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Patriot League Notebook

January 20, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Patriot League Notebook

by Phil Kasiecki

Holy Cross Looks Unbeatable

Holy Cross ran its winning streak to six games this past week with an 86-43 thrashing of Colgate and a 76-70 win at Lafayette. The Crusaders are at or near the top in the Patriot League in many statistical categories, including by far the top rebounding margin with their huge front line. Only Colgate turns the ball over less, and only Navy forces more turnovers than the Crusaders. Having the big front line allows the perimeter defenders to take more chances, and it shows in the overall defensive play.

The Crusaders have been balanced as well: they have three of the top 11 scorers in the Patriot League, and Tim Szatko leads the way at 12.8 points per game.

Against Lafayette, the Crusaders won the game by beating the Leopards into submission with a 36-23 edge on the glass and forcing 15 turnovers to win despite shooting just 43% from the field and allowing the Leopards to shoot nearly 57%.

Right On Their Heels

Lehigh has also started out the season 3-0 in Patriot League play and has a five-game winning streak after pulling out close ones at Bucknell (60-56) and at home against disappointing American (57-54). The Mountain Hawks are right behind the Crusaders in several statistical categories and lead in field goal percentage defense.

The defense was especially present in their most recent game against American, which features the excellent backcourt of Steven Miles and Glenn Stokes. Miles had 18 points on 7-9 shooting, but Stokes, the Patriot League’s fourth-leading scorer, had just 4 points on 1-11 shooting.

The Mountain Hawks have protected their home court well, as they are 7-0 at home thus far. They have two more home dates this weekend before they head to Worcester for an early season showdown with Holy Cross.

Logjam in the Middle of the Pack

Colgate is 2-1, then four teams sit at 1-2 after this week’s play.

Colgate rebounded from a thrashing at Holy Cross to blow out Army on Saturday, 86-58. The Red Raiders were off and running early, taking a 49-28 lead into the locker room, easing to victory from there. The Raiders need to pick it up at the defensive end if they are to have any chance of contending, as they are the conference’s worst defensive team.

Bucknell won its league opener at home against American before dropping two straight, but they look to have the league’s top player in senior Boakai Lalugba, who leads the conference in scoring and rebounding, leading in the latter category by almost three rebounds over Navy’s Francis Ebong. They also have the league’s top scoring freshman in Kevin Bettencourt, who is averaging 10 points but not shooting as well as he is capable of.

Navy forces more turnovers than anyone else in the league, but their defense aside from that has been nothing to write home about as only Colgate allows opponents to shoot the ball better. The Midshipmen lack firepower behind the arc as they are the worst three-point shooting team in the league. With their 66-53 win over Bucknell on Saturday, they snapped a four-game losing streak.

Lafayette and American are both 1-2 in the Patriot League as well, but both could have a say in things down the line. Both have wins over Atlantic Ten teams on their resume, while Lafayette won five straight games at one point and American has the excellent senior backcourt of Glenn Stokes and Steven Miles.

Coming Up

Several non-conference matchups open the week. Of note is that American and Navy host two of the league leaders, Colgate and Holy Cross, while Lehigh has home games against Lafayette and Army. Holy Cross and Lehigh could both be 5-0 when they meet in Worcester the following week.

     

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