By Sydney Mountain
On Saturday, November 6th, the Sound traveled to Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science to take on the Panthers in FTC’s first men's basketball game of the season. The Sound came out on top 82-78 in a close game. Some noticeable performances came from guard Damani Merritt, guard Nigel Braithwaite Jr, and forward Jan Filip Jagielski.
As the first game back since the 2019-2020 season, the players, coaches, and fans were ecstatic to be in the gym. "It feels great. You know the energy is like no other. Basketball is what I love to do, so it was just a dream come true to actually come back and be able to play again," said Damani Merritt.
Shooting about 42% from the field and 80% from the foul line, Merritt rallied up 28 points. He also grabbed two offensive rebounds and six defensive rebounds to tally eight, which was a college career-high for Merritt. His seven assists were another record, with three steals to round out his stats for the day.
Helping Merritt lead the Sound to victory was senior guard Nigel Braithwaite Jr. Braithwaite put up a double-double, having double-digit stats in both points and rebounds. Shooting 50% from the field and 50% from the foul line, Braithwaite tallied 10 points. He also led the Sound in rebounding with two offensive rebounds and eight defensive rebounds. Along with his points and rebounds, Braithwaite had one steal and one assist. Coach Gregg Drzal was not surprised by Braithwaite’s solid performance. "He’s been doing that for four years, so it doesn’t surprise me. He is our little handyman; he does a little of everything. He handles and plays defense; he rebounds, so not unexpected."
Another player with a double-double was freshman forward Jan Filip Jagielski. From the field, Jagielski was 54% and was 100% from the foul line, making 18 points for Filip. He had ten rebounds, five offensive, and five defensive. Along with that, he had five assists, one block, and took two charges. "Those were two momentum changers. Like, those charges were very needed, and we’re happy that he is willing to do that for the team," said Jagielski’s teammate Damani Merritt.
The Sound are back in action on Thursday at 8 pm at Manhattanville College and open at home on Saturday at 5:30 pm against Bryant and Stratton Syracuse.