The Cougars of Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s basketball will look to continue a solid season going after early-season success, which includes wins over two top-10 opponents in the NAIA national poll.
The team’s success started early in the season with a double overtime thriller over No. 5 Indiana Tech, 101-98, after big games from sophomore Jevon Knox and senior Brett Vipperman. After wins over Kent State at Tuscarawas, Denison and Rio Grande, the team would play in the MVNU Homecoming Classic.
The first game of the classic included No. 7 Cornerstone University and No. 9 Union College, which Cornerstone won. After that game, the Cougars would take on sister school Olivet Nazarene University. The Cougars dominated this game, winning 87-66. MVNU and Cornerstone would then battle to triple overtime in the Classic’s championship game with MVNU winning, 117-110.
The No. 15 Cougars are one of the multiple-ranked Crossroads League teams, which include No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 8 Marian University, No.16 St. Francis (Ind.) and No. 23 Bethel (Ind.).
The grueling schedule of the Crossroads League is one of the reasons the Cougars have scheduled teams like Indiana Tech, Cornerstone and Walsh University in an exhibition game.
The Cougars have big goals for this season, but head coach Jared Ronai knows his players have a lot more to improve on to reach their goals this season.
“I am happy with our growth so far this season, but we have much to improve upon in many areas,” coach Ronai said. “Our biggest goal each and every year is to become the best that we are capable of becoming.”
The senior class for this year’s team includes Jordi Mas, Jeremiah Roberts and Brett Vipperman. Coach Ronai has been along side these seniors all four years and knows that they have a lot more to write in their story at MVNU this season.
“This year’s senior class, along with red shirt junior Austin Jones, was our first recruiting class, and they have a great understanding of how we operate on and off the floor,” coach Ronai said. “I think the leadership on this team is outstanding, and I am looking forward to watching them continue to grow in this area throughout the season.”
Senior Brett Vipperman, in his last season, knows how thankful he is playing for coach Ronai.
“Playing for coach Ronai has been an incredible experience. He has helped develop me into a better man and player,” Vipperman said. “He holds us to high expectations, and it is going to benefit me in the long run.”
Vipperman and the Cougars will look to continue this successful season going with a grueling schedule to play and goals of the national tourn