The Pacific University men’s basketball team finished the 2016-17 season with a 12-12 overall record and a 6-10 record in conference play.
The Boxers had a season filled with highs and lows, with big wins over nationally ranked opponents and tough losses that were decided by one or two points.
For most of the players and the program as a whole, the biggest highlight this season came from a win in Spokane, Wash. over the then number five nationally ranked Whitworth University Pirates.
The win snapped a 16 game series losing streak against the Pirates and marked the first time since 2004 since the Boxers came out of Spokane with a win.
“The biggest highlight for us was definitely beating Whitworth at their place,” freshman point guard Davis Holly said. “It was great to go up there and play so well as a group and come out with the win.”
Holly earned the starting point guard spot early on in the season and quickly had to adjust to a new team. Although they had some great wins this season, Holly acknowledged how tough some of their losses were.
“Some of the challenges we faced was having to accept so many close, heart breaking losses and having to move on,” Holly said. “We lost so many games this year by just one possession. Another challenge was adjusting to the new guys, getting to know everyone’s tendencies, where they like to have the ball and where they can be most effective.”
One player who made Holly’s adjustment a little bit easier was junior All-Northwest Conference honorable mention J.B. Ewell.
Ewell averaged a team best 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Boxers. Ewell is excited about the potential the Boxers have for the upcoming years.
“As we enter the off-season, the thing that excites me most is how deep we will be next year,” Ewell said. “We will have eight seniors next season and will be returning close to the whole team. Also with our freshmen improving fast, we’re ready to make noise in the NWC next season and get Pacific to the playoffs for the first time.”
As Holly’s collegiate basketball career has just begun, for some of his Boxer teammates, their basketball careers are coming to an end.
One of these players is senior guard Michael Joseph who was the unquestioned leaders for the Boxers and one of the Northwest Conference’s top defenders. Joseph also noted that he faced many struggles this season but also had some unforgettable moments.
“I think my biggest challenge this year was playing injured throughout the season,” Joseph said. “But I also had some good moments like our second time playing Redlands where I made two free throws to get the lead and ultimately win the game.”
With big wins and tough loses all throughout the season, Joseph admits that the thing he will miss most about playing at Pacific is his teammates and coaches.
“I will miss the coaches,” Joseph said. “All four of them pushed me to be a better player and a better person on and off the court. I looked forward to practice every day because my teammates and coaches were like family to me. We always said we were a family and a brotherhood and we meant it.”