The 2014-2015 Men’s Basketball team had the university hoping, praying, pacing and even yelling for at least one more game on February 25th, while the Beacons battled for a playoff win against the Raiders. Excitement, disbelief and amazement of a shot hit at the buzzer sent a jam packed rug room into a frenzy of joy and school spirit. Residential students hurried down stairs to check on the students whose screams echoed the halls, only to also be jumping and shouting for joy. Nerves continued to surge throughout the first and second overtime, and with each shot the tension in the room grew. The game ended in double overtime, the Beacons just 6 points away from moving forward to the CCC semifinal championship game, and although the campus shared the sadness and shock with the players, fans were also overcome with pride in the grit and resiliency that our players showed.
NCU finished the season with a 17-11 record and matched their all-time best with a 10-8 mark in the CCC, claiming fifth place. A few of the boys made the cut for the 2015 All-Cascade Collegiate Conference Teams, Junior Austin Kuemper earned First-Team Honors, while senior Travis Pacos and junior Javonte Byrd were selected for honorable mention. Kuemper, an All-CCC honorable mention last season, had another stellar season, leading the team with 14.9 points per game. He shot 52% from the field and averaged 6.6 rebounds per game along with a team-high of 14 blocks. Kuemper scored 20 or more points in ten different games including a season-high 33 points against Concordia on January 9. Byrd, recognized by the conference for the first time, averaged 12.4 points per game, shooting 49% from the field. He was second on the team with 41 steals and was responsible for a team-leading, 38 three-pointers.
Travis Pacos, who earns his first ever All-CCC selection, capped off a memorable career with a senior season. Averaging 10.3 points per game, Pacos became NCU’s sixth player on record to cross the 1000-point plateau for his career. He ended with 1024 points in 120 career games, and when asked about such an accomplishment he responded humbly as ever with, “It felt rewarding for the time and work that I have put in every year. But I know that most of the credit for me reaching 1000 points deserves to go to my teammates. The reason why is because almost every basket that I have ever scored was a direct result of one of my teammates making a play and giving me a great opportunity to put the ball in the hoop.”
Pacos finished the season ranked second in the Cascade Conference in three-point shooting, hitting on 50% of his attempts from beyond the arch. Pacos also became NCU’s all-time steals leader early in the season and finished with 176 career swipes, 32 more than the second-highest total in school history. He wants to give a shout out to the Assistant Coach Fred Litzenberger, because “he has dedicated countless hours to help our team, and me personally become a better basketball player. Although he does not get a lot of recognition for it outside of the basketball program, he deserves to because he makes a great impact on our program and the success we have currently had.”
Devyn Iglehart, the starting senior point guard for the Beacons said he is, “most proud that our team never fell apart even during tough losses.” Freshman Kyle Ferreira’s favorite thing about the team was the different personalities and qualities that the guys had saying, “Most people would think having a bunch of different personalities on a team would be a bad thing, however I found it to be really fun. The variety of personalities we had on our team made things fun and interesting day in and day out. Also, we had a quality group of guys who are great people.”
Sophomore Jack Hackman said some inspiring words when describing his team saying, “I’m most proud of the fight that we played with as a team. Although we lost a lot of tough, close games, we never got blown out and didn’t go down without a fight. I think we earned a lot of teams’ respect because we fought hard and it took everything they had to beat us.” He also wanted to shout out to the seniors for being such influential leaders all season, and to the fans for their support which really pumped the guys up for games, ending with, “Hopefully even more people will show up to root us on next year.”
To find the statistics described and to learn more about the Men’s Basketball team please visit their team page on the Beacon’s athletic page: http://gobeacons.com/index.aspx?path=mbball