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Sunday notes from the 2014 BallasTV Invite

by - Published January 14, 2014 in Columns

DORCHESTER, Mass. – Sunday was the second day of the BallasTV Invite, featuring prep schools from the northeast region. Only one game had much drama with the outcome, as four of the five were double-digit games. We take a look at the scores, then some player notes.

Sunday scoreboard

Springfield (MA) Commonwealth Academy 66, Marlborough (MA) Hillside School 36
Worcester (MA) Academy 55, Saltsburg (PA) Kiski School 34
Hoosick (NY) Hoosac School 66, Chestnut Hill (MA) Brimmer and May 52
Putnam (CT) Science Academy 62, Northfield (MA) Mount Hermon 55
Barrington (RI) St. Andrew’s School 73, Woodstock (CT) Hyde School 40

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CAA newcomers College of Charleston playing through challenges

by - Published January 13, 2014 in Columns

If CAA newcomer College of Charleston contends for the top spot in their first year in the conference, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. What also shouldn’t surprise anyone is if the journey to that is not a success-only one.

The Cougars are finishing up a trip to the northeast with a visit to Northeastern on Monday night. Two days earlier, a four-game winning streak ended with a 75-71 loss at Hofstra, one where they blew a double-digit lead in part from a bad day at the free throw line as they were 14-27 from there and in part from their own foul trouble as four players fouled out.

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Saturday notes – January 11, 2014

by - Published January 12, 2014 in Columns

Conference play is in full swing across the country now, and there have been some early surprises as usual. Saturday brought more of them in a busy slate.

A big note of the day comes in the form of a question: who thought North Carolina would be the only winless team in the ACC three games in? For good measure, though, Duke is now 1-2 for the first time in seven years.

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Anderson and Robert Morris are trying to benefit from a tough schedule

by - Published January 12, 2014 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Andy Toole said he felt better right before the post-game press conference than he did earlier. That’s the kind of thing that happens after winning a ballgame, and perhaps even more so when wins have been a little harder to come by than usual. They have been for Robert Morris, but the Colonials are 2-0 in Northeast Conference play and thinking about winning and something else.

“Just wanting to redeem ourselves in this league is a big thing,” said junior Karvel Anderson, who had a big trip to lead this team.

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Georgetown is missing an intangible

by - Published January 11, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Don’t let the nice record fool you. The good wins, don’t let them fool you, either. This is not last year’s Georgetown team. While that’s obvious since it’s a new season with new personnel, this team hasn’t taken that personality with it. That was one thing evident in the Hoyas’ 70-52 loss at Providence on Wednesday night, and it could be a big thing down the road.

Make no mistake: Georgetown has some things going for it. Depth is one thing this team has, and it gave the Hoyas a decided edge on Wednesday night. They had already played nine players just over halfway through the first half, and they were well on their way to rallying from being down ten early. Providence doesn’t have that depth with all the personnel issues they have had. But that wasn’t enough. Something was missing.

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Providence does what they know and continue to fight through adversity

by - Published January 9, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Ed Cooley wasn’t kidding when he said Wednesday night’s 70-52 win over Georgetown was a character win. The Providence head coach knows it in more ways than one.

Simply put, Providence has had to hang in there and keep fighting with the deck seemingly stacked against them. This team is battle-hardened on and off the court, and while it’s been tough at times, this team is showing its toughness and benefiting from it more than ever. There has been adversity left and right for this team.

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Brad Brownell comes to Steve Donahue’s defense

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Speculation about Steve Donahue’s job status has taken off, to the point where one might not be off their rocker for thinking it’s gotten out of hand. If the Boston College head coach is looking for an ally, it’s clear he has a willing one in Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, his opposite number on Saturday afternoon. The Clemson mentor added some thoughts unprompted while discussing his team’s win.

Clemson beat Boston College 62-60 on Saturday to send the reeling Eagles to 4-11 on the season. Well before this, though, there had been talk of what could happen to Donahue as the Eagles lost a few early ones. As losses have mounted, so has speculation that Donahue is on some kind of borrowed time at The Heights. Brownell sees some similarities and drew a comparison and contrast at times.

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Saturday notes – January 4, 2014

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns

Conference play is very much underway all across the country now, and Saturday saw plenty of early games. As often happens, there were some surprises, especially with some of the favorites being on the road in this case.

Here are some notes from the day’s games.

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Clemson looks like they’re starting to grow up as ACC play opens

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – If you’re looking for a sleeper in the ACC, Clemson could be one possibility. The Tigers look like a growing team as conference play begins, picking up their first road win of the season in their ACC opener on Saturday by holding off Boston College 62-60. Along the way, it’s clear there’s a lot to like about this team and where they are trending.

Brad Brownell’s teams have always been able to defend, and this team is certainly doing that. They allow opponents to shoot just over 35 percent from the field on the season, including under 25 percent from long range. They are athletic enough to turn teams over, and while the 13 turnovers BC committed isn’t very high, it’s still above average for Clemson opponents on the season and it happened in a game played with a low number of possessions.

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Boston College isn’t as bad as you might think

by - Published January 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Boston College is done with non-conference play, and perhaps thankful for that. The Eagles are 4-10, with one of the losses being an early ACC loss, and there’s not a lot of positive press about this team. There’s been speculation about Steve Donahue feeling some heat, and that continued on Wednesday while the Eagles suffered a 73-58 loss at Harvard. All this, and they already fight to be relevant in the first place, both in their strong conference and locally in a pro sports town.

Now it’s time to look this over a little more, and be fair to this team and coach. Boston College isn’t as bad as some think.

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