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Saints optimistic for Liberty League title

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 8:16 AM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - The last time the St. Lawrence University men’s basketball team won the Liberty League tournament title was back in 2010.

But this season, the Saints are looking to end that drought with a strong start to the season fueling optimism in the program.

The Saints enter the winter break with a 6-1 record, 2-1 in Liberty League play.

St. Lawrence will be riding a two-game win streak into their next game when they host Elmira College on January 2.

Saints coach Chris Downs is pleased with his team’s solid start.

“Yeah, it’s been a good, it’s been a really good start, you know,” he said. “It’s been fun with this group. They’re really -- they’re just a great group of kids. They’re really engaged and they love to come in and work out and they’re always in the gym and it’s all been good that way, you know?”

The Saints roster is a mix of veteran and young players, with one senior, six juniors, two sophomores, and six freshmen.

It’s a blend that Downs says has made a great impact on the chemistry of the team.

“We got a really nice blend between a couple of transfer guys who honestly have fit in great,” Downs said. “They’ve come in, they haven’t been anything other than engaged fully with what we’re trying to do and then you’ve got guys like the Macaulay twins who expect to win. I mean, they’ve grown up in a culture where they’ve been successful.”

Digging into the numbers, the Saints have been averaging a little over 68 points per game, something Downs says he feels the team can improve upon.

The defense has been impressive, allowing just over 64 points per game.

“We’ve had two games where we were down,” he said. “We were probably down 5, 6 to 10 points under 5 minutes to play in the game and both times for the last 5 minutes we held teams completely scoreless and went on to win, so the defense has been really what’s kind of taken care of us so far.”

After dropping their Liberty League opener against Union, the Saints have won two straight league games against Skidmore and Clarkson.

Downs feels that any number of teams -- including the Saints -- can vie for the regular season title this year.

“I think from probably seven or eight on up right to the top.” he said. “I’m not sure there’s much that separates anybody, so I think we have a chance but we’ve got a long way to go to get there.”

Downs and the Saints are hoping 2022 brings the team many more wins, along with a chance to bring home a Liberty League title.

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