By Austyn Szempruch
A mere eight games into the 2021-2022 season, the Pasco-Hernando State College men’s basketball team has chalked up a 4-4 record. The Bobcats’ contest last Saturday saw them pick up a convincing 98-70 win over Ave Maria University JV, but they lost games 7 and 8 against Santa Fe College and Hillsborough Community College respectively.
Early in the year, the team has had its ups and downs, and tendencies have begun to show themselves. The likely question on Bobcat nation’s mind is where the team goes from here and what PHSC needs to improve upon to reach the squad’s goals.
Last season saw the team in gold and black finish with a 7-13 record. It also saw the team reach the Region 8 DII Men’s Basketball Championship and compete as a final four team in the Region 10 South Atlantic District Tournament. The Bobcats’ loss to Sandhills Community College would portend challenges for Head Coach Micheal Jones and company.
One-fifth of the way through the season, what have those challenges looked like?
As of last Saturday, they have scored 83 points per game this season, PHSC sports a paltry 22.9 percent conversion rate on three-point attempts. The Bobcats’ issues from behind the line have played a pivotal role in two early-season losses. Against St. Petersburg College, a 12-point loss could have been diminished or avoided altogether if not for a 40 percent spread on such scores. The Bobcats also failed to eclipse 12 percent on three-point attempts against the visiting Hillsborough Community College Hawks, contributing greatly to the home team’s resounding 75-114 loss.
The season is young, though. In Saturday’s win over Ave Maria, Coach Jones’ team handled business while making over 42 percent from downtown. The Bobcats also recorded their second-highest season total in rebounds (35) and their second-lowest total in turnovers (15).
Steals have also been a welcome boon for Pasco-Hernando, as they rank 15th out of all NJCAA Division II men’s basketball teams with 13.2 per game. The Bobcats hold a variety of statistical leads such as points and field goals per game over their regional counterpart, Florida Gateway College, as well. Between the two, PHSC has three of the four highest-scoring players per game: Guard/Forward Warren McLyMont (17.8), Guard Jakeese Kemp (15), and Guard Marcellus Thomas (13).
Despite this, Florida Gateway still places most of their players in the top five in rebounds, field goal percentage, and three-pointers in region 8. The teams will get their first opportunity to take a head-to-head lead over the other on Nov. 23 at Pasco-Hernando Community College, 7 pm.
But first, the Bobcats will take on St. Petersburg College for the second time this season on Saturday, Nov. 20 and the Bobcats will be looking to avenge their 12 point loss.