Men’s basketball soars over Salem State in season opener


JD Conte

Jake Gomez blocks shot from Vikings player.

The Suffolk University men’s basketball team opened up their season with a 105-65 victory over Salem State University in front of their home crowd on Saturday, Nov. 12. 

A packed Ridgeway gymnasium witnessed the Ram’s sixth straight season-opening victory, as Suffolk began their 2022-2023 campaign and second full season in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with a 40-point blowout win.

“This is why we play. Going through the whole preseason, we just wanted to play our first game in front of our friends and family,” said team captain Aidan Sullivan. 

A balanced opening to the game would soon be thrown in the trash, with Suffolk hitting back-to-back three-pointers to ignite a 10-3 run, prompting a Salem State timeout with just under six minutes to play in the first half. 

The timeout was taken in vain, as Suffolk went on a 14-4 run out to end the half to go into halftime up 48-30. 

Salem State came blazing out of the half, able to put together several impressive offensive possessions. Suffolk was able to quickly put out the flames, their lead never dipping below 14 points. 

“Last year a lot of our problems stemmed from getting leads and then giving them up, so we’re trying to close out better,” said Sullivan. “Especially in the second half, as a unit, trying to close out as fast as we can.”

It was all Suffolk from there, with Salem State struggling from the field and Suffolk dominating in the offensive phase of the game. Salem State shot 35.9% from the field with Suffolk shooting an astounding 54.9%. This impressive shooting margin ranks the Rams as the eighth-best D3 shooting team in the country through their first game of play.

Salem State’s attempt at a comeback was heavily brought down by their failures at the free-throw line. They shot a mere 58.8% percent to Suffolk’s 88.9%. This induced some banter aimed at the Vikings at the free-throw line near the end of the game from Suffolk fans in attendance.

The leading margin for the Rams in the fourth quarter meant some playing time for younger players. Bench players score 37 of the Ram’s 105 points (35%). Graduate transfer Kaelen Kanealey made his career debut for Suffolk, and sophomore Liam Cunnie scored 13 points off the bench, including several three-pointers in the fourth quarter that hammered the final nails in the coffin of the Vikings. 

Leading the Rams offensively was a stellar Keenan Roberston with 30 points. Robertson averaged 10.8 PPG last year. The sophomore guard was named the CCC player of the week for his performance, in which he was an assist shy of a double-double. Sullivan, who had 8 assists, also played a vital role in the astounding opener.

The Rams will start their road campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Colby-Sawyer College with a 7 p.m. tip-off.