won the PSAC Player of the Week for his performance on the court.

“Individual awards have very little significance on the list of my grand goals this year, and I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” Leao said

Every player has his goals and Leao said his goal is to make the NCAA tournament.

The Lakers have done a great job jumping on teams early and closing the door. They are outscoring their opponents 1064-949. Being able to jump on teams early and close the door shapes championship teams.

After losing a lot of players from last year’s team, chemistry was huge to gain with the new comers.

“I think our freshmen are doing great; I haven’t played with such a hard-working freshman class since I was a freshman myself. They are very smart, they work hard and they are willing to listen and do whatever they are told to do,” Leao said.

The Lakers posted a 77-55 victory at Cheyney January 12, 2013. Leao led the team with 24 points and went 8-9 at the free throw line. This win helped get the team back on the winning path; after the buzzer beater loss to West Chester.

The Lakers (10-5, 6-3) will be hosting PSAC West opponent Clarion (4-9, 2-7), Wednesday, Jan. 16, at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center (MAC). Opening tip is set for 7:30p.m.