Today: Jul 17, 2024

Southern says goodbye to five seniors in home finale

Pat Longobardi, Sports Writer-

As the 2010-2011 basketball season comes to a close, the graduating class for the Southern Owls men’s basketball team has a lot of significance, especially because this will be the first class under Southern head coach, Michael Donnelly. 

The Owls will be losing five seniors — Dexton Williamson, Chazz McCarter, Andrew Zito, Lance Long and Demetrius Jackson. 

All five seniors were honored prior to the final home game of the season against Saint Rose on Feb. 19. The seniors then represented Southern’s starting lineup.

“I’m proud with how they handled themselves,” said Donnelly. “They were a little undersized, but they did a terrific job. I couldn’t ask for five better guys that will move on to bigger and better things. They will be remembered as my first group to lead off of the floor.” 

Williamson and McCarter have been the class’s consistent starters this season. As much as the Southern team was getting a makeover this season with a new coach and staff, Southern also had two players getting accustomed to their first year on the squad — McCarter and Jackson.

Williamson, a center from Bridgeport, has been at Southern for two seasons, transferring from Delaware Tech. 

Williamson played in 25 games this season and started 18 games. Williamson averages six points a game and 22.9 minutes a game. He is third on the team in total rebounds (158), second in defensive rebounds (108), and second in blocks (23). His career highs include 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. 

McCarter, a guard from New Haven, played and started in 25 games this season for Southern. He transferred from Gateway Community College. McCarter is averaging 10.8 points a game and 28.5 minutes a game. McCarter is second in steals (29). 

Long, also a guard from New Haven, played in 24 games and started four games. Long is averaging 1.5 points a game, 10.6 minutes a game and is sixth in steals (14). Long’s career highs include 11 points twice, seven rebounds, and five assists. 

Jackson, a guard from Danbury, played in 16 games this season and started two games. Jackson transferred from the University of Southern New Hampshire. 

Jackson is averaging one point a game and 7.1 minutes a game. 

Zito, a guard from Windsor, played 22 games this season and started eight games. Zito is averaging 2.8 points a game, 13.4 minutes a game and is sixth in assists. 

Zito’s career highs include 18 points twice, six rebounds twice and seven assists.

At the beginning of the season, Zito said there was a new feel to this year’s team, in part because of the new head coach, Donnelly. 

Donnelly came to Southern from Post University in Waterbury. 

“It is definitely different now,” said Zito. “There is a different attitude and atmosphere.” 

Despite having losing seasons in recent years, Zito said when Donnelly started, the past was something never to be discussed. 

“The past is never talked about,” said Zito. “He (Donnelly) made that clear when we had our first meeting.”

Southern lost to Saint Rose on senior night, 86-75. 

“I think we (the seniors) played pretty good,” said McCarter. “We stayed positive and we kept up our confidence in the game.” 

Southern is 12-13 overall, and 9-12 in the Northeast-10 Conference. 

Southern has also clinched a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament on Feb. 26. 

This will be Southern’s first appearance in the conference tournament since the 2001-2002 season.

With the season still in progress, this group will also be remembered for being a part of the first step in the new era among Southern Connecticut men’s basketball.

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