As in-conference play brings Bellevue College basketball into the more important half of their season, the men’s team is struggling with their identity early on. In the last week, they lost to the 8-7 Whatcom and the 5-12 Peninsula, while their victory came against the 8-7 Skagit Valley. Bellevue’s 1-2 in-conference record puts them in the latter half of their division, and their 10-6 overall record is still good enough for third in the division. Their record is optimistic enough for them not to be counted out yet, but it does mean work needs to be done for Bellevue’s Jan. 23 matchup against the 12-5 Edmonds.
One of the points to cover in the last week is how Bellevue has shot substantially worse than usual. While they average a 44.2 field goal percentage, the team missed their mark at 35.2 percent against Peninsula and 41.4 percent against Whatcom. Their 36.3 three-point percentage was undercut against Peninsula and Skagit Valley, with BC shooting 29 and 30.8 percent from deep respectively. Bellevue’s 75.1 free throw percentage, which ranks fourth in the Northwest Athletic Conference, was missed in two games as well. Against Skagit Valley, they only shot 66.7, and against Whatcom they only shot 57.1 percent.
Curtis Walker, who is currently fourth in the NWAC in rebounds per game, missed the average in all three games. A week of games is a small sample size, and it definitely isn’t impossible for the team to make a comeback, but there is work that needs to be done.
Nevertheless, Bellevue has definite bright spots in the lineup. Curtis Walker, on top of his incredibly high rebound numbers, put up 37 points over the last three games. International student TJ Jlan scored 28 in the same time frame, as well as following up for 13 rebounds and earning 10 assists. Malik Sanchez put up 37 points and 14 rebounds, while Emanuel Siale scored 34 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Another point of positivity comes from sophomore Andrew Shaw. In the two games he played, both coming off the bench, he scored 28 points on a 56.3 field goal percentage, including 62.5 percent from the three-point range. He did all of this without turning the ball over and only committing one foul.
Overall, none of the losses seemed like Bellevue got completely outclassed by their opponents, which is good. They boasted a positive assist-to-turnover ratio between the games and put up competitive numbers against each of their opponents. The games coming up against Edmonds and Everett will likely be two of the harder opponents Bellevue will face, but as Coach Donald Brady said, “Every team in the North Region is capable of beating each other on a given night.”