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The Blue & Gray Press | June 24, 2018

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Farrar Helps Eagles Top Seahawks

The University of Mary Washington men’s basketball team didn’t get their marquee game of the season off to the best start. The Eagles began last Saturday’s home game against visiting St. Mary’s College (SMC) just 1–9 from the field, as UMW fell behind the Capital Athletic Conference’s second–place team 15–6.
Yet the Eagles didn’t allow the precarious start to doom them, as head coach Rod Wood’s team recovered from the rough beginning to eek out a 67–65 win. The victory earned UMW a two-game edge in the battle for the conference’s top spot with just five games remaining in the regular season.
“I wasn’t perturbed about the way [the game] started out,” Wood said. “As a coach I’m looking at tempo, and though they were up I felt like we had control of the tempo, so I thought it was just a matter of time before we crawled back in.”
Mary Washington finished the final 13 plus minutes of the first half on a 30–19 run to take a two-point lead into the locker room at halftime. The second half was a tightly contested affair throughout, and St. Mary’s trailed by just one point with under a minute to play when Eagles senior Mike Harvey drilled a 3-pointer to put Mary Washington up four.
A few plays later, a final heave at the buzzer by SMC’s Kyle Wise bounced away harmlessly and UMW held on for the colossal victory. The Eagles got points from 11 different players, and five Mary Washington players scored seven or more points in the contest, led by senior Ryan Farrar’s 13.
“We kind of play it by ear, go through the offense and whoever is clicking that game we try to get them the ball as much as we can,” Farrar said.
The Eagles’ balanced attack has been key to their success, as the opponents have no one player to key in on because it changes game-by-game who the team goes to on offense.
“I would think that we are a nightmare to prepare for,” Wood said. “The amount of talent that we have is spread out over 10 or 12 guys. We don’t drop off in talent.”
Following a double-overtime victory over Marymount University earlier last week, Farrar said the team was looking to rebound from what they deemed a subpar performance.
“We kind of took the Marymount game like a loss,” Farrar said. “We should have played a lot better than that, but we played down to our opponent so our goal [in the St. Mary’s] game was to get back on track.”
Wood said last week that he thought his team needed to be tougher in the second go-around through the conference if they wanted to reach their goals. Well in a game where UMW shot just 36 percent from the floor, Wood’s team won the rebounding battle (41–37) and converted their free throw opportunities (16 for 22).
“[Our toughness] was a lot better, especially after coming out of a game where I thought we were atrocious at it,” Wood said. “We boxed out a lot better and we showed toughness and stood up to them. It was nice to see that. As a coach I know that’s what it’s going to ultimately take to win the conference.”
The Eagles got the added cushion in the standings they were looking for, but Wood emphasized that he still wants his team to cut down the turnovers going forward. On top of that, Wood is concerned that his team will suffer a letdown following the big victory Saturday and slip up in one of their upcoming games.
But Farrar made it sound as though his coach won’t have to worry about the team not being ready to play.
“We know now that up two games for first place that every team is going to come gunning for us,” Farrar said.
The men’s basketball team was not in action as usual last night, but they return to the court Saturday at 2 p.m. when they take on Salisbury University.