Men’s Basketball Continues Strong Start with Win


Courtesy of Simeon Deutsch

Sophomore Nate Cohen drives to the hoop for a layup in a game against the Earlham College Quakers on Tuesday, Nov. 25. The Yeomen are currently 3–2 overall and 1–1 in conference play.

Harrison Wollman

The men’s basketball team ground out a 53–42 victory over the Earlham College Quakers last Tuesday night, improving to 3–1 on the season.

After opening the contest against the Quakers with a 9–0 run, the Yeomen allowed the Quakers to slow down the tempo of the game, resulting in an 11–1 run for the Quakers that left the game tied at 19 going into the half.

The team was able to make adjustments coming out of the half, however, and scored 10 unanswered points in the first four and a half minutes, capped off by back-to-back three-pointers by sophomore guard Jack Poyle. The Yeomen never looked back and pushed their lead to 17 points with just over three minutes remaining.

As has often been the case in the season thus far, Poyle led the way for the Yeomen, scoring a team-high 14 points on four-of-five shooting to go along with three steals, two assists and two rebounds. Junior center Randy Ollie contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, controlling the paint for the majority of the game. Sophomore guard Nate Cohen did his part as well, giving the Yeomen strong perimeter play and netting seven points while grabbing seven rebounds of his own.

Despite the convincing win, Poyle admitted that the Yeomen weren’t firing on all cylinders against the visiting Quakers.

“I would say we played down to their potential,” he said. “We came out a little flat, and we weren’t as energetic as we should have been.”

Poyle has been a bright spot for the team this season, leading the team in scoring (13.6 points per game), steals (1.8 per game), and field goal percentage (.522 percent). His most memorable performance to date was a 26-point game against the Wittenberg Tigers that earned him Player of the Week honors from the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Head Coach Isaiah Cavaco knew Poyle would take a big step forward in his second season with the Yeomen, but even he didn’t expect Poyle to look as good as he has in the early going.

“Jack has bailed us out on a few occasions so far this season,” he said. “I expected him to be our most consistent perimeter player, but I wasn’t banking on his high scoring outputs.”

While Poyle’s play has been key for the Yeomen thus far, the Yeomen’s fast start has been a team effort. Oberlin’s best start to a season in over a decade has included both a win over the formidable Wittenberg Tigers, snapping a 50-game skid against the Tigers dating back to 1979, and a loss to the Division I Youngstown State Penguins in which the Yeomen were down by just two points with 12 minutes to play.

“We’ve been doing a very good job of sharing the ball in transition, and our defense has been forcing other teams to take shots that they might not have wanted to take,” said junior forward Matt Walker. “Other teams haven’t been able to figure it out against us, which is a great sign as it shows that we have been executing our coach’s defensive strategy to the best of our capability.”

The Yeomen are thrilled with their fast start, but the team knows it will have to stay focused in order to continue winning.

“We’ve had a decent start, but it’s all about how you handle being scouted, how you handle unforeseen adversity and what you do when you have quick turnarounds from game to game,” Cavaco said.

Unfortunately, the Yeomen saw their two-game win streak snapped on Wednesday when they fell to the Kenyon College Lords by a score of 65–45, moving them to an even 1–1 in NCAC play.

The Yeomen made just 5 of 21 shots in the first half en route to their worst shooting performance of the season. Ollie had his second consecutive 12 point outing to go along with seven rebounds and 4 blocks, but his efforts weren’t enough to help the team overcome a night in which it made just three threepointers all game.

The 3–2 Yeomen will hope to get back to their winning ways on the road against the Wabash College Little Giants this Saturday at 3 p.m.