Tough Start to Season for Rangers Men’s Basketball

by Jackson Lydon

6 mins read

The Men’s basketball team started off its season with a 2-4 record, most recently defeating the York College Spartans 73-68 to reach the championship game of the TCNJ Tournament on November 12th. 

Against the Spartans, forward Howard McBurnie, Jr. (’22) led the Rangers to victory in the first round of The College of New Jersey Tip-Off Tournament Friday evening. During the game, he scored 21 points and 13 rebounds, with a career-high of six steals and four blocked shots. 

Although Drew struggled to score early on and fell behind 8-0 four minutes into the game, they took  the lead (19-18) when McBurnie sank a 3-pointer with 7:55 left in the opening half. The Spartans (1-1) tied the game twice over the remainder of the half. However, the Rangers put themselves in the lead at halftime when they scored the last five points on a 3-pointer from guard Malcolm Newman (’22) and a jumper from guard David Gervase (’22) to go up 39-32. 

The men’s basketball team extended their lead to nine early in the second half and forced their advantage to 12 (60-48) on a fastbreak jumper from Gervase with 8:42 left. However, the Spartans refused to go down without a fight and came back to take the lead (67-65) with 3:45 on the clock,  following with a 19-5 run. York took a 68-67 lead on a free throw with 2:40 left, but the Rangers induced a shutout that resulted in a pair of turnovers by the Spartans. 

Gervase solidified the Rangers’ place in the lead with two free throws which put the score at 69-68 with 1:41 remaining. Malcolm Newman (‘24) connected on a pair at the stripe to make it 71-68 with 1:19 to go before the Spartans missed a 3-pointer that McBurnie rebounded. After the Rangers turned it over, Drew Gallagher (‘22) sealed the lead for Drew, coming up with a steal before sinking a pair of foul shots in the game’s closing seconds.

Guard Labryant Robinson (’22) scored 13 points to go with six rebounds for the blue and green, while Gervase posted 11 points. Forward Michael Kane (’23) notched seven points and seven rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, while Newman also finished with seven points. 

Despite their win against York, the Rangers fell short of a championship win with a loss to TCNJ by a score of 79-62 in the TCNJ Tournament Championship game on November 13th. 

On November 19th, The Rangers blew out Saint Elizabeth University 102-73 in the first round of the Larry Horner C’40 Rose City Classic in Baldwin Gym. With the victory, thirteen different players scored a point for the Rangers, who knocked down 17 3-pointers that night, tying for the fourth-most in team history. Gervase led the way with 18 points on 4-of-7 3-point shooting, while Robinson contributed 14 points. McBurnie notched his third double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He also swiped a career-high six steals, just one shy of the school record. During the game, guard Miles Lewis (’22) added 10 points for Drew. 

Image courtesy of Drew University Athletics Department.

The Rangers never trailed after racing out to a 9-0 lead to start the game. The lead reached double figures (25-13) on a 3-pointer from Gallagher with 11:49 on the clock, and the hosts took a 43-30 lead into the locker room. Drew saw its advantage exceed 20 (54-33) on a three from Gervase with 18:27 on the clock. McBurnie made the crowd go wild with a soaring alley-oop dunk off a pass from guard James Anderson (’23) to extend the lead to 28 (65-37) with 15:21 to go. McBurnie started the play with a steal before racing down the court to beat multiple defenders to the rack. 

Leading 70-53 with 11:32 remaining, the Rangers dropped 32 points over the next ten and a half minutes to hit the century mark. Five players combined for six 3-pointers down the stretch, including back-to-back triples from guard Kevin Griffith (’22). 

In Madison, N.J. on November 20th, the tournament MVP Baruch Graduate Student Liam Sanborn hit a long-range 3-pointer with two seconds left. Baruch College captured the 2021 Drew University Rose City Classic with a 64-62 victory over the Rangers in the championship game. The Rangers suffered another loss against Wesleyan University by 90-76 on November 28th. Wesleyan continues its undefeated season (6-0). 

This season Guard Lybrant Robinson (’22) was the team’s highest scorer thus far (16.7 points per game), while Forward Howard McBurnie, Jr. (’23) averaged 13.7 point per game  and 10.0 rebounds per game across the season. 

Robinson, McBurnie and guard David Gervase (’22) were all First-Team All-Landmark Conference selections last year when the Rangers finished 7-2 and captured the Landmark Conference title. 

Drew plays its Landmark Conference opener on Saturday when it visits Goucher College at 2 p.m.

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