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Touring the Northeast

January 21, 2003 Columns No Comments


Touring Around the Northeast

by Phil Kasiecki

Can The Eagles Keep Up Some Momentum?

Boston College got a big win on Thursday night in Raleigh, as they knocked off North Carolina State behind a season breakout game for junior Ryan Sidney. Sidney had 24 points on 11-13 shooting, nicely complementing Troy Bell’s 25 points and 8 assists.

It was thought that the game would be a momentum builder for the Eagles, but for most of the first half on Sunday, it looked like they would not be able to keep it up. West Virginia dominated in the Eagles for most of the first half, eventually building up a 36-20 lead on the lifeless Eagles before Boston College scored the final 10 points of the half. They were unstoppable in the second half, shooting almost 61%, and finished the game with 24 assists against 13 turnovers, but they still had to sweat it out in the final minutes despite a career-high 30 points from solid freshman Craig Smith.

The Eagles need to gather some new momentum, as they head to Villanova to take on a Wildcat team that is quietly undefeated in Big East play, then welcome a Notre Dame team that has been in or near the top ten in the polls since a few weeks into the season.

Huskies Finally On the Board, Terriers Continue to Assert Themselves

Northeastern got its first America East win over the season when they blew out New Hampshire on Saturday at Solomon Court. The Huskies manhandled the Wildcats in the paint with 44 points to New Hampshire’s 20, and surging junior forward Sylbrin Robinson had 20 points and led the carnage on the glass with 16 rebounds. The Huskies out-rebounded the Wildcats by a 42-25 margin and had 20 assists against 15 turnovers.

Their games last week showed that the Huskies will go as far as their defense will take them, as they can score plenty of points while struggling to stop teams with only New Hampshire allowing more points per contest. Last Wednesday, they allowed Maine to shoot a blistering 14-20 on three-pointers in losing 90-76. Maine shot 56.3% overall and beat the Huskies on the glass as well to win despite turning the ball over 26 times.

Boston University continues to lead the pack, winning a close road decision on Saturday at Hartford to remain undefeated. The Terriers continue to get a lift off the bench to show their depth, with senior Paul Seymour leading the way. With 15 points in Wednesday night’s home win over Stony Brook, Seymour passed the 1,000-point mark for his career.

The cross-town rivals have their first meeting of the season on Saturday at Northeastern’s Solomon Court. If the Huskies can get out and run, as well as take care of the ball and rebound, they could take this one. They need another big effort from Sylbrin Robinson on the post, as the Terriers are a solid rebounding team.

The Minutemen Are Not Shooting Stars

The struggles continue in Amherst, as Massachusetts dropped two more games this past week. The primary reason was a familiar one, as the Minutemen continue to struggle shooting the ball despite shooting just under 51% Saturday night against Xavier. They made just 3 of 29 three-point attempts in their two games this past week, including just 1 of 15 against Xavier.

The Minutemen continue to look solid on the post, as Jackie Rogers had a career-high 23 points against Xavier and sophomore Gabe Lee played well at the offensive end despite not having a single rebound. The Minutemen are getting some good looks on the perimeter, but the shots are not dropping.

Freshman guard Michael Lasme played through an injury Saturday night and looked good, especially on penetration. He looks to be more of a point guard, and with Anthony Anderson being the team’s best shooter, the Minutemen might do well to play them together with Lasme handling the ball more and trying to create for Anderson and others.

The Minutemen now hit the road for the next three games, the first two of which will be against rising teams in the Atlantic Ten in LaSalle and George Washington, though the Colonials have struggled out of the gate in conference play.

Other Notes From Around The Nation

Xavier may be without Lionel Chalmers for a month, but they won’t miss a beat at the point with the play of Dedrick Finn. The freshman point guard has a better than 2:1 assist/turnover ratio and has stepped up since Chalmers went out with 19 assists in the first three games, then a 21-point effort on Saturday at Massachusetts in which he made all five of his field goal attempts (four were three-pointers).

Looking for a sleeper team that might surprise someone in the NCAA Tournament? Try Morehead State from the Ohio Valley Conference. They have a terrific junior backcourt of heady point man Marquis Sykes and scorer Ricky Minard, with Chez Marks being a fine complement on the perimeter. They have won seven straight games and are 6-0 in conference play thus far. While they don’t have world-beaters on the post, teams with solid guard play have been surprises in the tournament, and they might be the next one.

Best of luck to Mt. St. Mary’s head coach Jim Phelan on his upcoming retirement. The 73-year old Phelan, who has coached more games than anyone else (1,340 through this weekend) will finish out his 49th season as the head coach of Mt. St. Mary’s before stepping down. With six more wins, he will reach third place in career coaching wins, and that is a realistic possibility with the 5-8 Mountaineers.

     

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