League teams had a good night Wednesday, going 5-0 in non-conference competition.
Holy Cross 63, Yale 58 -- With leading scorer Keith Simmons in foul trouble, Pat Doherty stepped up Wednesday night for Holy Cross, draining all four three-pointers he fired en route to a career-high 18-points. Doherty, who missed nearly all of last season with a foot injury, played 32 minutes, easily his most playing time since beginning his comeback. He also had 4 assists and 3 steals.
Simmons also was in double figures with 12 points, despite playing only 27 minutes. Simmons came into the game averaging better than 34 minutes per game.
The Crusaders led by 8 (28-20) at the half, after holding Yale to 36 percent shooting from the field. But the Bulldogs made a game of it in the second half, heating up to make 13 of 22 (59.1 percent) in the second.
Bucknell 60, St. Francis (PA) 56 -- A big comeback win on the road for the Bison, who won in Loretto for the first time since 1999.
Down as many as 15 in the second half, after shooting just 29.2 percent from the field in the first half, the Bison closed to within 8 with just under three minutes left. A three-point play by Donald Brown and a three-point shot by John Griffin cut it to 2. St. Francis' Bassirou Dieng hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead back to 4, but that would be the last points SF would score.
Jason Vegotsky (11 points) hit a three to make it a one-point game, and following another defensive stop, Chris McNaughton hit a little hook shot with 40 seconds left to give Bucknell the lead for the first time all night.
Abe Badmus (10 points) had a key deflection and made three free throws in the final 26 seconds to seal the win for the Bison, who held Saint Francis to five field goals in the second half (5 of 22, 22.7 percent) after letting the Red Flash go 11 for 21 (52.4 percent) in the first.
Lehigh 96, Swarthmore 33 -- Every Mountain Hawk that got into the game scored, but curiously two guys did not play in a game won by 63 points: 7-foot sophomore John Gourlay and 6-5 freshman winger Paul Bayer. Bayer has not played at all this season, the only Hawk with that distinction. Gourlay has played in six of Lehigh's nine games.
Nothing in Lehigh's notes mentions either being injured. Box score | AP
Colgate 80, Quinnipiac 71 -- Junior Daniel Waddy poured in a career-high 27 points to lead the Raiders to their second straight win. The transfer from St. Mary's also had 5 rebounds and 6 assists for the 'Gate, which has won back-to-back games for the firs time since this time last season, when they beat Dartmouth and Princeton in successive games.
Jon Simon added 18 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Tim Pounds also in double figures with 10 points.
Colgate's other transfer, sophomore Willie Morse, did not play due to an unspecified injury suffered in Monday's win over Binghamton. He is listed as day to day. Box score | AP
American 75, NJIT 50 -- The Lithuanian contingent took care of business for AU. Arvydas Eitutavicius led the Eagles with 20 points. Fellow Lithuanians Linas Lekavicius (16) and Paulius Joneliunas (12) were also in double firgures for AU, which broke open a close game with an 8-0 run at the start of the second half.
Defense was the difference in the second half. After letting NJIT shoot 50 percent (12 of 24) in the opening stanza, the Eagles held the Highlanders to 7 field goals in the second (7 of 20, 35 percent).
Derrick Mercer also added 13 points for American, which won despite a scoreless night by the team's leading scorer, senior guard Andre Ingram. Ingram was 0 for 4 from the field, with 1 rebound, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 23 minutes. It was the first time in 95 career games Ingram went without scoring. Box score | AP
Five games on tap tonight: Holy Cross gets a slight breather, visiting Yale before jumping back into the fire Saturday at Dayton. From there the Crusaders, who will play four road games in an 11-day stretch, head to Duke, with a game at Providence awaiting Dec. 19 after a break for finals. Crusaders need to avoid the trap game here.
Another tough one tonight is Bucknell's visit to St. Francis (Pa.). The Bison upperclassmen won't take the Red Flash lightly. The last time the two met, St. Francis beat Bucknell in Sojka (70-65 on Nov. 22, 2004) in the game that gave birth to this site. That was Bucknell's only home loss that season.
The Bison need a win to build off of the win at Yale as they head into a key weekend with back-to-back games against Northern Iowa and George Mason. Like Holy Cross, they cannot look past tonight's foe. St. Francis has won the last two meetings of these two and the Bison are 4-6 all-time in Loretto, where they have not won since Dec. 1, 1999.
Patriot League teams came within three points of going 3-0 Tuesday night. Both academies picked up wins, but Lafayette dropped a two-point heartbreaker to Princeton.
Navy 79, William & Mary 63 -- Kaleo Kina and Greg Sprink combined for 33 points to lead the Mids. Sprink (5 of 6 FG, 15 points) missed just one shot all night. Kina (6-8 FG, 18 points) missed only two.
Actually, the entire Navy team shot it pretty well, going 27 of 44 from the field (61.4 percent) and 8 of 14 (64.3 percent) from the three-point arc.
Navy was in charge pretty much from the get-go. The Mids scored first and never trailed. After the game's only tie at 2-2, Navy went on a 15-4 run to build an 11 point lead. A William and Mary dunk at the 12:38 mark of the first half cut the Navy lead to 9. But 1:01 later Adam Teague hit a three to push the Navy lead back to 12 and it stayed in double digits the rest of the way, stretching as wide as 24 points in the second half.
Army 79, Virginia Military 72 -- Corban Bates posted a 10-points, 10-boards double-double and the Army defense held VMI 33 points below its average as the Black Knights improve to 5-2, equalling last season's wins total. It is Army's best seven-game start in 12 years.
Jarrell Brown led Army with 24 points off the bench. Six-eight freshman Chris Walker added 23 on 8 for 11 shooting from the floor.
Down 4 midway through the second half, Army went on a 12-0 run to take the lead. The Black Knights hit 8 of 8 at the foul line in the final two minutes to preserve the lead.
Matt Bell finished with 9 points. It was Bell's first non-double figures effort of the season.
VMI, which averages 105 points per game, put up a Christl Arena record 43 three-pointers (making 11). Box score | AP
Princeton 44, Lafayette 42 -- It is a scenario you won't see played out too often: Lafayette losing a game in which it outrebounds the opponent but shoots poorly. You'd expect the opposite from the Leopards, but that was how Tuesday night's loss to Princeton played out, right down to the final buzzer.
Lafayette, which had been outrebounded by a margin of at least 10 boards in its first six games actually won the battle of the glass against Princeton, 26-20. Perhaps the biggest of the 'Pards 26 rebounds was the one Marcus Harley chased down after Princeton, working the shot clock with a 2 point lead and 55 seconds to play, ends up tossing up a desperation three as the shot clock ran out.
That gave Lafayette the ball with 26 seconds to go, a two to tie, trey to win. After a timeout, the Leopards put the ball in the hands of sophomore Andrew Brown. Brown, who was 1 for 5 from the arc, tried to take it to the hole. Brown's off-balance runner wouldn't drop and Princeton came up with the rebound in a scuffle as time ran out.
Brown was not the only Leopard who struggled from the field. As a team, the normally good shooting 'Pards shot 14 of 36 (38.9 percent) from the field, including 22.2 percent (4 of 18) from the arc.
It's doubtful anyone on hand at Knott Arena in Emmittsburg, Md. for last night's 59-46 road win over Mount Saint Mary's had reason to think they'd learn Cornelio Guibunda trivia when the night began.
The nickname is not in the media guide, though even if it were, what are the odds of anyone looking up a guy who had not even played in two of AU's first five games. Guibunda only played 12 total minutes in the three games he got in, and had yet to make a field goal or grab a rebound. His career stat line looked like this: 0-0 FG, 0-0 3P, 2-2 FT, 0 R, 2PF, 2 Pt., 1 TO, 2 B, 1 St.
Yet here it was, after the game, and the kid's name keeps coming up again and again in conversation.
"Lio changed the game," said AU's senior guard Andre Ingram, who changed it a little, too. Ingram finished with a game-high 15 points, with 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
Ingram had quite a night, but it was Guibunda who stole the show with his 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots performance. Guibunda only played 14 minutes, but those minutes were key minutes in the game, minutes that went American's way. Minutes when Guibunda was the answer for what ailed American in each half.
It almost didn't happen. If Brayden Billbe and Paulius Joneliunas had not picked up their second personals seconds apart, midaway through the first half, Guibunda would probably not have seen as more (14) minutes than he had played all season. Certainly even had he gotten in, Guibunda would have quickly found himself back sitting at the far end of the bench had either of AU's starting big men been available to re-enter the game when Guibunda blew a defensive assignment just after entering the game.
American coach Jeff Jones called a quick timeout and spent most of it right up in Guibunda's face. He got the sophomore Georgetown-transfer's attention. In the space of less than three minutes towards the end of the first half, Guibunda came alive, scoring three quick layups, grabbing three rebounds -- two offensive -- and blocking a shot. His ability to get out and finish on the break was a key to the 12-0 AU run at the end of the first half that proved to be decisive.
"I don't think he thought he was going to play. After our conversation he figured out maybe he was going to play," said AU coach Jeff Jones.
Guibunda's play in the first half allowed Jones to keep Billbe and Joneliunas on the bench so they would not risk picking up a third foul in the first half.
"He gave us a big lift in the first half. Lio helped us pull away," Ingram said.
In the second half, Guibunda stepped up again, playing three badly needed solid minutes of defense that helped stem any thought of a Mount comeback.
When Guibunda checked in at the 13:47 mark of the second half, AU's lead had been sliced to 35-31. Mount Saint Mary's was taking advantage of rebounding and some AU turnovers to get out in transition for easy buckets. Guibunda's athleticism helped stop all that. First he blocked Will Holland's runner. Then at the other end of the floor, Guibunda grabbed the rebound of his own missed layup and put it back in.
After Mount's Jeremy Goode drained a trey to make it a three-point game, Arvydas Eitutavicius missed a three, which MSM rebounded, giving them the ball with a chance to make it a 1-point contest when Goode headed to the bucket for a layup. But there was Guibunda again, picking up his third block.
"Lio did a solid job anchoring our defense. He did a good job on the boards," said Jones.
While Guibunda did contribute a few layups on the offensive end, it was Ingram who led the AU attack. Looking more confident of being able to let the game come to him than last season, when he seemed to force things on offense, Ingram went 5 for 13 from the field, including 2 of 5 from the arc..
Also in double figures for AU was point guard Derrick Mercer, who scored 9 of his 11 points at the foul line, including 5 of 6 in the last 52 seconds.
Although Jones complained about the way AU played it in certain stretches, overall the Eagles defense was solid. In the first half they held Mount Saint Mary's to 6 for 24 (25 percent) from the field. The Mount finished at 30.4 percent from the field after a slightly better 11 of 32 (34.4 percent) shooting second half.
The win pushes AU's record to 4-2, with a chance for win 5 when they host New Jersey Institute of Technology Wednesday night in Bender.
Lehigh and Holy Cross each had chances to play giant killer Monday night. Both fell short. Colgate, which will get its chance to pull an upset when it makes its annual trip to the Carrier Dome in two weeks, stayed home to down Binghamton.
Notre Dame 93, Lehigh 87 -- Billy Taylor trotted out a new starting lineup and put a scare in his alma mater. But the Fighting Irish were able to wear the Hawks down in the second half.
Lehigh led by as many as 13 points early and was up 46-44 at the half after Jose Olivero's three-pointer at the buzzer. olivero had 18 of his career-high 32 points in the first half.
Kyle Neptune added 22 for Lehigh, going 9 for 14 from the field, including 4 for 4 from the arc.
The Hawks shot 51.4 percent in the first half and were even hotter -- 65.2 percent --- in the second. But that was not enough to overcome a tremenndous Notre Dame edge at the foul line. Somehow, despite leading most of the way, Lehigh only shot one free throw the entire first half. Notre Dame shot 16 in the first half, and 17 in the second, finishing 26 for 33 from the stripe. Lehigh shot 9 free throws all night, making 6.
No Hawks fouled out, but center Jason Mgebroff was limited to 16 minutes, finishing with 4 fouls. Mgebroff's absence was notable given that he scored 9 points and grabbed 3 rebounds in his limited action.
Without Mgebroff, Lehigh was outmanned up front. Freshman Zahir Carrington replaced junior Bryan White in the starting lineup. Neither was particularly effective. Carrington scored 5 points and had 1 rebound and 3 steals in 24 minutes. White played 20 minutes, going 0 for 5 from the field with 7 rebounds.
Notre Dame outrebounded the Mountain Hawks 32-24, including a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass. ND scored 17 second chance points. Box score | AP | South Bend Tribune
(17) Syracuse 72, Holy Cross 64 -- A slow start doomed the Crusaders, who managed to get within 5, with the ball, with 30 seconds to play, but never could fully recover from a deficit that was as much as 18 points in the first half.
Syracuse went 1 for 9 with 10 turnovers in the first 8-and-a-half minutes and managed only scored 7 of its 19 points in the final two minutes of the half.
The problems were mostly on offense. Defensively, HC held Syracuse to 38.9 percent from the field in the first half and still trailed 31-19 at the break.
Keith Simmons led HC with 22 points, 16 in leading the second half charge. Simmons was 9 for 18 from the field. Colin Cunningham, whose three-pointer to cut the Syracuse lead to 2 with 30 seconds to go was blocked, had 11 points for the Crusaders.
Torey Thomas, plagued with foul trouble, was 2 for 11 from the field, 0 for 3 from the arc before fouling out after 37 minutes. Center Tim Clifford's foul trouble was more extreme. The Crusaders' 6-10 junior managed only 16 minutes before fouling out with 5 points and 1 board.
Holy Cross did hold an edge on the boards, outrebounding Syracuse 39-32. The 'Saders had 17 offensive boards, but managed only 14 second chance points. Syracuse scored 22 points off HC's 18 turnovers.
Depth was definitely and issue for HC in this one. Three starters (Alex Vander Baan, Simmons and Thomas) played 37 minutes or more. Cunningham finished with 4 fouls, likely the explanation for him only playing 29 minutes. Of the 43 minutes HC got from its bench, 27 came from freshman Eric Meister (5 reb., 4 pts. in 19 minutes) and sophomore Greg McCarthy, who split Cliffords 24 unplayed minutes. Syracuse's bench outscored HC's 24-12.
Colgate 78, Binghamton 70 -- Jon Simon scored 23 points on 8 for 16 shooting from the field (4-8 3pt) to lead Colgate to its second win. Colgate shot 56 percent in the second half to pull away after being tied 31-31 at the half.
Lineup change for Colgate: fifth-year senior Marc Daniels replaced Kyle Chones in the starting five.
We have zero connectivity here at Mount Saint Mary's Knott Arena.
After 20 minutes trying to connect, downloading the "security client" (4 times) and rebooting, the guy says, "Oh ... you are using a Mac?"
So we can't live gameblog, but we can keep a little in-game notebook to post as soon as we reach the Internet, which we are pretty sure is located 50 miles back up Route 15.
About Mount Saint Mary's ... a version not found in the tourism books. This small, Catholic enclave of higher learning is located in rural, northern Maryland, It's about 25 miles north of Frederick, maybe 10 south of Gettysburg, Pa., which is the nearest place you'll find any Applebees, Damon's type national chain eateries.
There's a McDonald's about a mile north of campus ... nothing in walking distance, at least not as the term "walking distance" is defined in most locales. Who knows how far a college kid will walk when stranded in the Catoctin Mountains. It's a beautiful place to drive through, but a remote place to live.
This is our first trip to Knott Arena since the Charlie Woollum days at Bucknell, when we once did color with Bob Behler for a game against the Mount. Knot is a cozy place, with a high school gym feel brought on b y the wooden, pull-out bleachers.The announced crowd of 910 is scattered on both sides, with a fairly decent student contingent occupying the bleachers behind one basket.
A Mount sociology professor, dressed all in black plays what can best be described as a soulful, jazz interpretation of the national anthem on alto-sax.
A game of runs early. AU holds the Mount scoreless for the first 4:33, opening a 5-0 lead. Then, after going 0 for 3 with four turnovers to start the half, the Mount heated up, going on an 11-2 spurt the next four minutes, taking an 11-7 lead. Au came back with four unanswered to tie it.
AU's two big men, Brayden Billbe and Paulius Joneliunas each picked up their second foul in a span of 20 seconds midway through the first half. Billbe got his second at the 11:54 mark, sending Joneliunas scurrying to report in. At the 11:34 mark, Joneliunas gets his second. With both big men on the bench, AU grows stagnant on offense. By the 6:51 mark, Jeff Jones is calling a timeout , most of which he spends in the face of Cornelio Guibunda, the 6-8 sophomore transfer from Georgetown, who is going to have to give AU some minutes this half. At the 5:43 mark, Guibunda is called for offensive goaltending after he interferes with Travis Lay's layin, which probably would have dropped on its own. Jones just stands and stares. Jones is all smiles at the 3:13 mark, though, when Guibundacomes from the weak side to help on D and swats a shot out of the air.
Guibunda looks very good when he is doing things that come naturally -- the blocked shot, filling a lane on a 3 on 3 break that he finished with ease, putting back a miss. It's things like the halfcourt offense and defense that he still seems to struggle with. By the end of the half, though, he has made a strong contribution, with 6 points, 6 rebounds and a block. If Guibunds can give Jones that every time out, it will allow Billbe and Joneliunas to play a lot more aggressively.
Unless Garrison Carr is on the floor at the same time, Derrick Mercer is easily the littlest guy on the floor. He has been playing awful big, though. AU lists Carr at 5-11. There should be an asterisk saying *in heels, with a hat on. He probably has no business trying to take it to the hole on guys like Mount Saint Mary's 6-7 Sam Atupen. Don't tell Mercer that, though.
Three times in the first half, twice against Atupen, Mercer went strong, hanged in the air and drew fouls. When your guards get the other team's bigs in foul trouble, it makes life a lot easier for your own big men.
It also opens some things for yourself, like the little pull up junper that kick-started the Eagles' 15-0 end of the first half run.
Yes AU has other scoring options, but when Andre Ingram is on, it seems to take the AU offense to another level. When Ingram was off the floor, especially in the absence of the two starting big guys, AU's threat level is not the same. When he is on the floor, and clicking on all cylinders, Ingram just opens things up. He can shoot the three, drive the ball, or pull up for the little jumper.
It is no surprise that Ingram's return to the floor coincided with AU's end-of-the-half run. Six of AU's 15 points came from Ingram, including a rare four-point play when he was hammered while making a three from the left side of the arc.
Despite a brief stretch early, when it seemed every Mount shot was going in (coinciding with their 11-2 run), AU played lights out defense in the first half, limiting MSM to 6 for 24 (25 percent) shooting from the floor. AU also had a 21-11 rebounding edge in the half and outscored the Mount 14-6 in the paint.
Jones starts a different lineup in the second half, with Jordan Nichols in place of Billbe. After MSM opens the half with a 9-4 spurt, Jones goes back to the twin towers alignment.
Guibunda comes in at the 13:47 mark, giving Jones more athleticism up front. Mount Saint Mary's has closed to within 35-31 at that point and most of their points are coming in the paint off of transition. Guibunda responds with two more blocks and another put back. Since he had only two points all season, Guibunda is having a career night. His 11 first half minutes were more than he had played all season. He didn't have a rebound all season and grabbed six in the first half alone.
Guibunda stays in about three minutes in the second half, then sits with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He resumes his spot at the very end of the AU bench when Billbe and Joneliunas return. If he keeps playing like this, though, Guibunda will soon be sitting a lot closer to Jones.
How good is Holy Cross? After his team got spanked by Bucknell on Saturday, Yale head coach James Jones told a reporter the Crusaders, who visit the Bulldogs Wendesday, are probably the best team in the league.
Certainly their record would indicate that, but skeptics point out HC has spent the first two weeks of the season tuning up at home against the weakest part of its schedule. Four of the Crusaders'five games have been at the Hart Center. None of the five teams HC has beaten have a winning record. Combined the five are 6-19.
The next five are a different story. In fact, the next five-- beginning tonight at Syracuse -- are almost the mirror opposite -- five road games, four against teams with winning records. Only Yale (1-3) fails to measure up during that stretch. And a rested Yale, in New Haven, just two nights after a road trip to Syracuse, will not be an easy task. The four other opponents in the next five have a combined record of 18-3, the three losses spread neatly, one apiece, among Dayton, Duke and Providence.
A win over any of those four would get HC over that close-but-no-cigar-hump it could not quite get past against the likes of Kansas, Kentucky and Marquette in years past.
The challenge won't be hanging with the likes of Syracuse, Dayton, Duke and Providence. The Crusaders starting five has the talent to play with those guys. The tough part is avoiding being worn down in the second half by teams that are deeper, stronger and more athletic.
Suffice to say we will no a lot more about Holy Cross when this stretch is over than we know right now.
While Bucknell was picking up its first win, the rest of the league went 2-4 on a day that saw American, Navy and Lafayette each falling to big name opponents. Holy Cross won to stay unbeaten and Army downed Brown to go to 4-2. But any edge the league could gain in the Hoop Time-Basketball U Challenge series with the Ivy League was negated by Lehigh's loss at Harvard.
Holy Cross 66, William & Mary 57 -- Leading by 8 at the half, Holy Cross was feeling pretty good about itself. Later, after getting the win to improve to 5-0 on the season, the Crusaders no doubt felt pretty good, too.
In between, though, some moments of apprehension. After shooting 52 percent in the first half, HC found covers on the holes at the other end. The Crusaders shot just 25.7 percent in the second half. William and Mary actually managed to tie the game at 44-44 10:10 left.
Then the Crusaders went on a 14-2 run to take control.
Keith Simmons with another huge night -- 16 points, 8 rebounds, 7 steals, 2 blocks in 30 minutes of action. Torey Thomas had 10 points while dishing off four assists. Also in double figures were Pat Doherty (10 points) and Tim Clifford, who finished with 13 points and 6 boards. Box score | AP | Telegram & Gazette (gamer) | T&G (column)
Xavier 86, American 68 -- Xavier's three starting forwards combined for 66 points as the Musketeers pulled away from AU in the second half.
Much of the damage came from the foul line. AU was whistled for 25 fouls, Xavier for 16. The Musketeers shot 32 free throws, making 26. AU was 16 for 19 at the stripe.
Paulius Joneliunas led AU with 15 points, most coming at the foul line, where he was 8 for 9. Arvydas Eitutavicius off the bench with 11 was AU's only other double figures scorer.
Andre Ingram was held to 5 points. Ingram was 2 for 3 from the field and made the only three he tried, but he played only 21 minutes.
AU's other starters also struggled. Derrick Mercer had 3 turnovers, 0 assists; Brayden Billbe was scoreless with 1 rebound and 3 turnovers; and Linas Lekavicius went 3 for 12 from the field.
American shot 39.7 percent for the game, Xavier 51 percent -- including a 57-percent second half when they broke open what had been a two-point, 35-33, game at the break. The Musketeers stroked 10 three-pointers in this one (10 of 20). Box score | AP | Cincinnati Enquirer
Army 62, Brown 54 -- Matt Bell scored 11 of his 13 points in the final 7:42 to help Army hold off Brown for the win. Bell's first bucket in that stretch, a three-pointer that broke a 41-41 tie, might have been his biggest.
Army is now 4-2, its best six-game start since the 1994-95 season, when they were also 4-2 after six games.
The Black Knights held brown to 29.2 percent shooting in the first half, opening a 25-19 lead at the break. But Brown shot 55.6 percent in the second half to stay in the game, despite being outrebounded 33-18.
Miami (FL) 98, Lafayette 66 -- No day at the beach for the Leopards, who were out of this game after a 12-0 run gave Miami a double digits lead seven minutes in.
Lafayette pulled back to within 8 (31-23) ona three-pointer by freshman Jesper Andersson. That lasted only 17 seconds, though, and Miami would go on to build a lead of as many as 34 points.
Matt Betley, adjusting well to his shift to forward, had his second straight career high, finishing with 18 points to lead Lafayette. Paul Cummins hit five treys en route to his 15 points off the bench. Box score | AP | Orlando Sentinel | Miami Herald
Harvard 83, Lehigh 75 -- Down as many as 22 points in the game, Lehigh rallied in the second half, pouring in 53 points after the break. But the closest they could get was 6 points.
Jose Olivero agains led the Mountain Hawks. Olivero with 17 points on 5 of 17 shooting. He was 1 for 7 at the arc.
Jason Mgebroff had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks and Zahir Carringon came off the bench for 10 points and 8 rebounds. But the Lehigh biog men were negated by Harvard center Brian Cusworth, who had a game-high 20 points.
Also in double figures for Lehigh were Kyle Neptune (10) and sophomore Philip Anderson, who put up 11 points in the 14 minutes he played before fouling out. Box score | AP | The Crimson
Villanova 70, Navy 61 -- Navy shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) in the first half, falling behind 33-19 at the break. That deficit, and officiating that sent Villanova to the foul line 24 more times than the Mids, was more than they could overcome.
The Mids shot much better the second half (48.5 percent) and held 'Nova to 38.1 percent from the field after the intermission. At one point, with just under 8 minutes to play, the Mids pulled within two (51-49) on a trey by Adam Teague, and they were still within 4 with 3:02 left when Villanova's Curtis Sumpter hit three free throws to stretch it back to a three possession game.
Those free throws were three of 35 taken (and 23 made) by Villanova. Navy was 4 for 9 at the line.
Greg Sprink had 6 three-pointers en route to his team-high 22 points for the Mids. Kaleo Kina added 13 points, 5 steals and 4 assists before leaving the game after a hard fall with 5:33 to play. No word on the extent of any injuries. Box score | AP | Delco Times | Philly Inquirer
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- It was a home game for the Yale Bulldogs, at least according to the schedule. That is to say, it was played in Yale's ancient John J. Lee Ampitheater. The majority of the crowd though, up to 70 percent of the 1,821 in attendance by one estimate, was dressed in orange and they did not go home from Bucknell's 72-57 win disappointed. Not after the Bison used a dominant second half to shake a pesky Yale five that somehow managed to hang within two at the half.
The Bison tried to pull away late in the first half, opening a 29-22 lead on a pair of free throws by Justin Castleberry, whose emergence as a scoring option merits further attention in a moment. The foul shots, by the way, gave Castleberry -- who had scored 6 points his entire career prior to this afternoon -- a career-high 7 points with a half still to play. He would finish with 11.
But when it seemed the Bison were about to bury the Bulldogs, Yale responded with a quick 7-2 spurt in the final 1:30 of the half.
It proved to be but a temporary reprieve. Up three, 37-34, with 17 minutes to play, Bucknell went on a 10-0 run to push the lead to double digits, where it stayed for all but a few brief seconds the rest of the way. Chris McNaughton (6 for 8, 13 points, 7 rebounds), who had his third double figures game in a row, got the run started with a layup that actually proved to be his last score of the game.
Castleberry was fouled going to the hole and made a pair of foul shots, and Darren Mastropaolo hit the front of a one-and-one to make it 42-34, and Abe Badmus pushed the lead to 10 with a pair of free throws after he was hammered while taking it to the rack at the 12:53 mark. What makes those foul shots notable is the fact they were the only Bucknell points not scored directly in the paint in the first 10:28 of the second half, and those were actually the result of in the paint efforts.
"We made an emphasis coming in that the big guys were going to get some touches," Flannery said.
"We sometimes rely too much on the perimeter. The last couple of games we relied on the three-point shots. We made an effort to get the ball inside and then worked inside out," said McNaughton.
The out part of the equation was pretty much junior guard John Griffin, who had two three-pointers in the second half, the only Bucknell points that did not come either in the paint or at the foul line in the second half. Both of Griffin's treys came in response to three-pointers by Yale's Eric Flato that had cut the Bison lead to 9 each time.
"We work on that in practice," said Donald Brown. "When a team scores, we want to go score right back and then get a stop."
Griffin finished with three of Bucknell's 5 three-pointers and 14 points.
It was a situation where so many times already this season Bucknell had been unable to come up with the appropriate response.
"I really liked what we did in the second half. We played with a purpose and a poise in the second half," said Flannery.
Brown, who was in attack mode on offense almost from the start, went 7 for 8 from the field, finishing with a season-high 16 points, leading the Bison. None of Brown's buckets came from more than about three feet away from the basket.
"I was trying to be more aggressive to help the team. Coach talked to me about that in the preseason. I needed to put it into action," Brown said. "Tonight I got it in my mind to go out and do it."
Double figures games by Brown, Griffin and McNaughton come as no surprise, though. For Castleberry, on the other hand, even seeing him on the floor early in the first half with nobody in foul trouble was a shock. Coming into the game he had only played in two of Bucknell's four games and then just a total of three minutes. Prior to today, Castleberry had not taken a shot all season and had only put up five in his career.
But there he was, just a few minutes into the game, putting up, and knocking down, his first career three-pointer. It was his only field goal in three tries, but his 8 for 8 shooting at the foul line was a tribute to his ability to get into the lane and to the basket.
"You saw what he can do. He is real aggressive. He can score. he is a real savvy player," said Brown. "He helped us a lot."
"That is what we need a little bit, a guy who can penetrate into the seams. he stepped up. That is what we needed," McNaughton added.
To Flannery, the decision to expand Castleberry's role came down to a simple need for more guys who can create some offense on their own.
"We were not making enough basketball plays. We were too robotic," Flannery said. "We had to get another handler into the lineup and another shooter. He can do both."
It didn't hurt any that the Bison turned things up on defense in the second half, too. In the first half, Bucknell shot 50 percent from the field and had a 16-10 edge on the boards, yet led by only 2 because they allowed yale to shoot 52 percent. In the second half, Bucknell limited Yale to 11 of 31 from the field (35.5 percent). At the same time, buoyed by the inside attack, Bucknell went 12 for 19 from the field (63.2 percent).
The win snaps a five-game losing streak for Bucknell, one that dated back to the loss to Memphis in the second round of last season's NCAA Tournament.
"We came up here as a hurt basketball club . . . This was a big, big win for us," Flannery said.
Technology is not a priority in Yale's John J. Lee Ampitheater. The wireless is hit or miss and there are no stats monitors on press row. Matter of fact, they are not even handing out the occasional updated box score on press row here. Hell -- truth be told, there is not even any press row. We are perched in the first couple of rows of the bleachers, with a rudimentary table top rigged between rows of the bleachers.
Bison pulling out all stops to shake their four-game losing streak. John Griffin got his hair buzzed and they are wearing the orange sneakers. For those who didn't hear about them after the exhibition against Mansfield, we're talking bright, shiny, orange, patent-leather kicks that could cause permanent damage to the retina if you stare at them without proper protection.
It is not real bright in the John J. Lee Ampitheater, and the Bison, mercifully, are wearing their blue road uniforms. With the orange unis, and bright lights, they could do some serious damage.
This seems almost like a home game for the Bison, or at least neutral court. There is easily as much, if not more, orange and blue Bucknell swag being shown as Yale-wear. Noise-wise, it is about even early.
Bucknell's rotation very deep in the first half. Pat Flannery has gone 11 deep, with early minutes for sophomore guard Justin Castleberry, who entered the game around midway through the half and shortly after drained his first career three-point attempt. Later in the half, Castleberry hit two foul shots, giving him a new career-high and leaving Castleberry one point shy of tying his career-total of 6 points coming into the game. He exceeded that
The Bison by and large stayed out of foul trouble in the first half. Chris McNaughton did pick up two, the second coming with around 4 minutes to play in the half, but Flannery stayed with him. Badmus showed signs of playing smarter, at least early in the first half when he wisely backed off an allowed a yaale player a pretty much uncontested layup on a fast break. But with a little over a minute to go in the half, he was up to his old tricks, trying to run down a guy on a break to block the layup. The result was a chance for a three-point play by Yale's Eric Flato, who squandered the opportunity to complete it at the line.
Bucknell seemed to be taking control with a 10-0 run late in the half. But Yale responded with a 7-2 spurt to close out the half. Badmus had a chance to stretch the Bison lead, but his runner over one of Yale's big men rolled out at the buzzer.
Best news for Bucknell in the first half: McNaughton with 9 points in the half.
Not so good news: Yale shooting 52 percent in the first half. Also disheartening: 10 Bucknell turnovers.
Bison are shooting 50 percent from the field and have a 16-10 edge on the boards, yet are only up by 2 points, 31-29, at the half
McNaughton with two quick buckets in the second half, Bison looking inside more after being outscored 18-8 in the paint in the first half. BU's first 8 points of the second half came in the paint. The next 3 on foul shots after being hacked trying to score in the paint.
15:12 Bucknell 42, Yale 33
No wonder Flannery left McNaughton in the final 4 minutes of the first half. Turns out he did not have two personals after all. The announcer mistakenly credited him with one that was actually called on freshman Patrick Behan.
Bucknell 52, Yale 41 (7:58 to play)
During a timeout the 5:47 mark, BU sports information director Jon Terry and I debate whether or not McNaughton's elbow jumper early in the half counts as "in the paint." Terry concedes with size 17 shoes, McNaughton probably was at least one foot over the line. Depending how you count that shot, the Bison have either one, or two, buckets this half that came from play outside the paint. They have made six free throws, but all came as the result of fouls in the paint, so theoretically, they count.
Donald Brown has two second half dunks. No argument. They count.
Brown with 16 points leads Bucknell at the 3 minute mark.
Bucknell 60, Yale 48 (3:00 to play)
Griffin reaches double figures at the 1:37 mark by completing a four-point play, draining the three while being bulldozed by Caleb Holmes
With 1:22 to go, Castleberry reaches double figures by hitting both ends of a one and one.
You hear the phrase a lot this weekend: "Home for the Holidays." Whoever came up with this one knows little about Patriot League hoops. With the notable exception of Holy Cross, which is hosting William and Mary this afternoon, nobody is home for the holidays. They are off to exotic locations like Miami, Cincinnati, New Haven, Providence, Boston or Philly. That AU at Xavier game in Cincinnati is probably the most interesting matchup on the slate. But it is a 500-mile road trip from here and we have never been fond of cinnamon in our chili, much less our chili over macaroni. New Haven, on the other hand, offers a less interesting matchup. But it's less than half the drive and the pizza alone is worth the trip, so we're off to this afternoon's Bucknell-Yale game.
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HOOP TIME NOTEBOOK The last time Bucknell was in New Haven, they arrived with a sub-.500 record. They battled their way to a 73-65 win over Yale in overtime and went on to win 11 in a row en route to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
That is not to say Bucknell is headed back to the tournament if they win at Yale. Pat Flannery is still trying to figure out how his pieces fit. By the time league play begins in January, Flannery will have his answers, for good or ill.
The point is simply that despite an 0-4 start, it is way too early to be counting the Bison out of anything. Those four losses have been to opponents with a combined record of 12-2. None of the four losses have been by more than 10 points. Two came in overtime, each by 3 points. The Bison even had decent leads in each, leads that wilted under rotation problems still to be resolved. Some combinations that have played thus far have really struggled to score. That has not been helped by the constant foul trouble the Bison have found, which has forced Bison coach Pat Flannery to use guys in roles he perhaps had not planned.
None of the foul trouble has been more troublesome than that being experienced by6-11 senior center Chris McNaughton, who has found it difficult to stay on the floor for any extended stretches. The lack of run has hurt McNaughton's offense. He has found it difficult to find a rhythm in most games.
Meanwhile, the development of juniors Darren Mastropaolo and Andrew Morrison has done a lot to solidify the frontline rotation. Mastropaolo's ability to score in the post combines well with Morrison's ability to shoot the jumper when McNaughton comes out of the game and Mastropaolo slides over to the five.
Donald Brown's problems adjusting to the small forward role are another problem. Unless Brown starts hitting a few jumpers occasionally, at least enough of them to force people to guard him 10 feet from the basket, Rob Thomas and Jason Vegotsky will need to play a lot at the three, just to give Flannery some scoring options. Problem is, Thomas (6-3) and Vegotsky (6-2) are more third guards than small forwards. They lack Brown's size (6-6) and athleticism to defend bigger threes. Charles Lee (6-3) could get away with it because of his strength and athleticism.
Of course a lot of these pieces are easier to fit into place if McNaughton snaps out of the funk he has been in and point guard Abe Badmus finds some comfort offensively.
Badmus seems to be struggling with his role. Flannery insists Badmus has the offensive game to do the things being asked of him this season -- namely more scoring. But Badmus has seemed conflicted in that role. After three seasons unselfishly finding others for their shot, Badmus seems hesitant to take his own, especially early in the shot clock. Too many possessions have begun with Badmus passing on open jumpers and ended with him turning the ball over after desperately driving into a help defense double-team as the shot clock winds down.
If Badmus starts taking those open looks (and knocking a few down) earlier in the clock, it will open things up for the Bison inside. Badmus might also think about trying to finish on more of those drives. He is strong enough, and has the springs, to take it to the rack against bigger men. Might even draw few fouls, which could have the added benefit of forcing opponents to be more guarded in their aggressive physical defensive tactics employed against the Bison big men (especially McNaughton).
With McNaughton and Badmus both seemingly in a funk, it begs the question: Are they a little burned out? The two have spent the last two summers with national teams. Badmus was point guard for the Nigerian national team in 2005 when the D'Tigers qualified for the 2006 World Championships and was the last guy cut before the D'Tigers left for Japan this summer. McNaughton was also one of the last two cut from the German team that played in Japan. He played internationally with Germany's World University Games team in the summer of 2005.
Bucknell's schedule lightens considerably following the four games in eight days stretch that starts at Yale and ends with nest weekend's back to back games against Northern Iowa and George Mason. The Bison only have five games the remaining 28 days of the year. Maybe the lighter schedule and the lighter practice schedule during finals will help rejuvenate them.
We shall see.
In the meantime, it is definitely not a one-team league in the Patriot this season.
Here's some news and notes from elsewhere:
BIG MAN IS BACK: Lehigh's Jason Mgebroff is a big guy. At 6-10, 275-pounds, Mgebroff showed tremendous promise as a freshman, averaging 7 points per game. As a sophomore, Mgebroff started 27 games, and averages 8.7 ppg. Small progress, especially in a league without many quality big men, but at least some progress.
Last season, though, Mgebrioff was like the holes of those donuts he was rumored to be so fond of. He left nothing in the middle for Lehigh. Reports from Bethlehem indicated Mgebroff reported overweight and out of shape when practice began. A foot injury early in the season did not help matters any. Whatever the reasons, whatever the spin, the bottom line was simple. After starting 43 games his first two seasons, Mgebroff found himself unable to beat out a stiff like Mike Fischman for the starting center job. Mgebroff's minutes dropped from an average of over 22 per game his first two seasons to 12.9 per game as a junior. His scoring (3.7 ppg) and rebounding (2.4 rpg) were career lows. Averaging better than 54 percent shooting from the field his first two seasons, Mgebroff plummeted to a 44 percent showing as a junior.
So far this season, Mgebroff is showing signs of finally fulfilling the promise exhibited his freshman season, when he scored 42 points in three league tournament games, making the All-Tournament team and helping Lehigh to the title. Through six games, Mgebroff, who looks slimmer, and much quicker, than he did last season, is averaging 12.7 ppg and shooting 73 percent from the field. He is also grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game, by far a career mark should it hold up over the course of the season. his scoring and rebounding numbers are tops among league big men thus far.
Last season, Mgebroff scored in double figures one time against Division I opposition, scoring 10 against Lafayette. This season, Mgebroff reached double figures in each of the Mountain Hawks' first four contests, missing a combined total of just five shots from the field during that stretch.
HOME COOKING: Holy Cross has started the season 4-0 for the first time in the Ralph Willard era. The Crusaders will look to go to 5-0 for the first time since 1988-89 Saturday when they host William and Mary. The only unbeaten team in the league, Holy Cross is also the only team that has played three home games to date. Bucknell and Lafayette, the two teams with the worst records in the league, have played just one home game each.
Navy may have the most impressive early season record when homecourts are factored into the equation. The 4-1 Mids have yet to play in Alumni Hall. Navy's lone "home" game was played at the ShowPlace Arena in nearby Upper Marlboro, Md. because some Fillipino dance troupe was appearing in Alumni Hall that night.
NO SWEAT: Keith Simmons does not seem to be sweating those cramping problems that hobbled the Holy Cross winger last season. Through four games, Simmons is averaging 34.5 minutes per game. His 18.8 points per game are second in the league only to Lehigh's Jose Olivero. Simmons 6.2 rebounds per game are tied for fourth.
In the Patriot League, only teammate Torey Thomas (37 mpg) is averaging more minutes than Simmons.
NO MINUTES: Notable for their lack of early season playing time: Army's John Moonshower, who showed a lot of promise the end of last season, has played a total of two minutes, appearing in three of Army's five games. One-time starter Jimmy Sewell has also played in just three games for the Black Knights. Sewell has produced 2 rebounds and 2 points in his eight minutes of action.
Georgetown-transfer Cornelio Guibunda, touted as one of the nation's top recruits when he signed with the Hoyas out of high school, has appeared in two of American's four-games, playing 7 minutes and totaling two free throws, a turnover and a steal.
NOT SEEING DOUBLE: Only one team has nobody averaging in double figures scoring. That team is Bucknell, which is led by Darren Mastropaolo and Jason Vegotsky, each averaging 9.8 ppg. Lafayette, led by Matt Betley (12.4 ppg) is the only other team without at least two players averaging in double figures.
Lehigh leads the way with three players averaging in doubles -- Jose Olivero (league leading 20.2 ppg), Jason Mgebroff (12.7 ppg) and Kyle Neptune (11.3 ppg).
TAKING OFFENSE: Think of Billy Taylor-coached you think of defense first. The Hawks have consistently been among the league's top defensive teams under Taylor, and pride themselves on that style of play.
So it might come as a little surprise to notice the Mountain Hawks are averaging a league-leading 73.3 ppg and giving up 75 ppg, second most allowed in the league.
NAVY ON THE LINE: The Mids are hitting an impressive 66.5 percent from the foul line thus far. Much of the credit for that league-leading stat goes to plebes Trey Stanton (12 for 12) and T.J. Topercer, who are a combined 23 of 24. Sophomore guard Kaleo Kina (16 for 18) has also been impressive.
CAN'T MISS: Speaking of good free throw shooting, five league players have yet to miss from the charity stripe. In addition to Stanton, HC center Tim Clifford is 10 for 10, Bucknell guard John Griffin is 9 for 9. Colgate bench guys Willie Morse (8 for 8) and Alex Woodhouse (4 for 4) also have not missed.
A tough night Wednesday for Patriot League teams, going 0-2 with Lehigh losing at Quinnipiac and Colgate losing at home to Canisius. Quinnipiac 71, Lehigh 55 -- Quinnipiac pretty much dominated Lehigh, especially in the second half when they blew open what was a two-point game at the half.
Lehigh's usually steady backcourt struggled. Freshman point guard Marquis Hall looked like a freshman, turning it over five times while going just 2 for 10 from the field, finishing with 5 points.
Jose Olivero had his usual double figures night -- 17 points on 6 for 14 shooting. But like Hall, Olivero had five turnovers. Kyle Neptune finished with 14 points and a game-high 9 rebounds
All total, Lehigh had 18 turnovers, leading to 29 Quinnipiac points.
Quinnipiac had the better of Lehigh in the front court, too. Jason Mgebroff turned in a pedestrian 1 for 3 night, finishing with 2 points in just 18 minutes of action after sitting much of the first half with foul trouble.
Quinnipiac shot 54.5 percent in the decisive second half and outrebounded Lehigh 38-28 for the game. The Bobcats scored 30 points in the paint, to just 12 for Lehigh. Box score | AP | New Haven Register
Canisius 78, Colgate 73, OT -- In a back and forth game with 12 ties and nine lead changes, Canisius pulled away in the overtime, thanks to Chuck Harris, who scored 8 of Canisius' 12 overtime points (and 8 of his 13 in the game).
Colgate was up 70-66 after four straight Daniel Waddy free throws early in the extra period. Then Harris got things going with a layup and a jumper, wrapped around a made free throw by Colgate's Tim Pounds, cutting it to one. Then Harris assisted on a three-pointer by Corey Herring (22 points) to give Canisius the lead for good.
Waddy, who scored 9 of his 11 points at the foul line (he went 1 for 5 from the field), had a chance to make it a three point game with 17 seconds left in regulation, but hit only one of two free throws. That left the door open for Canisius to send it to OT on a Darnell Wilson layup with one second in regulation.
Kendall Chones led Colgate with 18 points, 8 coming from 10 trips to the foul line. Jon Simon also had 18 for Colgate (1-2).
The Raiders turned the ball over 27 times, leading to 21 Canisius points. Box score | AP
Foul trouble and inconsistent play plagued the Bison again as they fell just short in a thrilling 63-60 overtime loss to Penn State.
By Eric Thomas Special to Hoop Time
STATE COLLEGE – It’s beginning to become an all too familiar site for the 2006 version of the Bucknell Bison men’s basketball team.
Foul trouble and inconsistent play plagued the Bison again as they fell just short in a thrilling 63-60 overtime loss to Penn State.
Mike Walker’s 23-foot trey at the buzzer in overtime sunk the Bison, dropping them to 0-4 on the young season.
Walker’s 3-pointer at the buzzer came on the heels of the Bison triple teaming ‘Mooch’ Jackson in the paint. Jackson somehow kicked it out to a screaming Walker who buried the shot from the right wing as time expired.
“I guess somehow it got into ‘Mooch’ and they triple teamed him, I was just yelling his name as loud as I could and he found me, and god willing the ball went in,” Walker said.
“I felt very comfortable with him taking that shot,” said Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis. “I think we needed something good to happen here. It hasn’t been fun around here the last couple of days.”
The Bison once again lost center Chris McNaughton to early foul trouble rendering him ineffective early on. McNaughton, who fouled out with 2:48 remaining, scored 11 points but was hassled all night by Penn State’s Jamelle Cornley and Brandon Hassel. He took just three field goal attempts.
Sophomore Jason Vegotsky did his best to rescue the Bison in the second half hitting for all 12 of his team high points as the Bison fought back with a furious rally in the final 8:35, taking the lead at one point off his second three-pointer at 51-50 with 3:16 remaining.
“I want to be realistic with the kids,” Bison head coach Pat Flannery said. “I don’t want to be a phony, I don’t want to go in there and say we should be 4-0 with the people we’ve played and what we’ve done. At the same time they have to go forward and go to the future. That’s why Vegotsky has to score for us. We need to get some consistent scoring and we haven’t gotten it out of Chris.”
Bucknell’s bench was forced into eating minutes to keep the Bison in the game.
“I like the way our bench responded because we got in foul trouble on the road early again and we had to play a lot of people. We had two freshmen in there in the first half just trying to buy some minutes."
The Bison jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, but McNaughton picked up his second foul with 16:13 remaining in the half.
From that point on inconsistencies led to the Bison falling into a 26-19 hole at halftime after shooting a rugged 32-percent from the floor, missing all 11 of their three-point attempts in the half.
Danny Morrissey who led all scorers with 21 points connected on 5-of-10 three pointers leading the Nittany Lions surge to start the second half, in a disastrous stretch for Bucknell that saw Morrissey hit two consecutive 3-pointers and the Bison miss two shots, while picking up three early second half fouls.
Abe Badmus, connected to cut the Penn State lead to 11, and Darren Mastrapaolo scored five points in a mini run to get the Bison back within seven at the 12:31 mark. After Vegotsky gave the Bison the 51-50 lead late, hitting a 3-pointer from the left corner, the Bison failed to capitalize on their opportunities down the stretch, including a wide-open Andrew Morrison 10-foot jumper that would have won the game as regulation time expired.
Flannery hopes his younger players took note to the way his team fought back from the deficit.
“The thing that’s there is the fight and we have some young kids and that we’ll be able to build on.”
“We just haven’t quite gotten it done down the stretch here and that falls on me,” Flannery added. “We’ll keep plugging at it and we’ll keep trying to find a way to make those plays down the stretch. But that’s basketball and that’s what it comes down to. We certainly won our share of them too but we have to realize this is a new year and nobody’s going to give us anything.”
Notes: Penn State has won 11 consecutive games in the series dating back to 1976……the Nittany Lions are now 75-25 all-time against the Bison, and 19-0 against Patriot League teams…..this marked the first time the Nittany Lions have been out rebounded (33-26) this season……Flannery said he’d like to see the series continue, but added he wants Penn State to make the trek down route 45 to Lewisburg for a change. “Yeah I think it’s great for Central Pennsylvania. It certainly hasn’t been a rivalry until we do something but it’d be nice to get them down south once or twice sometime before I croak…….on the sideline.” Box score | AP | Patriot-News | Daily Item | Centre Daily Times
Holy Cross stayed unbeaten with a win at Harvard and Navy improved to 4-1. On the down side, though, Army lost at home and Lafayette dropped its fourth straight in a mixed night around the league.
Holy Cross 82, Harvard 69 -- The Crusaders shot the lights out and played tough defense to pick up the road win and stay unbeaten (4-0).
Holy Cross shot 56.9 percent from the field and knocked down 10 of 18 from the three-point arc.
Leading the way was HC center Tim Clifford, who more than held his own in his battle with Harvard's highly touted center, Brian Cusworth. Clifford finished with 22 points and 3 blocked shots in 27 minutes of playing time, which was limited by foul trouble. Clifford finished with four personals. Clifford went 9 for 11 from the field.
Cusworth had a 10-points, 11-rebounds double-double.
Keith Simmons (8 for 13, 20 points) and Torey Thomas (12 points) were also in double figures for HC. Simmons also with 6 rebounds. Thomas had 6 assists.
Navy 82, MD Eastern Shore 59 -- It's Navy's best start since 1998-99. The Mids improve to 4-0 behind Greg Sprink's 24 points, 7 rebounds effort.
The Mids only had one other player, freshman Trey Stanton (15 points), in double figures. But they got a lot of balance -- 11 different players scored. Navy shot 52.8 percent from the field, and made nine three-pointers.
Maryland Eastern Shore shot just 28 percent in the first half, 34 percent for the games. Box score | AP
Cornell 65, Army 56 -- Matt Bell and Jarell Brown both had off nights, making the outcome rather predictable. Between them, Bell and Brown went 5 for 27 from the field. Bell, who was 3 for 11, finished with 12 points. Corban Bates added 11. Brown had 8.
MD Baltimore Cty. 86, Lafayette 51 -- A tough night for the Leopards against a hot-shooting UMBC team that had four players in double figures. The Retrievers went 32 of 55 from the field (58.2 percent).
UMBC built an 11 point lead by the intermission. Lafayette managed to cut it to 8 points briefly in the second half, the UMNC pulled away.
Matt Betley with 18 for Lafayette, the only 'Pard in double figures.
UMBC outrebounded the Leopards 39-17. It was Lafayette's fourth straight loss. Box Score | AP
Bucknell, still looking for its first win, is at Penn State tonight, topping a busy five-game slate. Penn State is still without the services of leading scorer mesleader.com/mld/timesleader/16060789.htm">Geary Claxton and is coming off a loss at home to Stony Brook. The Centre Daily Times calls it Penn State's toughest test of the season. The student-run Daily Collegian says it is a matchup of two teams needing a win to get their seasons on track. (matchup)
American took a 3-2 lead on an Andre Ingram three-pointer 32 seconds into the game and led the rest of the way, improving to 3-1 with an 81-74 home win over Loyola (Md.).
Ingram was just getting started. The senior from Richmond, who had an off night back home on Friday, went on to hit three more treys, and went 10 for 10 at the foul line, finishing with a game-high 22 points.
Those foul shots ate a sign of another big factor in this one. Loyola was called for 32 fouls, sending AU to the line for 48 free throws. The Eagles made 38. That is 17 more made free throws than the 21 Loyola took (they made 14).
Three Loyola players fouled out, including forward Michael Tuck, who finished with 15 points.Gerald Brown led Loyola with 31 points.
American's lead was 15 at the half and swelled to as many as 20 points before Loyola managed to close it to 6 late in the game. With Americsan hitting 10 of 14 free throws down the stretch, Loyola could never get closer.
Derrick Mercer finished with 11 points and 7 assists for AU. Brayden Billbe had 17 points and 5 rebounds. Also in double figures was Arvyda Eitutavicius, who scored 13 before fouling out. Box score | AP
American (2-1) takes on Loyola (Md.) (2-1) in the only game involving Patriot League teams tonight. Loyola's loss came in its opener, against Navy on a neutral court. American's first loss came Saturday at Richmond.
McNaughton sits down St. Joe's turns it up a notch Bison can't come back
There it is. Short, simple, to the point. Bucknell's 63-53 loss at St. Joseph's reduced to haiku.
The long form goes something like this: Early in the game it looked a little like last season's vintage when Bucknell came out and established an early lead and proceeded to defend it through the first 14 minutes of the game. Three-pointers were falling, Chris McNaughton was taking Saint Joe's young big men to school down low. Things were going Bucknell's way, or at least they seemed to be.
In retrospect, back-to-back shot-clock beaters by Saint Joe's Rob Ferguson in the midst of Bucknell's fast start were signs of things to come. Saint Joe's would go on to making big plays as the clock ran down all afternoon.
McNaughton, the 6-11 senior from Germany struggled offensively in the first two games, in part because he never managed to get into the flow of the game due to foul trouble.Against Saint Joe's, though, McNaughton was on from the start. The Bison looked for their big man early and often and he responded by scoring 9 of Bucknell's first 21 points, including a dunk with 6:03 to play in the first half that gave Bucknell a 21-19 lead.
"The beginning of the game was like a Bucknell clinic," said Saint Joe's coach Phil Martelli.
Fourteen seconds later McNaughton was sitting on the bench with two fouls and the Bison were en route to a hole they could never climb out of.
Part of it was simply Saint Joe's increased defensive intensity. Phil Martelli said he told his team to dial the ball pressure up a notch. Of course without McNaughton's inside presence ready to exploit the man-to-man, the Hawks guards could pressure even more on the perimeter. Saint Joe's simply out-muscled the Bison, pushing the guards well outside the arc and forcing them to try to run their offense from there. Without McNaughton to keep them honest, or the presence of a dribble penetrator type who could exploit the pressure off the dribble, the Bison struggled to score.
"The win was predicated on defense," Martelli said. "Defensively, we wanted to take away their threes, from John (Griffin) and Vegotsky. We didn't want them to have any threes. We had a game plan for each guy on defense and for the most part, we executed that."
Vegotsky and Griffin had combined for 10 three-pointers in Bucknell's first two games. The two were out of sync against Saint Joe's, Griffin was an icy 2 for 11 in the game, 1 for 8 from the three-point arc.
"I need to find a rhythm. The last two games I have been really struggling," said Griffin. "I need to keep my confidence."
Griffen didn't have his rhythm, but he did have that confidence. Vegotsky had neither. Vegotsky hit the first three he took, missed two more in the first half and didn't take another shot.
"I'd like to see him miss two shots in a row and keep staying aggressive," Flannery said. "We don't have to tell Griffin twice. Jason we do."
With McNaughton sitting, or, late in the half, subbing in and out in an offense-defense arrangement with Darren Mastropaolo, who also had two fouls at the time, the Bison were out of sync. They managed just three points -- one a free throw from McNaughton and went 4:18 without a field goal until Patrick Behan broke the drought with 1:45 to go in the half.
But here is the stat that will tell you just how out of sync the Bison were once McNaughton got in foul trouble: Behan's field goal was only the second shot from the field the Bison took in that stretch.
Meanwhile, with Bucknell's offense in disarray, Saint Joe's began to pull away, using a mix of threes, free throws and inside power by Ahmad Nivins. Nivins' five unanswered points on an old-fashioned three-pomt play and another inside bucket pushed the Saint Joe's lead into double figures just before the half.
"When Chris went out, they started throwing it inside," Griffen said.
Before it was said and done, Saint Joe's had shot 10 of 16 from the field (62.5 percent)
Bucknell came out after the half and scored 6 straight points to make it a game, and later pulled to within 4 twice. But they could never get over the hump. The first time, Abe Badmus missed a layup that would have cut it to two.
Bucknell was again within four on a McNaughton layup that cut it to 55-51. But a Saint Joe's possession that lasted almost a minute and a half took the wind out of the Bison sails. First Bucknell played solid defense for 26 seconds before a foul on Abe Badmus reset the clock. Then Saint Joe's ran off 32 seconds of the 35 second clock before Jawan Carter heaved a desperation three that caromed right back to him, again resetting the shot clock (another one of those Saint Joe's shot clock good fortunes).
Finally, at the 2:34 mark, 1:23 after his layup, McNaughton fouled Pat Calathes, who hit to free throws for a 57-51 Saint Joe's lead. Bucknell never got closer.
McNaughton finished with 14 points in 23 minutes. Although he finished with four personals, the last was semi-intentional, If Bucknell is looking for good news to take from this one, McNaughton's starting to look a little like his old self is one item they could cling to. But he was not nearly as effective after the first 14 minutes.
"When he comes out and sits, he is hard to get going again," said Flannery.
Another was a second straight career night by Darren Mastropaolo, who scored 11 of his 13 in the second half.
On the down side, the Bison still are not getting the offense they need from Badmus and Donald Brown. Badmus was 2 for 6, but again passed up open jumpers that he needs to take, and make, if people are going to be forced to play Bucknell honest. Badmus hit one of the two three-pointers he took. He also turned the ball over seven times, often the result of over penetrating and finding himself with no place to go with the ball.
Brown is a more perplexing problem. Attempts to transform him into a perimeter threat on offense have not taken. Brown is no three-point threat, but Flannery figured on his being able to make enough pull-up 10-footers to be effective at the three. The problem is, Brown's offense is likely to come from running the break and crashing the offensive glass.
"We need a better, consistent way to score from the perimeter," Flannery said.
Flannery is not one to switch starting lineups. He feels it is important to start a big lineup (see notebook) and is not likely to put 6-2 Jason Vegotsky or 6-3 Rob Thomas at the starting three, even though each would seem to inject more offense. But watch for Flannery to start tweaking his rotation as he searches for combinations that can score.
"We are still trying to figure that out," said Griffen.
While Bucknell was falling in Philly, the rest of the league was doing all right Sunday afternoon.
Lehigh 72, Sacred Heart 63 -- Lehigh shot 50.9 percent from the field, held Stony brook to 32.8 percent shooting and outrebounded the Sea Wolves 45-28.
So how did Stony Brook manage to stay within 9? Lehigh's 25 turnovers had a little to do with that. Seven of them were credited to freshman point guard Marquis Hall, who also had 7 assists and 7 points.
Sacred Heat also used the three-pointer to keep it close, hitting 8 while Lehigh was just 3 for 11 from the arc.
Regardless, it is a win, and a two-game win streak for Lehigh after starting the season with three straight losses.
Jose Olivero led Lehigh scorers with 21 points on 8 for 15 shooting. Kyle Neptune added 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Bryan White added 15 points and Jason Mgebroff, who has was held to single digits scoring (7 points) for the first time this season, had a team-high 9 rebounds. AP | Box score
Navy 87, Stony Brook 76 -- navy outsocred Stony Brook in a battle of sharpshooting offenses. Stony Brook hit 50 percent of its free throws and was even more effective (11 of 20, 55 percent) from the arc.
Problem for the Sea Wolves, they didn't do much of a job guarding Navy's almost all guards attack. Navy coach Billy Lange used 8 p[layers in this one. Six were listed as guards. Only one -- 6-10 freshman starter Trey Stanton -- is listed as a front court player. Reserve Adam Teague is listed as a guard/forward, but stands 6-8. The rest of the Mids who played Sunday were listed as guards. ranging in height from 6-2 to 6-7 and in three point accuracy from deadly to can't miss.
OK, that last part is slight exxacgeration. But the Mids did knock down 15 treys in the win (on 29 tries). Overall they shot 58.1 percent from the field and 22 of 26 from the foul line. All but one of the Mids tried at least two three-pointers. Only one of those, freshman T.J. Topercer (0-2) failed to connect. The only Mid to not try a trey was freshman guard Derek Young, who only played two minutes.
Greg Sprink (12 for 12 at the foul line and three three-points) led Navy with 29 points. Freshman Chris Harris added 5 threes and 21 points and teague finished with 19 points, all but one on three-pointers (he was 6 for 8). AP | Newsday | Box score Read Full Post
Connectivity in Saint Joe's Alumni Fieldhouse seemed to be hit or miss Sunday afternoon. That was why we didn't do a live gameblog during the Bucknell-Saint Joe's contest. But we did keep notes. Here are a few things we noticed:
Darren Mastropaolo's first points came on a foul line jumper, his second such shot in the Bison's past two games. It is a shot Mastropaolo had all the time last season and repeatedly passed up. With two straight double-digit efforts, Mastropaolo is showing he was serious when he spoke of looking to score more as a junior.
Pat Flannery's rotation for this one was considerably shorter than the Bison's first two games. Flannery did not sub at all for the first 5:41 of the game and didn't go much past eight deep all night. All but a handful of mostly mop-up minutes were limited to Jason Vegotsky, Andrew Morrison and Rob Thomas off the bench. Most notable DNP until the final minute was 6-11 sophomore Josh Linthicum, who Flannery spoke of in the preseason as a guy who would be able to give the Bison some key minutes in precisely these sorts of situations where the opposition has a lot of size up front.
McNaughton's second personal appeared to be an atrocious call on a play where Saint Joe's Garrett Williamson initiated the contact with an extended elbow as he dribbled towards the baseline, though not actually towards the hoop.Williamson hit both free throws to tie the game and Saint Joe's never trailed again. Williamson's free throws started a decisive 18-3 end of the first half run. Williamson, who scored all of his 9 points at the foul line, made three more during that stretch, after official Fran Scagliotta gave him the benefit of the doubt, bailing the Hawks out of a shot clock situation with a whistle on Bucknell's John Griffin.
With the shot clock about to expire, Williamson jumped into Griffin while heaving up an off-balance shot from the arc and Scagliotta, who bore some of the brunt of Pat Flannery's criticism after Tuesday's Bucknell-Wake Forest game, bought Williamson's act.
It was one of at least five situations where Bucknell seemed to have Saint Joe's down to a second or so on the shot clock, only to see the Hawks find a way to convert. In the first half it was Rob Ferguson, back to back, with late scores that got the moribund Saint Joe's offense going after early ineptitude. The first was a desperation three over Darren Mastropaolo, the second a one-handed scoop shot from under and around Mastropaolo.
Another time 6-10 Pat Calathes started to go baseline against Vegotsky, then used a subtle elbow to gain separation before rising over Vegotsky for a buzzer-beating 10-footer from the baseline.
The one time Saint John's missed as the shot clock expired, Nivins managed to gather in Jawan Carter's missed three for a put-back.
Griffin's struggles from three-poijnt range continued at Saint Joe's. Despite the cozy confines of a gym he practically grew up in (his dad used to coach St. Joseph's), Griffin missed his first five tries from the arc and finished the game 1 for 8 from there. Griffin, who hit 4 of 8 from three-point range against Albany, has gone 2 for 14 since then.
TEED UP: Four days after making some frank comments about the quality of the officiating in the Wake Forest game, Flannery found himself face to face during pregame introductions with Frank Scagliotta, one of the crew for this one who worked that Wake game, too.
Probably just a coincidence that Flannery received his first technical of the season. It came with 1:51 left after Flannery came on to the floor complaining about a no call on a missed layin try by Badmus, who was clobbered on the play. Neither the no-call, nor the technical, were of any significance to the outcome.
FLANNERY ON LINEUPS: Some have suggested Rob Thomas or Jason Vegotsky starting in place of Donald brown at the three might give Bucknell more firepower early in games. But Flannery will likely be hesitant to switch that starting lineup (though he will continue tweaking the rotation). The reason: Flannery likes to start a big, physical five.
"If you don't line up bigger before the game starts, there are people out there who are very important to the game that already look at you like you don't belong on the floor with them," Flannery said."We line up big. We have a good sized team."
Three games on tap this afternoon in the Patriot League. Of the three, Bucknell's visit to Saint Joseph's gets top billing.
This is a matchup between two teams who lately have become accustomed to success. Bucknell's first round wins in the NCAA Tournament in the past two seasons pale in comparison to Saint Joe's record of having reached postseason play in each of the last six seasons (three NCAA and three NIT bids) and 8 of the past 11. Only once in those 8 seasons did the Hawks fail to advance to the second round (first round NCAA loss in 2003). The next season they went all the way to the Elite 8.
This one will be in Saint Joe's sold-out Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, where they just go ahead and write in 3,200 on the attendance line of the box score every game. It will be loud, hostile and full of folks who remember the way Bucknell dismantled their beloved Hawks here two seasons ago.
Back then, Bucknell had not yet begun gathering major program scalps. The win over Saint Joe's, which had been to the Elite 8 the previous year, was huge for the Bison. Now they are a team searching for their first win of the season, and searching for an identity. And they had best find that identity in a hurry, because this is a very talented Saint Joe's team.
The Hawks are long and athletic, with skilled, mobile big guys up front who can stretch the floor with their ability to shoot the three. The guards are young, but talented.
Rob Ferguson is a matchup nightmare for Bucknell. At 6-8, with range to the arc, he is the kind of quick, athletic big man that will get Chris McNaughton and/or Darren Mastropaolo in foul trouble if they are forced to guard him man to man. Ahmed Nevins is just as athletic, and although he lacks Ferguson's range on the jumper, the 6-10 sophomore is another guy who could spell foul trouble for a Bucknell team that has had iussues of just that nature early in the season.
One solution is to guard Ferguson with Donald Brown. But that leaves mush smaller three-men like Jason Vegotsky and Rob Thomas to try handling Pat Calathes. Talk about your tough matchups -- Calathes is 6-10 with guard skills. He has three-point range and handles it well enough to have played backup at the point as a freshman.
Where Bucknell has the edge is in its experience. Look for the Bison to play a lot of the matchup zone against Saint Joe's, both as a way to minimize the matchup concerns and a way to frustrate the Hawks' young freshmen in the bcackcourt, who like a get up and down tempo.
On offense, Bucknell will need to be effective in its halfcourt, running its patterns patiently to get open shots deep in the shot clock. Jacking up quick shots early in the clock will just play into the hands of Saint Joe's athletic bunch.
A perfect 3-0 day for league teams includes a win for the Patriot League in the Hoop Time-Basketball U challenge series with the Ivies. Holy Cross 65, Siena 57 -- Torey Thomas had 20 points and Keith Simmons posted an 18-points, 11-rebounds double-double. But it was Alex Vander Baan who had the bog bucket, putting back a Tim Clifford miss with 2:42 to play that gave HC a lead it would hold the rest of the way. Vander Baan's bucket part of an 11-points, 10-rebounds double-double for the sophomore forward. It was Vander Baan's first double-double, and the 10 rebounds were a career high, as were his 4 steals.
Vander Baan and Simmons efforts on the boards helped Holy Cross to a 43-21 advantage on the boards. Included were 21 offensive rebounds by the Crusaders -- a key stat in a game in which HC was outshot from the field. Siena shot 21 of 45 (46.7 from the field); HC just 23 for 57 (40.4 percent) including 3 of 17 from three-point range. But with the Crusaders grabbing more of their own misses than Siena (15 def. reb.), the 16 second chance points those offensive rebounds led to were the difference.
Worth noting: Ralph Willard's rotation waqs very tight for this one. Colin Cunningham drew a starting spot at the three, with Patrick Doherty coming off the bench after starting HC's first two games. Doherty's 18 minutes the only bench player in double digit minutes. Greg McCarthy saw 9 minutes, mostly relieving Tim Clifford at center. The Big Purple Dog's 24 minutes were the least of any HC starter.
Vander Baan went 38 minutes, more even than workhorse point guard Thomas (37) or Simmons (34). Lawrence Dixon, still working his way back from an injury, played 7 minutes. Freshman Eric Meister was down to just 4 minutes in this one and fellow frosh Andrew Keister did not leave the bench. AP | Worcester T&G | Albany Times-Union (gamer) | Albany Times-Union (column) | Box score | Photo gallery
Colgate 55, Dartmouth 43 -- Colgate gets into the win column behind a 14-point performace by Kendall Chones and a defense that held Dartmouth to 30.8 percent from the field.
Perhaps the most notable thing about the box score is not the absence of anyone else in double figures for Colgate, nor that three-pointer happy Colgate only made one (of six) from the arc all night. More notable than both those items is the absence of fifth-year senior Marc Daniels. Daniels, listed as a probable starter on Colgate's pregame notes, did not play. No word on why.
In Daniels stead, coach Emmett Davis started a small lineup with Kendall CHones (6-6) and Kyle Chones (6-5) up front and Jon Simon (5-11), Tim Pounds (6-4) and Daniel Waddy (6-2) in the backcourt. The Raiders stayed small most of the game, too. Backup big Alex Woodhouse (6-8) played only 10 minutes.
For what it is worth, Colgate still managed to dominate the boards, 55-43. AP | Box score
Army 62, Hartford 53 --Matt Bell (17 points) and Jarrell Brown (16) lead the Black Knights to their third win in four outings. Freshman guard Marcus Nelson also tossed in 12 for Army, with 6 assists.
Army played tough defense, holding Hartford to 34.6 percent from the field. The Black Knights rebounded well, too, holding a 38-28 edge on the boards.
An announced crowd of 532 cared enough to watch in West Point. Army (3-1) has already won as many games againats D-I foes as it did last season. Its the best start for an Army team since 1987-88, when they last started 3-1 with three wins over D-I opposition (3-1 starts 1996-97 and 2001-02 don't count -- two of the wins each season were over non D-I teams). AP | Hartford Courant | Box score
Three games on the Patriot League schedule, all set to be played in the afternnon. In the day's first game, a 1 p.m. start, Army will get a home test from visiting Hartford (matchup). Colgate is at Dartmouth (matchup) at 2 in a game bwteeen two teams seeking their first win, and Siena visits the league's lone remaining unbeaten, Holy Cross, for a 3 p.m. start (matchup)(Albany Times-Union preview).
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Maybe this is not love: Pat Flannery has issued an apology for his comments about the officiating in Bucknell's loss to Wake Forest. That his comments were, to most observers, right on the money, does not matter.
Quirky scheduling gave us a chance to see two Patriot League teams in action last night. On the way to Easton for the Saint Joe's-Lafayette game, we dropped by Stabler arena to ctahc the first half of the Cornell-Lehigh game. Here are a few observations from our notebook:
GOOD NEWS FOR LEHIGH: Night and day, the difference between last year's Jason Mgebroff and this year's version. He still looks soft and pasty, but Mgrebroff is moving much better this season. The big senior showed nice touch on midrange jumpers and is looking to score facing the basket more. Lehigh even ran a set for him to catch and shoot off a screen near the foul line. There is no doubt Mgebroff is providing Lehigh with an inside scoring threat it lacked last season.
HALL IS FOR REAL: Didn't take long for freshman point guard Marquis Hall to make himself at home in Stabler. In his first game in Lehigh's hangar, Hall had 10 points already before the 10 minute mark. He also had at least one steal (will have to check the box to see if he was credited with another) and looked comfortable running the Hawks offense. Hall has a smooth stroke and a very quick release.
More important for Lehigh, the five returning starters on the floor with Hall looked comfortable with him running things. When he is not on the floor, things don't seem to go near as well for Lehigh at the offensive end.
DEPTH A QUESTION: Lehigh's first five is pretty good. But there looks to be a big dropoff when Billy Taylor goes to his bench. They lack effective backups at the point and the five and don't seem to have any scoring available off the bench. Freshman Matt Shamis was Taylor's first option at the point when he gave Hall a breather, but after a few trips down the floor with Shamis unable to get the Hawks into their offense, Shamis handed off those duties to Jose Olivero.
Olivero is an ideal answer, but other than playing Hall 40 minutes a night, he might be the only answer. Shamis does not look ready and there does not seem to be another option.
The problem with playing Olivero at the point is his scorer's mentality. Olivero tends to look to shoot first, often jacking shots up off balance, from long range, early in the shot clock. To his credit, a lot of those somehow seem to go in. But a trip or two up the floor like that and the rest of the team starts standing around watching Olivero do his thing
Up front there is a similar concern about depth in the post behind Mgebroff. Zahir Carrington, a 6-7 freshman from Philadelphia, appears to be Taylor's first man off the bench up front. Seven-foot sophomore John Gourlay is still not ready. Also in that rotation is 6-10 sophomore Phil Andersen at the four. When Mgebroff and Bryan White were on the bench at the same time, Lehigh's interior defense was very vulnerable and there was no offensive threat, regardless the combination Taylor put on the floor.
CROWD ADVANTAGE TO LAFAYETTE: We won't know until early next year how Lehigh and Lafayette will stack up on the floor, but in the stands, it is Lafayette by a wide margin. At least on this Friday night.
At Stabler, a crowd of around 150 students, led by the usual L*E*H*I*G*H bodypaint guys in the front row, are joined by only around 200 or so other fans. In the official box score it lists attendance at 887. They must have been counting legs, including both teams, the cheerleaders, dance team and folks working concessions. A nose count would be hard pressed to reach half that number.
At Lafayette, it is far from a full house. But Kirby's more intimate nature makes a crowd of 2,876 seem much louder.
And speaking of student sections, we'd be remiss if we did not mention the hardy gang of Saint Joe's kids who made the trip to Easton. The Hawks were well-represented, holding their own against what once was known as the Zoo Crew.
And speaking of the Zoo Crew, come to think of it, we only saw one Zoo Crew shirt all night -- a yellow one from the glory days.
WEARING STRIPES: We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Rich Giallella's presence. Apparently he actually does work games that don't involve Bucknell. Also on the crew for the Lafayette-Saint Joe's game: veteran Joe DeMayo and Reggie Greenwood.
SCOUTING SAINT JOE'S: Phil Martelli's bunch are young -- they start two freshmen, a sophomore and two juniors -- and they are athletic. The big men6-8 Rob Ferguson and 6-9 Ahmad Nivins, run the floor well and have decent hops. Junior Pat Calathes gives the Hawks an extra dimension. He is a 6-10 kid who plays on the wing. Calathes and Ferguson will both step out and shoot the three.
Matter of fact, most of the Saint Joe's lineup shoots the three.
It would not be surprising if the Hawks have a stronger year than many expect. And next year, look out. They don't have a senior on the roster.
STATS CAN BE DECEIVING: Looking at the in game live stats with about 15 minutes to go in the Lafayette-Saint Joe's game, it is hard to figure how the Leopards can be down by double digits. They are shooting the ball extremely well (59.3 percent) and making threes (5 for 11) .
The problem is, Lafayette is finding it tough to guard the quicker Hawks, who are shooting it pretty well (55. 9 percent from the field, 7 of 14 from the arc) and also getting to the line. Saint Joe's is 10 for 14 foul shooting, Lafayette has gotten to the line only 6 times (making 3). Add in Saint Joe's 19-13 edge on the boards and the numbers begin to make sense.
SCOUTING BUCKNELL: When asked about Sunday's game with Bucknell, Saint Joe's coach Phil Martelli feigned ignorance.
"I don't know anything about them. I have not seen a shred of tape," Martelli insisted.
He does know this much: "They beat our butt two years in a row. They beat us in the field house like nobody has taken us apart in there. They are the ultimate system team," Martelli said.
ABOUT THOSE SCHOLARSHIPS: It does not look like the addition of scholarships wil have much impact on Lafayette this season. Getting the OK from the trustees as late in the recruiting season as they did, the 'Pards were not able to use their new-found powers to lure any impact types.
Two of the four freshmen on the roster saw minutes against Saint Joe's, but not many. Andre Hines averaged 19 minutes per game in Lafayette's first three outings, but he saw only 5 minutes against Saint Joe's. Big man Marek Koltun's size might have come in handy against a big team like Saint Joe's. But the 6-10 freshman looked slow and unsure of himself on the defensive end during a brief appearance.
Neither of Lafayette's other two freshmen got off the bench.
LATE START: The unusual 9 p.m. game time was due to Lafayette's Fall of fame dinner Friday night, part of the Lafayette-Lehigh football weekend festivities. The game time was set to allow folks to make it to both events. Read Full Post
There will be games this season where Lafayette's lack of size inside will not be a problem. There will be games where the Leopards will be able to compensate by packing a zone around some team's big man, games when the opposition does not have the firepower to blow up that tactic by dropping laser guided three-bombs. There will be others where the foes shoot well enough from the arc but don't have a big man capable of disrupting things in the paint.
There will be games Lafayette will win despite being badly outrebounded. Games in which shooting nearly 53 percent from the field will make up for a host of other shortcomings.
Friday night's game with St. Joseph's was none of those, though. Friday's 81-73 setback against Saint Joe's was pretty much a butt-kickin' disguised as a close score. The final margin might have been in single digits, but from the last six minutes of the first half, when Saint Joe's used a 16-5 spurt to build a double-digits lead, the outcome was never in doubt. Not even when Lafayette forced four turnovers in the final three of the game to cut that lead to single digits.
Saint Joe's lead was 12 (44-32) at the half and grew as large as 18 in the second half. It was still 14 when Rob Ferguson, one of those troublsesome big men, drained his third three-pointer of the game with 2:42 to play.Turnovers on four of the Hawks' next five possessions allowed Lafayette to make it closer. Visions of miracle comebacks doing the Watusi in the heads of what was left of the crowd of 2,876 in the Kirby Sports Center.when Paul Cummins' old-fashioned three-point made it a 78-73 game with 28 seconds to play.
That was as close as they would get.Saint Joe's held on to the ball long enough to get fouled its last two possessions, knocking down 3 of the 4 shots they were awarded in the process, and Lafayette misfired on its last three shots.
The late game stuff, though, seemed more the result of a young Saint Joe's team letting off the gas a little than Lafayette suddenly finding an answer. When it really mattered, St. Joseph's was able to athletically dominate the Leopards, who are a scholarship team in name, but not yet in reality.
Athleticism was the key difference. Saint Joe's is a very young team, with two freshmen starting at the guard spots and a sophomore and two juniors up front. That inexperience will cost the Hawks some games the way it nearly did in the final three minutes of this one. But the athleticism ought to win more than a few for St. Joseph's.
Rob Ferguson is a matchup nightmare. The 6-8 junior is strong enough to play in the post, nimble enough to play the perimeter. He has three-point range, as his 3 for 5 from the arc against Lafayette showed and his 5 offensive rebounds (6 tital) are testament to his ability to crash the boards. Ferguson's 19 points tied him with frontcourt mate Ahmad Nivins for game honors.
Nivins was near unstoppable down low -- 8 for 11 from the field, 8 boards. In simple terms, he was more horse than any of Lafayette's frontcourt types are equipped to handle alone. Problem was, with Ferguson and his backcourt buddies knocking down threes at a 53-percent clip, nobody could leave their man to help.
"(Nivins and Ferguson) are good basketball players. They don't just have size. It was hard to double them because their guards shot so well," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said.
"We shot the ball pretty well in the beginning against the zone," said Saint Joe's coach Phil Martelli. "There's not a lot of teams that will have an answer for Ahmad."
Not when Ferguson and Jawan Carter are hitting at a 7 of 11 clip from the arc the way they were last night. Carter, a six-foot freshman guard from Chester, was 5 for 8 from the field, 4 of 6 at the arc, for 18 points. He also had five assists and a steal. Another freshman, 6-5 Garrett Williamson came off the bench to go 4 for 4, including two treys, finishing with 11 points.
The inability to get stops negated a fine offensive night by the Leopards. Perhaps the most telling stat: in the first half, Lafayette shot 61.9 percent from the field and still trailed by 12 at the break. For the game, Lafayette shot 28 for 53 (52.8 percent) from the floor. The 'Pards 16 turnovers were five fewer than Saint Joe's and Lafayette had 19 assists, to 13 for the Hawks.
Matt Betley led Lafayette with 17 points, including two of the Leopards' 7 treys. Betley's 5 rebounds also topped Lafayette. Betley also had 4 assists and three steals. Only one other Leopard -- forward Everest Schmidt (3) had more than 2 rebounds for the 'Pards. Jamaal Hilliard (11) and Bilal Abdullah (13) also reached double figures for Lafayette.
The boards were a tremendous trouble spot for smallish Lafayette, with nobody taller than 6-7 in the rotation. Saint Joe's 32-21 final margin includes 6 Lafayette offensive rebounds in the final 3:02. That accounted for all but one of Lafayette's 7 offensive boards in the game. Saint Joe's, on the other hand, had second chances all night -- 12 of the Hawks' 32 boards came off their own misfires.
"We're giving up a height advantage almost every game," said the 6-5 Betley, who was Lafayette's most effective player, but was limited to 24 minutes by foul trouble caused by guarding the likes of Nivins, Ferguson and junior not-so-small small forward Pat Calathes. Calathes, a 6-10 kid with three-point range, contributed 10 points and 9 rebounds (for those keeping score at home, that makes five Hawks in double figures).
'It's going to be something we have to deal with -- the size factor," O'Hanlon said.
American is no longer unbeaten and Lehigh no longer without a win.
Richmond 61, American 50 -- Richmond shut down Andre Ingram and shut down the Eagles. Ingram came in shooting 47.8 percent from the field and averaging 21.5 points per game. Against Richmond he was 1 for 9, the one bucket a three-pointer that accounted for his only points.
It was that kind of night for AU, which shot 34.7 percent from the field and made only 5 of 15 from the arc. Only Arvyda Eitutavicius (15 points) in double figures for American (2-1).
Lehigh 90, Cornell 71 -- Four players in double figures for the Mountain Hawks (1-3), who enjoy home cooking to taste their first win of the season. Jose Olivero leads the way with 24 points. Olivero went 6 for 13 from the field and hit 11 of 15 at the foul line.
Also in double figures: Jason Mgebroff with 18 points on 7 for 10 shooting; Kyle Neptune (16 points) and freshman point guard Marquis Hall, who scored all 10 of his points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
A full weekend in the Patriot League gets underway with three games tonight.
Topping the bill is St. Joseph's at Lafayette (matchup). It's the first of two meetings with league teams this weekend for Saint Joe's. The Hawks opened the season with a 63-47 win over a Fairfield team that took American and Holy Cross both to overtime last week. The Hawks will be without the services of highly touted freshman point guard Darrin Govens, who will have surgery today on a hand broken in that Fairfield game. Govens is out indefinitely.
Saint Joe's also takes on Bucknell this weekend, hosting the Bison Sunday at Saint Joe's Fieldhouse.
CORNELL AT LEHIGH: A guy with a jet pack, or maybe a helicopter, could almost catch two games in the Lehigh Valley tonight. Two hours before the 9 p.m. tip at Lafayette, they'll toss it up in Stabler Arena, where Lehigh plays host to Cornell (matchup) in a game that bears watching closely. Cornell comes in at 2-0, including a season-opening win at Northwestern, which might be the doormat of the Big Ten, but is still a Big Ten team. The Big Red will be without Adam Gore, last season's Ivy Rookie of the Year and Cornell's leading returning scorer. Gore, who put up 15 on Lehigh in the Big Red's win in Ithaca last season, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener. Without Gore, Cornell beat Stony Brook Monday and will be looking to secure its first 3-0 start since 1996-97.
The Mountain Hawks (0-3) are off to their worst start of the Billy Taylor era. The last time a Lehigh team failed to get a win in one of its first three games was in 2001, when they began Sal Mentesana's last season 0-7. A win here will do wonders for this young team's psyche.
Little known fact about Ingram, who is a physics major: As a senior in high school he was the 2003 Richmond Times-Dispatch boys' scholar-athlete of the year.
The Spiders are a young team, heavy on sophomores and freshmen, picked to finish in the bottom third of the Atlantic 10. AU is an experienced bunch some think will challenge for the Patriot League title.
This is the type game AU had trouble winning last season, on the road and out of conference. The Eagles were 4-12 in away games last season, 1-7 in non-conference road tilts. This one could give some insight into the 2006 Eagles' pedigree.
It is too early to be giving out awards. And the league doesn't even have a comeback player of the year award. But if they did, here are some guys you'd want to keep an eye on. We also handicap the early returns in the race for Rookie of the Year in this season's debut of the Hoop Time Notebook.
LOOKING UP WHEN THEY FALL --
Signs of promise and progress in Easton, where reports of the Lafayette Leopards demise seem to have been premature.
There were those (O.K., it was me in Blue Ribbon) who opined in the preseason this could be a darkest-hour-just-before-dawn sort of a season. Getting in late on the scholarship game limited Fran O'Hanlon's chances of getting immediate impact recruits.
Andrew Brown was back in Colorado when that was forecast. One look at the Leopards' stats shows the impact his return has had. Brown leads Lafayette in scoring (10.3 points per game) and assists (4 apg). He is shooting .524 from the field, amazing for a guard, moreso for one who depends on the three the way Brown does -- 16 of the 21 shots he has put up have been launched beyond the arc.
That kind of shooting stands out, even on a team that shoots the ball as well as Lafayette. As a team the 'Pards are hitting at a 45.9 percent clip. Only one team (Bucknell - 46.5 percent) in the Patriot League shot better than that over the course of last season.
Three games of stats don't a season make. But if the trends of those three games play out across the season, Lafayette is going to be a tough out on nights when their jump shots are falling, more ordinary when the lid is on. They shot 50 percent from the field in the win at Wagner. They shot 50 percent in the first half against Indiana, and stayed in the game until their legs started to fail and the shots sopped falling. On tired legs the next night against Notre Dame, Lafayette shot 41.9 percent from the field and were never really in the game.
COMEBACK PLAYER --
Technically, Brown's return to school is not a "comeback."
Not that it matters, since the league does not give a "Comeback Player of the Year" award.
If it did, though, the early money for that honor might be on Lehigh's senior center Jason Mgebroff. His junior season flop played a big part in Lehigh's disappointments.
Word for Bethlehem in the preseason was that Mgebroff came back to school in much better shape and was ready to reclaim some of the promise he showed as a freshman. Thus far he has done just that. Mgebroff is averaging 16.3 points per game. He has only missed two of the 21 shots he has put up. Mgebroff is also leading the tam in rebounds, averaging 6 per game.
ANOTHER CANDIDATE --
Actually, that is not a new Matt Bell who is averaging 19 ppg for Army. Looking more like the all-league player he was as a sophomore than the injury hobbled guy who limped through last season, it's the old Matt Bell.
Bell would also be a candidate for Comeback Player of the year, except he never went away. Despite a bad foot that required postseason surgery, Bell still managed to start every game last season, something he has done for 84 straight games since arriving at West Point. Bell, who needs 29 points to reach 1,000 for his career, averaged 13 ppg. But he was clearly not himself, especially outside the arc. A driveway shooter who needs lots of reps to stay sharp, Bell's injury induced lack of practice time resulted in his three-point shooting percentage dropping a full 10 points (39.4 percent as a soph., 29.5 percent last season).
Through three games thus far, Bell is 7 for 9 (77.8 percent) from three-point range. That will cool off some, but if Bell stays healthy, expect a fine senior season.
YET ANOTHER CANDIDATE --
Would be remiss not to mention American's Andre Ingram on a list of comeback kids. Ingram earned all league second team honors last season, but to a large extent that was a reputation vote. Ingram was a shadow of the player he was as a sophomore, when he was a first-team all-league pick after finishing second in the league in scoring.
Ingram's field goal percentage plummeted last season to a career-low 34.5 percent. His 12 ppg led the team, but was down from his 15.3 ppg as a sophomore. It was even lower than his freshman season, when Ingram shot 39.3 percent and averaged 13.6 ppg.
Through two games thus far, though, Ingram seems to have reclaimed his stroke. The senior, who will enjoy a homecoming tonight when the Eagles visit Richmond, is averaging 21.5 points per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field -- 56.3 percent from the arc.
ON THE MARQ(UIS) --
Early favorite for the league's Rookie of the Year honors has to be Lehigh's Marquis Hall, the highly touted point guard from Portland, Ore., who has lived up to his advance billing in the season's first week. Thrust right into the mix, Hall made his first collegiate start close to home, scoring 8 points with 4 assists and just 3 turnovers against Oregon.
Hall was considered a key for the Mountain Hawks, who returned four starters, none a true point guard. Billy Taylor was counting on Hall being ready to run lehigh's offense and so far Hall has not let him down. Through three games, Hall is averaging 11 points, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game. The 5-11 Hall is shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
TREYS FOR TREY --
Navy freshman Trey Stanton could give hall a run for those rookie honors. The long drink of water from Texas (Stanton is 6-10, but weighs just 205) is leading Navy in scoring through two games, averaging 13.3 ppg.
Though he is one of the two tallest guys on Navy's roster, Stanton's more of a perimeter guy. Over half his 40 points have come from teh arc, where he is 7 for 11 (63.6 percent). Overall Stanton is shooting at a 56.5 percent clip.
Stanton is one of two freshmen starting for the Mids. The other is 6-8 T.J. Topercer who is averaging 8.3 ppg and, like Stanton, is not afraid to step outside. Topercer has put up 13 threes, second most on the team, making 5. Read Full Post
Look at the final margin of Holy Cross' win over Hampton last night, and you'd think it was a blowout. But the Crusaders 62-47 victory was much closer than that 15-point margin makes it look.
With less than 9 minutes to play, this one was tied at 42-42. Then Keith Simmons came up with a steal and converted at the other end to start a 20-5 end of game run.
Simmons finished 7 of 13 from the field, despite missing 4 of the 5 three-pointers he put up. He added 4 free throws (on 5 shots) to total 19 points in 31 minutes of action. That 31 minutes of playing time would seem to indicate no problems with the cramping that hindered Simmons much of last season. Simmons also had 6 rebounds.
Also in double figures for HC was point guard Torey Thomas, who played through an unspecified leg injury suffered in Tuesday's practice. Most (6) of Thomas' 10 points came at the foul line, where he had a Bucknell-Wake Forest-like showing, hitting just 6 of 14 tries. Thomas did not have his best night, going 2 for 6 from the field and turning the ball over 6 times. But he made up for some of the missed shots andgiveaways with 4 steals and had 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 35 minutes.
Thomas' minutes bear watching. Last season, with Pat Doherty out with foot problems and no other option at the point, Thomas averaged over 36 minutes per game and was worn down a little by the end of the season.
Doherty is back, but he is starting alongside Thomas and Thomas is still playing yeoman's minutes. His 35 against Hampton were tops for the Crusaders, as were the 43 minutes he played in the overtime win over Fairfield in Sunday's season-opener.
Freshman Eric Meister and sophomore starter Alex Vander Baan provided the Crusaders with a solid combo at the four spot. The pair combined for 16 points and 9 rebounds with Vander Baan playing 22 minutes, Meister 17.
Tim Clifford led HC with 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, giving him 7 blocks through two games. If he maintains that 3.5 per game pace, Clifford would finish No. 4 on the Patriot League's all-time single season blocks list. The first three spots on that list are all held by Colgate's Adonal Foyle,who averaged 4.9 blocks per game in his freshman year, and more in each of his other two seasons.
Former Holy Cross assistant Kevin Nickelberry brings his Hampton U. side into the Hart Center tonight. The Pirates are off to a 1-1 start in Nickelberry's first season. They should be a test for Holy Cross' depth with their press and run style. The Crusaders (1-0) are looking to remain one of two unbeatens in the Patriot League.
Here's the matchup for the only league game on tonight's schedule.
If you want to look up he traveling rule yourself, you will find it in Section 66 of the Definitions section of the NCAA rule book, available here in a 108-page pdf file.
If you'd prefer to let somebody else look for you, we are happy to report, we did. We can say with pretty much confidence there is nothing there that would make you think it was possible to make a ref's arms do the rotary mower routine while still dribbling the ball.
Yet there was Bucknell point guard Abe Badmus, sticking up for the official who made just such a call on the Bison senior with 6 seconds left in overtime, his team down by 2 against Wake Forest. Even though the spin move Badmus was trying to bust had sprung him in the lane all nigh. Even though it was the same move he has used for three seasons.
“That is the right call to make,” said Badmus, alluding to how he had seen a similar move on the points of emphasis tape the NCAA circulates in the preseason. But when asked how it could be traveling when he was still dribbling the ball, Badmus had no explanation.
Bison coach Pat Flannery did.
“He didn't walk,” said Flannery, who left no doubt how he felt about the officiating after his team was called for 34 fouls. “That's crap. That is crap.”
At the time, there was no hands on the floor Bucknell would have rather had the ball in. Badmus had scored 8 of Bucknell's last 11 points. He had the hot hand.
All night long Badmus had been able to beat his man off the dribble. Even though he had four personals, so did any other offensive option left on the floor after three Bison starters had fouled out. Badmus figured to have a good chance of at least drawing a two-shot foul, giving the Bison a chance to tie and force a third OT. Best case scenario, he kicks to a wing for an open game winner at the arc after the defense collapses on him.
No guarantee he would make the play. In fact, when the whistle was blown, Badmus didn't look completely in control of the situation. But before the whistle blew, Bucknell still had a chance.
That in itself is some pretty good news for the more realistic Bison fans. The Sojka Psychos, and their more reserved, golf-clapping=whole=game-sitting non-student crowd, have gotten used to Bucknell being giant killers. They forget three years ago going to OT would have been considered an accomplishment.
They forget the team two years ago started out 3-5 before finding its identity That team went on to beat Kansas.
Last season, the Bison had the benefit of an established top of the rotation. Roles were already established. Yes, they also had Charles Lee and Kevin Bettencourt.
This, like the Albany game, was the sort of game that team had learned to win. Close games belonged to the Bison. They seemed to thrive on those situations. Bucknell was up as many as a dozen in the first half. They led most of the first half and all but 14 seconds of the second half up until the point where Harvey Hale tied it with a pair of free throws after John Griffin became the second Bison to foul out.
This team is very different, though. New guys are in new roles. Old guys are in different roles. The non-conference part of this season is like a shakedown cruise, and from that perspective, there was a lot of silver lining for Bucknell.
Six players scored in double figures
Three of them came off the bench
The bench combined for 37 points and 18 rebounds
Juniors Andrew Morrison and Rob Thomas established their credentials. Morrison with strong interior defense, along with 10 points and 5 rebounds; Thomas with 16 points, 3 for 3 from three-point range, sharing the team lead with Badmus
They took an ACC team to OT despite Chris McNaughton's vanishing act. Foul trouble limited the Bison's star center to 20 unproductive minutes (1 for 3 from the field, 2 for 6 at the line, for 4 points.
McNaughton never got into any kind of a flow. He turned the ball over more times (4) than he shot it. He picked up two quick fouls in the middle of the first half, another late in the half, and a fourth less than a minute into the second.
“He is much easier to guard when he is sitting next to Coach Flannery,” Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said,
“Foul trouble really killed him. He is a better player (than that),” said the man responsible for many of McNaughton's fouls. Wake center Kyle Visser. Visser lit up McNaughton, and an equally foul-challenged Darren Mastropaolo for 26 points. Early in the game, he was almost the Deacons entire offense.
Mastropaolo also fouled out. So did Donald Brown, who was another bright spot in the second half when he finally came out of his offensive shell. He scored 10 of his 11 after the break, after becoming more aggressive.
Morrison and Badmus each finished with four fouls, as did McNaughton.
It wasn't Wake Forest's 45 trips to the foul line – a Sojka record – that caused Bucknell's demise. Wake made only 23 of those. While it certainly did not help, the Bison also didn't lose because they were only slightly better (21 for 35) at the foul line.
It was more the combination of attrition and pace that the constant whistles influenced. The need to sit guys with foul trouble forced others to play longer stints, wearing them down.
More importantly, the whistles destroyed any rhythm the game might have developed. That kept Bucknell from pulling away. The only real run of the game was an 11-0 Bison spurt early in the first half. The game was devoid of flow.
“It was choppy because of so many whistles, so many free throws” Flannery said.
Not all the whistles were questionable. Without doubt, the Bison did not help their cause in some instances – like McNaughton's fourth foul, which came trying to provide backside help on a driving Hale. With three fouls to start the half, McNaughton should have shown discretion and let Hale go.
Ditto for Badmus, who picked up his fourth trying to come from behind to contest a fast-break layup by Wake's 6-7 Kevin Swinton. It came two trips up the floor and less than a minute after he had picked up his third.
Seniors need to know better. They need to know how to play without picking up dumb fouls in those situations.
But plenty of the calls were a mystery – both ways. There were plenty of calls against Wake that had to have Prosser scratching his head, too.
The cumulative effect, especially when you factor in the lengthy TV timeouts, was a game with a score in the 80s and a feel in the 40s. Their was precious little up and down. It was a game played in fits and starts.
It made it near impossible for Bucknell to ride the momentum of its early lead and took the sold-out crowd of 4,330 out of the game by lulling them into a catatonic state of boredom. Early the Bison student sections were a pogoing sea of orange noise. It's hard to maintain that energy watching a foul shooting contest.
Bucknell's 33 fouls were easily the most called against the Bison in at least the last two years, probably longer (we are missing one media guide from the past seven seasons, so we can't say definitively it was the most this century, but it probably was). No Bucknell opponent the last two seasons got whistled for 29 like Wake, either. A combined 62 fouls in one game?
“One time at Xavier, in the old Cincinnati Gardens against George Washington there might have been 63,” said Prosser. “It was like rollerball.”
Did the officiating cost Bucknell the game? Of course not. You could hardly make that claim when a team misses 14 free throws and turns the ball over 22 times. But only a liar or a fool would not tell you the officials did negate any homecourt advantage the Bison should have had.
The Bison's top players were unavailable for long stretches, and handicapped by foul trouble much of the time they did play, limiting their aggressiveness, especially on defense. Flannery's rotation was in shambles, with combinations cobbled together and guys forced to go longer stretches than usual without a blow, ultimately wearing them down.
With Bucknell's bigs unable to assertively contest his shots, Wake's Kyle Visser had his way on the blocks, pouring in a career-best 26 points while going 9 for 12 from the floor. If Visser could shoot free throws, he'd easily have scored 30 – he made just 8 of 18 at the line.
Against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, that's too many handicaps for a team still seeking its identity to overcome.
It is a disappointing loss for Bucknell, but ultimately, the net result could well be a positive. Despite pie in the sky preseason talk of at-large bids, until the Patriot League actually gets a second team into the tournament, realists understand what matters is winning the league. If the Bison come out of this with answers to some of the questions raised at Albany, then its as close to a win as you can get when the scoreboard is light on your side.
One game does not a season, or a career, make. But it seems Bucknell learned a lot about itself from the game. Juniors Rob Thomas and Andrew Morrison would seem to have both established their roles. Thomas as an offensive spark and a legitimate go-to option; Morrison as a tough, strong post defender who rebounds, passes and has some range on his jumper.
Mastropaolo's career-high 10 points gives credence to talk of him as an offensive threat beyond his set in concrete screens.
For the second straight game, John Griffin showed maturity running the point while Badmus was off the floor. He had 6 assists and just 1 turnover against an athletic Wake defense that tried to rattle him with pressure.
Donald Brown finally started asserting himself on the offensive end. After looking lost on offense for the first three halves of the season, Brown started going to the hole late in the second half. Brown went 3 for 4 after taking only one shot in the first half, and finished with 11 points.
Likewise, Badmus, when he was on the floor, started exhibiting the scoring ability Flannery has been counting on as he planned for this season. Time and time again, Badmus went to the hole hard and finished strong. He still passes on too many open threes, but with 1:37 left, and his team down 5, he didn't hesitate to fire, and connect, from the top of the arc. Badmus scored 6 of the Bison's 8 in OT.
Time will tell, but it would be no surprise if, at the end of the season when 20-20 hindsight sets in, Bucknell looks back on this game as one where the pieces began to come together. GAME STORIES:
While Bucknell lost in overtime to Wake Forest, and Lafayette fell to Notre Dame, two other league teams came through with wins
Navy 70, Brown 47 -- navy hit 13 three pointers and got 16 points from freshman center Trey Stanton to beat Brown at Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. Navy started the game with a 16-3 spurt and never trailed.
Greg Sprink and Kaleo Kina (10 each) also in double figures for the Mids (2-1). AP | Box score
American 97, Morgan St. 84 -- Andre Ingram moved into 19th on AU's all-time scoring list with a Andre Ingram 24-point performance. Derrick Mercer added a 13-points, 11-assists double-double.
Also in double figures: Brayden Billbe (16) and Garrison Carr (15) for American (2-0), which shot 58.6 percent from the field, 61.1 percent from the arc. AP | Box score
Notre Dame 92, Lafayette 60 -- Outmanned Lafayette turned the ball over 26 times, leading to 31 Notre Dame points.
Wake Forest overcomes Bucknell in overtime, escaping with an 86-83 win in a game in which three Bison starters fouled out and two others finished with four personals. Click the Read Full Post link for the entire live gameblog from tonight's game, written as it went down in Sojka Pavilion.
Just about set to get underway in a jam-packed Sojka Pavilion. The buzz is very similar to last season's Villanova game. The Parking situation might be worse.
Wake generated some mini-controversy in the pregame, jumping up and down at center court, pointing at the Bison logo, and slamming a ball off it so hard it nearly hit the overhead scoreboard on the rebound.
New this year, the Sojka Psychos have adopted the "read a paper" during the opponents introductions thing. Have not seen that at a Bucknell game since the 1992-93 season, when we produced special sections of the Lewisburg Daily Journal saluting the Bison for the regular season and league championship final games against Holy Cross.
Bucknell 9, Wake Forest 5 (15:58 first half) -- First BU possession, Griffin and Badmus both miss open threes. Good to see Badmus taking that shot nonetheless.
Badmus first personal at 18:15 mark. This is becoming a troublesome habit for him. He also had a quick foul at Albany -- two in fact -- and had to sit much of the first half.
On the plus side, at the other end he drove the right side of the lane and finished with a strong layup.
Donald Brown and Darren Mastropaolo also pick up early fouls. By the 17 minute mark, Bison have 3 team fouls to none for Wake.
Wake looking for senior center Kyle Visser early. He has the Deacons first 5 points, 2 FG and a free throw on an and one. Wake having trouble against the Bison defense. Six turnovers already. When they don't turn it over, they are 2 for 3 from the field.
Bucknell 4 for 7 from the field, including a Griffin three and two strong drives by Badmus, who is looking to be involved in the scoring after spending the Albany game on an offensive milk carton.
Bucknell 15, Wake Forest 8 (12:32 first half) -- 15:28 Darren Mastropaolo draws his first charge of the season. They don't keep that stat, but he has to be among the league, if not the nation's, leaders. At the other end he hits a little jump hook for a 12-5 BU lead. But when Visser beats him back down the floor, he picks up his second personal.
13:51: McNaughton picks up two quick fouls after replacing Mastropaolo, forcing Pat Flannery to go with Josh Linthicum at center. The good news: Visser has missed four straight free throws. Maybe Bison should hack-a-Shaq him.
13:02 Rob Thomas picks up a personal ... Bucknell's 7th, putting Wake in the one and one.
Bucknell 18, Wake Forest 8 ( 11:07 first half) -- Those two early drives by Badmus making a difference for the whole team now. Around the 11:30 mark, he beats his man going across the top of the key. Help comes immediately, freeing Jason Vegotsky. Abe dishes to him for Vegotsky's second three-pointer of the game.
Bucknell 25, Wake Forest 19 ( 7:21 first half) -- 10:13 -- Wake picks up team foul 7 -- Griffin knocks down both ends of 1 and 1 for 20-8 lead.
At other end, Visser misses front end of a one and one, but Wake tips the rebound long and retains possession, ultimately resulting in a 3-pointer for Harvey Hale
Badmus with another driving bucket. Can you say "red-headed stepchild?
Turning into a three-point shooting contest ... at least for Wake, which wrapped two around Vegotsky's third of the game, cutting the lead to 25-19. Vegotsky, though, fouled shooting one at the other end and will be at the line for three shots after this media timeout.
Bison 9 for 16 from the field (56.3 percent) ... Wake is for 15 (46.7 percent)
Bucknell 31, Wake Forest 26 ( 5:16 first half) -- Surprisingly, Bucknell first in double bonus when Wake gets its 10th foul at the 6:46 mark. Not surprisingly, Wake in double bonus 9 seconds later. Not sure who it will benefit. Bucknell is 7 for 15 at the line and Wake is 4 for 12 at the 6 minute mark.
Wake just hit another trey. They are now 4 for 5 from the arc.
Bucknell 33 , Wake Forest 31 ( 3:20 first half) --
4:05: A stolen pass at the top of the key results in a Wake bucket (on a Badmus goaltend), cutting the lead to 33-31.
McNaughton comes back in after that and picks up his third personal at the 3:20 mark. Sending Visser to the line for two after this media timeout
Bucknell in serious foul trouble in the front court. Mastropaolo and Andrew Morrison each have two fouls, and with McNaughton with three, Mastropaolo is going to have to play most of the remainder of the half.
Bucknell 38 , Wake Forest 34 ( Half) -- 2:45: A horrible call has the Bison students chanting about animal waste after Wake's Jamie Skeen goes over a Bison back to tip the ball on an offensive rebound, resulting in Wake's possession and then Badmus' second personal. Ishmael Smith hits one to tie it at 33, then Rob Thomas with back-to-back buckets -- the second a three -- putting Bison back up 38-33. Between the buckets, Mastropaolo draws another charge.
Indicative of Bison's foul woes, on the floor at the end of the half: Morrison, Linthicum, Thomas, Vegotsky and Griffin.
Morrison has had a strong half on offense. He has not scored, but has made two nifty passes, one a lob entry to Mastropaolo that resulted in Mastropaolo going to the line; the other a back door feed to Thomas, who has been an offensive spark with 8 points, all in the last six minutes of the half.
Halftime stats: Bucknell -- Vegotsky 3 for 3, all three-pointers, 2 for 3 at the line, 11 points, team-high 4 rebounds. Badmus 3 for 5, 6 points, 3 assists; Mastropaolo 2 for 2, 1 for 3 FT, 5 points; Bucknell 13 for 21 from the field (61.9 percent) 5 for 10 from the arc BUT (yes, a big but) only 7 of 16 from the foul line.
Wake Forest: Visser 4 for 5 from the field, 4 for 12 FT 12 points. Skeen 2 for 3, all from the arc, 1 for 2 at the line 7 points. Wake is 11 for 23 from the field (47.8 percent) 7 for 18 at the foul line.
Rebounding 15-13, Bucknell. Turnovers: BU 11, Wake 10. Points in the paint: BU 12, Wake 10. Off turnovers: BU 15, Wake 6. Second chance points: BU 3, Wake 10.
Key stat of concern for Bucknell: Chris McNaughton 2 points, 3 fouls only 8 minutes.
Bucknell 47, Wake Forest 44 ( 16:17 to play) -- McNaughton picks up his fourth just 41 seconds into the half. Brown follows with his third after Wake gets offensive rebound on Hale's missed second shot and Swinson puts it back.
Badmus also now with three, after stealing an inbounds pass and getting called for a charge trying to put it in. And for good measure, Mastropaolo gets his third at the 17:51 mark. More animal waste chants.
Bucknell students were actually pretty quiet much of the first half, taken out of the game by the slow pace. If nothing else, officials have brought them back early in this half.
17:13: Badmus picks up personal number four foolishly trying to block a fast break layup. Meanwhile, Mastropaolo coming to life on offense. He has 5 in the second half, including a foul line jumper, now has 10 for the game -- a career high for the junior.
Bucknell 49, Wake Forest 46 ( 15:34 to play) -- By the way, Smith and Weaver each have three fouls for Wake. 15:34 - Mastropaolo gets his fourth while trying to hold his ground against Visser. If Bucknell can somehow overcome all the foul trouble to hold on in this one, all worries from Albany will certainly be forgotten.
Bucknell with three starters with four personals, including its two big guys, is in for a tough challenge between now and when Flannery feels safe to bring Mastropaolo or McNaughton back.
Bucknell 57 , Wake Forest 50 ( 12:29 to play) -- Bucknell picks up team foul 7 at the 15:13 mark. 12 seconds later, Wake takes its first lead on a Hale bucket. But Thomas drains a three at the other end to retake the lead for BU.
14:00: Flannery rolls the dice and brings McNaughton back when Visser takes a breather. McNaughton sits back down 38 seconds later. Flannery could be thinking offense-defense substituting with him the rest of the way.
12:33: Wake goes zone, Thomas drains another three.
Bucknell 59, Wake Forest 52 ( 11:49 to play) -- Brown at the line for an and one after a strong drive. His assertiveness after only taking one other shot all game could be big. Bucknell needs folks to step up with key players on the bench. So far, Thomas, who is 5 for 6 -- 3 for 3 at the arc for 14 points -- is doing just that.
Bucknell 65, Wake Forest 60 (7:43 to play) -- 10:06: Morrison third is Bucknell's 10th team foul. Wake will shoot two the rest of the way. 9:49: McNaughton in, draws Visser's third foul, makes front end for 61-55 lead, Morrison with the rebound of the miss, resulting in a Brown layup. 9:03: Morrison now with four fouls after an illegal screen call 8:36: Add Brown to the four fouls list, though he seemed straight up and down against Visser's put back attempt. Visser makes the free throw for a 3-point play. He has scored Wake's last 10 points and has a career high 26, If he had these refs every night, he'd be an All-American. Hard to believe his career-high prior to this season was 16. 7:43: Morrison draws a charge -- it is the fourth the Bison have drawn tonight and Wake's 10th team foul.
You get the feeling Bucknell needs to weather another three minutes or so without fouling anybody out if they will be at full strength for the stretch. Morrison has given them big minutes tonight, 6 points, 3 rebounds and solid defense -- not to mention those early passes.
Bucknell 70, Wake Forest 65 (4:43 to play) -- 6:49: Mastropaolo for McNaughton 5:32: Badmus in for Morrison, who gets a nice hand from the crowd 4:43: Brown at the line, makes 1 of 2. Bucknell now 15 of 27 at the line. Luckily, Wake is even worse -- 13 of 31.
Bucknell , Wake Forest ( 2:47 to play) -- 4:17: Brown absolutely straight up and down, gets called for his fifth as Michael Drum tries to put back a missed free throw. The good news: Drum misses both shots 3:38: Wake within 1, 70-69 ... seconds later, Thomas again the answer, short jumper in the paint pushes lead back to 3
Bucknell 75, Wake Forest 73 ( 1:33 to play) -- 1:40: Griffin gets his fourth personal, Drumm makes 2 to cut it to 75-73
Bucknell 75, Wake Forest 75 ( end of regulation) -- 0:58: Griffin fouls out, the second Bison disqualified. Hale hits both shots to tie the game at 75 0:27: Vegotsky stripped of the ball on the wing, Flannery wants a kicked ball call, won't win that argument. From our angle, could not see it. 024.4: Wake with the ball, calls its last timeout to set up a play 0:03.3: Held ball after a scramble, arrow to Wake ... sure looked like a travel from here at the buzzer: Hale misses long three, we head to OT
This will be first OT game in Sojka
Wake Forest 80, Bucknell 76 (3:04 OT) -- 4:48: McNaughton loses handle, turns it over on first poss. of OT 4:29: Smith 3 gives Wake the lead 4:14: Drum fouls out, Badmus to shoot two after an offensive rebound of Vegotsky's missed three. Badmus misses back end, 78-76 Wake up 3:19: Mastropaolo fouls out, Hale at the line, makes both -- three Bison starters have now fouled out
Wake Forest 85 , Bucknell 83 ( 55.5 seconds in OT) -- 2:45: Badmus drives, loses the ball for a turnover -- Bison look physically spent, but Flannery has nobody on the bench to go to 2:18: Smith its another trey, his third-- second in OT 1:42: Badmus gets a rebound, at the other end nails a 3 to make it a 2 point game, but Hale answers for Wake 0:55.5: Morrison down low, scores for BU, still a two-point game at 85-83 Bison pep band plays Ray Bucknell for what might be first time all night during timeout
Wake Forest 86 , Bucknell 83 (Final) -- 0.06.7: Bucknell with the ball and a chance to tie after two biz rebounds by Vegotsky, one on defensive end and another after Thomas misses a leaner in the lane. But Badmus called for a travel. 0.05.7: Bison forced to foul, put Hale on the line for two; he misses first, Bison can tie with a three at the buzzer: Morrison fumbles a pass, recovers to shoot air ball three
They are turning tonight's Prosser Family Reunion at Bucknell's Sojka Pavilion into a big event -- at least by Central Pa. standards. With two television networks (Comcast's CN8 and Fox Sports South) set to broadcast the Wake Forest-Bucknell game, they are pulling out all stops. They have even lined up a local rock hero -- Paul Smith of the Badlees -- to sing the national anthem.
For those who are not familiar with the band, a quick primer. The Badlees, whose lineup includes a Bucknell grad, were a late 80's sensation who got their 15 minutes of fame when they signed with a major label, only to see their start fade when the label was sold to another label that had no interest in the Badlees' roots-rock style.
The guys were pretty good. They even had a video that got a lot of airplay on MTV back in the day. It starred that hot chick who used to be George Clooney's girlfriend on ER. But they never found a way to stay on the roll they were on when they released that first major label record. These days Smith and the boys still gig, but his day job is in the marketing department at Bucknell.
Why the lengthy music review on a basketball site? It's what writing coaches call "a metaphor."
In a lot of ways, Bucknell is trying to avoid the same fate as the Badlees. For the past two seasons, they have been players on the national scene. They would like to stay there. But things have changed in Lewisburg, and like the Badlees, the Bison are finding sometimes it is easier to get their than it is to stay there.
After Saturday night's come-from-ahead loss in Albany, it is very apparent things are very different for the Bison. Primetime Charles Lee is graduated, and so far, at least for one game, nobody has stepped up to fill his role.
ER survived Cloonery's departure because other actors stepped up to shine. That hot chick has a name -- Julianna Margulies -- but few remember because she faded into obscurity as other cast members filled the void and the show remained a hit.
That is the challenge facing Bison players like Abe Badmus, Donald Brown and John Griffin. Lee, and Kevin Bettencourt, were the stars the last two years. They are both gone. Saturday at Albany, Griffin certainly looked ready to step into Bettencourt's shoes. He led the Bison in scoring, slid over to capably run the point when Badmus got into foul trouble, and played shutdown D on the Danes' best player.
Badmus and Brown, though, were more Saturday Night Live than ER. They looked "not ready for prime time." Badmus was in foul trouble early and never got into any kind of rhythm. Offensively, he seemed uncertain, refusing to take the jumper, driving into the lane repeatedly, but not finishing or finding an open man to dish to.
In the past, the open man on the end of a Badmus feed was often Lee. Brown was not that guy in Albany. Brown went 1 for 7 from the field and turned the ball over 5 times. Unless little used junior Rob Thomas suddenly makes a quantum leap, the Bison are not going to be a power with Brown playing that way.
There is little doubt Brown has the tools to do the job. He has shined off the bench the past two seasons, sliding back and forth between the three and four spots. Athletically, Brown has all the tools. He might lack the range Lee possessed, but he is a capable shooter from midrange in and potentially could be even better going to the rack than Lee.
Two seasons ago, Brown started the season in the starting lineup, then moved to the bench. The same thing happened his freshman year. His minutes did not decrease, but his comfort level seemed to increase. At the time, Bucknell coach Pat Flannery said Brown seemed to be one of those players who was more comfortable watching the first few minutes of the game. After the Albany game, Flannery said he is not ready to make a similar move this season.
Nor should he be. The Albany game was just one game. Despite the high level of anxiety among in the Bison nation, it is way premature to panic. Last season's team had a set rotation heading into its opener and struggled at Rider.
Yes, at Rider, they pulled out the win. But Rider was not near the team Albany is. There is something to be said for coming as close as Bucknell did at Albany even while playing as poorly on offense as they have in a long time.
This year, with the rotation not nearly as settled in the preseason, it could take Flannery a chunk of the non-conference slate to figure things out. History shows plenty of evidence of Flannery's Bucknell teams coming together once the conference lights go on.
But in those seasons past, the league was not nearly as strong top to bottom as it is now. Besides, the Bison's expectations are much higher than just the Patriot League. While winning the conference title remains, and likely always will be, goal one, Bucknell has tasted the spotlight. The Bison have no interest in returning to the shadows.
This will be a key season for the Bucknell program. Another strong run cements their reputation. A fall towards .500 makes them look like two-shot wonders.
Tonight's visit by Wake Forest is a chance to make a statement. Wake Forest is no Carolina or Duke, but it is still an ACC team. Win tonight and the Albany game could become an afterthought, a footnote to another big season.
Lose tonight, the season is still far from over. But the questions will have just begun. Bonus link:
Wake Forest at Bucknell is the spotlight game tonight, but it is not the only one on tap. In the opening game of this season's Hoop Time-Basketball U. challenge (we still think of them as "that Ivy League site), Brown visits Navy, sort of. Sort of because the game will be played at the horse barn in nearby Upper Marlboro, Md., not Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The game was moved to the former site of the Patriot League Tournament because the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance is performing in Alumni Hall. True story! Lafayette also has a big game, facing Notre Dame in the consolation round of the preseason NIT and American hosts Morgan State. Here's a look at tonight's matchups: Brown at Navy | Morgan St. at AU | Lafayette vs. Notre Dame
Everybody expected a blowout, and the 91-66 final makes it look like one. But Lafayette was no pushover, opening some eyes with a game-effort in the first round of the Preseason NIT.
Early in the game, it did look like Indiana was going to run Lafayette right out of the Conseco Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers built a double-digits lead in the first seven minutes and stretched it to 16 by the midway point of the half. With 6:24 left in the half, it was still a 15-point game. But Lafayette closed the half with a 14-4 run and at the break, it was a five-point (42-37) ballgame.
Emboldened, the Leopards came out confident in the second half and managed to hang with the Hoosiers until finally running out of gas down the stretch. Lafayette was within one (51-50) when Andrew Brown drained his only three-pointer of the game with 14:57 to go. It was still a two-point game (59-57) with 9:53 left and the Leopards will only down a possession at the 7:47 mark after a pair or Everest Schmidt free throws cut Indiana's led to 63-60.
Then the 'Pards hit the wall. Five straight turnovers were turned into an Indiana 12-0 run and the Hoosiers went on to outscore Lafayette 16-6 the rest of the way.
Turnovers were a big problem for Lafayette -- they gave the ball away 26 times.
Introducing Hoop Tube, the latest new feature on Hoop Time. It's a collection of Patriot League hoops related videos from the folks at You Tube, brought together for your viewing pleasure in one convenient spot. Fans are encouraged to upload their videos, then send us a link and we will share it with the rest of the Patriot nation.
The Kelvin Sampson era of Indiana basketball gets underway a9 p.m. (Eastern) tonight in Indianapolis, when the Hoosiers take on Lafayette in a geographical mixup on ESPN2. It's the first round of the preseason NIT, which switched to a regional format for the first time this season. At the Patriot League's media day last month, Fran O'Hanlon looked at the four teams gathered in Indianapolis -- Notre Dame and Butler, both from Indiana, are the other two -- and joked organizers must have thought they were from Lafayette, Indiana. Don't be surprised if Dickie V. pirates that line tonight.
Lafayette has the advantage of already having played this season, winning at Wagner Friday night. They also might get a slight confidence boost knowing Cornell beat a Big Ten team Friday night, proving smart kids can beat teams from the power fonference.
Of course Northwestern, the team Cornell beat, is considered by many to be a Big Ten team in name only. Indiana, on the other hand, is one of the conference's icons. Beating a team full of blue-chip recruits in what is practically a home game won't be easy. In regular season tournament games in Indianapolis, the Hoosiers are 42-2. They alo are 12-4 all time in the preseason NIT.
What do American and Holy Cross aside from being two of the three undefeated teams in the league? Overtime wins over Fairfield. AU did it Friday. Sunday Holy Cross sent the staggering Stags to their second straight OT loss, dropping Fairfield to 0-2. The Crusaders win headlined a Sunday that also saw Army get back into the win column. The news for Lehigh was not as good. Still, after Saturday night's league-wide debacle, a 2-1 Sunday was good news. Holy Cross 67, Fairfield 65 (OT) -- Fairfield's Dan Oglesby missed a free throw with less than a second to go in regulation that could have won the game. Holy Cross' Torey Thomas had no such shortcomings when he went to the line with 2.9 left in overtime. Thomas sank both foul shots to give the Crusaders the victory.
Thomas heroics were not limited to those two free throws. In overtime he also came up with a steal that led to the Keith Simmons (18 points) three-pointer that tied the game at 63-63 and hit two other foul shots to give HC a 65-63 edge. Thomas finished with 20 points.
All was not beauty for the 'Saders, who turned it over 24 times. Eight of those came from Thomas, who had five assists. But a win is a win.
Adding to the positives, Alex Vander Baan returned to action, making a start, and Lawrence Dixon, who was not expected back before Thanksgiving, also managed 9 minutes. Pat Doherty, who missed almost all of last season with a foot injury, also returned to action, starting and playing 28 minutes. AP | Box Score | HC photo gallery | Telegram & Gazette |Conn. Post
Army 63, N.C. A&T 49 -- Matt Bell is back. The Army senior, and noted gym rat, suffered through a subpar campaign last season, hampered by injuries that kept him from getting in the kind of work on his shot he needs to stay sharp. Now he is feeling better, and so to is Army, which improved to 2-1 Sunday with a win over short-handed North Carolina A&T in front of about 52 fans in Missouri. Bell had 18 points -- his third straight 17-plus game-- and 7 rebounds to lead the Black Knights.
Jarell Brown also had another big game, pouring in 22 points, 19 in the first half. Brown did not start in any of the Black Knights' three games in the John Thompson Classic due to a foot injury. He still averaged over 19 points per game during the three-game round robin, earning all-tournament team honors.
N.C. A&T was without the services of four players who did not make the trip to Missouri due to academic reasons. Among the four, Sean Booker, the MEAC's leading scorer two seasons back, who sat out all of last year as a redshirt to concentrate on academics. The combination of those players absence and Army's defense resulted in a 24-percent shooting night for N.C. A&T.
Jimmy Sewell watch: A line of zeroes in 1 minute of action. AP | Box Score
CSU Northridge 74, Lehigh 68 -- Jose Olivero had a 20 points afternoon for the Mountain Hawks. But he was 4-of-14 from the field (0-for-5 from three-point range) and turned it over five times, negating his five assists.
Turnovers were a big problem for the Hawks, who gave it away 22 times, leading to 27 CSN points. Kyle Neptune, who was also in double figures with 13 points (and team-high 8 rebounds), had five turnovers and freshman point guard Marquis Hall (10 points, 3 assists) had three. Jason Mgebroff added 13 points nd blocked a pair of shots. AP | Box Score | Lehigh site recap
For two days now, Holy Cross fans have been not-so-patiently sitting and waiting as the rest of the league got their seasons underway. Heck, some teams have even played two games already. The wait ends this afternoon in Hart, as the Crusaders look to maintain their status as one of three undefeated teams in the league when they host Fairfield, a team that lost in OT Friday night to the one of the other unbeaten Patriot League teams -- 1-0 American. Here are today's matchups:
(Note: Postgame audio and other links at the end of the full post
After Bucknell's 55-49 season opening loss at Albany, Bison coach Pat Flannery insisted his glass was half full.
“The thing I'm taking from this is we had every opportunity to win the ball game against a quality team in their place, playing on the road. That is a plus for me,” Flannery said.
That is one way of looking at it.
Another view might well be that this Bucknell team, at least right now, at this point of the season, is nowhere near the caliber of the squad that found a way to win under similar circumstances a year ago.
In that game, Kevin Bettencourt hit a game-winning three-pointer with less than two seconds to play to give the Bison a victory in a game where they struggled mightily on offense for long stretches.
That team had a knack for winning close games. They almost seemed more comfortable in games that came down to a few possessions at the end. In contests decided by six or fewer points last season, the Bison were 7-1. It was a knack that started to develop the year before, when Bucknell won seven of nine under similar circumstances, including the historic upset of Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.
But losing a close game that goes down to the wire is not in and of itself reason for great concern. Doing so in a game were you led by as many as 15 points is another story. Blowing that kind of a lead, and the way the lead disappeared, that is reason for concern.
Bucknell's lead was 34-19 when Jason Vegotsky hit a three-pointer with 3:26 to go in the first half. It was 34-22 3:26 later after three missed shots and three turnovers. At the time it didn't appear problematic. But by midway through the second half, it became obvious that end of the first half momentum swing was like an object in the side view mirror. It was much bigger than it appeared.
“The end of the first half, we had a chance to chop them up a little and we let them get some momentum,” Flannery said.
“We got a little too complacent. We weren't doing things we were used to doing. We were doing uncharacteristic things,” Vegotsky said.
In retrospect, that last 3:26 of the first half was the start of a cold spell of epic proportions. Albany started the second half with a three-point play by Jamar Wilson, cutting their deficit to single figures. Abe Badmus answered with a layup to push the margin back to 11 (36-25) with 18:55 to play. Little did anyone suspect it would be almost 13 minutes before the Bison would make another field goal.
“As we let them creep back into it, we missed some shots,” said Flannery.
A classic understatement. From the 3:26 mark of the first half, until John Griffin, a bright spot on a dismal offensive night, hit a three-pointer with 4:56 left in the game, the Bison went 1 for 18 from the floor. Nine turnovers in that span added to the misery.
Griffin's trey pulled the Bison back within 1 of the Great Danes. He followed it with another 26 seconds later, giving the Bison back the lead at 46-44. But Bucknell would get just one more field goal, a Chris McNaughton layup off a Griffin feed, the rest of the game, and after Vegotsky hit the back end of a two shot foul with 2:25 to play, putting Bucknell ahead 49-48, the Bison would not score. The Bison were just 4 for 21 (19 percent) from the field in the second half.
“Little things just weren't going our way at the end,” Vegotsky said.
That was due, in large part, the Albany, which out-hustled and outsmarted the Bison most of the second half and especially down the stretch. The Danes had 13 turnovers in the first half. They gave the ball away just once in the second. Although the two teams were nearly even on the boards (36-35 Albany), those numbers might be suspect. Eleven of Albany's rebounds were at its offensive end. It seemed for long stretches as though they chased down every loose ball.
Bucknell, on the other hand, turned it over three times in the last 3:26 of the first half and 10 more times in the second, finishing with 20. Nine of those came between Abe Badmus and Donald Brown, two seniors Flannery is counting on to carry a large part of the load this season.
None of those turnovers were any bigger than the one Brown made with 45 seconds left, when he telegraphed a pass that was picked off by Albany's Brian Lillis, just seven seconds after he had given Albany the lead for good with a pair of free throws.
Between them, Brown and Badmus went 2 for 12 from the floor, good for 4 combined points.
“We need to make sure we get them to shoot the basketball,” Flannery said. “I'm talking about two captains that are seniors.”
McNaughton, who is expected to carry a large share of the scoring load this season, was bullied and pushed around down low by constant double- and triple-teams, finishing the night with 6 points on 3 for 10 shooting. If McNaughton had managed to even approach his career field goal percentage of 60.8 percent, Bucknell might have won.
But McNaughton didn't score enough, nor did Brown and Badmus. That left it to Griffin to carry the scoring load, which he did in optimal fashion. Griffin slid over to run the point early in the first half after Badmus picked up his second personal early in the game. Griffin responded by going 4 of 8 from the field, all three-pointers, and 7 for 7 from the foul line, finishing with a game, and career, high 19 points. Griffin also had 4 assists to 1 turnover and two steals.
“(Griffin) is the one kid playing with confidence,” Flannery said.
Vegotsky was also in double figures for Bucknell with 13 points.
The loss left Flannery scratching his head and wondering where the points might come from when the Bison host Wake Forest Tuesday in their home opener.
“We knew we were going to have to find scoring . . . We're going to find out who is going to make plays for us.”
After a solid 4-2 opening night, Patriot League teams got shut out of the win column Saturday.
Portland State 94, Lehigh 90 -- Jose Olivero had 22 points and Jason Mgebroff added 20 in the loss. The Mountain Hawks shot 62.5 percent from the field, but were 0 for 4 in the final 2:04 after taking a 90-88 lead on a bucket by Olivero.
Lehigh made 62.5 percent of its shots from the field, but missed on its final four attempts after Olivero gave his team a 90-88 lead with 2:04 left.
Marquis Hall (15), Bryan White (10) and Kyle Neptune (11) also in double figures for Lehigh.
You have to go back to January 23, 2004, when Lehigh lost in overtime, 111-104, to find the last time Lehigh allowed 90 or more points. That was also the last time the Mountain Hawks scored that many. AP | Box score | Lehigh sports info wrap
Missouri 67, Army 58 -- Jarell Brown did not start for Army, but he still led the Black Knights in scoring with 20 points on 7 for 15 shooting, including 4 treys. Matt Bell added 17 and freshman Chris Walker had 10 points and 8 rebounds for Army, which drops to 1-1. Box score | AP
St. John's 72, Navy 49 -- Navy led 20-12 early, then Saint John's went on a 20-2 run to take control. Kaleo Kina (15 points) the only Mid in double figures. Greg Sprink held to 3 points for Navy. NY Post | Newsday | AP | Box score
Albany came from 15 points down to knock off Bucknell in the season opener for both teams. Click on Read More below for the full live gameblog. First things first -- ignore the "read more" link at the end of the post. We will keep the entire live gameblog on the home page until we archive it after the game.
O.K., with that out of the way, greetings from the SEFCU Arena, or Stabler Lite, as one wag remarked upon entry.
There are rumors WWLIS mid majors guru Kyle Whelliston will be making an appearance, adding to the aura of importance for this game. Thus far, though, with about seven minutes to the tip, his seat is empty. Elvis is not in the building.
The Washington Post is, though. It's not John Feinstein, either. Seems kind of funny how the Post can't find its way up Mass Ave. for American games, but managed to get to upstate New York for this one.
Also on hand, Bucknell's (and our) favorite official, Rich Giallella. Last year Giallella worked so many Bucknell games, Corky Blake of the Express-Times asked if he earned a Bucknell varsity letter.
Bucknell 8, Albany 6 14:58 1st half Slow start offensively for both teams. John Griffin's three free throws on Bucknell's first possession account for their only points the first 3:45 of the game. Jamar Wilson two short jumpers for Albany.
Then things began to heat up at both ends. After a 0-2 start, Chris McNaughton hit a jump hook for a 5-4 lead. Griffin just drained a trey from the right corner to make it 8-6 at the first media timeout.
Bucknell 14, Albany 11 11:02 1st half Badmus picks up his second personal at the 14:00 mark and takes a seat shortly thereafter.
Bucknell already nine deep in its rotation. Jason Vegotsky, Andrew Morrison, Rob Thomas and Patrick Behan all seeing minutes off the bench early.
Darren Mastropaolo gets his second personal, called for elbowing moments after the same official was getting into it with Pat Flannery about something on the far sideline. Just before that, Mastropaolo finished a nice break off a nifty feed from griffin to put Bucknell up 14-8. Michael Knight with a three at the other end to keep it close.
Albany thus far 5-14 from the field. Bucknell 4-11.
Bucknell 19, Albany 15 (7:44 1st half) Team fouls piling up for Bucknell. They get their seventh at the 10:20 mark, putting Albany in the 1-1. Albany has just three at that point.
Albany takes a 15-14 lead on a fast break bucket off a stolen Behan pass. Bucknell answers immediately, going to McNaughton down low.
Bucknell now has gone 11 deep. With Badmus in foul trouble, sophomore Justin Castleberry gives Griffin a blow at the point. Josh Linthicum also makes an appearance.
Vegotsky hits his first trey of the season after pump faking his defender out of his shorts, giving BU a 19-15 lead.
Bucknell 31, Albany 19 (3:36 1st half) Out of the media timeout, Morrison hits a trey from the top of the arc. His outside shooting is a dimension that will help stretch defenses when he is on the floor.
Vegotsky looked to turn an ankle around the 6:38 mark. He headed to the bench, but is not getting any attention from the trainer.
4:46 mark, Albany picks up team foul number 7. Mastropaolo hits both free throws for a 27-19 lead.
Free throws a big edge for the Bison. They are 9-9 at the stripe thus far.
Donald Brown's slam off the dribble gives BU a double digits lead and prompts Albany to call a time out.
By the way, Kyle got here just after the tip.
Bison on a 15-4 run since Albany briefly took the lead.
Bucknell 34 , Albany 19 ( 2:11 1st half) Turnovers are hurting Albany -- they have 11 already. Bucknell 4- from the arc. 9-22 overall. Albany 7-22, 2-9 from 3 and just 3-4 from the line.
Bucknell 34, Albany 22 ( Halftime) Jason Siggers with a steal and a slam at the 33 second mark gives Albany its first field goal in over six minutes and makes it a 12-point game at the half.
Bucknell's first half showing impressive for the depth the Bison have shown. They are up a dozen on a good Albany team in the Danes' building, even with Badmus sitting 13 minutes of the half with foul trouble and McNaughton hitting only 2 of 6 from the field.
John Griffin leads the Bison with 13 points, 2-4 from the field, all three-point tries, and 7-7 at the foul line. Griffin with three assists, just one turnover, spending most of the half at the point in Badmus'' stead.
Jason Vegotsky with 8 points on 3-5 shooting, including 2-4 from three-point range. Thus far, those two are the answer to the question "who replaces Charles lee and Kevin Bettencourt's points?"
Bucknell is actually shooting better from three-point range (5-12, 41.7 percent) than from the field overall (10-26 38.5 percent).
Albany is 8-25 (32 percent), 2-9 from the arc. 13 turnovers for Albany. 10 for Bucknell, 6 in a sloppy final 3:39 of the half.
Kyle sends his greetings. Traffic reduced to one lane on 90 by an accident accounted for his late arrival.
Bucknell 36, Albany 29 ( 14:34 2nd half) Two quick fouls to start the second half for Bucknell. The first, on McNaughton, comes after he has to help on Wilson, who beat Donald Brown, and leads to a 3-point play that cuts the lead to single digits. The second, a charge by Brown at the other end, is his third personal.
Albany opens the half with a 7-2 spurt that has them, and the crowd, back in the game.
Bucknell 36, Albany 33 ( 11:21 2nd half) McNaughton's frustration shows at the 13:54 mark when he picks up his third personal on a charge.
Bucknell struggling on offense. Just 2 points in the first 8:39 of the half. Albany on an 11-2 run to open the half.
Bucknell 40, Albany 38 ( 7:54 2nd half) Vegotsky ends BU's scoring drought by pump faking his man into the air and drawing a three shot foul, making all three.
Albany's Jamar Wilson leaves with some sort of leg injury at the 9:40 mark. Not sure if it was a cramp or something more serious.
Vegotsky back on the line at the 8:35 mark for two, makes one. Bucknell still with one field goal this half.
Albany 41, Bucknell 40 ( 5:47 2nd half) Bucknell 1-13 from the field the first 13 minutes of the half. Albany finally takes the lead on a Lillis three with 6:44 to go.
Brown misses a short jumper at the other end, Bucknell 1-14 through 14 minutes of the second half.
Bucknell 46, Albany 44 ( 3:46 2nd half) John Griffin's 3 at 4:53 ends a long Bison cold spell. Another seconds later puts BU back on top, 46-43.
Two missed Albany free throws give Bison a chance to stretch the lead. That is squandered when Donald Brown steps on the end line after a feed from McNaughton that would have resulted in a dunk.
Bucknell 49, Albany 48 ( 2:10 2nd half) They announced it is a sellout crowd of over 4,530. The media guide says capacity at 5,000. Don't send your kids here to major in math. By the way, there are probably 100 empty seats.
McNaughton scores at 3:10 mark, his first points of the half.
Albany 50, Bucknell 49 (30.6 seconds 2nd half) Two free throws by Brian Lillis give Albany the lead, then he steals a pass intended for Vegotsky at the other end. UA up one with the ball.
Albany 55 , Bucknell 49 ( final) Brent Wilson's free throws at the 21.2 mark make it a 3-point lead. Vegotsky tries to draw a foul leaning in while shooting a three at the other end but the refs will have none of it. UA gets the rebound and Bucknell is forced to foul with 7.8 seconds to go. Brian Connelly hits both ends of the 1 and 1 to ice it.
Adding insult to injury, Jon Iati steals a sloppy inbounds pass and makes one of two to account for the final margin.
With Pat Flannery's history of stress-related ailments, you couldn't help but look to the Bucknell bench midway through the second half of the Bison's exhibition win over Mansfield when junior big man Darren Mastropaolo put the ball on the floor out near the foul line and beat his man off the dribble for an easy layup.
But Flannery was not clutching his chest. Quite the contrary. Flannery is actually very pleased with the way Mastropaolo has been working to expand his repertoire.
For two seasons at Bucknell, the 6-8 kid from Maine has been the consummate role players, setting vicious screens to get other guys open, shutting down the opposition big men on defense, taking charges ... all the little sorts of things coaches love that don't always show up in box scores. Now he is looking to contribute more.
It's not like Mastropaolo's expecting to replace the 26-point hole left by the graduation of Kevin Bettencourt and Charles Lee all by himself. A look at the chiseled muscle he put on in the weight room in the off season makes it clear he is not planning to give up the physical stuff he has built his game on. But have no doubts, Mastropaolo is planning to be more rounded this season. He is looking for his shot more, and when he has the ball down low on the post, he is not hesitating to take it to the hole.
"He wants to be a more complete player," said Flannery, who is obviously pleased with Mastropaolo's progress.
Against Mansfield, Mastropaolo missed the first four shots he put up, before making the last two he tried, including that driving layup. Flannery attributed the early misses, all from close range, on Mastropaolo rushing a little. That will go away as he gets more comfortable with his expanding offensive role, Flannery figures, pointing to the 17 points he put up against Chris McNaughton in the Blue-Orange scrimmage as evidence of Mastropaolo's potential.
An expanded offensive contribution by McNaughton could be big for the Bison, making it tougher for teams to double McNaughton in the post.
"If opportunities present themselves, I am going to be more aggressive," Mastropaolo said. "It might be important this year for me to be a little more aggressive."
"He is one of those kids that is just a winner. He does all the things you want him to do," Flannery said.
Those things -- the screens, the defense -- won't take a back seat to Mastropaolo's newfound offensive aggressiveness.
"I know I was on the floor for certain reasons. I played to my strength, and my strength is getting guys open to score," Mastropaolo said.
Even though he didn't show a lot of offense his first two seasons, Mastropaolo insists nobody should be shocked to see him going to the bucket.
"In the past, it wasn't like I was incapable of scoring. I was just trying to be a little more of a role player," he said.
As for that dribble penetration move; Mastropaolo just smiled. "You like that?" he asked. "A lane opened up, so I just took it to the hole."
Mastropaolo said he didn't worry a bit about Flannery's heart.
"Coach has gotten a lot more faith in me when I've got the ball," Mastropaolo said.
"We need to keep him aggressive," Flannery said. "You've got to like the things that he does."
Bucknell tips off its season tonight at Albany against another team that played in the NCAA Tournament last season. Also in action: Lehigh continues its Basketball travelers adventure against Portland State, Army takes on host Missouri at the John Thompson Classic and Navy gets a second-round Coaches Vs. Cancer matchup. Preview links:BU-Albany | Army-Missou | Lehigh-PSU | Navy-St. John's
When was the last time Patriot League teams won four of six in a night of out of conference play, much less the last that happened without Army being one of the two that lost.
Indeed, it was a very good opening night for league teams, with Army, Navy, Lafayette and American all picking up wins.
Even better news, two of those wins -- AU and Lafayette -- came on the road and two -- the academies-- on neutral floors. That is a great way to begin building the league's RPI.
Even the losses were not horrible news for the league. OK, well Colgate losing at home to Stony Brook is not so hot. But Lehigh's 12-point loss at Oregon was really not terrible, unless you are the guy who e-mailed us saying he was in Vegas and was considering taking the Hawks plus 19 points. He later replied he had passed on the wager.
Army 80, Stetson 68 -- The usual suspects led the way for the Black Knights. Matt Bell finished with 20 and Jarrell Brown went 4 for 6 from the arc en route to a 16-point night. Army shot 55 percent from the floor and went 9 for 12 from the arc. That will win you some games.
Army, which started two freshmen -- forward Chris Walker and guard Cleveland Richard -- is now one game over .500 for the first time since 2003, when they opened the season with two straight wins.
Jimmy Sewell watch: 4 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound.
Navy 73, Loyola (MD) 61 -- In the summer, when we talked to him for the Blue Ribbon previews, Navy coach Billy Lange barely mentioned 6-7 freshman T.J. Topercer. Last night in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, Topercer was the guy who fueled the Midshipmen's second half rally from a 13-point deficit en route to their first opening night win of the Billy Lange era. Topercer finished with 17 points, 15 in the second half.
Greg Sprink led Navy with 21 points. Trey Stanton also had 17 and a game-high 8 rebounds. Kaleo Kina added 10..
It was Navy's first season-opening win since 2002 and just the second of the century. AP |Box Score | Navy notes
Lafayette 76, Wagner 70 -- Welcome back fellas. Jamal Hilliard, injured much of last season, scored 16 points and Andrew Brown, who nearly transferred, added 15 (5 treys) in a come-from-behind win at Wagner. Bilal Abdullah also in doubles with 14. AP |Box Score | Laf. site recap
American 59, Fairfield 54, 2OT -- Anything worth having is worth waiting for. The Eagles waited through two extra sessions before picking up the road win over the Stags. Andre Ingram with 19, Derrick Mercer 14 for AU, which finally put the game away with a 6-0 run to start the second overtime.
Maybe the biggest play of the game came late in the first OT, when Ingram sank a trey while being fouled, then finished the 4-point play to pull AU back to within 1. Ingram, who was 4-9 from the arc, also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds. Linas Lekavicius added 10 points for the Eagles.
Oregon 77, Lehigh 65 -- Looking for silver lining in the dark cloud of Lehigh's loss? Try big guy Jason Mgebroff. After a junior season that was disappointing at best, the Mountain Hawks center started his senior campaign with a 16-points, 8-rebounds effort.
Jose Olivero added 17 for Lehigh, but his 6 turnovers hurt. Freshman point guard Marquis Hall off to a respectable start with 8 points, 4 assists (3 TO). Bryan White added 11 for the Hawks, who made only three three-pointers (3-13)in the loss.
Stony Brook 65, Colgate 59 -- Closer than it looks, the Raiders were within 2 with 16 seconds to go. But Mitchell Beauford hit four straight free throws down the stretch to ice it. Beauford finished with 20 points, 8 in the final 41 seconds. Stony Brook shot 67 percent in the second half after trailing by 5 at the break.
How bad do the Raiders miss Kyle Roemer? You decide. Jon Simon (15 points) was the only guy in double figures and they shot 7 of 20 from the arc as a team.
Worth noting: Kendall Chones was back in the starting lineup, with brother Kyle sliding to his natural wing spot. Kendall finished with 7 points and 2 rebounds, Kyle had 8 points and 1 board. St. Mary's transfer Daniel Waddy started at the other wing. Newsday | AP |Box Score
The new features keep on coming. Just added: Hoop Time Audio, where we will bring you recorded interviews and postgame press conferences, beginning with Saturday night's Bucknell at Albany game. Go ahead and test the feature now.
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Ralph Willard's Site remains one of our favorites. Can't say enough how insightful it is to have a coach posting his thoughts. Ralph updates today with a recap of Holy Cross' two exhibitions and a little about how tough it has been to find a wing to replace Kevin Hamilton. As always, it is a must click.
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For three years, Jose Olivero has waited in the wings while others at Lehigh have been in the spotlight.
Like a perennial best supporting actor nominee who struggles to land lead roles, Olivero's performance has been outstanding. It has also been overshadowed.
As a freshman, Olivero played in 30 games, starting 18 for a Lehigh team that won the Patriot League Tournament and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Even though he was just a rookie, Olivero was Lehigh's second-leading scorer, behind league Player of the Year Austen Rowland, After averaging 11.6 points per game and hitting the game-winner in the league championship game, Olivero seemed poised to replace the graduating Rowland in the lead role in Billy Taylor's production the following season.
His sophomore season, transfer Joe Knight stepped into both Rowland's shoes at the point and Rowland's role as Lehigh's leading scorer. Even though Olivero had another strong season, averaging 13 ppg, it was clear that Knight was “the man” at Lehigh.
Even last season, when Olivero emerged as Lehigh's top scorer and a first-team all-league pick, averaging 17.1 ppg, the second-highest average in the league, he was still overshadowed. This time by Knight's absence more than his presence.
Knight's eligibility situation, which ended up costing him 16 games of his senior season. The situation garnered so much attention, it made it easy to overlook the job Olivero did while Knight was out.
“It was definitely a distraction. That's not an excuse,” Olivero said during a recent interview at the league's media day gathering.
Now, with the Mountain Hawks season about to tip off Friday night in Oregon, there are no distractions. No longer will Olivero be asked to play the supporting role. It is his turn in the spotlight, and have no doubts, the senior from Fairfax, Va. is ready to play the lead.
“I get a little more personal stamp on the team,” Olivero said.
To be certain, that stamp will be heavily influenced by offense. Despite his claims to the contrary, Olivero is, first and foremost, a scorer. Has been since arriving in Bethlehem three years ago. But Olivero knows if the Mountain Hawks are to be all the can be, they are going to need more than just scoring from him.
Freshman Marquis Hall is penciled in at the point, but Olivero will slide over to run the offense at times, too.
That is OK with Olivero, who played the point in high school and at times last season when Knight was out.
“Jose was thrown into (the point) last year. He had to learn on the fly,” Lehigh coach Billy Taylor said in a late summer interview.
Olivero's time at the point was not all good for the Hawks. With his scorer's mentality, at times Olivero was too busy looking for an opening of his own to notice his teammates. When he is at the point this season, Olivero has to get more people involved in the offense, Taylor said.
The coach has no doubt that improvement will come. After all, said Taylor, Olivero “has gotten better every year.”
Olivero also plans to improve his rebounded and is working to improve communications with his teammates. “I want to be getting them all on the same page,” he said.
“I definitely think I can make a difference. Not just as a scorer . . . I just try to go out there and create. I don't think of myself as a scorer,” Oilvero said.
Nonetheless, Lehigh will count heavily on Olivero to do a good share of the scoring. Taylor has made some changes to the Mountain Hawks offense. A lot of those involve Olivero.
“(Jose's) versatility and ability to score in different ways makes him a tough cover. We will try to move him around to make it difficult for teams to match him,” said Lehigh coach Billy Taylor.
“Jose has the ability to create and make shots late in the clock,” Taylor said. “He can get out and score in transition. He can hit jump shots. He can pull up for the jumper or take it to the hole. He moves well without the ball.”
Have no doubt, when the clock is running down, or when Lehigh is in need of a big basket, the ball will be headed Olivero's direction.
“When the game is on the line at the end of the game, I definitely want the ball in my hands to create. I have had that mentality all the years I have been here,” Olivero said. “I definitely embrace that role as a challenge.”
His coach recognizes Olivero's importance to the team, though he tries to downplay it.
“I am always reluctant, in a team sport, to say it is one person's tea,” Taylor said. “What if injuries, sickness or whatever come up?”
Well coach, if any of those scenarios happen to Olivero, our advice would be to start planning for next season.
Assuming reports are true that big man Jason Mgebroff has rebounded from his horrid junior season, the Mountain Hawks have a solid four-veteran core to build around. Kyle Neptune is a versatile senior swingman who averaged 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season. Junior forward Bryan White is a strong presence inside, especially on the boards, where he led the team with 5.4 rebounds per game last season.
After those four, though, the drop off in experience is drastic. As talented as some of Lehigh's sophomores and freshmen are reported to be, it would be tough to imagine any of them filling Olivero's shoes. Especially on offense.
With Taylor's devotion to defense, Lehigh does not need a lot of offense to be in most games in conference play. With Olivero on the floor, the Hawks will be a threat in every league game. Without him, the chances of Lehigh bumping off one of the upper echelon teams are slim and none, and slim has his pony saddled.
It's a lot of pressure on Olivero. He does not mind.
“I definite embrace that role as a challenge,” Olivero said. “I like having that pressure on me.”
Want tickets for a Bucknell home game this season? Good luck.
If you are not faculty, staff or a student and have not already purchased season tickets, now might be the time set up bookmarks on Stub Hub and e-bay. Either that, or pitch a tent in front of Sojka now to get in line for any day of the game tickets that might become available.
Even a hefty donation to the Bison Club won't get you season tickets for this season. They are sold out.
"When we built Sojka, we thought, 'What kind of marketing will we have to do to fill the place,'" Says Bison Club director Todd Newcomb. "Turns out the answer was: get a good basketball team."
Season ticket buyers have purchased the entire block of tickets available for sale to the general public. That means the only way seats will be available to purchase will be in the unlikely event that faculty, staff and students don't claim all the tickets reserved for them for each home game.
Since that amounts to more than a quarter of Sojka's 4,000 seats, it is certainly possible seats will be available for Jan. 6 vs. Navy and Jan. 9 vs. American, both of which fall during semester break.
Historically, students have failed to fill Sojka for some weekday conference games, too. That could mean seats on sale day of the game for Jan. 23 vs. Lehigh or Feb. 14 vs. Lafayette. All other Bucknell conference home dates fall on weekends.
The only other possibility would be if visiting opponents have unsold tickets to return. Visiting teams get up to 100 tickets to sell in addition to their team comps. Any returned will go on sale the day of the game, just like unclaimed staff and student tickets.
By the way, don't bother calling the Wake Forest ticket office to try buying some of the Demon Deacons allotment for Bucknell's home opener. They have already sold out.
Our usual capsule previews for games involving Patriot League teams will return when conference play begins. For non-conference play, we will link to outside matchup pages. Here are links for tonight's games (Note: These links go to pages that include betting lines. Hoop Time in now way endorses of encourages gambling on college sports. We are linking to these pages only for the comprehensive statistical information they offer) Leh.-Oregon | Army-Stetson | Navy-Loyola (Md.) | AU at Fairfield | Stony Brook at Colgate | Laf. at Wagner Read Full Post
With six teams tipping off this evening, it's a busy day in Patriot League hoops. We'll be adding a lot of new content later in the day, but until then, here's plenty to keep you busy this morning:
Army does not get a lot of in-depth coverage, so a lot of folks had no idea how bad Matt Bell's health was last season. But in a preview of the Black Knights, who open tonight against Stetson in the John Thompson Classic, Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record reports even Army coach Jim Crews didn't know how bad Bell's foot was hurting.
"We had no idea how bad it was because he didn't complain," Crews told McMillan.
Bell had off-season surgery to shave a bone in his bad (right) foot and is reportedly completely recovered. Good news for a team with a lot of young players sorely (pardon the pun) in need of senior leadership.
Army's 20-player roster includes eight first-year players. It also includes six guys 6-7 or taller and more athleticism than in recent years.
"There is just a different feel around the gym and the whole program from years past."
A return to health is also the theme of Stephen Miller's Look at Lafayette in The Morning Call. Having a healthy Jamaal Hilliard and Marcus Harley is bound to bode well for the Leopards. So to, the return to the fold of sophomore point guard Andrew Brown is good news for Fran O'Hanlon's team.
In the off-season, Lafayette announced Brown had decided to leave school and was transferring to a junior college closer to his Colorado home. Miller's mention of the All-Rookie pick in this story sent us scurrying to check the Leopards' roster, and sure enough, with little fanfare, the prodigal son has returned. The 'Pards open tonight at Wagner.
Corky Blake, of The Express-Times, checks in this morning with a look at a Lehigh team that has ideas of surprising the skeptics who failed to pick them as one of the teams expected to contend for the Patriot League title.
Jose Olivero tells Blake:
"I want to win a (NCAA) first-round game, and that goes with winning the Patriot League championship."
While we remain in the camp that considers that unlikely given the lack of experience on the Mountain Hawks roster, Olivero is definitely the kind of wild card that could make it happen. While it is unlikely Lehigh will win the regular season title, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Olivero could carry them to three wins come tournament time. As we wrote in the Blue Ribbon preview of Lehigh, when you have an offensive talent like Olivero, you always have a puncher's chance of knocking somebody off.
Speaking of Olivero, Andre Williams also has a piece on the Hawks' star in today's Morning Call. We will also be posting a feature on him later today.
You have to wonder how well Fairfield's new coach, Ed Cooley, has scouted his opening night opponent, the Eagles of American U. In a preview story in the Connecticut Post, Cooley says: "They have all played together for four years." True AU has five seniors. But Paulius Joneliunas has only played one semester at AU and the Eagles' point guard is just a sophomore. Nonetheless, Cooley is on the right track. American's experience will be a mismatch in that category when they meet a Fairfield team that graduated half its scoring from last season and is playing for the first time under a new head coach.
Tom Housenick previews the Bucknell Bison in today's Daily Item. Housenick says while Charles Lee and Kevin Bettencourt may be gone, they are not forgotten. The team's new leaders are working to emulate the work ethic Lee and Bettencourt instilled in the two-time defending league champs.
The Worcester Telegram-Gazette reports today the Holy Cross Crusaders have resolved broadcast conflicts that threatened to keep some games off the air. With the American Hockey League Worcester Sharks getting first priority of HC flagship station WTAG (580 AM), seven games that would have been pre-empted by hockey will now air on WCUW (91.3 FM). WCUW will also pick up seven HC women's games.
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Enjoy today's piece on American in the Washington Times. If history is our guide, it could well be the last story the Moonie owned rag writes about the Eagles, who struggle to get attention in the shadows of Maryland, George Washington and, now, George Mason, in the capital region.
That could change, though, if American lives up to its own high expectations.
AU big man Brayden Billbe tells the Times:
"The rest of the league is good, but looking at our team, I think we should win the league."
With everybody back from last season, Billbe could be right. Though most don't expect AU to win the league title, few would be shocked if that happened.
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What they are talking about is Colgate's Jan. 20 visit to Bucknell. In addition to being a homecoming of sorts for State College High graduate Willie Morse, a trasnfer sophomore guard for Colgate, the game will be followed by a high school matchup between State College and Hazelton.
State College is the alma mater of both Morse and Holy Cross freshman Eric Meister (who is also mentioned in the piece). Hazelton is coached by Bucknell alum Mike Joseph.
Colgate assistant Kevin Curley also has a Centre County link. His father is Penn State A.D. Tim Curley.
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In this day of early verbal commitments, news of players actually signing letters of intent really is not news at all. What would be news would be reports of players changing their minds.
But papers use signings as a chance to write a story about local heroes, and when we stumble across them, we share the here. Like this one about 6-11 center Todd O'Brien signing with Bucknell.
According to the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, the Garden Spot H.S. senior entertained offers from St. Johns, Saint Joe's, LaSalle and Clemson before deciding Pat Flannery's "fiery leadership" and Bucknell's academics were the right mix for him.
The paper says:
O’Brien averaged 15.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and five blocks per game his junior year as the Spartans went 12-11 overall and qualified for the District Three Class AAAA playoffs for the first time in four years.
Three of USA Today's basketball "experts" got together for one of their Roundball Roundtable sessions. Among the topics of discussion: Who might be this year's Cinderella.
Here is one guy's answer:
. . . here's one you hear every year but is still worth mentioning because of Chris McNaughton ... but Bucknell will be tough yet again. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bison in the Sweet 16 in March
Bucknell checks in at No. 6 in the first Mid Major Top 25. Also receiving votes: Holy Cross and American.
The Bison's 565 points in the poll put them 4 points ahead of No. 7 George Mason. Creighton is ranked No. 1, ahead of Gonzaga, followed by Hofstra, Southern Illinois and Wichita State. Bucknell's opening night foe, Albany, is ranked No. 25.
Holy Cross gets 64 points, making them an unoffical No. 31. AU garnered 3 points in the voting by a panel of coaches that includes Holy Cross' Ralph Willard.
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One new feature is the addition of "Read Full Post" links in all new items on the main page. That enables us to present a quick summary of the most recent items added to the site without forcing you to scroll forever to see them all.
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The Associated Press preseason poll is out. Bucknell returns in its customary spot in the "others receiving votes" category.
The Bison are getting more tnan just a John Feinstein token vote, though, checking in with six points in the season's first poll. That ties Bucknell with Michigan for the unofficial No. 41 ranking.
While no other league teams picked up votes, several teams who league sides will face in non-conference action did. Here is a look at Patriot League games against teams in the preseason poll:
Nov. 10 Lehigh vs. Oregon (ORV) Nov 13 Lafayette vs. Indiana (ORV) (preseason NIT) Nov. 25 Navy vs. Villanova (ORV) Nov. 25 American @ Xavier (ORV) Nov 27 Holy Cross at No. 20 Syracuse Dec. 3 Bucknell vs. George Mason (ORV) BB&T Classic Dec. 9 Colgate vs. No. 20 Syracuse Dec. 6 Holy Cross @ No. 12 Duke Dec. 20 Bucknell @ Xavier (ORV) Dec. 21 George Mason (ORV) at Holy Cross -- at the DCU Center Dec. 23 Navy @ No. 8 Georgetown Dec. 28 Army @ Michigan (ORV)
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John Feinstein checks in with his first hoops column of the season in today's Washington Post. In the column, he advises D.C. area folks to keep an eye on American:
The Eagles have every starter and every key backup returning from a team that was probably playing better than anyone in the Patriot League other than Bucknell at the end of last season. Jeff Jones is another guy who can coach.
Holy Cross and Lehigh would probably dispute part of that statement, and at least one of them would be right. But Feinstein is on the money about AU's prospects. The Eagles do have a chance to be pretty good this season.
As usual, lots in the Albany Times-Union about Bucknell's opening night opponent, the Albany Great Danes. Start with the profile of the coach of the team favored to win the America East Conference. And catch up on the Danes' Friday night exhibition win over some Canadian team. The T-U says 3,000 tickets have been sold for Friday's opener in the Danes' newly renamed 4,500-seat arena. The Times-Union also profiles former Lehigh and current Siena coach Fran McCaffery.
The AP has a profile of former Holy Cross head coach George Blaney, who is now an assistant at UConn. You can read it on the New York Times site.
Last night's post on Bucknell's exhibition win was compiled as sort of a running notebook during the game. Here is a little additional perspective based on postgame conversations with Bison coach Pat Flannery.
Expect that starting lineup -- Chris McNaughton, Darren Mastropaolo, Donald Brown, Abe Badmus and John Griffin to remain intact.
"I'm pretty predictable. Once I go with a lineup, that is usually who I run out there," Flannery said.
The preseason question was at the off guard, where Griffin and sophomore Jason Vegotsky were fighting for the job. Griffin got the nod due to his ballhandling.
"John gives us that extra handler to get us started in the ballgame," Flannery said.
It could be premature to read too much into junior Andrew Morrison's appearance as the first frontcourt guy off the bench. It appeared in the exhibition that Morrison and freshman Patrick Behan might be competing for minutes backing up Darren Mastropaolo at the four.
Both will likely get minutes at times, but the more likely first big man off the bench, especially early in the season, will probably be sophomore Josh Linthicum. Linthicum, at 6-11, gives the Bison the size they will need to match up defensively against bigger teams
Flannery also plans to continue using Brown at the four at times, where he creates what the coach called "matchup nightmares" for opponents.
Flannery also feels he can play Linthicum and McNaughton together at times, since McNaughton has the range to step away from the basket.
Toss Morrison and Behan into the frontcourt mix and that makes six guys for two spots on the floor.
Asked Flannery: "Where do you get the minutes from?"
The most likely answer will be spot minutes for Morrison and Behan early in the season, especially against some of the bigger non-conference opponents, with the chance of their roles expanding in conference play.
Adding to the minutes quandary is the emergence of junior Rob Thomas on the wing. Thomas-- a little bigger and more athletic than Vegotsky -- gives Flannery another option at the three when he moves Brown to the four.
Thomas' practice performance has made it tough for him to get minutes in the past. But his showing in scrimmages and the exhibition is likely to earn him an expanded role.
"Rob is a much better game player than he is in practice, which is something I've never been thrilled with. Athletically he can help us. He knows what is going on at both ends of the floor," Flannery said.
With Badmus, Griffin, Vegotsky and Thomas in the backcourt; McNaughton, Mastropaolo and Linthicum up front; and Brown swinging back and forth, that is a solid eight-man rotation that leaves few minutes.
Freshman wing Stephen Tyree will also be in the mix for the leftover minutes, thanks to his defensive skills. Flannery said Tyree has a chance to be the best defensive player he has had at Bucknell by the time he graduates. Given BU's defensive pedigree, that is high praise. It is also the kind of praise that will earn you minutes from Flannery long before the ability to score does.
A glaring problem with the box score from the Mansfield exhibition was Abe Badmus' failure to take, let alone make, a single shot.
"I don't know what is going on. He is not looking to shoot the ball," Flannery said.
Flannery said Badmus is looking to penetrate too much and needs to show a willingness to take the open jumpers in order to take some defensive pressure off himself and others inside.
"He will be fine. He will shoot the ball when we need him to," Flannery said.
While not thrilled with Badmus' lack of shooting, Flannery did like the way Badmus responded after picking up a third personal early in the second half. After sitting for about two minutes, Badmus returned and played over eight minutes more in the second half without picking up a fourth personal.
Holy Cross made short work of Canadian side St. Francis Xavier, romping to an 84-45 exhibition win behind 17 points from Tim Clifford and Keith Simmons.
Clifford added 7 boards and 4 blocks, a pretty impressive line for 21 minutes of work. Simmons also with 7 rebounds and 2 assists. He played only 20 minutes.
Two surprises in the box score: junior Kyle Cruze got the start in Kevin Hamilton's old spot. That spot was expected to be filled by either Lawrence Dixon or Colin Cunningham, both sophomores. But Dixon is still hobbled while rehabbing after a torn meniscus and did not play in the exhibition opener. Back on media day, HC coach Ralph Willard talked of hoping to have him back in action by Thanksgiving, so his DNP was not unexpected.
Cunningham, who suffered a bad ankle sprain late in the summer, had been expected to be out until close to the start of November. He did play against SFX, scoring 3 points, with 3 rebounds an 3 assists in 15 minutes.
In the preseason, Willard did not even mention Cruze when we talked about his rotation for the Blue Ribbon previews. It will be interesting to see if he stays in the rotation when Cunningham and Dixon are fully recovered.
The other surprise was the absence of sophomore power forward Alex Vander Baan, who was a DNP in the exhibition. Reports from Worcester indicate Vander Baan is recovering from surgery caused by a staph infection in his arm. Freshman Eric Heister started in his place, scoring 10 points while grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 4 shots.
The Crusaders other front court recruit, Andrew Keister, saw 20 minutes of action, finishing with 13 points and 5 boards.
Junior point guard Pat Doherty (who has sophomore eligibility after a medical redshirt last season for foot problems) appears to be healthy. He played 24 minutes, and even though he went 1 for 6 from the field, that is good news for HC. Doherty did have 5 assists (just 2 turnovers).
Starting point guard Torey Thomas also had a productive night -- 11 points, 7 assists. Thomas' 30 minutes were the most by any HC player.
Also worth noting, in typical HC fashion, the Crusaders held SFX to 28.3 percent shooting from the field. Read Full Post
News and notes from Bucknell's 86-43 exhibition win over Division II Mansfield Saturday night:
In double figures for Bucknell -- Chris McNaughton 10 points on 3 for 5 shooting from the field, 4 rebounds and a pair of blocks in a 17-minute run. Jason Vegotsky with 10 points despite and off (2 for 8) night from the floor. As you might expect, both the field goals from the arc. Vegotsky also added 8 rebounds, 4 on the offensive end. Leading scorer for Bucknell was Rob Thomas, who finished with 15 off the bench on a red-hot 6 for 8 shooting night , including 2 of 3 from three-point range. Josh Linthicum also in double figures with 11, mostly in mop-up time.
Donald Brown and John Griffin each added 9 for the Bison
Bucknell shot 72.7 percent from the field in the second half and held mansfield to 34.7 percent for the game. Even more dominant was the rebounding edge -- 51-13 for the Bison.
No surprises in the stating five. Chris McNaughton and Darren Mastropaolo up front, Donald Brown at the three, Abe Badmus at the point and John Griffin at the off guard. A bit of a surprise in the rotation, though, with junior Andrew Morrison the first big guy off the bench, spelling Mastropaolo at the four.
As in the past two seasons, Griffin slid over to the point when Badmus took a breather. Vegotsky first off the bench in the backcourt, as expected.
Junior Rob Thomas spelled Brown at the three, and stayed there later when Brown came back in at the four, something you are likely to see a lot of this season.
Sophomore big man Josh Linthicum also saw minutes relatively early, but not many. Linthicum picked up two quick fouls and returned to the bench in short order.
Stephen Tyree was the first freshman and the 10th guy to see action, Patrick Behan was the next freshman to see action.
Sophomore Justin Castleberry also got some first half run at the point.
While it is unlikely Pat Flannery will go more than 8 or 9 deep in his regular rotation, Tyree and Behan's minutes could be signs they have a chance to work their way into that rotation as the season wears on.
The other scholarship freshman, 6-5 guard Zach Evans, did not play in the first half. Evans and walk-on George Medrano were the only Bison to not see action in the opening half Evans and Medrano finally got off the bench with 3:31 left in the game.
Wondering where the production that graduated with Kevin Bettencourt and Charles Lee will come from? Expect some points to come from Thomas, who showed a nice touch from the arc. Thomas also showed an ability to go to the hole, showing off his hops on a second half play where he hung in the air to make a little jump-hook over 6-8 Brandon Smith while being fouled. A few minutes later he excited the crowd with a slam to finish on the break.
Morrison might pick up some of the slack on the boards. The 6-7 junior went hard to the glass when he was in the game, tying Vegotsky for team honors with 8 rebounds. But he appears to be locked in a battle with Behan for minutes at the four. Behan looked a little better on offense, scoring 9 points on 3 for 3 shooting. Morrison 1 for 1 from the field, finished with 4 points.
Let's hope the Bison's bright, shiny, new orange patent leather sneakers get dirty in a hurry. Either that or consider wearing sunglasses to Sojka Pavilion this season.
Mansfield proved a game opponent the first 10 minutes or so. The Mountaineers led early and trailed only 15-14 at the 11-minute mark. Then Bucknell went on a 13-1 run to blow it open and didn't slow down the rest of the half.
Expect Mastropaolo to be more involved in the offense this season. In the first half he actually took more shots than McNaughton, though his 0 for 4 start kept his efforts from having much impact on the scoreboard. Unlike past seasons, when he seemed to look to pass first when he touched the ball, he seems more determined to go to the hole when he has position on the blocks. Mastropaolo even put the ball on the floor with his left hand to beat his man off the dribble for a second half score.
How much a handful were Bucknell's starting big men? Mansfield's starters at the four and the five played only 12 minutes combined in the first half after both picked up three fouls in short order. Between them, the pair had no rebounds and one bucket the first half.
Looking for a dark cloud in an otherwise silver lining kind of run for Bucknell, look no further than Badmus' line in the boxscore. The 6-0 senior, who is expected to provide more scoring this season, played only 7 minutes in the first half due to two personals, and did not take a shot from the field in that span. And he picked up his third personal just 36 seconds into the second half, forcing him back to the bench. In the regular season, Bucknell can ill afford to have its senior point guard in that kind of foul trouble.
Bucknell is scheduled for seven television appearances this season, starting with the home opener Nov. 14 against Wake Forest, which will be shown on CN8 (Comcast) and Fox Sports Net South. The George Mason game Dec. 3 will be on Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore-Washington region) and ESPN2 will carry the Bucknell-Texas Tech game Dec. 23. The other four are ESPNU telecasts as part of the Patriot League package.
It is no big surprise that Jon Simon was Colgate's leading scorer in a 67-54 exhibition win over Waterloo. And certainly the win over a Canadian side is no surprise either. But the Raiders starting five was a bit of a surprise.
Simon scored 18 points, 16 in the first half, with a shooting clinic performance -- 7 for 7 from the field, including 4 treys. Impressive for certain, but everybody knows the kid can shoot, or at least everybody but the Waterloo defenders who didn't manage to get a hand in his face.
But who outside of Hamilton knew the Raiders starting lineup would include sophomores Trevaron Vinson and Tim Pounds? And raise your hand if you are not surprised to hear junior Kendall Chones was not in the starting five.
With the injury to Kyle Rosemer, it was obvious someone would get a chance to crack the starting lineup. Based on preseason conversations with coach Emmett Davis, the assumption was that person would be sophomore transfer Willie Morse, who Davis said was expected to push Roemer for the starting job on one of the wings.
In those conversations, Vinson was mentioned as a guy who might find some minutes backing up Simon at the point. Apparently, at least for the exhibition opener, Davis decided to either move Simon of Vinson to the off guard to replace Roemer.
Pounds, a third-year guy with sophomore eligibility, is a 6-4 kid who opened some eyes when he averaged 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game during Colgate's August trip to Spain. He apparently has claimed the small forward spot expected to be filled by Kyle Chones, who in turn started at the power forward spot expected to be filled by his brother Kendall, who was an All-Rookie pick three seasons ago.
Kyle Chones at the four is a not a huge surprise. He played that spot a lot last season and was the team's leading rebounder (5.0 rpg). But at 6-5, Kyle Chones is an undersized power forward, even by Patriot League standards. Playing out of position was reflected by his 38 percent shooting from the field, way low for someone playing close to the rim.
If Kendall Chones, an inch taller and more physical than his brother, did not get the job at the four, it was expected 6-8 pogo Alex Woodhouse, who got a medical redshirt last season after blowing out a knee the first day of practice, might move into the lineup.
Of course this was just an exhibition, things could change by the regular season opener Friday with Stony Brook. But that trip to Spain did give Davis a leg-up on determining his rotation before practice officially started in the fall.
Early on, expect a lot of guys to get minutes regardless of who starts. Even with the loss of Roemer, Colgate seems to have a lot of depth. Morse came off the bench and played 22 minutes against Waterloo, the most of any reserve and tying Kyle Chones for the most of any player. Morse finished with 8 points, despite going 2 for 7 from the field (0-3 from the arc). Kendall Chones was 4 for 6 (9 points) in 11 minutes of playing time. His rebounding (only 2) and turnovers (3) might offer a clue why his smaller brother is starting ahead of him. Kyle Chones had 5 boards and did not turn it over.
Woodhouse had an active 11 minutes, scoring 4 points on 2 for 3 shooting, with 2 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot.
A pair of Arvydas Eitutavicius free throws with two seconds left in overtime gave American a 64-62 win over Carleton, the four-time Canadian national champions, in exhibition action Thursday night. It was Carleton's second loss in 10 exhibitions against US college teams. The other was a 67-66 loss to Louisville in September. Box score highlights: Brayden Billbe -- 6-11 from the field, 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks; Andre Ingram -- 12 points on 5-11 shooting (including 2-6 from 3-point arc) and 9 rebounds; Eitutavicius -- 11 points (4-12 from the field, 0-3 from 3-point range) 5 assists and 1 turnover; AU defense held Carleton to 33.3 percent from teh field
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The Miami Herald reports 6-8 forward Jack Eggleston, of St.. Thomas Aquinas high, has made an oral commitment to Penn, passing on several Patriot League opportunities.
According to the Herald:
Eggleston, who ranks among the top wing prospects in Florida, also took visits to American University and Lafayette and received interest from the likes of Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, Wake Forest, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Lehigh, Old Dominion and William & Mary.
Eggleston's 8 points and 8.7 per game last season weren't as impressive as his 1,500 SAT score (though the Herald did give him All Broward County honors). But Eggleston reportedly raised his stock playing for Team Nike Florida over the summer.
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Bucknell featured prominently today on USA Today's college basketball page. Perhaps the most interesting comment in the story comes from Colgate coach Emmett Davis, who says he uses the Bison's success to help sell recruits on playing in the Patriot League. It is sort of a "rising tide lifts all ships" way of recruiting.
In addition to the injuries that could have Oregon playing with a depleted lineup in next week's season opener against Lehigh, the Ducks will also be without their senior starting point guard.
Aaron Brooks, who had 21 points, 9 assists and 5 steals in Oregon's exhibition win over Lewis & Clark, is suspended for the opener, part of his punishment for hitting a Washington player in the face with a flagrant forearm during the quarterfinals of last season's Pac-10 tournament.
Brooks averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 assists as a junior.
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Getting new out of Hamilton is never easy. No newspapers actually cover the Raiders on a regular basis (not since Adonal Foyle left school), so reports are few and far between. It also does not help when information is slow to come from official sources. In a post on the school's official site, dated Tuesday, it slips in word that Kyle Roemer will miss the season due to surgery for an ankle injury suffered in August.
For what it is worth, the release the school passed out at Patriot League media day on Oct. 19 was still touting Roemer as a likely starter, with no mention of any injury.
The loss of Roemer, who averaged 11.4 points per game is a real blow to the Raiders, who were counting on the 6-3 junior for firepower from the wings.
Roemer's loss should be softened a little by the availability of 6-2 sophomore Willie Morse, who sat out last season after transferring from St. Bonaventure. But Morse is still an unknown commodity, especially since he was unable to even practice last year after being struck by lightning in August 2005.
If Morse can bounce back and play up to expectations, Colgate should be able to survive the loss of Roemer. Still, for coach Emmett Davis, who suffered through an injury plagued campaign last season, this has to be looking a little like deja vu all over again.
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As Lehigh prepares for the start of the season, so does its opening night foe, Oregon. But while things are going well for the Mountain Hawks (according to an official release), things are not so good on the left coast.
Wings Malik Hairston and Churchill Odia, both expected to be starters, are called "highly questionable" for the opener against the Mountain Hawks.
Hairston, the team's leading scorer a year ago, is suffering from an ongoing strained groin problem that dates to last season and recurred in preseason conditioning workouts.
Odia, a 6-6 transfer from Xavier, had knee surgery in September and is still rehabbing.
Neither have been cleared to practice.
The other three who will not play tonight include two freshmen and a senior who is also a wide receiver on Oregon's football team.
The one freshman, 6-6 Joevan Catron, is recovering from hip surgery and is back in drills, just not scrimmaging yet. The other, a transfer who is from Haiti, is having immigration problems and is not even in the country.
Portland State, another team Lehigh will face in the opening weekend at the Basketball Travelers Classic, will meet Western Oregon in an exhibition Saturday. Here is a preview from the PSU site.
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Penn State's preseason All-Big Ten pick Geary Claxton broke a knuckle during the Nits' exhibition win over Division II Edinboro last night and could be out for three weeks. That would make Penn State's best player questionable for the Nov. 21 mathcup with Bucknell.
The injury is to Claxton's shooting hand, meaning even if he is able to return by the Bucknell game, chances are his touch won't have returned fully.
State's junior center, Brandon Hassell, is also banged up. He missed the exhibition due to a bulging disc and is day-to-day.
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At the risk of making way too much of an intersquad scrimmage, it is interesting to not where some of the scoring came from in Bucknell's Blue-orange game.
Here is the release from the Bucknell sports info folks:
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Darren Mastropaolo scored a team-high 13 points, including two big free throws in the closing seconds to lead the “Blue” team to a come-from-behind 62-59 victory in Bucknell’s annual Blue-Orange Scrimmage Tuesday night at Sojka Pavilion.
Josh Linthicum and Patrick Behan scored 11 points each, while Abe Badmus had nine points, six rebounds and four assists for the Blue, which overcame a 10-point first-half deficit. Jason Vegotsky and George Medrano also scored nine apiece.
For the “Orange” team, Donald Brown scored a game-high 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor, while John Griffin added 14 points and five rebounds and Chris McNaughton chipped in 10 points.
The Orange squad, which actually donned the white home jerseys for the contest, used eight straight points from Griffin to take a 27-17 lead 14 minutes into the contest. After missing its first five 3-point attempts of the night, Team Blue picked up late treys from Vegotsky and Behan to claw back within four points at 36-32 at halftime.
The Blue tied it at 36 on Vegotsky’s 3-pointer just over a minute into the second half, then they took their first lead since 2-0 on a Vegotsky free throw one possession later. Later in the half, Medrano’s long 3-pointer on the left wing capped a 7-0 run for the Blue squad and gave it a 51-43 lead with 10:25 to play.
The Orange team crawled back within one point on three occasions down the stretch but could never get back over the hump. McNaughton’s short jumper off a Griffin dish made it 60-59 with 2:15 to play. The score was the same inside 30 seconds to play when Stephen Tyree was whistled for a foul, sending the Orange team’s Rob Thomas to the line for a 1-and-1. Thomas missed the front end, and Orange fouled Mastropaolo, who sank two free throws at the other end for a 62-59 Blue lead.
Orange had one last chance to tie after inbounding under its own basket with five seconds to play, but Thomas’ contested 3-point try rimmed out as time expired.
Bucknell will welcome its first opponent to Sojka Pavilion this Saturday when Mansfield comes in for an exhibition game at 7 p.m. That will be the team’s final tuneup prior to the 2006-07 season opener at Albany on Nov. 11.
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Holy Cross' Keith Simmons and Bucknell's Chris McNaughton are the pair recognized by the site, which is also home to the Mid-Major Top 25 poll (first poll for this season due out Nov.6).
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Two previews of Bucknell opponents appear in papers this morning.
The Altoona Mirror looks at Saint Francis (Pa.), which once again is a bit of an early season mystery due to the addition of two transfers (including one Juco) and a prop-48 casualty who sat out last season.
Also full of transfers (7-count 'em-7) from the juco ranks is Bobby Knight's Texas Tech team, previewed here by the San Antonio Express-Times.
Also, the New Haven Register has a story on Quinnipiac, which will face Lehigh and Colgate. The piece also includes a tidbit on Lehigh opponent Sacred Heart.
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