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America East Notebook

December 5, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



America East Notebook

by Stephen Murphy

Albany

The Great Danes were anything but in their first three games of the season falling to 0-3. Albany lost its season opener November 22nd to Siena 79-75 in the Pepsi Arena. Siena avenged a 60-48 loss last year to the Great Danes. Freshmen’s Levi Levine, and Jamar Wilson looked to be a bright spot for the Great Danes scoring 15, and 21 points respectively. Antoine Johnson would chip in with 17. The Dane defense was suspect however as they couldn’t stop Siena from having five of its players score in double digits.

Albany could not rebound in its home opener against Bucknell, losing 56-53. Senior center Brian Werner scored 11 points, including the go-ahead basket with 20 seconds remaining, to lead Bucknell to a 56-53 non-conference victory over Albany. This is a game that would feature nine lead changes, and coach Brown’s team is going to have to dig deep and come away with the “W” in these situations. Albany had an opportunity at the end, but had to go the full length of the court with no timeouts. The Great Danes failed to get a shot off. Controlling the boards is another facet of the game Albany must improve on if indeed they are going to win games like this, Bucknell out rebounded Albany 33-24

The Danes would fall to 0-3 at South Bend where they faced an Irish squad eager to prove its prowess early in this season. Irish G/F Dan Miller scored 19 of his career-high 22 points in the first half to lead Notre Dame to a 90-55 victory over Albany. Notre Dame’s Chris Thomas, a sophomore who was last year’s Big East Conference Rookie of the Year, totaled 14 points and seven assists. “They’re a quality team, but we gave too many uncontested shots,” said Albany coach Will Brown, “It’s a roller coaster ride with our young players; you hope they don’t make too many mistakes. Notre Dame is sound fundamentally, and a borderline top-20 team.” Youth so far has proven to be the glimmer at the end of the tunnel, as Levi Levine has scored in double digits in all three of their contests.

Binghamton

Binghamton built a 10-point halftime lead and went on to defeat visiting Lafayette 77-68 in the season-opener for both teams. The Bearcats put four players in double figures, led by senior guard Anthony Green who had a game high 16 points. Sophomore 7-foot center Nick Billings contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks. Freshmen Joel Casseus and Sebastian Hermenier added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Binghamton went to 2-0 with a 70-42 trouncing of Columbia. The Bearcats limited Columbia to three field goals in the opening period, built a 20-point halftime margin, and cruised to the 28-point victory. The last time Binghamton began the season 2-0 was in the 1998-99 season. “I’m very proud of our guys,” BU head coach Al Walker said. “We defended against a very difficult, intricate offense, and once again, it was our bench that made all the difference.” The Bearcats were lead by senior guard Anthony Green who scored a game high 20 points.

Binghamton won their first road contest of the season defeating Long Island University 75-66, as Senior forward Jeffrey St. Fort lead all scorers with 20 points. Green scored 13 points and handed out four assists, hitting a pair of free throws in the final minute helping seal the victory. Junior Brandon Carter scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and Billings added 11 points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Stanley Ocitti drilled back-to-back three-pointers in the first half and wound up with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

There was more good news as Coach AL Walker announced the signing of Alex Adediran, a 6-foot-8 forward from Georgia. Adediran, currently a sophomore at Seward Community College in Liberal, Kansas, joins recently-signed guard Troy Hailey as BU’s early National Letter of Intent signees.

The Bearcats would suffer their first loss of the season to 1-3 Dartmouth. Binghamton’s late rally was withstood, as Dartmouth knocked down 11 three-pointers defeating the Bearcats 67-61. Things are only going to get tougher as Binghamton plays Denver in the first round of the Iowa State Challenge, before traveling to Syracuse, then to Villanova. Binghamton will have a solid backcourt if Green and Charles Baker stay healthy, both were bothered by foot injuries last season. St. Fort is a reliable option in the low post every night, and the development of the leagues only 7-footer Nick Billings is critical.

Boston

The hangover from the Preseason NIT was hard to counteract, but BU would rebound to annihilate Columbia in their next game. Ryan Butt and Matt Turner shared high-scoring honors, each scoring 12 points. Butt had a big one (game that is) also adding a game-high six rebounds, while Turner had four assists. Chaz Carr tallied 11 points and four assists, and Columbia failed to place anyone in double figure scoring. The win a timely one as The B. U. men’s basketball program has received National Letters of Intent from Pat Martin, a 6-foot-2 guard from Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass., and Douglass McLaughlin-Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from South Lakes High School in Reston. Coach Dennis Wolff was looking for all the momentum the Terriers could get they traveled a few miles to the Conte Forum to take on cross-town rival Boston College.

All American mention Troy Bell scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Boston College men’s basketball team to an 80-61 victory. Billy Collins led the Terriers, tallying his 10th-career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He made 4-of-6 from the three-point line. Ryan Sidney, one of four BC players in double-figures scoring, added 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Boston would rebound against Dartmouth as Junior forward Jason Grochowalski scored 10 of his game-high 19 points during a decisive 16-0 second-half run, leading the Terriers to a 65-53 victory. Grochowalski, had a double-double in the winning effort, grabbing ten boards. The Terriers would hold on to defeat Harvard as Junior guard Matt Turner and senior forward Billy Collins scored 17 of the Terriers’ last 19 points in the final 5:29, lifting the Boston University men’s basketball team to a 68-61 victory . Turner was clutch late in the contest three times nailing a jumper to pull the Terriers even. Turner would finish with 22 points, and three Terriers would score in double figures. The win put Boston over the .500 mark at 3-2 heading into Thursdays match up with St. Josephs

Hartford

The University of Hartford opened the 2002-03 season in style, Drowning Long Island University 81-76. Senior Pierre Johnson led three Hawks in double figures and tied a career best with 23 points, as the Hawks won their season opener for the first time since 1999. Jerell Parker, a JuCo transfer added 22 points, and five boards in his first start as a Hawk. Parker and Johnson became the first Hartford duo to score 20 points apiece since the 1999-2000 season.

UH would improve to 2-0 for the first time in a decade with a 70-57 win over Delaware State University. Pierre Johnson led the Hawks with 17 points, as Hartford opened a season 2-0 for the first time since 1992-93. The two outstanding performances would earn the Senior forward Johnson America East Player of the Week. Coach Larry Harrison keeps things in perspective, especially after dropping the final 16 games of the season two years ago. After winning 10 more games the following year the Hawks are not satisfied. Harrison has upgraded the talent on his team that already has four of its five top scorers back from last season. Hartford will look to improve to 3-0 against Oklahoma St., where no Hartford team in their Division one era has opened a season at that mark

Maine

Maine would open their season in the Maine Tip-Off Tournament with a 118-61 victory over UM-Fort Kent, before losing the next round to Georgia Southern 91-77. The Black Bears, missing five players critical to their success, used only seven players each one logging between 24 and 36 minutes. Justin Rowe, Rickey White, Mark Flavin, Ludmil Hadjisotirov and Clayton Brown were suspended last week for violating an NCAA book-allowance rule. Rowe and White were ordered to sit out the opening five games, while Flavin, Hadjisotirov and Brown were given three-game suspensions. Sophomore Joe Campbell led the Black Bears with 14 points and six rebounds, shooting 4-for-8 from the three-point line. David Dubois another Sophomore played 39 minutes of the game, scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds.

The loss is too much for The Black Bears to overcome, as they would drop four straight after winning their opener. Maine traveled to New Orleans to play Tulane in the University Hoops Classic. Maine would lose that battle 84-65 to the Green Wave. Tulane used a 40-22 halftime lead to pace the win as the second half was a much closer 44-43 Green Wave edge.

Maine would drop their contest with Central Florida Despite a late second-half rally to come within two 72-55 in the University Hoops Classic in New Orleans, La. The Black Bears would go on to play for fifth place against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Like their previous three games Maine lost 79-63, The Black Bears trailed by only two going into halftime, but the Panthers outscored Maine 40-26 in the second half. Sophomore Joe Campbell scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the effort. Campbell shot 9-for-14 from the floor, collecting two steals and one assist. The Black Bears can now prepare for the return of team Leader Rowe as they prepare for Clemson on Saturday in Anderson, South Carolina.

New Hampshire

Coach Phil Rowe has modeled his up-tempo style of play after Rick Pitino’s Louisville team. The high-octane style tries to wear opponents physically, which aided UNH last year to their highest seed in an America East Tournament since 1995. Coach Rowe has seen his victory total increase the last three seasons.

UNH needs to pick up the intensity if they aspire to see a transition of recent results. Opening night in Miami went well if you read too much into statistics. The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team, despite shooting 40 percent from three-point range, fell to the University of Miami in its season-opener at Miami Arena 93-58. The Wildcats were a combined 10 for 25 from beyond the arc, including 3 for 8 shooting from freshman Jeremy Friel who finished the game with nine points. Junior Griffin Walker was the ‘Cats top-scorer with 12 points, nine of which came via the three on a perfect 3 for 3 shooting from behind the line.

One would figure to beat Miami; containment of Darius Rice would be the principal element. The Wildcats, to a certain extent executed on their main goal, as Rice was held to 19 points. The problem was James Jones contributed with a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) and the Canes breezed. Now if I’m a cat I take some positives, If I’m a Wildcat playing for Phil Rowe, I look to compete with Northwestern my next game. Ronnie Dennis scored a career-high 18 points on four of seven shooting from three point range, but it wasn’t enough as the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball was bombarded 81-55 by Northwestern University. Griffin Walker, the leading scorer in the opener was held to two points, while Jeff Senulis could only manage six. The loss left UNH at 0-2 on the young season. Meanwhile, the host Wildcats moved to 2-0 on the year.

Walker would lead the team with 18 points and 12 rebounds, but Liberty University still came away with the victory, spoiling the Wildcats home-opener Saturday at Lundholm Gymnasium in front of 1,010 fans.

The Wildcats tried in vain to rebound for a fourth time against an inferior opponent but New Hampshire came up just short against Mt. St. Mary’s, 70-68, dropping its fourth straight to start the season on Monday at Knott Arena in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Junior Marcus Bullock’s three-pointer with 45 seconds go tied the game up at 68 apiece. However, with three seconds remaining on the clock, Mt. St. Mary’s Pat Atangan hit a pair of free throws to seal the game for the Mountaineers who move to 2-2, and increase the misery of New Hampshire. Ben Sturgill, a Sophomore guard had a solid effort with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Senulis, Walker, and Marcus Bullock all scored in double digits in the loss.

Northeastern

After opening up their campaign with a loss to Rhode Island the Huskies regrouped to win two consecutive. It was imperative that they come together for Coach Ron Everhart as they set off to the west. Everhart had to be pleased with his back-court play, especially that of Freshman Jose Juan Barrera who before the trip was averaging 19 ppg. Barea’s three-point attempt as time expired rimmed out as Northeastern nearly shocked New Mexico, 90-88, at The Pit in Albuquerque. Junior Sylbrin Robinson inbounded the ball to Barea, who sprinted the length of the floor and had a contested, but clean look at the rim from 22 feet.

Barea led the NU offensive attack with 24 points, while Javorie Wilson added 19.

Northeastern completed the trip to the western U.S. with a 71-56 loss to Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, December 4th, dropping the Huskies to 2-3 on the season. Junior transfer Javorie Wilson led Northeastern with 15 points, Barea had 14 before fouling out. The Lumberjacks jumped to an early 25-5 lead just 10 minutes into the game and never looked back.

Stony Brook

The Seawolves didn’t take long to find a contest that needed an extra period to govern a winner, as they opened the season with an overtime win against Sacred Heart. Jairus McCollum scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to power Stony Brook to a 75-64 victory. The win was the first season-opening win for SB since an 81-61 win over Brooklyn Polytech on November 10, 1997. Freshman Bobby Santiago took control for Stony Brook in the overtime, scoring nine of his 16 points. With the scored tied at 64, Santiago drained a jumper that keyed an 11-0 run over the final three minutes of overtime to give Stony Brook its first win of the season.

The win built up momentum for SB heading into their match up with St. Johns. Red Storm star Marcus Hatten would not start due to disciplinary reasons. Hatten came off the bench to score 19 points though as St. John’s struggled to a 68-57 season-opening victory over the Seawolves. Anthony Glover added 12 points, Eric King 11 and freshman Elijah Ingram 10 for the Red Storm, who led 31-29 at halftime. Sophomore Center JonPaul Kobryn scored 17 points for the, and guard Bobby Santiago had 13.

Stony Brook lost their following encounter with Harvard before putting together a two game win streak, a wave the Wolves can ride for a week until their next contest at Home vs. Army on December 12th. SB has a lot to look forward to as Freshman Bobby Santiago scored 23 points and handed out four assists to lead Stony Brook to a 95-51 win over Rhode Island College. Santiago bettered his previous season high of 16 points by connecting on 7 of 10 shots from the field, 5 of 7 from three-point range. The Seawolves registered their most decisive win since a 107-45 defeat of New England College on November 21, 2000. It was Santiago’s third time in four tries that he has registered in double figures, and Coach Nick Macarchuk is excited about what he brings to the team. Santiago would make it four out of five netting 17 points as the Wolves won their second in a row over Columbia. Mike Orthini, and Hendrik Feist chipped in with 14, and 10 respectively.

Vermont

Juniors Matt Sheftic and Scotty Jones returned to the lineup to lead four Catamounts in double figures as Vermont topped Eastern Michigan, 71-64, in the opening round of the Pepsi Marist Classic. The win was the first in a season opener in five years for Vermont. It also was the second straight season the Cats topped a school from the Mid American Conference, one of the better mid-major leagues in the nation. UVM head coach Tom Brennan earned his 250th career victory in the win. The tournament title is the second straight for the Catamounts, who prior to winning the FIU Holiday Classic last December, had never won a mid-season tourney against an all-Division I field

Coppenrath would score 24 points as Vermont rolled past Dartmouth, 62-41 in Vermont’s home opener. Vermont improved to 3-0, their best start since 1996-97. They also have now won 11 straight home games; just two off the school record set in 1947. Coppenrath scored 23 points and had 12 boards but could not stop the flurry of Utah State as they went down 62-59, ending a 3-game win streak in the first round of the Hilo Shoot-out. Coach Tom Brennan was proud of his players against what he felt was a solid Aggie squad. It was a champion match-up with Vermont being the A-East, and Utah State the Big West winners of the previous season. The game featured six lead changes. The Catamounts would lose their next game, one they wish they could have back as Hawaii-Hilo shot five-of-nine from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes. Sophomore Taylor Coppenrath was named to the Hilo Shoot-out all-tournament. The 6-foot-9 Sophomore now leads the America East in scoring averaging 21.2 PPG.

In Vermont’s toughest contest of the season they lost a hard fought struggle to Providence Wednesday at Providence. Ryan Gomes had 16 points as Providence rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit for a 71-60 victory. Maris Laksa had 15,and Tuukka Kotti added 13 points and Sheiku Kabba scored 12 points for the Friars. Coppenrath was the only player in double figures for the Catamounts with a game-high 25 points. But he had just four in the second half. The Friars went on an 18-5 run, highlighted by four 3-pointers, to pull ahead 49-48 in the first five minutes of the second half. Vermont will have plenty of time to rest and develop an additional scoring option other than Coppenrath, as their next game is not until December 17th at Harvard.

     

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