Purple and white dash across the floor. Chants of “defense” intermixed with rhythmic clapping and sneakers squeaking in the stadium. The Pilot’s dance team celebrates dunks in synchronicity.
On Monday, Nov. 1, the UP men’s basketball team won an exhibition game against Lewis and Clark College with a score of 93-67.
For the Pilots, this was the first game of a new era.
This is the team’s first time competing under Head Coach Shantay Legans, and fans are finally back in the stadium since the beginning of the pandemic.
“It feels great,” junior Chris Austin said. “The fans here are a part of the game so it's great to have that energy. It helps you compete.”
As the game swung into motion, it looked like a runaway, with the Pilots making a six point lead ahead of Lewis and Clark within the first few minutes.
This aggressive start would set a precedent for the rest of the game, as the Pilots ended the first quarter with a 24-12 lead.
“It's just great to get out there with the guys and compete.” Junior Mike Meadows said.
The men held their lead, entering halftime with a score of 43-27.
After multiple impressive layups by Meadows, the men began the third quarter with a score of 54-37.
Both teams continued to score, but Lewis and Clark was unable to catch up to the Portland men’s team, ending with a Pilot victory.
“It's a lot of the guys' first time playing in front of people in about a year and a half,” Legans said. “It was a lot of fun to watch, and I’m excited for them.”
The men will play again against Arizona State on November 9.
Kate Cuadrado is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.