Weekend Check-Ins…

Posted by rtmsf on November 29th, 2010

Remember, every Friday is mid-major day here at RTC.  Half of the mid-major leagues are covered one week, with the other half the next.  Here are last week’s Check-Ins in case you missed them while dealing with the holiday weekend…

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Another Odyssey Awaits!

Posted by jstevrtc on November 8th, 2010

But first, you must travel.

A long and difficult road…

You shall see things wonderful to tell.

You shall see a cow on the roof of a cotton-house.

And oh, so many startlements!

I cannot tell you how long this road shall be.

But fear not the obstacles in your path

For fate has vouchsafed your reward.

Though the road may wind, and yea, your hearts grow weary,

Still…ye shall follow them.

Even unto your salvation.

–The Blind Seer, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In mere moments, our beloved countdown clock at the top right will again touch down at the all-zeroes, and the 2010-11 college basketball season will have begun. At RTC we use the clock to count down to six different points of a season — Midnight Madness, the opening night tip, Selection Sunday, the first NCAA Tournament game tip, the Final Four, and the championship game. Tonight we will reset the clock for the third of those, and even though we don’t believe in summer breaks around here, with the opening tip tonight, RTC will officially have begun its fourth season.

At the risk of imitating the boilerplate-speak that ends just about any flight on any airline, we have to say this right now — we know you don’t have to come here. College basketball blogs spring up and fade away at a shocking rate. Though none of us (at least according to the folks down in RTC Human Resources) ever actually wore a tin foil hat and/or lived in a parent’s basement, this venture started with one guy and a old laptop, then two guys, then a third, then 35. This particular head of the hoops blog hydra has become a far different organism than we ever thought it would, and we know whom we have to thank for that. We would still probably be doing this if you weren’t around, but in our view this all amounts to just about zilch if you don’t tell us what you’re thinking, if you don’t do us the honor of participating in the conversation. Over the past four seasons, our comments sections (and Twitter mentions column) has hosted coaches, current and former players, fellow bloggers, professional sportswriters, TV presenters, and, most of all, general fans of this wonderful game. That last category encompasses all the others, and is therefore the most important one. No matter your name, occupation, level of sanity (we’re kidding), or socioeconomic status, no matter if you have something negative or positive to say , we hope you’ll keep coming back, and keep telling us your thoughts. Welcome to our fourth shot at this…and thank you for being here.

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Summer School in the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 2nd, 2010

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.

Around the NEC

  • The NEC will have a different look this fall with coaching changes abound, including two of the top three schools from last season (conference champs Robert Morris and third-place finisher Mount St. Mary’s) undergoing changes at the helm.
  • Mount St. Mary’s head man Jim Phelan never had to go through a change of address during his tenure, but Mountaineer fans will miss him and his famous bow tie pacing along the sideline. Phelan retired after last season, capping a career during which he amassed 834 wins over nearly half a century, all of which was spent in Emmitsburg.
  • Postseason success remains hard for the NEC to come by. Despite Robert Morris giving Villanova all they could handle in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats escaped with a 73-70 overtime victory, leaving the NEC with an all-time 3-29 record in the Big Dance.

James Feldeine may be gone, but Quinnipiac is positioned to for a run at the NEC title.

Power Rankings:

  1. Quinnipiac: The Bobcats lost a heartbreaker in the NEC final to Robert Morris, but a strong returning cast labels Tom Moore’s group as the NEC favorite heading into the fall. James Feldeine, the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 PPG game last season, exits, but Justin Rutty and James Johnson make for a returning duo who will bring their combined 27 PPG back to Hamden. Rutty, who averaged a double-double last year, also makes a living on the glass and is one of the best offensive rebounders in the college game. Seniors Jonathan Cruz and Deonte Twyman will also be counted upon to make key contributions.
  2. Robert Morris: The Colonials promoted assistant Andrew Toole when Mike Rice exited for a Rutgers program in shambles. As is often the case with coaches who guide mid-major teams to successful runs, Rice’s departure for a higher-profile school comes as one of the more predictable moves in the off-season. He had a solid three year run at Robert Morris capped off by a near upset of two seed Villanova in the NCAA tournament opening round.  Toole is fortunate in that Rice’s recruits stayed committed to RMU when he exited, a definite benefit of promoting from within. Toole was able to finish off the recruiting class over the spring and summer months, and Toole is confident they will mesh with the returnees to continue the recent success.
  3. Mount Saint Mary’s - Losses include outstanding lead guard Jeremy Goode. The Mountaineers also lose an accomplished player and double digit scorer in 6’5 Kelly Beidler.  Paramount among those need replacing is assistant coach Milan Brown who accepted the head coaching position at Holy Cross. Robert Burke, an American University assistant last winter and former Georgetown aide, is on board to replace Brown. The Mount has enjoyed recent success and Burke has a solid coaching pedigree. A lead guard replacement for Goode is a primary concern entering this season, and Jean Cajou, a returning starter, will look to fill that hole as a senior. Read the rest of this entry »
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Set Your Tivo: 03.10.10

Posted by THager on March 10th, 2010

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

NEC Championship – Robert Morris @ Quinnipiac – 7:00 on ESPN2 (***)

A few weeks ago, Robert Morris had a chance to secure home court advantage throughout the Northeast Conference tournament, but a pair of losses now have the Colonials playing in Hamden, Connecticut.  RMU is just 9-7 on the road this year, while the Bobcats are 14-0 at home.  However, that statistic can be attributed to the weak out of conference schedule Quinnipiac played, and they rank #343 in the Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule ratings.  Neither team ranks high in offensive or defensive efficiency, but Quinnipiac’s #233 ranking on defense is eye-catching in a negative way.  In the only meeting of these teams earlier in the year, Quinnipiac’s James Johnson scored a season-high 28 points, and the Bobcats came out with an 87-79 road win.  The team also shot over 50% from the field in that game, and if they can duplicate that shooting performance at home, they should cement their place in the NCAA Tournament.

Big East Second Round – Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall – 7:00 pm on ESPN (****)

This is not an elimination game for the Irish, but this is a must win game for the Pirates, who are still on the outside looking in due to a #10 seed in the Big East tournament and a weak RPI.  Seton Hall is stealing some of Notre Dame’s thunder late in the season, but people are getting fooled by this overrated Pirates team.  Their last six wins have come against DePaul, St. John’s, Rutgers (twice) and Providence (twice).  The Irish, on the other hand, have defeated Pitt, Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette, with the wins over the Hoyas and Golden Eagles coming on the road.  This game will feature two of the best players in the Big East, as Luke Harangody is back from an injury and Jeremy Hazell scores over 21 points per game.  In the only meeting between these two teams this year, Hazell scored 35 points while Harangody was limited to 13 points.  Notre Dame’s imbalance (#3 offense, #173 defense) has been well publicized, but Seton Hall has had defensive problems of their own.  The Pirates rank #96 in offensive efficiency and a ridiculous #238 on defense.  Although people are jumping on the Seton Hall bandwagon as of late, the Irish are a superior team and should get into the Tournament even with a loss tonight.

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ATB: Mid-Major Tourney Sunday

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2010

Conference Tourneys.  Given the propensity of conference tournaments this weekend, we’ve divided up the ATB this weekend so that this post will cover only the eleven mid-major tourneys that were in action today, while our other ATB post will discuss the end of the regular season for the major conferences.

Missouri Valley Championship – Northern Iowa 67, Wichita State 52.  When Northern Iowa held Drake without a field goal for 28 minutes during their quarterfinal matchup on Friday, many people on press row who were unfamiliar with their stingy defense dismissed it as a statistical anomaly made possible by an inferior opponent. After holding #2 seed and NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch team Wichita State scoreless for 12 minutes during a 23-3 second half run today, those same people became believers. The Panthers had the second best defense in the country this year, and over three days in St. Louis, they showcased that defense in winning their second consecutive Arch Madness title.  In a 67-52 victory over the Shockers, UNI got big contributions from their bench: 25 points and a contagious energy level that gave their starters a chance to breathe easier in their third game in as many days. “Our bench stepped up huge for us tonight just like they did the night before,” commented Ali Farokhmenesh. “I think our bench was the biggest difference in that (23-3 run) and then probably in the entire game overall. They made huge plays for us and they wore down the starters for Wichita.” Jack Koch was the chief contributor off the UNI bench, hitting three clutch treys and finishing with 13 points.  Kwadzo Ahelegbe, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, led the way with 24 points, which included 12-14 from the free throw line. He also hit two big three-pointers for the Panthers, whose other starters struggled for most of the day. “I have an easy job,” Ahelegbe told reporters after the game. “When you can get to the basket and nobody’s there because you have two great shooters, it’s easy, easy money.” Along with Ahelegbe, teammate Jordan Eglseder was also named to the All-Tournament team. Eglseder had remarkably consistent lines all weekend, scoring 10 points in each game, and grabbing 4, 5 and 5 rebounds in the three games while blocking five shots in the final.  Northern Iowa earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they haven’t won a game since a 1989 upset of Missouri in an era before they joined the MVC. They’ll almost certainly be favored to win their game this year, however, as the 28-4 Panthers should be a “protected” seed when the brackets come out. Can the Panthers stay motivated over the 12-day layoff between now and their first round game, though? “The players get to decide as a team what their goals are, and there are a couple still on there that we have not gotten,” noted coach Ben Jacobson after the win. “So there is a lot of motivation still. I really like how we played here. I knew today was going to be a close game, so that momentum helps as we go into practices getting ready for this. That’s an important part and we’ve got momentum and confidence.”  As for Wichita State, they’re a bubble team that likely finds itself on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday. Coach Gregg Marshall tried to make a case for them after the game to reporters. “We’ve got 25 wins, a couple of top 25 victories, we were undefeated at home. We’re a very talented team…we’ve got size, we’ve got 7-footers, we’ve got long, rangy athletes. We’re going to defend.” He then defended the league itself. “This is a pretty good basketball league. We had to play a team with 20 wins in the quarterfinals that was getting top 25 votes for December as a 2 seed. So that goes to show you the depth of the conference.”  In the end, what Northern Iowa showed against a good Wichita State team is that their defense is for real, and that they’re one of the better teams in the country. As Marshall noted afterwards, “Northern Iowa’s a great team. They’re well coached, they’re seasoned and they’re experienced. They’ll win games in the NCAA Tournament. Period.”

Back to Back Championships for UNI (WCF-Courier/M. Putney)

Colonial.  The CAA semis resulted in two excellent games, and RTC Live was there for both this afternoon in Richmond.  Top seed Old Dominion survived a tough-minded attack by VCU, whose campus is merely a few blocks down the road from the Richmond Arena.  Gerald Lee was awesome, scoring 26 points on 10-13 FGs, but it was his teammated Ben Feeney (11/6) who saved the day down the stretch as the Monarchs came from behind in regulation to tie VCU and send the game to overtime.  In the other semifinal, #3 William & Mary held on to outlast #2 Northeastern in a game that also came down to the last shot of regulation.  The Tribe’s David Schneider hit a three with 35 seconds remaining in the game — his only field goal — giving W&M the lead on a clutch shot for the second consecutive night.  Northeastern had seven chances on the final possession to tie or win, but none of them dropped for the Huskies.  ODU and W&M played twice previously this season, with the Monarchs winning both, and as you probably have heard, the Tribe will play for their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid tomorrow night.

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NEC Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – ‘It is a marathon not a sprint,’ the coaches tell you. That analogy of the college season is very true. In the case of the Northeast Conference race, Robert Morris grabbed the early lead and led a good portion of the way. Quinnipiac was at the head of the second pack, trying to keep the pace setter in sight. The Colonials hit the wall about the 24 mile mark (maybe the 25.5 mile as Robert Morris held the lead from January 30 until the season’s final day) and were caught by Quinnipiac. Both teams tied for first but the Bobcats earned the top seed on a tiebreaker.  With the unbalanced schedule Quinnipiac and Robert Morris met once with the Bobcats taking the February 20 road decision. Both teams finished in a tie and that win gave Tom Moore’s team the top seed.

A look at the Quarterfinals

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ATB: Maryland Becomes Everyone’s NCAA Sleeper Team

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2010

Large Wednesday.  It was a big-time night of games, the kind of evening that has you checking the clock all day long in nervous anticipation.  Most of the games ended in predictable fashion, but that didn’t make them any less interesting.  To get this out of the way, ranked teams #3 Kentucky, #6 Purdue, #10 New Mexico, #13 Tennessee, #15 BYU, #16 Temple, #17 Wisconsin and #24 Texas A&M all won, most easily.  UNM won the Mountain West title outright, and Kentucky grabbed at least a share of the SEC title tonight.  We’ll focus on the biggest games, the key games of bubbular interest, and the conference tourneys in this space tonight, though.

  • #2 Kansas 82, #5 Kansas State 65. ESPN got lucky that this game was only interesting for about thirty minutes tonight.  At the 15:39 mark of the second half, K-State’s Luis Colon hit a layup to pull the Wildcats back within one point, and we thought this battle between Big 12 stalwarts was destined to go down to the wire in Lawrence.  We were wrong.  Kansas seemingly awakened from its halftime slumber and went on a quick 9-0 run to open its lead back up to double digits.  KSU made one more push to get it back to six, but the Jayhawks used a 13-1 run to put the game away for the 59th consecutive time in Allen Fieldhouse.  The Kansas defense, virtually nonexistent in their loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday, was back in action here, holding their in-state rival to 40% shooting and limiting the opponents not named Denis Clemente or Jacob Pullen to a mere 24 points.  The old barn was rocking as Kansas won the Big 12 regular season outright and likely wrapped up a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament as well, but we’re not completely certain because we could hardly see the action on our ESPN360 feed.  KU walks into a trap game at Missouri on Saturday, while K-State should still finish second in the league with a win over Iowa State this weekend.

Sherron Collins: Winningest Player in KU History (KC Star/R. Sugg)

  • #23 Maryland 79, #4 Duke 72.  The better big game of the night took place in College Park, as Maryland outlasted Duke in a back-and-forth contest that resulted in the Terps tying the rival Blue Devils at the top of the ACC standings with one game remaining.  Ultimately, it was Gary Williams’ team, led by the animated and spectacular Greivis Vasquez (20/4/5 assts), who broke a 69-all tie with two minutes to go and ended the game on a 10-3 closing run.  In particular, it was Vasquez’s running, fading, only-the-kind-of-shot-he-would-take-and-make jumper that gave Maryland a four-point lead with 39 seconds left and forced Duke to start fouling soon thereafter.  We really shouldn’t read too much into one result in a rivalry game, so we won’t, but one thing is very clear in that Maryland has been playing the better part of two months much, much better than their ranking might 0therwise indicate.  Since the new year turned, the Terps have only lost at Wake (when WFU was playing well), Clemson and Duke.  That’s it.  Pollsters have been holding four nonconference losses against them, but if Maryland isn’t a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament, then we haven’t seen one.  As for the regular season title, the Terps will play in a trap game at Virginia this weekend, while Duke will actually have the easier home game against rival UNC.  If both win (or lose), then Duke will win the top seed in the ACC Tournament, but suffice it just to say that these two are clearly the best two teams in the ACC.  Now, about that RTC, Terp fans…  we love the quick, full coverage of the court, and we know it’s been a few years since you last beat Duke, but, what if you’re the better team?

Huge Bubble Games.

  • Notre Dame 58, Connecticut 50. There’s absolutely no question that the Irish are playing better without all-american Luke Harangody than they were with him.  Notre Dame won its third straight game over a solid team to put themselves squarely back into the NCAA picture, but with an RPI in the 60s, a win over Marquette this weekend and another in the Big East Tourney are needed.  The Ls keep piling up for UConn (13 now), but how long can you hide behind the excuse of a tough schedule and some big wins before you cut them out of the picture?
  • Florida State 51, Wake Forest 47.  Wake is busily playing itself from a projected #4 seed to outside the field in a short span of two weeks with the Deacs’ fourth straight loss tonight.  Al-Farouq Aminu had a ridiculous zero-point, five-foul performance in the loss, and with a game versus surging Clemson on Sunday, Wake could be staring at five Ls in a row to end the regular season.
  • Memphis 70, UAB 65.  In a battle of CUSA bubble teams, Memphis was able to get a big win while also wrapping up the #2 seed in next week’s Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa.  In most mock brackets, UAB is the second team out of this conference, but now Memphis has swept the season series between the two.  It will be interesting if they meet again in Tulsa with Memphis taking a third game as well.

Helped/Hurt Themselves.

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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Robert Morris holds only a one-game lead over Quinnipiac after the win by the visiting team over the weekend. If Quinnipiac can win their final two and RMU loses one more game this upcoming week, the Bobcats would get the tiebreaker by virtue of the sole win between the two this year.

*note: standings prior to Saturday 2/20 games.

Co-Players of the week:

  • Kelly Biedler, F, Mount St. Mary’s – Averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in a pair of road victories. Shot 56% from the field and was 4 of 9 from three point range on the week. Had 14 boards and 3 blocks in the win at Monmouth.
  • James Johnson, G, Quinnipiac –  Averaged 20 points and 3 assists as Quinnipiac clinched its fifth straight NEC tournament berth. Scored a career-high 23 points in the win over LIU. Has started the first 56 games of his Quinnipiac career, second longest streak in the school’s Division I history.

Rookie of the Week:

  • Will Felder, F, St. Francis (PA) – Averaged 12.5 points,7.5 rebounds and shot 53% from the floor in two Red Flash victories. Hit a key three pointer and grabbed a crucial rebound in the stretch of the two point victory at CCSU.

MILESTONES and NOTES:

  • Joe Seymore became the 31st player in Central Connecticut history to score 1,000 career points.
  • Justin Rutty of Quinnipiac and LIU’s Kyle Johnson also hit their 1000th point. Membership in the NEC’s all-time 1000 point club is now at 164. The league began operations back in 1981.
  • League history was also impacted recently. On January 17, 1987, Robert Morris held St. Francis (NY) to 34 points. That record stood until very recently. And it was matched twice. Last week St. Francis (PA) defeated Bryant 60-34. Ironically that came a week after CCSU also defeated Bryant by that same score.
  • Dave Calloway is now the winningest Monmouth coach in NEC play. Calloway has 122 victories . Calloway surpassed his former college coach Wayne Szoke to grab the top spot.
  • Junior guard Shemick Thompson recently moved into seventh place in CCSU’s all time list of assist leaders.
  • Sacred Heart senior guard Ryan Litke is now  on the top ten NEC list for career three point field goals made. Litke has 262 trifectas… and counting.
  • Much has been written and chronicled here regarding Jeremy Goode’s move up the assist and scoring ladder. The Mount St. Mary’s senior sensation recently cracked another top ten list. Goode is now number nine on the all time steals chart and has a chance to move up a few more notches.
  • Robert Morris is now second in most overall wins over a five-year span. The Colonials have 100 wins from 2005-10 (and one assumes they aren’t done yet). The leader is FDU with 102 wins from 1984-89.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Went 0-2 for the week. Bulldogs threw a scare into league leader Robert Morris. Bryant led by five with just over 12 minutes remaining but could not hold on. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev led the way for Bryant with a 15-point effort. Shooting 45% from the floor Bryant  went into the half tied with Robert Morris but the shooting percentage fell the second half as the Colonials earned the 52-42 victory.
  • Central Connecticut – Dropped a pair at home losing to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior guard Joe Seymore, the only starter to reach double figures, scored 11 against St. Francis. CCSU had been 6-2 at home and won four straight prior to the two losses. Blue Devils are 2-10 on the road but both wins were in NEC action. CCSU continues to lead the NEC I scoring defense allowing 63.9 PPG. They will need it with the next two games on the road.
  • FDU – Went 1-2 on the week. The Knights lost an out of conference game to Longwood before defeating Wagner and losing to Mount St.Mary’s. Four FDU players averaged double-figures last week. Senior guard Sean Baptiste averaged 22.3 PPG for the week to pace FDU. Mike Scott had 22 assists on the week. The Longwood game was FDU’s first loss when they outshot their opposition. The 83-81 loss was also the Knight’s first when they eclipsed the 80-point mark.
  • LIU – Defeated Sacred Heart and lost to Quinnipiac. Kyle Johnson, a junior guard, had his fifth twenty point outing of the year with a career high 26 points at Sacred Heart. LIU had a season low 6 turnovers against Sacred Heart. LIU also canned 10 straight free throws down the stretch to ice the win. The 80-72 loss to Quinnipiac was typically tough as 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series have been decided by fewer than 10 points. LIU out rebounded Quinnipiac, a tough team under the glass,  39-38.
  • Monmouth – Split home games losing to Mount St. Mary’s and defeating Wagner. Monmouth already surpassed its overall (8) and NEC (6) win total from last year. Travis Taylor returned to the lineup after a seven-game team suspension with a 30 point, 8 rebound effort against Wagner. Hawks were 26 of 31 from the line in that meeting as well. Freshman forward Ed Waite had a notable week averaging 10 PPG and 6.5 RPG.
  • Mount St. Mary’s - Extended the win streak to six games with wins at Monmouth and FDU. The Mount seniors, Jeremy Goode, Kelly Biedler and Will Holland all had a significant hand in not just the two games last week, but the half dozen wins in recent weeks. During the recent surge, defense has been a key. Opponents are shooting 35% from the field and 23% beyond the arc. Mount has held five opponents during the six game streak to 56 points or less. Mountaineers have won 15 of last 16 NEC contests at home. A significant note as MSM closes with four straight at friendly Knott Arena.
  • Quinnipiac – Swept home games against St. Francis (NY) and LIU. Sophomore guard James Johnson had a big week for the Bobcats. Junior forward James Rutty continued his outstanding play a little closer to the basket. Rutty averaged 12.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG for the week. Rutty leads the NEC and is 15th nationally with 10.4 RPG. Quinnipiac was more than Johnson and Rutty as senior guards James Feldeine and Jeremy Baker and junior forward Jonathan Cruz all contributed.  Bobcats were outrebounded in the win over LIU 39-38 but it was the first time in 24 games an opponent beat them on the boards.
  • Robert Morris – Lost a nonconference meeting at Pitt then defeated Central Connecticut and Bryant. The conference wins clinched an NEC tournament berth and extended the conference win streak to eleven. The win over CCSU also guaranteed Robert Morris its fifth straight winning season. Freshman guard Karon Abraham and senior forward Rob Robinson had consistently note worth weeks for the Colonials. Abraham was 15 of 17 from the line the two games. Robert Morris has held nine straight NEC opponents to under 70 points.
  • Sacred Heart – Split home games losing to LIU and defeating St.Francis (NY). SHU has beaten the Terriers four straight and six of the last seven. Senior center Liam Potter posted his seventh double-double of the season with a 10 point, 10 rebound effort in the win. Potter also set the school’s Division I record with 17 rebounds in the loss to LIU. Sacred Heart leads the NEC and ranks sixth nationally with 9.2 three pointers a game. Seniors forward Corey Hassan and guard Ryan Litke are the Pioneers’ main threats beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Dropped decisions to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Terriers have now lost five of their last six and are descending in the NEC standings. Average margin in those losses has been 11.8 points per outing. St.Francis went a combined 7 of 40 (18%) from three point range last week. In the two losses last week St. Francis held first half leads before the hosts responded with significant runs of their own. In fact the first twenty minutes have been consistently unkind to the Terriers as they failed to score 30 points in the first half in 12 of their last 13 games.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Swept Bryant and CCSU. The road wins ended a 23-game losing streak away from home that included 17 straight NEC contests. Senior forward Devin Sweetney and freshman forward Will Felder had big weeks for the Red Flash. The victories were also the first back to back road wins since the 2003 season. The 60-34 win at Bryant marked the lowest point total allowed by St. Francis since 1974. Bryant shot 28% from the field in that meeting. Red Flash exceeded hits highest win total (8) of the previous four seasons with their two game sweep.
  • Wagner – Dropped road contests in the ’Garden State’ losing to FDU and Monmouth. Freshman guard Danny Mundweiler buried six treys for a career high 18 points at FDU.  Mundweiler then followed up with a 14 point effort at Monmouth. Top scorer Chris Martin missed the FDU game with a twisted ankle. In his absence sophomore guard Tyler Murray had a career high 17 point effort. Martin saw limited action in the loss at Monmouth.

On the Schedule

February 25

  • LIU- CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY)- Bryant
  • FDU – Sacred Heart

February 27

  • Robert Morris – Mount St. Mary’s
  • St. Francis (PA) – Wagner
  • Sacred Heart – Monmouth
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Floriani: Resident Jinxster

Posted by rtmsf on February 17th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences as well as an occasional contributor.

NEWARK, NJ – North Carolina, UConn, Siena… It just occurred that some of the strange goings-on lately can be attributed to a jinx. Namely with yours truly and Rush the Court. Oh, don’t read this wrong. I love my association with RTC . I enjoy the work as a Northeast Conference and MAAC correspondent. Also enjoy the occasional side article the opportunity affords to produce. 

Every other week a recap is submitted on the Northeast Conference and MAAC; besides that is an occasional article of general interest. In November at Coaches vs. Cancer one of my features was on the North Carolina cheerleaders. Well, you can see what has transpired in Chapel Hill these past few weeks.  Over Thanksgiving another one of my articles was a profile on the UConn cheer/spirit program. Watching the Huskies effort against Cincinnati on Saturday all I could think was NIT. How about UNC-UConn at the Garden in an NIT semi?  It could happen.

The Jinxster Doing His Work

Twice last year I wrote about officiating Richard Codey’s basketball games. Codey is a basketball devotee, a coach and was the New Jersey Senate leader. Was is the key word. He no longer heads the Senate.

Friday morning I sent my MAAC wrap-up across several time zones (with no Rick Majerus-like complaints of the cyberspace road trip). At the beginning I noted how the MAAC tournament in March will be “Siena’s to lose.” The undefeated Saints have the experience, talent, coaching and location. That evening Siena went out and lost at Niagara. On seeing the score I thought I was to blame. On second thought I did not officiate their game nor did I drive the team bus to Niagara Falls, Ontario, and not NY by mistake. None of those things happened, so in other words the game had a great crew and I’m sure Fran McCaffery’s club arrived well-rested and prepared to play. What happened? A quick tempo free look…

  Poss OFF EFF EFG PCT OREB PCT TO RATE
Siena 71 104 45 55 21
Niagara 68 128 60 50 18

The Purple Eagles scored their 87-74 victory because they were almost unconscious from the floor and cared for the ball with a great turnover rate. Niagara also moved the ball extremely well with 22 assists on 33 field goals and shot 26 of 40 (65%) from two-point range. Joe Mihalich’s club all appeared to follow the lead of sophomore forward Kalief Edwards , a 7 PPG scorer, who shot 9-14 from the floor for a 20-point night.

No Jinx Here (Yet)...

So forget the jinx. In Siena’s as well as Carolina’s and UConn’s case as well. Just one thing. At the Big East-SEC Challenge at the Garden in December I met and chatted with the Kentucky cheer squad. Even took a picture with them. Still, no one asked about getting an article done about them. Guess they knew better. Didn’t want to jeopardize a deep run in the NCAAs next month.

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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Coaches talk about separation. The ability to get stops, score on your end and open a lead on an opponent. In the NEC race Robert Morris is starting to gain that separation. The race is not over with Quinnipiac just a game behind,  but the Colonials, by virtue of a hot 9-1 January, are now on top of the NEC. Finishing in that spot would be a definite plus. The conference postseason tournament is at the higher seed’s home court throughout. Not having to leave ‘The Chuck’ (Charles Sewall Center) where Robert Morris is awfully tough to beat would be huge for Mike Rice’s club. Still, with three weeks remaining in NEC play, there is not enough time for Robert Morris to rest on its first place laurels.

Player of the Week: Devin Sweetney (SR), F, St. Francis (PA) – In a 2-0 week he averaged 25.5 PPG while collecting 8 rebounds an outing. Sweetney had 23 in the win over St. Francis (NY) and hit his third double-double of the season with a 28-point, 10-board effort in an overtime victory over LIU. Jones was instrumental in sparking a 12-2 Colonial second half run that turned the tide against the Blackbirds.

Rookie of the Week: Velton Jones (FR), G, Robert Morris – Jones became the third different Colonial in three weeks to earn this honor. Averaged 14.5 PPG while handing out 4 assists per game. Paced Robert Morris with a career high 21 points in the win over LIU.

Rivalry Week. The NEC Rivalry week called for a game February 4 and the two teams meeting at the other’s location two days later. Rivalries included FDU-Monmouth (Battle of New Jersey) , LIU-St. Francis (NY) (Battle of Brooklyn) and St. Francis (PA)- Robert Morris to name a few.

Codey Trophy. Two years ago Monmouth and FDU, recognizing their Garden State rivalry , instituted the Richard Codey Trophy. FDU won it the last two years. It goes to the school who has the best record in the head-to-head series for women’s and men’s games. In case of a tie, a total point aggregate settles the score. The trophy is named after the former Senate leader and twice acting New Jersey state governor who is an FDU (Class of ‘81) alum and has graced RTC in an article last year.

Milestones

  • Sacred Heart senior forward Corey Hassan became the sixth NEC player this year to hit the 1,000 point mark. Hassan also had ten three-pointers against Wagner which broke the school single game record of nine.
  • The Wagner-Sacred Heart matchup featured coaches with a combined 929 wins. Dave Bike of Sacred Heart has coached 32 seasons with 493 victories. Mike Deane of Wagner has 436 wins in 25 seasons. Make that 437 as the Seahawks edged Sacred Heart recently.
  • Jeremy Goode, a regular in this featured milestone category,  broke into the top ten in conference career steals. Goode, with 234 thefts, has a shot at the top five. Clear leader of the group is Robert Morris’ Chipper Harris ( 1981-84) with 382.  Goode is also fifth in NEC career assists at 560. Again, he could move up a few notches.  But the leader, Drafton Davis with 804, is quite safe. Davis played at Marist, an NEC school back then, in the early Eighties.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped home games to FDU and Monmouth last week. Senior captain Chris Birrell led the way averaging 13.5 PPG for the week. Shot selection? For the two games Birrell attempted 25 shots and 24 were from beyond the arc. A little closer to the basket, freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev averaged double figures for the week and sophomore center Papa Lo blocked two shots against Monmouth and is third in the NEC in blocked shots this season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Swept Monmouth and FDU last week to get back in the thick of things. Senior guard Joe Seymore sparked the Blue Devils hitting 17.5 PPG for the week. Junior guard Shemik Thompson scored 24 versus FDU. The visiting Knights were down 19 the first half and rallied to take a lead late in the game. Thompson took over scoring eight straight and got a steal as CCSU never looked back. Thompson buried four threes and was 8 of 11 from the line.
  • FDU – Defeated Bryant and lost at Central Connecticut. The Knights shot 56% the final half at Bryant and on the defensive end held the Bulldogs to 27% shooting. Senior guard Sean Baptiste led FDU with 21 points in the CCSU game. Baptiste is the leading scorer (14.7 PPG) for the Knights who have four players averaging double figures. Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continues his strong inside play and is closing in on 100 career blocked shots.
  • LIU- Dropped road games to Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA). Blackbirds put up some impressive numbers in those two close losses. They had a +13 rebounding edge over RMU and shot 26 of 33 (79%) from the charity stripe in the overtime loss at St. Francis (PA). The problem at Robert Morris was LIU’s season low 27% shooting from the floor. Senior guard Jaytornah Wisseh had his seventh 20-point outing during the week.
  • Monmouth – Split on the road losing to Central Connecticut while defeating Bryant. Sophomore guard Will Campbell and freshman forward Ed Waite excelled offensively for the Hawks. Campbell hit four treys in the second half in the Bryant contest. Campbell’s shooting helped the Hawks rally from an 11 point first half deficit. Junior forward Nick DelTufo had a big hand in the Bryant game as well with a career high 15 points.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – It’s been a rough go but the Mount swept the week with much needed wins over Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. The games were at home where the Mount has now won 13 of its last 14 against NEC opposition. Junior guard Jean Cajous averaged 12 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the week. Cajous was instrumental on the defensive end as both times out he drew the opposition’s best scorer and did an admirable job. Senior guard Jeremy Goode has been lauded for his scoring and playmaking, and he is alsothe conference pace setter in steals.
  • Quinnipiac – Defeated Wagner and lost to Mount St. Mary’s. The loss at the Mount snapped the Bobcats’ eight game win streak and leaves them a game out of first. Junior forward Justin Rutty had a pair of double-doubles, giving him 21 for his career. Rutty had a 15 rebound effort, to go along with 18 points in a losing effort at the Mount. Senior guard James Feldeine paced Quinnipiac with 21 points in the win at Wagner. The Bobcats have outrebounded the opposition in every one of their 21games to date.
  • Robert Morris – Swept LIU and St. Francis (NY) to gain sole possession of first place in the conference race. The Colonials have captured seven straight and finished 9-1 for the month of January. A rookie and veteran mix, freshman guard Karon Abraham had a big week while another guard, senior Mezie Nwigwe averaged 15 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the two games. During the seven-game win streak the Colonials have surrendered only 60 points per game. A closer look shows the opposition hitting just 35% from the floor during that time. Overall, Robert Morris has an outstanding 89.0 defensive efficiency in NEC action.
  • Sacred Heart –  Dropped road games at Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Senior forward Corey Hassan exploded for a 28.5 PPG scoring week. Hassan added 5.5 RPG and shot 59% from the field. He scored a career high 36 points in the Wagner game. The three-point shot has been a major part of the Pioneer arsenal. They rank fourth in the country with 9.3 three pointers per game and are fifth nationally with a 40% mark from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart’s 52.6 eFG% is second in the NEC.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Dropped road games to St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris. The Terriers had a four-game NEC win streak stopped with the 0-2 ‘Western’ swing. Sophomore guard Justin Newton is second in the conference assist/turnover ratio (1.88). Newton exited the Robert Morris game with a knee injury. In his absence junior guard Akeem Bennett will handle the point guard duties. Terriers have yet to hit 70 points this season and have an offensive efficiency of 90 (tied for second lowest) in NEC play.
  • St. Francis (PA) - Swept games over St. Francis (NY) and LIU (in overtime). That gives the Red Flash seven wins on the season and exceeds the six-win total of each of the past two years. Defense did the job against the Terriers as SFPA had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a huge 28 point, 10 rebound performance in the win over LIU. The win over LIU was only the third this season that the Red Flash pulled out when trailing at halftime. Junior guard Sorena Orandi hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to capture the 74-73 win over LIU.
  • Wagner – Split two games, losing to Quinnipiac and edging Sacred Heart. Sophomore guard Chris Martin hit a runner in the lane with six seconds left to give the Seahawks the victory over SHU. Martin leads Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play and leads the NEC with a 58% field goal percentage. The Seahawks have been hampered by a 26% TO RATE, the highest in the conference.  You don’t want to lead in this category.

Upcoming Games of Note

February 11

  • St. Francis (PA) at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at CCSU
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Monmouth
  • Wagner at FDU

February 13

  • Mount St. Mary’s at FDU
  • LIU at Quinnipiac
  • St. Francis (NY) at Sacred Heart
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 24th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – There is some separation between the haves and have nots,  but the group at the front is crowded. Robert Morris and Quinnipiac share the lead. Not far behind are LIU, Monmouth and a surprising St. Francis (NY). Sacred Heart is also right there only a stride behind the leaders.  There have been struggles in Emmitsburg but Mount St. Mary’s has to be watched and can’t be written off yet. Surprise on the other side is Central Connecticut. Howie Dickenman’s group is usually right in the mix. This season, to date, it’s been a rough go.

Tempo-Free. Included with the standings is a tempo-free breakdown: the average possessions per game and the efficiency margin. Thanks to Basketball State for the data and NEC games only are factored in the results.

Co-Players of the Week

  • James Feldeine (G), Quinnipiac – Averaged 18.3 PPG scoring on 60% shooting from the floor, including 8 of 13  (62%) from three point range. Highlight was a 24-point effort in a win over Bryant where Feldeine was 8 of 14 from the field.
  • Travis Taylor (F), Monmouth – Posted back to back twenty point efforts as the Hawks earned a split for two road games. Averaged 56% from the floor over the two contests. In a loss at Robert Morris, Taylor scored a team best 22 points while grabbing 12 boards in a 40-minute effort.

Rookie of the Week

  • Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris – Averaged 20.5 PPG and 2.5 APG as the Colonials scored a pair of home victories. Scored all of his team high 20 points in the second half of an 80-73 decision over FDU.

Notable

  • Robert Morris continues its success under the guidance of Mike Rice. In his third season at Robert Morris, the Colonials are an outstanding 36-6 in conference play. The Colonials won back to back regular season titles in ‘08 and ‘09. Currently the Colonials are 6-1 in conference play with 15 straight home wins over NEC competition at their Sewall Center.
  • The NEC TV package resumes this weekend with the women’s and men’s doubleheader, Robert Morris at Monmouth. The conference has a 21-game package that concludes in march with the conference men’s and women’s championship games on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively.

Milestones

  • Jeremy Goode broke the all-time record for assists at Mount St. Mary’s. Goode now has 544 assists and passed Gregory Harris who had 529 during his Mount career (1996-00).
  • With 1,532 points, Goode is also one of seven NEC players to reach 1,500 points and 500 assists.
  • Dave Calloway has 165 career wins at Monmouth. He is four wins shy of passing the coach who recruited Calloway and whom he replaced, Wayne Szoke.
  • Ryan Litke of Sacred Heart hit his 100th career point at Bryant. He is the 30th Pioneer to reach that mark, the seventh since Sacred Heart went Division I.
  • James Feldeine increased his career point total to 1,086. Good for 26th on Quinnipiac’s all time list.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped games to Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart and are still searching for their first victory. Bryant outshot Sacred Heart 51% to 45% and it was the first time the Bulldogs shot over 50% from the floor for the game. Senior guard Adam Parzych scored a season high 16 points (including 5 treys) and seven assists against Sacred Heart. Rebounding leader for both outings was another guard, Michael Chroney.  In fact, Chroney leads the Bulldogs in rebounding on the season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Lost to Savannah State then split NEC contests against Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. Loss to Savannah was CCSU’s first at home this season. Shooting woes plagued the Blue Devils (under 30%) against Quinnipiac. CCSU found the range shooting 49% from the field at Sacred Heart. Junior Shemik Thompson broke out of a slump with a career high 27 points and a season high eight assists. CCSU’s win over Sacred Heart was a complete effort as the Blue Devils outrebounded the Pioneers 41-34 and had 19 assists and 10 steals.
  • FDU – Knights went 0-2 on their ’Western swing’ with losses to Robert Morris and St.Francis (PA). Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continued his fine play averaging 17 PPG game for the week and shooting 44% from the field. FDU has four players averaging double figures in conference play. There may very well be another threat as junior forward Kamil Svrdlik, not one of the four alluded to,  posted thirteen points and nine rebounds in the St. Francis( PA) game.  Big week as FDU hosts Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA) for return rematches.
  • LIU – Split winning a fifth straight NEC game at Wagner before losing to Mount St. Mary’s also on the road. Blackbirds were on fire shooting 66% (10 of 15) from three point range at Wagner. Junior guard David Hicks led the way with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks at Wagner. Despite the loss, LIU committed a season-low seven turnovers. Sophomore guard Michael Culpo hit all three of his three point attempts at the Mount and is 14-21 in NEC play.
  • Monmouth –  Split road games defeating St. Francis (PA) before losing to Robert Morris. Hit just 10 of 19 free throws at SFPA but bounced back for an 18 of 20 mark from the charity stripe against Robert Morris. Travis Taylor had a noteworthy week and has hit double figures twenty straight games dating back to last season. Senior guard Whitney Coleman is now eighth on Monmouth’s all time three point (made) shooting list and seventh in steals.
  • Mount St. Mary’s –  Split a pair of home games losing to St. Francis (NY) and defeating LIU. Senior lead guard Jeremy Goode had a big week handing out 17 assists over the two games. Against LIU, Goode had 17 points and 10 assists and senior forward Kelly Biedler had 15 points and 11 rebounds. That was the first time since January 26, 2002, the Mount had two players earn double-doubles in the same game. The Mount also had a season high 86 points and 20 assists in the win over LIU.
  • Quinnipiac - Bobcats went 3-0 with wins over Brown and Central Connecticut and Bryant in conference. Balance was the key as five Bobcats averaged in double figures for the week. Senior James Feldeine set the pace averaging 18 PPG. Care of the ball was another factor as Quinnipiac committed a total 22 turnovers the three games with nine a single game high. For the three contests Quinnipiac had 47 assists against the 22 turnovers , a 2.14 assist/turnover rate. Justin Rutty, the NEC leader with 10.4 RPG, continued his fine inside play for the Bobcats.
  • Robert Morris – Swept FDU and Monmouth last weekend to extend their conference win streak to 15 games at their Sewall Center. Have a crucial road trip this weekend as they visit those same two schools. Accurate shooting a big factor as the Colonials connected on 56% from the field last week. Freshman guard Karon Abraham continued to excel while senior forward Rob Robinson had a strong week. Colonials have now hit double figures in the win column nine consecutive seasons.
  • Sacred Heart – Defeated Bryant and lost to Central Connecticut. Sacred Heart saw an 18-point lead cut to five against Bryant. Junior guard Jerrell Thompson then canned a trey with just under two minutes to play to give the Pioneers breathing room en route to the win. Thompson had a career high 13 points that game and was 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.  Loss to CCSU snapped a four game win streak against the Blue Devils.
  • St. Francis (NY) – Went a perfect 3-0 with victories over Columbia, Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Junior guard Ricky Cadell averaged 19.7 PPG during the week. Cadell had help as another junior guard, Akeem Bennett averaged 15.0 PPG while adding 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the week. Terriers have won four of five and interestingly enough, have yet to score 70 points this season. Defense is the key as they limited opponents to 57.6 PPG during that five-game stretch and lead the NEC with a scoring defense mark of 65.0 PPG.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Lost at home to Monmouth and edged FDU. The win over FDU, also at home, snapped a three game losing streak for the Red Flash. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a career high 15 rebounds against Monmouth. In the FDU game freshman guard Umar Shannon drove the length of the floor and was fouled with a second remaining. Shannon sank both shots to give the Red Flash the victory. Upcoming this week are return games at both Monmouth and FDU.
  • Wagner – Dropped games to LIU and St. Francis (NY). Seahawks are now in the midst of an eight game tail spin. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Martin had 16 points in the St.Francis game. Completing the inside/outside combo is center Michael Orock. The Wagner senior leads the NEC with a 59% field goal percentage. Wagner trailed St. Francis by one with just under four minutes left. The Terriers then went on a 10-1 run to seal the verdict.

Upcoming games

January 28

  • LIU at Robert Morris
  • FDU at Bryant
  • Sacred Heart at Mount St. Mary’s

January 30

  • Quinnipiac at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Wagner at Sacred Heart

February 4

  • Robert Morris at St. Francis (PA)
  • LIU at St. Francis (NY)
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Conference play has began to heat up and a few points stand out. Mount St. Mary’s had a murderous non-league schedule. Maybe too murderous as an 0-3 start in NEC play was not expected in Emmitsburg. The Mount did get in the conference win column with a 69-65 victory at Sacred Heart on Saturday. Suddenly there is optimism at FDU as the Knights are 3-1 and the memory of a succession of pre-NEC defeats is now in the past.  Here are the standings through Sunday:

The regularly scheduled tempo free breakdown, with gratitude to Basketball State.  Conference games only.

News & Notes

Experience may not be necessary. Newcomers are making their presence known in the NEC. Currently four statistical categories are paced by new faces.

  • Karon Abraham of Robert Morris leads in free throw percentage at .886.
  • Akeem Bennett of St. Francis (NY) is first with 2.3 steals per game.
  • Umar Shannon of St. Francis (PA) sets the pace with .488 three point shooting.
  • St.Francis( PA)’s Chris Johnson has a 2.41:1 assist/turnover ratio to set the standard in that category.
  • Bennett is a junior, the remaining three players are freshmen.
  • Quinnipiac’s Justin Rutty and his board prowess has been documented a number of times. Rutty is not the only Bobcat to hit the glass with a vengeance. Quinnipiac has yet to be outrebounded this season and enjoys a +10.7 overall edge over opponents in rebounding this campaign.

Player of the Week. Liam Potter (C), Sacred Heart - Potter averaged 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during a 3-1 stretch for the Pioneers. Potter also had three double-doubles during that run.

Rookie of the Week. Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris - Averaged 18.7 points and 4.0 rebounds during a 2-1 holiday week for the Colonials. Abraham shot 61% (11 of 18) from three-point range.

Milestones

  • Senior guard Ryan Litke reached the top of Sacred Heart’s all time three-point shooting chart on December 30th. Litke broke Darrin Robinson’s record of 219 treys.
  • St.Francisv(NY) junior guard Ricky Cadell hit the 100th three-pointer in his career against Lafayette.
  • Cecil Gresham of Bryant made his 100oth career point against St. John’s.
  • Alvin Mofunanya has 80 blocks for FDU and is in the school’s top ten all-time list. The 6’8 senior is only in his second year playing for the Knights.
  • Monmouth senior Whitney Coleman has over 1,000 points and is ready to move into #15 on the school’s all-time scoring list.
  • Jeremy Goode is third all-time at Mount St. Mary’s with 210 steals.
  • Kelly Biedler became the second player in Mount St. Mary’s history to post 800 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals and 80 blocks. Alex Watson was the first in the early 90s.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant - A 66-50 loss to FDU dropped the Bulldogs to 0-15 on the season. Bryant had taken a 10-1 lead early at FDU but the Knights regrouped. Leading scorer Cecil Gresham (14.5 PPG ) is out for the season with an injury. Freshman guard Rapheal Jordan is the current scoring leader with 7.1 ppg and he was scoreless at FDU. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev has played well of late and he had 16 at FDU. The Bulldogs had a murderous non-league slate with the likes of Providence, St. John’s, Boston College, Indiana, Harvard and Cornell to name a few.
  • Central Connecticut – The Blue Devils earned a 2 OT win over UMBC just before the new year. The first meeting of 2010 saw CCSU fall 70-53 to Holy Cross in a game played at Mohegan Sun. CCSU is in a stretch that will see them play six games in 13 days. Sophomore guard Bobby Ptacek had a game high 23 in the win over UMBC and has emerged as a consistent scoring threat. The Blue Devils had five players in double figures in that UMBC contest (with 2 OTs they had the time to do it). The last time they had that many hit double figures was February of 2008.
  • FDU – Trailed Sacred Heart by 22 with 12 minutes left and rallied to post an 88-85 victory on January 2. The Knights followed up with a solid 66-50 victory over Bryant on Thursday and an 83-74 decision over CCSU on Saturday. Junior guard Mike Scott has been outstanding with 18 assists and zero turnovers for the Sacred Heart and Bryant games. The return to the lineup of 6-8 senior Alvin Mofunanya helped the inside game. John Galvin, a 6’8 junior, came off the bench to post 11 points against Bryant. Senior guard Sean Baptiste had a season-high 24 points against Sacred Heart and followed up with 18 in the win over Bryant.
  • LIU – Lost two (Chattanooga and Morgan State) at the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga just before the new year. Senior guard Kyle Johnson (15.5 PPG) was named to the all-tournament team. Johnson hit for a season-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Morgan State. Freshman guard Corey Wright earned his first starts at the tournament. Wright showed poise handing out seven assists and committing just three turnovers. ‘Pleasant under glass.’ LIU has yet to be outrebounded in a game since their first two meetings of the year.
  • Monmouth – Won both games over the break including a NEC clash just after the new year.  The Hawks defeated Quinnipiac 72-60 . Since getting the starting nod a few games ago, sophomore guard Will Campbell has given Dave Calloway’s club some instant offense. Campbell’s offensive exploits have complemented those of classmate Travis Taylor, a double-figure scorer in 16 straight games dating back to last season. The Hawks are in the midst of a five-game home stand in their new facility.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – They put four players in double figures and got in the NEC win column with a narrow victory at Sacred Heart The Mount had dropped non-league games to Boston University, Vermont and Siena before the Sacred Heart contest. The Siena game was a heartbreaker on the road where the Mount led by seven with just over 90 seconds to play. Siena scored the last seven points then pulled it out in overtime. The Vermont game saw the Mount go down with 2.5 seconds to play. The offense is beginning to come on as of late. Jeremy Goode is still having a great year at the point. The senior guard is getting steady help from senior forward Kelly Biedler, something that will be needed, and expected, in conference play.
  • Quinnipiac – Quinnipiac took a tour of the Ivy defeating Columbia and Dartmouth before dropping a conference game to Monmouth. Senior guard James Feldeine averaged 14 PPG during that stretch. Freshman guard Dave Johnson averaged a dozen points the last week and is a newcomer to watch. The Bobcats held Columbia to 26% second half shooting to come from behind in the 63-51 victory. Junior forward Justin Rutty, an inside force, recorded his fourth double-double of the season (10 pts and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes) against Dartmouth. Rutty is also getting help from Jamme Jackson, a freshman forward out of storied St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City (NJ).
  • Robert Morris - Took two out of three defeating Youngstown State and Ohio but losing to Kent State. The Ohio win improved Robert Morris to 18-1 under the direction of Mike Rice (third season). Freshman Karon Abraham was outstanding again. On the downside was the loss of senior guard Jimmy Langhurst who suffered a knee injury in practice the day after Christmas. Senior forward Rob Robinson and redshirt freshman Russell Johnson picked up the scoring slack as both players averaged double figures during that three game stretch.
  • Sacred Heart – Comebacks have been the trademark of the Pioneers this season. Thus far they have won four games where they trailed at intermission. They came from 16 down in the second half to defeat Stony Brook and trailed Holy Cross by eleven at the break before rallying to win. Ironically, Sacred Heart was victimized by a comeback in their January road loss at FDU. The 8-5 start for Sacred Heart is their best ever at the Division I level. Senior center Liam Potter recorded three straight double-doubles in late December.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Not an overly optimistic scenario with junior forward Alexander Harrington and senior forward Nigel Byam out for the season with injuries. The Terriers continue to hang in. They rallied from seventeen down the second half before falling short in a loss to Lafayette. St. Francis led Fairfield at the half before the Stags eventually pulled it out 65-58. A season-high 25 turnovers by St. Francis was the deciding factor against the Stags. Sophomore forward Stefan Perunicic hit a season high 23 points against Lafayette, including 6 of 12 beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Snapped a four-game losing streak with a 64-52 victory over Hartford. The Red Flash held Hartford to 16 first half points and shot 6 of 12 from three. St. Francis sealed the verdict by hitting 12 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes after the Hawks had closed the gap. Whom do you foul? St. Francis is now hitting 93% from the line (28-30) in the final three minutes of games with a ten or less point differential. Senior forward Devin Sweetney averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds in the two most recent games (loss to Duquesne and win over Hartford).
  • Wagner – Split the last two games at the Las Vegas Classic defeating Jackson State and losing to Chicago State. The Seahawks came back east and dropped tough games to Princeton and NJIT. The latter was their second loss to the Highlanders in their home and home series this season. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring (13.7 PPG) while senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play (10.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Mike Deane is also getting contributions from a pair of freshmen, guard Ryan Conrad and forward Josh Thompson.

Upcoming Games

January 9

  • CCSU at FDU

January 14

  • FDU at Robert Morris
  • LIU at Wagner
  • Monmouth at St. Francis (PA)
  • Quinnipiac at CCSU

January 16

  • Quinnipiac at Bryant
  • LIU at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Sacred Heart at CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY) at Wagner
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