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Patriot Notebook

December 3, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



Patriot League Notebook

by Matt DaSilva

Holy Cross (3-1)
Think the Crusaders are a fluke this season? Tell that to Ryan Sidney and Troy Bell, Boston College’s heralded guard tandem who desperately flailed on consecutive shots in the final 20 seconds of Holy Cross’ 71-70 win over the Eagles on Sunday.

Playing in Worcester, MA, the Crusaders treated the home fans to a Thanksgiving hangover of a game that featured nine ties and 23 lead changes against their well-respected Big East rival. For Holy Cross, the victory guaranteed bragging rights for the first time in 13 years of this annual intrastate series.

For all that was made of preseason player of the year Tim Szatko, it seems senior guard Brian Wilson has taken the rein in the campaign toward a Patriot League repeat.

While Szatko contributed with eight points and nine boards, it was Wilson who outplayed an All-American in BC’s Troy Bell. Wilson netted a game-high eighteen points while connecting on all six of his free throws. None were more important than the clutch pair of eventual game-winning foul shots that put the Crusaders ahead 71-68 in the waning seconds. Wilson also added five assists and a block.

The overall effort saw four Holy Cross players reach double figures in points. The Eagles now hold a 57-49 advantage in the series that dates back to 1906.

Lehigh (3-2)
The Mountain Hawks struggled through the Hofstra Wingate Holiday Tournament, but managed to snake away a consolation victory to leave Hempstead, NY above .500.

After dropping the weekend opener to the host Pride, Matt Crawford ensured Lehigh would come away with a win against a decisively weaker team with sixteen points and eight rebounds in a 66-52 victory over Texas-Pan American on Sunday. Still, despite the surge of the 6-10 senior, the Mountain Hawks showed they have a lot of work to do before entering their conference schedule, particularly on the offensive end.

They managed to hold Texas-Pan American without a bucket for an eight-minute stretch bridging the first and second halves, but did little to capitalize. In fact, Lehigh scored just eight points during that drought to open up a 28-20 lead about two minutes into the second half.

Texas Pan-American was held to 30 percent shooting in this consolation match, but the Mountain Hawks are still waiting for Matt Logie to grow into his preseason All-Patriot League form. Logie had a respectable fourteen points, this after netting twelve against Hofstra. Lehigh will certainly expect more from their star as the meat of the schedule begins to unfold.

Army (2-2)
“U-G-L-Y, you don’t got no alibi, you UGLY.” Such a limerick can go a long admittedly overstated way in describing the Black Knights’ 75-73 road victory Sunday over Sacred Heart.

Head coach Jim Crews will say the importance of the win comes in the form of a tally in the win column. But the clean-cut West Point image certainly didn’t translate onto the basketball court.

Sacred Heart, still winless this season, is arguably the Black Knights’ weakest opponent on the schedule. Yet Army trailed nearly the entire game thanks to sloppy care of the basketball. The Black Knights turned the ball over on their first five possessions of the game, and lagged behind at 64-56 with 7:58 remaining when Crews’ crew finally woke up.

They locked down on defense and strung together a 19-9 run to close out the game and send Army to a record-evening win that probably should have come a lot easier than it did. It climaxed with a Bill Mohr put-back with 1.1 seconds remaining that gave the Black Knights the win.

Sean Okeefe led Army with 24 points in throwing together the first double-double of his career.

Bucknell (2-2)
Boakai Lalugba. The unique player with a unique name added another unique distinction to his resume by becoming the first player that didn’t play for host George Washington to win most valuable player honors in the nine-year history of the Red Auerbach Colonial Classic.

The Bison’s superstar forward had his way with the Colonials’ big and athletic frontcourt, but couldn’t carry Bucknell all the way through in a gritty 80-77 loss to George Washington on Saturday.

Lalugba absolutely exploded for 34 points and thirteen rebounds, and the tournament committee could not ignore such a performance. It marked Lalugba’s third straight double-double coming off similarly dominant showings in wins over Columbia and Albany.

His energetic play was contagious for Bucknell against the Colonials, who have now won the tournament in all nine years since its inception. The Bison shot 54 percent from the field as Kevin Bettencourt chipped in with fifteen points and senior guard Dan Blankenship recorded seven assists in the losing cause.

Bucknell shot out of the gates by building a first-half lead at 44-34. The Bison were doing most of their damage from long range, nailing nine-of-eleven three-pointers in the first half to catch George Washington back on its heels.

But they cooled off as the Colonials scraped away at the advantage and took the lead for good when Pops Mensah-Bonsu hit a jump hook with 6:56 remaining. It put George Washington up 67-66 and sparked an insurmountable 15-4 run. Mensah-Bonsu led the Colonial effort with 24 points.

Navy (2-2)
While it may not have been a case of brains over brawn on Saturday, the Ivy League’s Brown came away with a hard-fought 97-92 overtime victory over the Midshipmen.

It could have been worse for Navy, as they stumbled in the early going to spot the Bears a 47-27 lead that stood going into the second half. But the Midshipmen, behind senior guard Jason Jeanpierre, fought back to snag an 81-76 lead with under four minutes left in regulation.

A high-scoring affair singled out Jeanpierre and Brown’s Patrick Powers. Jeanpierre came away with a career-high 27 points and a resilient effort under his belt, but Powers was the hero.

Powers hit a lay-up and a three-pointer in the final minute to send the game into overtime. Playing for injured star Earl Hunt, Powers finished with a game-high 34 points.

The Bears hit their key free throws down the stretch to officially offset a big Navy comeback.

American (0-3)
The Eagles are still winless after continuing their tough non-conference bill with a 69-61 loss at the hands of the Big East’s Virginia Tech on the road Saturday.

But they have to be happy with the way senior guards Glenn Stokes and Steven Miles have been feeding off one another in the early season.

The two were at it again Saturday. Stokes notched nineteen points, four rebounds and three steals while Miles scored all of his fifteen points in the second half to lead a late-game surge.

Yet American could not overcome a decisive Hokies size advantage. Led by senior Terry Taylor’s 21 points and ten rebounds and junior Carlos Dixon’s sixteen points, seven assists and three blocks, Virginia Tech was able to stave off several Eagle second-half runs. A Miles free throw brought American within three at 56-53 with 4:38 left in the contest, but that was as close as the Eagles would come.

American was hampered by 37 percent shooting and ten turnovers in the second half and, as a result, is still seeking its first win of the season at Liberty on Tuesday.

Colgate (2-2)
Tim Sullivan and LaBraun Andrews each scored fourteen points to lead the way in a 92-56 thrashing of Hobart Sunday. Largely due to the Raiders’ ownership of the boards, out-rebounding the Statesmen 50-33, they cruised after opening the game with a 13-point run.

In all, Colgate put together a well-balanced effort, but expects the scale to tip out of its favor when the Raiders travel to Syracuse Tuesday night to take on the Orangemen at the Carrier Dome.

Lafayette (0-3)
Winston Davis had fourteen points and Andrew Pleick had twelve, but little else went the Leopards’ way as they were bruised and battered in an 85-62 loss at Arizona State Saturday. Led by Ike Diogu’s 27 points (the biggest game for a Sun Devil freshman in nearly 11 years), Arizona State improved to 4-1 on the season.

Lafayette’s only whisper of competition came in the form of a 26-14 run in response to a 48-17 halftime deficit.

     

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