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America East Notebook

December 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



America East Notebook

by Adam Reich

Baltimore’s Best

UMBC won the Battle of Baltimore for the fourth consecutive season after toppling Towson 59-53 on Saturday. Recently, the Retrievers have dominated this four-team tournament, which includes Baltimore area schools UMBC, Towson and Loyola each year and either Coppin State or Morgan State. Junior Andrew Feeley was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He notched nineteen points and ten rebounds in UMBC’s win over Loyola and had ten points and five boards in the final against the Tigers.

Mountaineering

For the second straight season the Northeastern Huskies knocked off a Big East squad on their own home court. The Huskies followed up last season’s win at Boston College by shocking West Virginia 91-84 Saturday. The Mountaineers led 72-71 with just over six minutes remaining before Northeastern made its run. Marcus Barnes scored a career-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. His seven three-pointers tied the school record. Jose Juan Barea tallied nineteen points and tied his career-high with ten assists.

The New Wizard of Westwood

Although Vermont fell to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion 68-67 Saturday night, junior forward Taylor Coppenrath put on a scoring display that reminded folks of the days when Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton owned the court. The reigning America East Player of the Year, Coppenrath shot 13-of-27 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range and 8-of-8 from the free throw line. He also added five rebounds and had a career-high five assists. When asked about Coppenrath’s performance, UVM’s personable head coach Tom Brennan remarked, “(Taylor) made a case to become a contender for Pac-10 Player of the Year.”

On Guard

With all-conference forward Jerell Parker on the bench with a strained muscle in his knee, Hartford guards Aaron Cook, Ryan Stys and Charles Ford led the charge as the Hawks upended the Minutemen 72-66 at Massachusetts last Monday. Cook led the way with twenty points while backcourt mates Stys and Ford added seventeen and ten points, respectively.

Albany (0-2, 0-0) has struggled out of the gate with leading scorer Jamaar Wilson sidelined with a fractured patella. The schedule wasn’t too kind to the Great Danes either last week as they traveled to No. 22 Pittsburgh and lost 83-54. Albany trailed 43-37 with 15:18 remaining, but the Panthers eventually took control by scoring thirteen straight points. Levi Levine paced the Great Danes with sixteen points and eight boards. Freshman walk-on Courtney Johnson made a nice contribution tallying six points and five assists in 23 minutes off the bench.

Binghamton (2-3, 0-0) placed third at the Central Connecticut State Mohegan Sun Classic last week. After falling to Loyola Marymount 67-56 Monday, the Bearcats rebounded with a hard-fought 38-34 victory over Charleston Southern in the consolation game. In a defensive battle that featured eight ties and six lead changes, Binghamton took its first lead, 24-23, on a pair of early second-half three-pointers by freshman guard Troy Hailey. From that point, steady defense and terrific rebounding helped the Bearcats hold the lead. Junior center Nick Billings, Binghamton’s lone representative on the all-tournament team, averaged 9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in the two games.

Boston University (0-3, 0-0) dropped a pair of contests last week against tough opponents. On Tuesday, the Terriers fell to No. 11 Saint Joseph’s 71-56. Boston College welcomed BU Saturday, but rudely dismissed the Terriers 67-44. Against the Hawks, senior forward Ryan Butt notched a career-high twenty points. On the defensive end, guards Chaz Carr and Matt Turner managed to hold preseason All-American Jameer Nelson to thirteen points on 4-of-12 shooting. The Terriers struggled from the field in the loss to BC, shooting only 29.5%. A bright spot for the Terriers was the play of Kevin Gardner. The sophomore forward had a breakout game, as he pulled down a career-high twelve rebounds in only 21 minutes.

Hartford (2-1, 0-0) continues to play well in the absence of senior Jerell Parker. The biggest reason the Hawks have thrived is the sensational play of Aaron Cook. The sophomore guard is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 21 points per game. After knocking of Concordia College and outlasting Massachusetts, the Hawks had a chance to open the season 3-0 against Long Island. But with Hartford trailing by a point, sophomore Charles Ford’s length of the court dash in the waning seconds came up empty, as his leaner fell off the rim at the buzzer.

Maine (3-1, 0-0) is currently riding a three-game winning streak after defeating Bethune-Cookman, the University of New England and Brown. The Black Bears had five players score in double figures against both UNE and Brown. Mark Flavin had a monster game versus UNE, tallying a career-high 26 points in Maine’s 99-50 win. David Dubois, who’s rebounding will be a key for the Black Bears all season long, recorded a double-double against Bethune-Cookman with twelve points and ten boards. Maine managed to win all three of their games last week despite dressing only eight players because of injuries.

Maryland Baltimore-County (2-0, 0-0) won the Battle of Baltimore by playing terrific defense and taking care of the ball on offense. The Retrievers held both opponents to less than 40% shooting from the floor and committed only nineteen turnovers in the two games combined. Junior guard Rob Gogerty recorded thirteen assists in the tournament without committing a turnover. Gogerty has an outstanding 2.18 assist-to-turnover ratio for his career. Sophomore forward John Zito reached double figures in both games of the tournament and has now scored in double figures in nine straight contests.

New Hampshire (2-2, 0-0) evened their record by winning at Harvard 81-75 Saturday. The win was UNH’s first victory at Lavietes Pavilion since the 1988 season. Sophomore Ronnie Dennis, who scored a career-high 26 points, was one of three Wildcats in double figures. Craig Walls notched fourteen points and eight rebounds, while freshman Jermaine Anderson netted ten points in his first collegiate game. Senior Marcus Bullock, who nailed three jumpers from beyond the arc, is now one long-range bomb shy of the school record for three-pointers in a career. Bullock has tallied 196 career three-pointers.

Northeastern (2-2, 0-0) put a couple of games in the win column last week by knocking off Louisiana Monroe 81-65 and West Virginia 91-84. Against the Indians, Bennet Davis posted his first career double-double, dropping in eleven points and corralling twelve boards. The Huskies’ thrilling victory at West Virginia set the offensive tone for the season. NU can score points in bunches, as evident in their 56-point second-half outburst against the Mountaineers. In the second half, the Huskies shot 19-of-35 from the floor, including 7-of-11 from three-point land.

Stony Brook (1-3, 0-0) couldn’t find the range in losses to Lehigh and St. John’s last week. The Seawolves shot 34% against the Mountain Hawks and only 39.6% at home versus the Red Storm. In the loss to Lehigh, Stony Brook received terrific efforts from a pair of freshmen. Mitchell Beauford posted a season-high fourteen points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Mike Popoko was almost equally as impressive with a season-high twelve points and seven boards. With 2:30 to go against St. John’s, Beauford knocked down a jumper that pulled Stony Brook within four at 63-59, but a 7-0 run from the Red Storm ruined any chance of a Stony Brook upset.

Vermont (0-3, 0-0) has endured a long and tiresome start to the season. In a pair of trips out west, the Catamounts were defeated by Nevada in the preseason NIT and lost a heartbreaker at UCLA. Vermont had trouble running with the Wolfpack and never got into a rhythm, as the Cats shot only 37.5% from the field. Against the Bruins, Taylor Coppenrath’s 38-point explosion wasn’t enough as UVM fell by a point, 68-67, despite holding an eleven point halftime lead. In that game, UCLA knocked down a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds to claim the win and survive UVM’s upset bid. Sandwiched between their two trips out west, the Catamounts were nipped by Iona 56-53. Again poor shooting plagued the Catamounts, as they hit only 20-of-64 shots from the field, including 6-of-23 from beyond the arc.

     

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