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Patriot Notebook

February 19, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Patriot Notebook

by Harry Adams

Crusaders Demonstrate League Dominance

Patrick Whearty scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds along with Jave Meade scoring 18 points and dishing out seven assists as Holy Cross defeated Lafayette 73-65 Saturday.

The Crusaders (19-4, 9-1 PL) are now two games ahead of Lehigh and American, both at 7-3. American (12-11) held off Lehigh (15-8) Saturday by a 69-59 margin to create the second-place tie with four games remaining in the regular-season.

For fourth place there is also a three-way tie in the PL standings between Bucknell (11-12, 5-5), Colgate (10-13, 5-5) and Lafayette (11-12, 5-5). Bucknell snapped a two-game skid Friday night with a 59-41 victory over Navy (6-17, 2-8 PL) on the PL Friday Night Game of the Week national telecast. Colgate tallied a 68-58 win at Army (5-17, 0-10 PL) Saturday to stay with the Bison and Leopards.

Holy Cross will have the opportunity to clinch at least a tie for the regular-season title next weekend (Feb. 21/23) when the League plays its third of four “travel weekends.”

The Crusaders host American Friday in the DIRECTV Game of the Week (9 p.m., channel 611), followed by Navy on Sunday afternoon. Should the Crusaders sweep these two games, they would have at least a two-game lead over the rest of the pack with two games remaining to play, thus securing their tie for first.

Other home teams for next week’s Friday/Sunday contests are Army (vs. Lehigh/Bucknell), Colgate (vs. Navy/American) and Lafayette (vs. Bucknell/Lehigh).

Saturday at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass., Crusaders senior Tim Szatko had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the fifth-straight victory for Holy Cross. Lafayette was led by Justin DeBerry and Winston Davis, each with 19 points.

The Crusaders led by as many as 14 in the second half, 52-38, before the Leopards went on a 16-6 run to pull within 58-54 with 8:30 to play.

Mike Farrell, who finished with 10 points, scored six consecutive points in the run and Davis hit back-to-back field goals. But it was Szatko’s baseline jumper and Nate Lufkin’s field goal and free throw allowed Holy Cross to pull away.

The Leopards missed three field goal attempts along with two turnovers on their next five possessions. Meade hit five free throws as Holy Cross made it 70-59 with less than two minutes to play.

At American’s Bender Arena, senior guard Steven Miles scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half to lead American to a 69-59 win over Lehigh.

American, which has now won four straight, made 13 3-pointers and moved the team’s overall record over the .500 for the first time this season.

Matt Logie scored 20 to lead the Mountain Hawks, who opened the second half on a 13-2 run to get within two after trailing 30-17 at the half. However, the Eagles responded with a 20-8 over the next eight minutes to take control of the game, capped by one of four 3-pointers by Miles.

Matt Crawford scored 13 for Lehigh, which has now lost three straight on the road. Andres Rodriguez scored nine of his 17 on 3-pointers and had 10 assists for the Eagles, who improved their home record to 8-1 this season.

At West Point’s Christl Arena, Colgate junior forward Mark Linebaugh scored 22 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Raiders to a 68-58 win over Army.

Colgate snaps a two-game losing streak with its seventh straight win over the Black Knights.

The Raiders’ victory was only their third on the road in 12 outings. Also in double figures for the Raiders was Dave Hardy with 12 points and five assists.

Hardy becomes only the second player in school history to record 100 assists in a season for a second time. He has 104 this season and had 109 during the 2000-01 campaign.

Army was led by Matt Collins with 18 points and Bill Mohr with 10.

Colgate held an earlier 9-6 lead before exploding for 11 straight points behind Linebaugh’s eight points for a 20-6 advantage with 10:39 remaining. The Raiders increased their lead to 15 points before settling for a 36-26 halftime lead.

In the second half, Colgate was leading by 16 points, 53-37, with 13:34 left, before Army launched a 12-1 run to draw within five points, 54-49.

Colgate answered immediately with seven straight points on Howard Blue’s jumper and Tim Sullivan’s five points to take control of the contest.

Friday night at The Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Chris Niesz scored 18 points to lead Bucknell to a 59-41 victory over Navy.

Boakai Lalugba scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds for Bucknell, which led 24-21 at the half.

Taj Mathews scored 10 points to lead Navy (6-17, 2-8).

Bucknell jumped to an 11-0 lead in the first half, with six of the points from Lalugba. Bucknell led 40-21 with 13:58 remaining in the second half and was ahead 53-33 with 5:08 to go.

A Time for Introspection in “Middle-of-the-Road”

With the Blizzard of 2003 blanketing all of the Patriot League and bringing much of society to a standstill, now may be as good a time as ever for intense scrutiny on what is needed to be done for the “middle-of-the-road” teams.

Bucknell (11-12), Lafayette (11-12), and Colgate (10-13) are all knotted at 5-5. American (12-11) and Lehigh (15-8) are tied at 7-3 in Patriot League play. All of which are chasing the two-time defending league champions Holy Cross.

So why now for the intense scrutiny? These middle of the road teams, in particular those tied at 5-5, have not yet demonstrated night-in-night-out consistency.

It is essential for these teams to identify what player combinations, offensive game plans, defensive game plans, etc. it will take to finish the regular season with momentum. This momentum is paramount to a quality showing in the Patriot League Tournament in March.

Holy Cross

The only consistency that has been demonstrated thus far is from the Holy Cross Crusaders (19-4, 9-1).

The two-time defending champion is using a team effort to roll through the Patriot League. The Crusaders are placing four players in double figures in scoring. Patrick Whearty (12.3 ppg), Tim Szatko (12.0 ppg), Jave Mead (11.6 ppg), and Brian Wilson (11.5 ppg) round out the balanced attack. Whearty and Szatko each average 6.3 rebounds per game, while Jave Mead leads the team in both assists and steals (6.2 assists/game, 2.7 steals/game).

Lehigh

Lehigh (15-8, 7-3) came out of the Patriot League starting blocks in full stride, however hit a skid where they lost two straight. Since then Lehigh won two straight including their 11th home win of the season, and their 12th in a row dating back to last season. Then came the lost to American 69-59 on Saturday despite senior Matt Logie’s 20 point outing.

The big story with the Lehigh program has been the turnaround Coach Billy Taylor, his staff, and players have orchestrated thus far in the season. Lehigh is +10 in the win totals which ties for the best in the country with Mercer.

The Mountain Hawks are led by seniors Matt Logie and Zlatko Savovic.

American

American (12-11, 7-3) is riding a four game winning streak with their next contest on February 21st at the league leading Holy Cross Crusaders in Worcester, Mass.

The four game winning streak has allowed the Eagles to sneak into a tie for second place with Lehigh.

Steve Miles (16.00 ppg) and Glenn Stokes (15.3 ppg) lead the way for the Eagles. Their outside shooting has proven to be the team’s strength which usually has other teams’ primary goal of containing these two players.

Bucknell

After starting league play at 4-2, the Bucknell Bison found themselves in the middle of an ugly traveling schedule as six of seven games put the Bison in the opponents gyms.

After dropping three in a row, the Bison posted a convincing victory over the Midshipmen of Navy 59-41 in front of their home crowd on Valentine’s Day. A “sweet” victory to say the least in that it was the Bison’s first home game in a span of 33 days.

A telling tale of the season thus far is home versus away win-loss records (Home 6-2, Away 2-9). Combine this with offensive inconsistency and one quickly realizes why the Bison are where they are.

On a positive note, the Bison lead the Patriot League in defensive field goal percentage and rank nationally in this category.

Boakai Lalugba leads the Bison with 15.2 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per contest. Lalugba has made a very serious statement at the Patriot League Player of the Year with his consistency. Kevin Bettencourt has been a very nice surprise for the Bison by averaging 10.2 points per game.

Colgate

The Colgate Raiders (10-13, 5-5) find themselves in the “middle-of-the-road” being tied with Bucknell and Lafayette at 5-5 in Patriot League play.

Howard Blue (12.4 points/game) and Mark Linebaugh (12.3 points/game) lead the way for the Raiders who recently snapped a 2 game losing streak with a 68-58 win over Army.

Linebaugh recently moved into 23rd place all-time in scoring for Colgate when he dumped 35 points in a losing effort on the league leading Holy Cross Crusaders.

Lafayette

Leading the way all season long for the Leopards (11-12, 5-5) has been Justin DeBerry (16.7 points per game) and Winston Davis (13.9 points per game).

As with Bucknell, the Leopards struggle on the road in the opponents gymnasiums. In conference play the Leopards are a polar opposite when it comes to home versus away (Home 4-1, Away 1-4).

Despite their mediocore performance this season, Lafayette leads the Patriot League in attendance as it has for the last five seasons.

Certainly one of the “middle-of-the-road” teams who need to create momentum heading into Patriot League Tournament play in March.

Navy

The Midshipmen (6-17, 2-8) are led by three players who all score in double figures in Scott Long (11.6 ppg), Jason Jeanpierre (10.3 ppg), and Francis Ebong (10.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg).

As a recurring theme in the Patriot League, Navy has struggled all season long includng 1-9 Away record overall. The disappointing season for the Midshipmen has included a loss to Division III Johns Hopkins.

Army

Winless! There is no way to “sugar-coat” this season’s Patriot League performance by the Black Knights. Winless!

     

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