By TANNER BERMAN
The men’s basketball team has not been this good since the 2004-05 season, which was the last time the Fighting Knights made a visit to the NCAA tournament.
The team finished fourth in the regular season of the highly competitive Sunshine State Conference and made a successful run throughout the SSC tournament defeating Florida Tech 84 to 83 in an overtime thriller, only to be knocked off by the number one team in the country – Florida Southern Mocs – in the semi-finals.
For the first time in 10 years the Fighting Knights have claimed their spot in the NCAA tournament finishing sixth in southern region, and Head Coach Jeff Price is looking to end the season with a strong finish.
“We’re in control of our own destiny,” said Price. “So it’s easy to look and see where we’re going to finish.” Winning is something that the men’s basketball team has struggled with for the past nine years, not eclipsing the 20 win mark since the 2005- 06 season. Price is hoping to move forward as he attempts to pass that mark by the end of the season.
A large part of the Fighting Knights game is attributed to their defensive skills as a team. Price believes that a strong defense will dictate the amount of the teams success throughout the pursuit of extending the teams postseason.
“I really feel like this team is peaking at the right time, which I think is really important,” said Price. “Our defensive effort has been really good and we continue to stress on winning games on the defensive end of the floor.”
Throughout the majority of the season, the Fighting Knights defense has ranked up with some of the best teams in the country. Lynn is lingering around the top five in most team steals and blocks in the NCAA Division II. But statistics alone will not catapult the Fighting Knights past the first round of the NCAA tournament. “Making the NCAA tournament has meant everything, that’s what we’re playing for,” said Price. “That’s why we’re here to play in the tournament.”
The men still have a tall order to fill when they will be taking on the number three team in the region, University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, but with Price at the helm, the boys in white and blue will look to make the teams first visit to the NCAA tournament in a decade one to remember.