Checking in on… the Patriot League

Posted by jstevrtc on December 11th, 2009


Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League and America East Conference.

Current Standings (with overall record):

  1. Army  6-2
  2. Lafayette  5-5
  3. Bucknell  4-6
  4. Navy  4-6
  5. Lehigh  3-5
  6. Holy Cross  2-8
  7. American  1-8
  8. Colgate  0-8

Hottest Team: Army (3-1 on the week)

W 64-48 vs. Yale, W 64-58 vs. Bryant, L 74-67 at Buffalo, W 61-40 at Farleigh Dickinson

Coach Zach Spiker has these Black Knights playing better than expected.  No one can say they have had a tough schedule so far, but you play the games in front of you and Army is the only Patriot League team with a winning record at this point.

Stud Player: Chris Harris G- Sr., Navy, 22.0 PPG in 34 MPG.

Harris got many accolades for his recent performances, including Patriot League Player of the Week, ECAC Division I Player of the Week, and Mid Majority Player of the Week.  Harris is one of only nine players nationally with at least two 30-point games so far this year.  He also hit this game winner:

Thoughts on the Patriot League:

Records fell in a stretch that saw one Patriot League coach roam the sidelines for his record 413th game, and the Patriot League’s best scorer set his school record for consecutive free throws, but overall it was a tough two weeks for the Patriot League teams.

Army finished their second four-game stretch at 3-1 giving them the only winning record in the Patriot League. Sophomore Julian Simmons came up big at Buffalo with a career-high 30 points.  Simmons followed it up with 17 points in the win at Farleigh Dickinson.  He is Army’s top scorer at 14.6 PPG.  Before the season started it was not known how coach Zach Spiker would perform in his first season at the helm, but the 6-2 start is the best for an Army coach since Tates Locke in 1963-64.  Spiker has Army playing great defense.  In all six wins this year, the Black Knights have held opponents under 60 PPG.

After starting 4-1 Lafayette dropped four straight games before finally pulling out a victory over Farleigh Dickinson. In the victory Sophomore Jim Mower led the way with a career-high 23 points.  Mower’s classmate, Ryan Willen, added 18 points and nine rebounds.  Lafayette held the lead for the last 27 minutes of the game.  At one point they were up by as much as 23 points.  The Leopards finished with a 73-57 victory.  Junior Jared Mintz only scored three points in the game, but for the season is shooting 61%, good for 21st in the country.

Bucknell had a tough two weeks.  The Bison went 1-3 including a loss at Binghamton.  It was the Bearcats first win this year over a Division I team.  The Bison starting five only managed 23 points between them.  Bucknell scored ONLY 13 points in the first half.  This was two days after the Bison put up 98 points in the loss against Cornell.  Talk about two separate teams coming to play. The only win this week came at Wagner.  The Bison finished off the week losing at Boston University before heading back to Pennsylvania for finals.  The only bright spot is that freshman center Mike Muscala won Rookie of the Week.  Muscala is the second Bison to win it following Bryson Johnson’s big first week. Muscala scored 20 points against Cornell.

In the last five games Navy went 2-3.  Chris Harris continues to shine for the Midshipmen including a half-court buzzer beater against Quinnipiac.  Harris finished with 31 points against Quinipiac and it was his second thirty-point game in the last three games.  Harris shot 5-10 from downtown and a perfect 10-10 from the line in this win.  Mark Veazy contributed 18 points in the victory.  Sophomore guard Jordan Sugars continues to become a solid second option for the Midshipmen.  He put up 21 points and 12 rebounds in the victory over Penn.  It was one of two double-doubles he posted over the five-game stretch.  Navy let the game against Maryland Eastern-Shore slip out of their hands as they were outscored 12-2 in the last five minutes to drop the game, 80-72.  Harris shot just 8-27.  Harris is now 18th on the school’s career scoring list.  This season Harris is 21st nationally in scoring average and 41st nationally in free throw percentage.  Against Mount Saint Mary’s he connected on four free-throws giving him 37 straight, a school record.

Lehigh dropped three straight games over the last two weeks.  They lost at home against Stony Brook, followed by away games at Columbia and Dayton.  Lehigh had never beaten an A-10 opponent and Dayton kept it that way.  Against the Flyers, Lehigh had four Mountain Hawks score in double figures, led by freshman C.J. McCollum.  McCollum is leading the team in scoring on the year.  Although Marquis Hall is averaging less than 10 PPG, he is making up for it with his passing ability.  Hall has a 2 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging over six assists a game.

Holy Cross did finally manage to get up a couple of victories, before dropping two straight against Massachusetts and Fairfield.  In the loss to UMass, sophomore guard R.J. Evans scored 18 points.  Evans leads the Crusaders with 12.7 PPG.  Junior forward Andrew Keister is adding 11.7 PPG while pulling down 8.1 rebounds.  Keister is shooting 51.8% from the floor.  At 2-8 this cannot be how Sean Kearny envisioned his collegiate coaching career starting, especially after being the preseason pick to win the Patriot League.

Reigning Patriot League champion American pulled out their first victory of the year against Howard.  The Eagles had four players in double-digits for scoring including sophomore forward Riley Grafft leading the way with 13 points. American went 6-6 from the line in the last thirty seconds to preserve the victory.  The hard fought victory was followed with a dud against Georgetown.  American shot 27% for the game.

Colgate is the only team left in the Patriot League still searching for their first victory.  The Raiders led against Rutgers after the first half, but were outscored by 14 in the second half.  Senior guard Kyle Roemer was the bright spot finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the year.  Roemer scored 13 of those points in the last six minutes of the first half.  After Roemer scored the first basket of the second half, Rutgers came out firing, scoring the next eight points.

Key Upcoming Matchup:

12.22.09 – Dartmouth at Colgate – 7 pm.

This may be Colgate’s best chance at getting a win before conference play starts.  Their Ivy League counterpart has only one victory on the year.  If Colgate can’t pull this one out at home, who knows when they will get their first victory?

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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