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Northeast Notebook

December 16, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Northeast Conference Notebook

by Chris Roddy

Connecticut Educates the NEC

Connecticut’s top-ranked education record is undoubtedly a direct reflection of having a difficult to spell state name. Does that transcend into why University of Connecticut men’s basketball gets straight A’s against the NEC? Anyhow, presumably most guys playing D-I hoops passed their SAT’s (again, the operative word here is most). So, in the spirit of education, let’s have a little academic fun with an SAT analogy.

Connecticut’s record against New England rivals is to domination as the NEC’s record against UConn is to what?

Answer (please select only one):
(a) Exoneration
(b) Exclamation
(c) Consternation
(d) Humiliation

The ninth-ranked Huskies of UConn have simply schooled NEC opponents. In the course of three weeks Coach Jim Calhoun’s bunch trounced Quinnipiac (91-72), hipped Sacred Heart (116-78) and soundly defeated Wagner (97-85).

Fast Facts on UConn vs. the North East Conference:

• Quinnipiac is winless against UConn in four tries.

• Sacred Heart, still without a win this season, scored consecutive baskets only three times in their meeting with Connecticut.

• Wagner brought back some NEC respect on the strength of Dedrick Dye’s twenty-point game. The senior guard hit four three-pointers in the second half to cut the Seahawks’ deficit to five. But, ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough. Dereck Whittenburg, Wagner’s head coach, said of UConn’s star forward Emeka Okafor, “I don’t think he knows how good he is,” Whittenburg said. “I think he can get 30 [points] and 15 [boards] every night if he wants.”

And, UConn isn’t done with the NEC in 2002-03. Central Connecticut State will have to bring their slingshots into a December 28th inter-state David versus Goliath match. The CCSU Blue Devils probably have the best shot of the NEC teams to dethrone the Huskies. Junior forward Ron Robinson (Bronx, NY) will use his 6-7 build and 2002 NCAA tourney experience to try and shut down Okafor’s inside post game.

Amazing Stat:
The NEC has been a key source of fodder for Connecticut’s amazing winning streak (79) against non-Big East New England teams.

Final thoughts:
Quinnipiac’s coach Joe DeSantis said this of the Bobcats game with the unbeatable Huskies, “It was a good thing for us because we were thrown right into the fire.” If the NEC doesn’t start to learn a bit more from these games and eek out an upset soon, they’ll all be burned like Yule logs.

(The answer to the question above was D – Humiliation. I still hate the SAT’s.)

Last Place = Tremendous Success

Mount St. Mary’s is in dead last place and they couldn’t be happier. Say what? Head coach Jim Phelan’s club is only in last place due to a 0-1 showing in conference play, but have posted a solid 3-3 overall record for the year. This marks the first time The Mount has been .500 through six games since 1996. Also, Mount St. Mary’s victories over Duquesne and New Hampshire last week is the first time they’ve won two in a row since the 1999 season (beating University of Maryland at Baltimore and Sacred Heart).

Phelan is now only six victories behind Clarence Gaines in his quest to be the winningest coach in NCAA history.

Gaines, nicknamed “Big House,” compiled a record of 828-447 as coach of the Winston-Salem State University. He amassed a wealth of records that include:

Eighteen seasons with 20+ wins
Twelve Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships
A career .649 winning percentage
Five-time winner of CIAA Coach of the Year
NCAA Coach of the Year (1967)
A Division II championship (1967) and 31-1 overall record

Continue to check in with Hoopville as we document Coach Phelan’s climb into the history books and profile the coaching greats as he passes them.

Coach Ferry Brings Win(ning) to Long Island U.

Jim Ferry’s Long Island University Blackbirds notched their first win since December 30, 1999. After they defeated Army (72-56) last year, LIU went on to lose eighteen consecutive games. The long skid ended with graduate guard Antawn Dobie’s miraculous 27-point game against Colgate (78-70). Dobie was on crutches a couple of days before the game with a sprained ankle and wasn’t even supposed to play against Colgate. If we had an Ironman award, it’d surely go to Dobie this week.

Wagner’s Players Score (and score and score and score . . .)

Those Wagner boys sure can score. Senior guard Dedrick Dye hit the 1,000-point mark (career: 1,040) in the Seahawks loss to Iona. Dye is the 102nd player in NEC history to accomplish the feat. Meanwhile, senior forward Jermaine Hall is in the NEC top fifteen scorers of all-time (1,707 points). He will eclipse Connecticut State’s Corsley Edwards this week, needing just 24 points to do so. Projections have Hall hitting the 2,000 mark just over halfway through the season and finishing in the NEC’s top-five scorers.

Central Connecticut State Dismisses Player
Head coach Howie Dickenman dismissed CCSU senior guard Damian Battles for violating team rules. Details about what rules were disobeyed have not been released. Battles took home the 2002 NEC Tournament MVP award and totaled eighteen points in two games this season.

Player of the Week

Kareem Washington, University of Maryland at Baltimore
The senior guard had a monster week as UMBC remained in first place. Washington scored 23 points against Mount St. Mary’s, including the first six points of the second half. Later in the game, he hit two straight three-pointers to stave off a late Mount comeback. Washington is UMBC’s leading scorer through three games and is shooting an impressive .545 from the floor.


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