Stirling University basketball is back! The Men’s 1st team took to the court last Wednesday in the semester-opener, playing against the University of West Scotland’s Men’s 1st team: currently holder of the top spot in Scotland’s 3A Division. UWS held a perfect record as they arrived in Stirling and remain undefeated after the Men’s 1st team suffered a 53-74 defeat.
While this marks the sixth loss of the season for Stirling, the team improved their record towards the end of last semester with two strong wins. While large breaks between matches can often kill a team’s momentum, president of men’s basketball and Men’s 1st player Craig Stephen doesn’t believe this will be the case. “A lot of what we did last semester was gelling as a team and learning how to play with one another, and we won’t need to relearn that.”
Stirling’s season began with a bitter five-game losing streak, but the team remains positive. Just three games remain in the regular season, but Stirling could still propel up the table. Stephen explains that it was almost a relief to face UWS in the opening game, as these are always transitions where players adjust back into regular play. Stirling’s energy will be back to 100 per cent for the remaining games that offer a much greater chance of victory.
UWS’s dominance has also left the rest of the table relatively close. Only two wins separate Herriot Watt’s Men’s 2nd in second place and Stirling in fifth, so a strong finish to the season could see Stirling secure a respectable spot.
One of these games takes place this coming Wednesday, February 6, against the University of Edinburgh’s Men’s 3rd team. Edinburgh are currently placed last in the 3A Division with just a single win. Stirling secured their highest-scoring game of the season against them in November, beating them by 17 points.
The matchup takes place in Edinburgh this time, and while away games post a unique threat, Stephen says “it’s a game we’re confident about”.
This isn’t the only Stirling game taking place on Wednesday however, as Stirling’s Men’s 2nd team hope to continue their strong season in the semester-opener. Despite sitting at just two wins, some of the losses suffered have been incredibly close, and the opportunity to rematch these teams on their home turf boasts well for Stirling.
This is applicable in the upcoming match as Stirling play Dundee’s Men’s 2nd team. This matchup closed out last semester in an incredibly close game that saw Dundee win by just four points.
With home-court advantage, new additions to the roster, and the continued development of their new offensive strategy, Stirling have a good opportunity to secure the win. Because of all this, team captain Ryan Travers says the team is “going into the game feeling positive”.
Winning here could also boost Stirling to one of the top two spots on the table, putting them in a great position to finish strong as the season comes to a close in March.