James Schuld (email@example.com)
The Men’s Basketball team recently closed out its season with a hard-fought playoff loss to John Hopkins University on February 25th. Overall, the Bears finished 13-13 with a 9-9 record in conference play. Even though the season did not end with a Centennial Conference championship, there is still a plethora of good things to take away and look forward to.
This season, there were plenty of Bears in the top five across the conference in terms of statistics. Ryan Hughes ‘23 was second in the conference by only one tenth of a point with 18.9 points per contest along with being fifth in rebounds at 6.5 per game. Cole Grubbs ‘25 was second in the conference in rebounds with 7.1 boards per game, adding to his great year on the defensive end where he averaged 2 blocks per game, making him second in that category as well. Lastly, the Bears had two players in the top 5 of 3-point percentage with Peyton Vostenak ‘22 at second, shooting 48.8% from downtown. and Trevor Wall ‘24 at fifth, shooting 40.3% from distance. As a team, the Bears led the league in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, shooting 46.7% and 37.4% respectively. This stellar offensive consistency led them to third in points per game by just one tenth of a point with 77.3 points per game.
In terms of personal achievement, this was also a very impressive year for the Bears. Coach Kevin Small won his 300th game as Ursinus Head Coach on Senior Day against Washington College. In terms of All-CC honors, Peyton Vostenak ‘22 made the All-Sportsmanship Team, Trevor Wall ‘24 made the 2nd Team while Ryan Hughes ‘23 made the All-CC 1st Team. The Bears also had two CC Players of the week with juniors Kyle Maurer and Ryan Hughes both achieving this honor. Last but most certainly not least, Ryan Hughes eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his career on February 2 against Haverford. Hughes finished his 3rd season with a total of 1,188 points and will surely continue to climb up the ranks amongst some of the best scorers in Ursinus College history come this November.
As we as fans look ahead to another season of Bears basketball, there is plenty to be excited about. To start, the team is returning all but two players with seniors Peyton Vostenak and Matt McMahon graduating in May. Vostenak and McMahon both played valuable roles on the team this past season and surely they will be deeply missed. With that said, the Bears have young talented players who are eager to fill in those spots in the season to come.
On the topic of young talent, I was recently able to talk to Sean Neylon ‘25, and asked him about his smooth transition to the college level and what the future holds for the Bears. “The transition to college had a bit with just trying to stay in the gym, but the confidence from our older players really made me feel comfortable while playing with a newer group. Also, we have a great group of guys. The incoming group is talented as well, so I’m very excited about our future.” Neylon immediately stepped into a starting role this season in which he averaged 12 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game on 53.2% true shooting. Stepping into that role and doing so well as a first year is truly a testament to the confidence the upperclassmen had in Neylon and the rest of this young Bears core.
Continuing with upperclassmen, I was also able to talk to Ryan Hughes ‘23 about his thoughts on next season. He said, “I’m very confident in the guys because after we lost our last game you could tell it stung. That only means one thing, these guys care and we are hungry to get a Centennial Championship. This off-season will be a big one for us and I think these guys are ready to take our game as a team to the next level. We will be back in the playoffs next year and we will be hungry for a chip!” The rest of the Centennial should be put on notice from this quote because hungry Bears run faster! Hearing this from a leader on the team, such an exuberance of pride and confidence is the type of attitude that will only add to the winning culture that is Ursinus Men’s Basketball for years to come.