By: Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor
The UM-Dearborn men’s basketball team had a historic season in 2017-2018. They held their first ever home playoff game at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse and won the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Championship over Rochester College.
The Wolverines also traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to take part in the 2018 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament. The Wolverines went in as the No. 7 seed in the tournament and faced the No. 2 Saint Thomas University Bobcats in the opening round.
It was a back and forth game with the Wolverines and they gave the Bobcats all they could handle throughout the game, even sending it to overtime tied at 67. The Bobcats eventually got the win in overtime after senior Ashton Curd’s tying shot failed to go in and the Wolverines could not come up with the rebound within the last seconds of overtime.
It was an eventful season as the Wolverines ended with a 21-13 record overall and a 13-7 in the WHAC.
The Wolverines had several signature wins this past season, including taking out No. 1 Cornerstone University in the WHAC Semifinals. They also beat Madonna University two times out of three, including taking them out in the WHAC Quarterfinals.
The team was led by senior Jason Penn, who had 571 points for the season or 16.8 points per game. He also 293 rebounds, 70 assists, 41 steals, 39 blocks, and made 109 free throws. Penn also was an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. Penn also hit 1500 points putting him in the top players all time for men’s basketball scoring for UM-Dearborn.
Junior Mafiaion Joyner made a late push to come in second in scoring for the Wolverines with 430 points, or 12.6 points per game. He also had 65 3-pointers and 67 free throws made. Joyner also had 161 rebounds, 51 assists, 32 steals, and 10 blocks.
Junior Xavier Crofford made his presence felt, scoring 379 points or 11.1 points per game. He also had 27 3-pointers and 46 free throws made. Crofford added 129 rebounds, 83 assists, 34 steals, and nine blocks. Crofford also hit a historic 1000 points in his college career this season.
Senior Gage Throgmorton added 279 points or 10.7 points per game. He was a gunner from 3-point range, making 59 of them. He also shot 83 percent from the free throw line, especially when the Wolverines really needed them late in the season.
The biggest surprise for the Wolverines was sophomore Cody Kegley, who took huge steps forward in leading the team down the stretch. He added 334 points, or 9.8 points per game, for the season. He knocked down 58 3-pointers and shot 83 percent from the free throw line. Kegley showed leadership for the team and thrived with the extra pressure put on him.
The Wolverines also had a NAIA scholar athlete for the second time in junior Hassan Doghman.
The Wolverines will have a lot to live up to next year after doing so well this season. Time will tell on next year’s team and how they’ll respond.
Check back with the Michigan Journal for all news and scores on all UM-Dearborn athletics.