A Look at the Lynx: NHTI men’s basketball secures top seed in conference playoffs

Joe Cantey has helped lead NHTI to the top spot in the conference.

Joe Cantey has helped lead NHTI to the top spot in the conference. Berkley Stevens—NHTI

Published: 02-12-2024 9:43 AM

The NHTI men’s basketball is scorching hot. This past week the Lynx beat the only opponent in their conference to have handed them a loss, Vermont State University-Radolph, 93-75. The Lynx rolled through their Saturday and Sunday conference games and locked up the top seed in the upcoming Yankee Small College Conference Championship Tournament.

The win against Vermont

After losing in the first meeting 90-80 on Dec. 10, the Lynx have been eyeing last Wednesday’s rematch ever since. The VSU Knights bring some serious firepower as a team. The conference’s top two scoring leaders, Jaylon Calvin (21.7 ppg) and Tyler Allen (20 ppg), are both Knights.

For the Lynx, defense has been one of their most improved attributes. Since the early-season loss to Vermont, they have not allowed more than 86 points in a game. 

In last week’s win over the Knights, Terrian Wester delivered the performance of the season with 24 points and 24 rebounds. Lynx point guard Joe Cantey scored 21 points and Rahsheen Caulk Jr. tied a career-high with 19 points.

The clincher

On Saturday, NHTI clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference playoffs with an 108-70 win over the Bobcats of Paul Smith’s College.

Half of the Lynx points came from reserves. Dasan King scored 20 off the bench, which is something he’s grown accustomed to. King has scored 20 or more points off the bench three times now. 

Yassir Joyer, a freshman from Philadelphia, had a breakout performance. Joyner scored a team-high 22 points, and he did so in just 12 minutes. He shot 8-11 from the floor and splashed a trio of three-pointers on the way to his new career high in points.

Twenty at last

On Sunday, the Lynx beat the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science Panthers 92-69.

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After a perfect week capturing four wins, NHTI now holds the longest active winning streak in the country, winning their last seven games. 

Caulk Jr., who tied his career high with 19 points earlier in the week, led the Lynx with 25 points. He suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to the 2022-2023 season and he has topped out at 19 points four times in his career.

Facing the local rival and finishing strong

It’s the final week of the regular season. NHTI will likely end up with a first-round playoff matchup against Paul Smith’s College, if the Bobcats maintain the 8-seed. Last season, NHTI, as a 2-seed, was upset in the opening round by 7-seed Paul Smith’s College.

The team has two games left before the playoffs. NHTI travels to the Seacoast to take on Great Bay Community College on Thursday. 

NHTI possesses the highest-scoring offense in the nation for USCAA Division-2 schools. The Lynx average 91.9 points per game. The second highest-scoring offense is Great Bay. The GBCC Herons average 87.6 points per game.

Last year’s YSCC conference coach of the year? NHTI’s Irv Harris. Last year’s USCAA national coach of the year? Great Bay’s Alex Burt.

Their last meeting was a low-scoring affair. NHTI won 80-72 back in November. Both teams have improved tremendously since then. 

The final game of the regular season is on Sunday when the Lynx travel to Dix Hills, N.Y., to play Five Towns College.