NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) – Following a 64-61 win at Virginia Wesleyan on Sunday, the red-hot start for Christopher Newport University continues. The Captains (7-0) are off to their best start since the 2000-2001 team began its season 11-0.
“This program has great tradition. So, when people compare you to some of those great teams that have been at Christopher Newport, that certainly gets your attention,” said John Krikorian, who’s now in his sixth season as the Captain’s head coach.
The Captains have shown tremendous offensive balance through their first seven games, which include wins over Lynchburg, Salisbury and Wesleyan. Lynchburg was picked to finish second in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, Salisbury is ranked no. 17 in the nation, and Wesleyan not only held the nation’s no. 12 ranking but was also picked to win the ODAC.
“We got the experience that older teams have and have fought through some pretty tough games,” said Rayshawn Brown, who Krikorian calls his best on-ball defender.
“People don’t even want to dribble the ball against him. He’s a real pain in the butt,” said Krikorian.
And it’s with his team’s defense Krikorian feels the true strength lies. CNU has out-rebounded every one of its opponents this season and is one of the nation’s top overall defensive units.
“Our on-ball defense has gotten ten times better than last year,” said Brown.
The Captains are no stranger to hot starts. They began last season 5-1, and the season before that won 10 of their first 11 games. Both seasons ended with losses in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
So Krikorian says the goal is not to look at records, streaks or numbers, but rather to make every game its own season. “We know how long the season is and we know that it’s not a sprint. It’s a long race, so we’re not caught up in results right now. We’re just trying to get better every day,” said Brown.