WINTHROP, Mass. – It should be no surprise that the most successful season in Mount Ida College men's basketball history since joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) will come to a close as the most decorated, as the Mustangs grabbed two major awards and two all-conference selections when the GNAC announced their men's basketball All-Conference teams on Monday.
Head Coach Ben Davis was selected by his colleagues as the GNAC Coach of the Year, and junior guard Jayson Clark (Austin, Texas) was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year. Clark also earned a Third Team nod, while senior Ethan Dujon (Warwick, R.I.) grabbed his second consecutive All-Conference spot with a First Team selection.
Both major awards and Dujon's election to the First Team were all firsts for the Mustangs since joining the GNAC in 2007-08, in a year in which Mount Ida also got their first ever GNAC playoff victory.
In each of his four years at the helm, Davis has guided Mount Ida to increasing both their overall and conference win totals, culminating in a record twelve GNAC victories this season and an overall mark of 17-10, tied for the second-most wins in program history and the highest win total in the last sixteen years.
Under Davis's watch, Mount Ida knocked off defending champion Johnson & Wales University this season for the first time since 2013, amidst a two-month stretch where they went 12-2 and ripped off a record six-game winning streak. That run helped them earn the #4 seed in the GNAC postseason and host the first playoff game at Mount Ida Athletic Center since 2010. The Mustangs would beat Saint Joseph's (ME) 91-83 in that game for their first ever GNAC postseason victory.
Clark, a junior point guard, was among the leaders in the nation in both steals and assists, averaging 2.2 thefts and 5.1 assists per game, the latter at the top of the conference. Clark averaged 10.3 points per game and shot 40.9 percent from the field. He had six or more assists in eleven different games this year, including a season-high nine helpers in a conference win over Norwich.
In a game against Colby-Sawyer on November 19th, Clark broke the program record with nine steals, and he finished the regular season with four steals each in four straight games. He also scored in double-figures in 18 of the 26 games in which he appeared.
The scoring leader for the Mustangs, Dujon averaged 16 points per game, good for eighth in the conference, and was third best in the GNAC in three-point shooting, at 43.3 percent. The senior guard who joined the 1,000 point club this season, turned in nine 20+ point performances and had three double-doubles, as he averaged 4.0 rebounds per game as well. His 29 points on December 3rd led Mount Ida to a 100-88 win over Wheelock, and he scored 26 points, including 3-3 from downtown in a 74-63 win over Suffolk to extend Mount Ida's win streak to six games.
Junior captain Kevin Conner (Mansfield, Mass.) was deservedly chosen as the All-Sportsmanship Team representative for the Mustangs among the conference.
Dujon is the first First Team member from Mount Ida since the 2003-04 season, when Josh Didick earned a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) First Team nod. The last major award winner was Scott Chamberlain, who took home NAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2003, while Rico Cabral won back to back Coach of the Year awards in 2000 and 20001, the only time that accolade has gone to a Mount Ida men's basketball coach before Davis.