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America East Notebook

December 24, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

America East Notebook

by Adam Reich

Welcome Home

Northeastern lost to the Florida Gators Monday night in what was a homecoming for several NU players. The Huskies have six Florida natives: Javorie Wilson (Miami, FL/Odessa JC), Marcus Barnes (Miami, FL/University of Miami), Sylbrin Robinson (Miami, FL/Florida International/Odessa JC), Cornellius Wright (Miami, FL/Odessa JC), Adrian Martinez (Hialeah, FL/Barbara Goleman) and D’wan Youmans (Jacksonville, FL/Arlington Country Day). In addition, Jose Juan Barea (Mayaguez, Puerto Rico/Miami Christian) and Bennet Davis (Freeport, Bahamas/Northwest Christian/Milford Academy/Notre Dame Prep) each played at least one year of high school basketball in the Sunshine State.

Back in Action

Northeastern, Hartford and Boston University all welcomed back key players in the past week. Jose Juan Barea scored fourteen points and dished out eight assists in his glorious return from a knee injury Friday. Also, Jerell Parker, who suffered a muscle strain in his knee, returned to the starting lineup and scored fourteen points for the Hawks last Saturday. Jason Grochowalski scored nine points in his return from an academic-related suspension Monday.

In the Army Now

Vermont senior Matt Sheftic will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduation in May. Rather than accepting a sixth season of eligibility in 2004-05, he will attempt to return to the Catamount lineup this season. Sheftic tore the ACL in his right knee over the summer and had successful surgery in September. If treatment goes according to plan he should be ready for action in late February. Sheftic, who was UVM’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder in 2002-03, was awarded his first choice for assignment in the Army Military Intelligence branch and will report to the Army Infantry Division’s Ranger Training headquarters at Fort Benning, GA.

Albany (2-5, 0-0) fought off a pesky Lehigh team Monday to earn a 63-55 overtime win. Junior transfer Aquawasi St. Hillaire scored six of his career-high thirteen points in the extra session, including several key free-throws down the stretch. Levi Levine, who tallied eight points and nine rebounds in the win, saw his streak of 22 straight games in double figures finally end. On Saturday, the Great Danes lost a close battle to Sacred Heart 75-69. The Pioneers pulled away late in the second half despite career-best efforts by Levine and senior forward Janis Pipikis. Levine notched 22 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven rebounds while Pipikis, who made his first start of the season, dropped in a career-high eighteen points on 7-of-10 shooting.

Binghamton (4-5, 0-0) notched a 61-53 road victory at St. Francis Wednesday night. Center Nick Billlings led the way for the Bearcats scoring 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor. Freshman Troy Hailey contributed sixteen points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Binghamton was able to pull away in the second frame as St. Francis made only 6-of-21 shots (28.6%) after intermission. The Bearcats, who have played eight of their first nine contests on the road, will travel to Allen Fieldhouse next week and have the unenviable task of taking on No. 12 Kansas.

Boston University (4-3, 0-0) shook off some early rust to narrowly defeat Cleveland St. 64-62 at home Monday night. In a tie game with 2.7 seconds remaining, senior forward Ryan Butt was fouled while attempting a game-winning three-pointer from the top of the key. Butt then calmly sank the first two free-throws to give the Terriers the victory. Butt and fellow senior Matt Turner provided key baskets down the stretch, as the two combined for 24 second-half points. Forward Jason Grochowalski, who returned to action after missing the previous five games due to an academic suspension, scored all nine of his points in a first-half run that helped the Terriers open up a 27-18 lead with 5:00 remaining in the opening frame.

Hartford (2-3, 0-0) has not played since losing at North Carolina St. 78-49 on December 13. In that contest, Jerell Parker returned to the lineup, scoring a team-high fourteen points and grabbing six boards. The senior guard, who missed two games after straining a muscle in his knee, logged 32 pain-free minutes. The Hawks will migrate south this coming weekend to play in the FIU/Hampton Inn Holiday Classic in Miami, FL.

Maine (5-2, 0-0) had its four-game winning streak snapped by Dartmouth last Tuesday. In the 68-65 overtime loss, the Black Bears scored only three points in the extra session, hitting on 1-of-6 field goals. Point guard Eric Dobson led Maine with sixteen points and five assists, while Kevin Reed, Joe Campbell and Ludmil Hadjisotirov were all in double figures in scoring. The Black Bears managed to bounce back by knocking off Morgan St. 69-63 on Saturday. Reed was the team’s spark plug as he notched his first ever double-double with 22 points and a career-best eleven rebounds.

Maryland Baltimore-County (3-5, 0-0) lost a heartbreaker to Santa Clara in double overtime Monday night 65-63. The game ended in dramatic fashion as Doron Parker slammed home an offensive rebound with 1.3 seconds remaining. The Retrievers, who fell to Santa Clara 59-58 two years ago and 55-54 last year, have now lost three straight thrillers to the Broncos by a combined four points. Guard Rob Gogerty twice had jumpers to win the game for UMBC, but both shots were off the mark. Andrew Freely played with tenacity in the paint, finishing with thirteen points and a game-high sixteen rebounds. UMBC fell behind early and could never recover in a 74-58 loss at San Francisco Saturday. The Retrievers shot only 32.7% for the game and committed an astounding 29 turnovers. Cory McJimson had a team-high sixteen points while Seth Davis contributed fourteen points and six rebounds.

New Hampshire (3-5, 0-0) dropped an 82-53 decision at Rhode Island Sunday. Junior Craig Walls, who leads the conference in rebounding (8.4 rpg), scored ten points and pulled down thirteen rebounds for his third double-double of the young season. Walls should get some help on the boards as freshman Blagoj Janev is expected to join the club for its upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh and Army. Janev, a 6’8″ forward from Australia, will provide needed depth in the frontcourt while forward Ben Sturgill is sidelined with a broken foot.

Northeastern (5-5, 0-0) put up a tough fight but fell to No. 14 Florida 101-84 Monday night in Gainesville. The Huskies hung around early, matching the Gators basket for basket as the game took on a frenetic pace. Eventually Florida’s full-court pressure and depth became too much for NU to overcome. Marcus Barnes led the Huskies with twenty points, including five three-pointers. Jose Juan Barea, making his second start since returning from a knee injury, tallied seventeen points and had a game-high eight assists. NU outscored Florida 51-44 in the second half, but a horrid night from the line (20-of-36) thwarted any chance of a victory.

Stony Brook (3-4, 0-0) suffered an 80-75 overtime loss to Columbia on Saturday. The Lions simply shot the lights out as they hit 56% of their field goal attempts and converted 9-of-15 three-pointers. Despite Columbia’s torrid shooting the Seawolves were able to erase a 56-46 deficit with 8:37 left in regulation. In Stony Brook’s closing run guard D.J. Munir was again the star. Munir, who finished with 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting, scored ten straight points during a 19-7 run that gave the Seawolves a 65-63 lead with just over two minutes remaining. However, the Lion made 6-of-7 shots in the extra session to claim the win. Stony Brook next travels to the Conte Forum for a Tuesday afternoon tilt with Boston College.

Vermont (3-4, 0-0) won its third straight game by knocking off a pesky Marist squad 62-57 Sunday. The win was Vermont’s first road victory of the season. UVM’s offense struggled in the first half as Taylor Coppenrath sat on the bench because of foul trouble. Marist had a 26-25 lead at the break, but after an 11-4 run by the Red Foxes to start the second half, the Catmounts took control. Coppenrath continued his stellar play as he notched a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Guard T.J. Sorrentine chipped in sixteen points and Scotty Jones had a game-high ten boards. The Catamounts will return to action December 30 at Rhode Island.


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