The men’s basketball team opened their season in Winona Lake, Indiana, at the Lancer Tipoff Classic against Madonna University. They fell to the Crusaders 81-61, with sophomore Karson Jenkins leading the team with 22 points and 6 rebounds. The following day they played Kentucky Christian University, where they lost 77-76.

The team was marshaled by Judah Simfukwe, a returning sophomore, who scored a career-high 27 points. Jenkins picked up 14 points and 4 rebounds, and freshman Kevin Cota led with 7 boards. 

The Maple Leafs were ahead of KCU 37-33 going to the half. In the second half, the Leafs led until the final 45 seconds when the Knights tied the game at 76. With 25 seconds on the clock, Kentucky Christian was fouled for two free throws. KCU missed the first one but drained the second, taking a 77-76 lead, and the Leafs were unable to score again.

The basketball team has gone through many changes this offseason. Of the 16 players on the roster, only seven are returning players for Goshen.

“Everything right now is about building that foundation of what our culture needs to be,” said Kyle Capps, the team’s head coach. “Right now it’s all about continuously building [so that] when those [tough] moments hit, we don’t fall apart, we stay together. 

“And with nine new guys like that, it’s hard,” he continued. “We are looking forward to a long, but fun, season.” Seven of the nine new players joining the team are freshmen, while two are transfers.

Simfukwe said, “The culture is great. All the freshmen are working hard; we are just trying to put some pieces together, get some physicality and hopefully get a win in our next game.”

The next game is scheduled to be an exhibition game against Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, at 7 p.m on Nov. 7. The next regular season game is the following day against Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, which has an 8 p.m. start time. After that, the Leafs will play the next three games at home.