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Northeast Conference Notebook

December 3, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Northeast Conference Notebook

by Keith Burdette

It’s hard to believe, but the conference season opens this weekend with Quinnipiac facing in-state rival Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils come off only their second loss in the history of the Mohegan Sun Classic after falling to Loyola Marymount in the final. After losing the first game on the Big Island, the Bobcats won the last two to earn a tri-championship in the Hawaii-Hilo Classic. With the Saturday game, both teams have all week to prepare. CCSU looks to make a statement at home and prove that they are the favorite to win the NEC title. Long Island and Sacred Heart open their conference seasons on Monday. Both teams have to be the early surprises of the NEC with the league’s top two records to this point. With both teams picked to finish in the middle of the pack, the winner gets a chance to show they belong among the elite of the NEC. With only these two conference games this weekend, look for CCSU and LIU to get off to quick starts in league play.

Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (1-1)

The Blue Devils finally started off the season last weekend with a split of their own Mohegan Sun Classic. In game one, CCSU defeated Charleston Southern 67-56. Rich Pittman had a double-double with 21 points and ten rebounds to lead the way with Ron Robinson adding eighteen points. The Blue Devils jumped out to a 40-24 at the break in large part to 17 Buccaneer turnovers. The championship saw CCSU losing to Loyola Marymount 58-57. Ron Robinson had a double-double with fourteen points and thirteen rebounds, but fouled out with three minutes to play with his team leading 56-49. After that, the Lions went on a 9-1 run to end the game. Justin Chiera missed a three-pointer at the buzzer which would have given the Blue Devils the win. Despite the loss in the final, Ron Robinson and T. Ron Christy were named to the all tournament team. Robinson averaged 16 points and nine rebounds while Christy averaged 10.5 points and four assists. The only game this week for the Blue Devils is Saturday’s match-up with Quinnipiac.

Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (2-2)

The Knights opened the week on Tuesday with a tough one point loss at Morgan State. The Knights jumped out to a 14 point halftime lead but the Bears battled back in the second half for the 76-75 win. Brandon Edwards had 22 points for a new career high while Gordon Klaiber added fifteen points and eleven rebounds for a double-double. On Saturday, the Knights opened the home schedule with a game against American. It took two separate rallies in the second half to come away with the win. Trailing by three at the break, FDU fell behind by seven at one point but came back to take the lead by two at 42-40. They stretched the lead to four at 52-48 before a 6-0 run gave American a two point lead. A three-pointer with five seconds left by Tamien Trent gave the Knights the lead and ultimately the 55-54 win. Klaiber led the way with fourteen points while Trent’s three gave him thirteen points in just eighteen minutes of play. On Monday, FDU played DIII Cabrini and coasted to a 90-68 win. Gordon Klaiber led four players in double figures with 20 points. The only game this week is a trip to Tallahassee on Saturday to face Florida State. It’s the last tune-up before starting conference play next Saturday against Long Island.

Long Island Blackbirds (2-0)

The only team in the NEC without a loss, last week the Blackbirds beat Hartford 65-64. Raymond Edwards had a double-double with 20 points and twelve rebounds to lead the way. But freshman again keyed the win as Evan Meekins hit five three-pointers in the first half for his 15 points in the game and was named NEC Rookie of the Week while James Williams scored eleven points including two game-winning free-throws with 4.7 seconds left on the clock. On the tap this week for LIU are Delaware on Wednesday and Bighamton on Friday before the game with Sacred Heart on Monday.

Monmouth Hawks (2-2)

The Hawks only game last week was a setback to St. Peter’s 76-63. Brian Boxler came back from his concussion but Dwayne Byfield missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle. A barrage of nine three-pointers from the Peacocks in the first half gave them an 18 point lead at the break. The Hawks could get the game no closer than twelve in the second half as St. Peter’s cruised to the victory. Blake Hamilton led the way with 22 points while Chris Kenny and Marques Alston each reached double figures. Two more games on the road await Monmouth this week with a Tuesday date with Siena and a Saturday game with in-state rival Rutgers. Folks in Jersey are hoping Byfield will soon recover from his injury.

Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (0-5)

Last week’s only game was against then 17th ranked Notre Dame. The Mount kept it close in the first half and trailed by only four at 29-25 but the Irish sparked a 30-9 run that spanned the end of the first half and beginning of the second en route to the 78-64 win. Nick Dodson had seventeen points and eight rebounds to pace the Mount while Landy Thompson also added seventeen points. It’s another quick week with only High Point on the slate this Saturday.

Quinnipiac Bobcats (2-3)

Despite four players in double figures, the Bobcats dropped the opener of the Hawaii-Hilo Classic to Rider 89-70. The Broncos scored the first nine points of the game and Quinnipiac could never quite recover. Rob Monroe had fifteen points and six assists to start his impressive weekend. He added fourteen points against Dartmouth and hit a key three-pointer down the stretch to keep his team close. Rashaun Banjo hit two free-throws with eight seconds to play to give the Bobcats the 65-64 win. But Monroe saved his best game for Sunday against the tournament host Hawaii-Hilo. Monroe scored a career high 36 points, including six three-pointers, while grabbing seven boards to lead the Bobcats to the 85-74 win and a share of the Hawaii-Hilo Classic championship. Monroe was named tournament MVP and NEC player of the week for his performance. In addition to the showdown with Central Connecticut State on Saturday, the Bobcats must travel to Philly for a game at Drexel on Monday.

Robert Morris Colonials (0-2)

The Colonials lost their only game last week to 22nd ranked Pittsburgh. Like the Mount against Notre Dame, RMU kept the game close for much of the first half, but a cold spell allowed the Panthers to build the lead to thirteen late in the first half. The lead was only nine at the break but the Colonials could get no closer than five in the second half and lost 75-61. Chaz McCrommon scored eighteen points and Maurice Carter scored ten to run his streak of consecutive games in double-figures to 26. Tuesday, RMU opens the home season with a slightly less difficult cross-town rival in DIII Carnegie Mellon. But it’s back on the road Saturday for a game at Birmingham Southern.

Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-1)

The Pioneers pulled out two close wins this week to get over the .500 mark for the first time as a Division I school. Last Tuesday, they beat Army 55-51. The teams battled back and forth all game and were tied at 51 with under a minute to go when Kibwe Trim gave the Pioneers the lead with a deuce and Omar Wellington iced the game with a steal and lay-up. Maurice Bailey led SHU with 16 points while James Samuels and Kibwe Trim each added twelve. Late game heroics from Trim were needed in the second game of the week when they defeated Lehigh 58-56 on Saturday. The Pioneers lost a seven point lead late in the game but Trim dunked the ball off a rebound with 7.5 seconds to play to give them the win. James Samuels led all scorers with 21 points with Kibwe Trim again added twelve points. Two Ivy League foes in Columbia and Yale face SHU before the conference season opener against Long Island on Monday.

St. Francis (NY) Terriers (1-2)

The Red Auerbach Colonial Classic was on the docket this past week for the Terriers. In first game against William and Mary, the teams traded leads through out the first half but a late run gave the Tribe an eight point lead at the break. W&M extended their lead to as much as fourteen in the second half before SFNY cut it to five with just under six minutes to play. But from there, the Terriers could get no closer and William and Mary won pulling away 80-60. Eric Thompson contributed a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds but was the only player in double figures. In the consolation game, SFNY picked up their first win of the season over Appalachian State. The Terriers built a ten point lead at halftime and held off a furious rally to get the 68-63 win. John Quintana had 22 points after being shutout against William and Mary. Mike Wilson was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring nineteen points in the consolation game. The only game this week is the home opener against St. Peter’s on Wednesday.

St. Francis (PA) Red Flash (0-3)

The Red Flash continued a tough stretch on the road with games against Penn State and Youngstown State last week. Despite a sub par performance from Darshan Luckey, SFPA hung tough with Penn State on Wednesday. Luckey had fifteen points on 4-12 shooting but scored many of his points after the Nittany Lions had put the game away. Leading by only two points with seven minutes to play, PSU went on a 10-2 run to seal the game. Steveroy Daley had thirteen points and Jason Osbourne had eleven points in the losing effort. Youngstown State took advantage of a whopping 31 turnovers to beat the Red Flash 77-61 last Saturday. Luckey was again held in check with only thee points. Erick Wills and Jason Osbourne led the way with ten points apiece. There’s one more game on the road at Howard this Wednesday before the home opener against Bucknell on Saturday.

Wagner Seahawks (0-2)

The Seahawks faced one of this season’s Ivy League favorites Brown in their only game last week. Nigel Wyatte scored 20 points and grabbed 20 boards but Wagner couldn’t overcome 3-23 shooting from downtown and lost 63-57. The Seahawks held a three point lead in the second half when the Bears went on a 14-1 run to pull away with the game. The home opener against Delaware State is this Tuesday and a tough game at Dayton comes on Saturday before a nine day layoff.


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