Checking in on the… NECPosted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008
Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.
SOUTH ORANGE , NJ – There were a few tough starts for teams in the Northeast Conference. Chalk it up to difficult opponents, road games and just heartbreaking disappointments. On the bright side were several individual accomplishments standing out to give their respective programs something to build on.
FDU got off to an 0-3 start. The schedule was not too forgiving as the Knights faced three strong teams on the road. They dropped decisions in the Legends Classic at Washington State and Mississippi State and lost at Pitt.
Central Connecticut State lost a pair of contests decided literally in the final seconds. The Blue Devils were defeated by Colgate on a Mike Venezia jump shot at the buzzer. Additionally, Central rallied from 18 points down and took a lead against Albany. Following a turnover, Albany’s Tim Ambrose hit a shot with 3.8 seconds to give the Great Danes the victory. A bright spot for Howie Dickenman’s club is the fine play of sophomore forward Ken Horton who had 33 points against Albany.
Monmouth is off to a rough 0-5 start. A silver lining for Dave Calloway’s club is the play of two freshmen, Travis Taylor and Mike Myers Keitt. The two forwards combined to average 25 ppg and 10 rpg over the Hawks’ first four contests. Taylor, a 6-7 player from Union (NJ) earned NEC Rookie of the Week for his fine play which included a scorching 76% field goal percentage.
Bryant, a future NEC member, won its first Division I game defeating Quinnipiac 59-50 in the consolation of the Tyler Ugolyn Classic at Columbia. It was coach Tim O’Shea’s first victory with the program.
Jeremy Baker, a junior guard who sat out last year, made his Quinnipiac debut a big one. Baker scored 18 points as the Bobcats defeated Army in overtime. The win put gave Quinnipiac its first 2-0 start in its eleven year history at the Division I level.
LIU won its home opener defeating Army 78-68 behind a blistering 55% field goal percentage from three. Sophomore guard Alex Johnson had a career high 23 points in that one.
Mount St. Mary’s fell to 1-2. The Mount faced formidable competition dropping a close one at Virginia Tech and then at George Mason. Mount held its first two opponents to 39% shooting and forced 20 turnovers against Virginia Tech.
Robert Morris finished 1-3 in the Garden State Challenge. The lone win over a good Delaware team 86-75. Senior guard Jeremy Chappell has continued his fine scoring but did have a career high 13 rebounds against the Blue Hens.
Sacred Heart got out to an 0-3 start. Turnovers are largely to blame as the Pioneers averaged 21 over that stretch. Sacred Heart outrebounded Providence but still lost 111-87 as the Friars converted 26 Pioneer turnovers into 26 points. Ouch!
St. Francis (NY) held second half leads but still lost road games at Navy and Hartford, the latter, a two overtime heartbreaker. The Terriers had battled back from a 14 point deficit in the game at Hartford.
St. Francis (PA) got out of the gate 1-4. The one in the W column was a sweet one indeed, a 69-59 overtime victory over Bucknell that saw coach Don Friday defeat his former team. Junior forward Mislav Jukic led the way with a career high 19 points against the Bison.
Wagner captured road contests at St.Peter’s and Stony Brook. Llew Radford, a 6-4 forward, earned NEC Player of the Week honors averaging 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two victories.
Quotable – Former Mount St. Mary’s coach, or should we say legend, Jim Phelan was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last Sunday. No longer on the sidelines, Phelan still had a decision – which tie to wear. “I think Dottie’s picked one out for me,” he said. “And it will be a bow tie, most certainly. That’s required.” Couldn’t have anything else. Congratulations to one of the real good guys in the game.