By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- After a 24-day break, the Bridgewater State University men’s basketball team resumes its schedule this weekend.
The Bears (5-6), who have not played since Dec. 12 when they defeated Becker College, will host Newbury College on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley Center.
BSU was supposed to start playing again Thursday night, but its game against UMass-Boston was postponed until Monday because of the snowstorm.
After getting off to a 4-2 start, the Bears dropped four straight games before rallying past Becker.
With only two seniors averaging more than 14 minutes per game, BSU is a young team with a rotation that includes four sophomores and a freshman.
“The play (of the underclassmen) has been a little bit up and down,″ said coach Joe Farroba. “If they can step it up, that will help. I always felt when you get to January, sophomores are really juniors. They’ve played 11 games now and have a clue.″
Leading the way are seniors Rocky DeAndrade (15.6 points, 3.8 assists) and Joseph Carty (15.1 points, 11.1 rebounds).
“We’ve got two very good seniors,″ said Farroba.
Sophomores Rayshon Ward of Plymouth (13.7 points) and Ryan Carney of Easton (11.3) have added to the offense as starters.
Sophomore Brian Grant has started seven games while classmate Dimitri St. Louis of Brockton, a Cardinal Spellman High graduate, is averaging 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 11 games with three starts.
Freshman backup point guard Jonathan Mercado is also getting consistent minutes and was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference rookie of the week.
The Bears are allowing 81.1 points per game, and defense is where improvement is needed heading into the MASCAC schedule next week.
“We haven’t played well defensively,″ said Farroba. “That’s been the biggest problem. Obviously through practice, we’ve been working on that and hopefully things will work out.
“I’m really concerned with the defensive end of the court. If we can dig in, that will make the difference. I think we can score points. I have found when we struggle offensively, we struggle on defense as well. That’s when you have to play your most important defense.″
After hosting Newbury and UMass-Boston, BSU plays its first MASCAC game on Wednesday, hosting the Mass. College of Liberal Arts.
“You are just worried about having too much time off, but we’re getting into the league season where everybody is 0-0 now,″ said Farroba. “I’m a little disappointed in the record. I thought we’d be a little bit better than we are right now.
“We’ve had some moments where we’ve looked good. We’ve had some good practices coming back. We’re cautiously optimistic when it comes to league play.″