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Opportunity awaits Southern Miss as conference play approaches

by - Published December 28, 2013 in Columns
southernmiss

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Southern Miss has done a lot of good things in non-conference play. The latest is their 77-64 win at Rhode Island on Saturday, one that is in sum a good statement of where this team is. With just one game left before Conference USA play, there is an added challenge for this team, but there is also opportunity.

The Golden Eagles are an experienced and balanced bunch, as the five starters all average between nine and 12 points per game. Nine players average double-digit minutes, with only point guard Neil Watson averaging more than 28 per game. They have four seniors who play a lot of minutes and several juniors right behind them.

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2013 BABC Holiday Classic – Friday notes

by - Published December 28, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

ROXBURY, Mass. – The first day of games at the 2013 BABC Holiday Classic is in the books. Now an event with three days of games, after starting life as a tournament, the 18th incarnation of it featured three teams from outside of Massachusetts and a homecoming for a coach returning to the high school landscape this year. With four games done, there was some good action to see and some good stories to take note of on the day.

Friday scoreboard

Hyde Park (MA) New Mission School 67, Nashua (NH) Bishop Guertin 48
Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin School 78, Springfield (MA) Central HS 46
Windsor (CT) School 65, East Boston (MA) High 64
Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken 58, Dorchester (MA) High 51

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UMass-Lowell’s potential more visible after first game at the Tsongas Center

by - Published December 23, 2013 in Columns
umass_lowell

LOWELL, Mass. – The hope is that Saturday is part of a turning point for UMass-Lowell. That holds for more than just the overall future of the basketball program, although it is most noteworthy from a long-term vantage point. While Pat Duquette emerges with mixed feelings, there appears to be more positive than negative, as well as some thoughts for the immediate future.

“I didn’t think we played well enough to deserve to win today, which is too bad because it was certainly a historic day for the UMass-Lowell men’s basketball program and an exciting day for everybody involved,” said the River Hawk mentor after a 95-77 loss at the Tsongas Center.

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Young Duquesne is trying to get better as Atlantic 10 play looms

by - Published December 23, 2013 in Columns
duquesne

LOWELL, Mass. – Perhaps it’s fitting that Duquesne’s opponent on Saturday was UMass-Lowell, a new entrant to Division I this season. Even though Duquesne’s first season was 100 years ago, in some ways Jim Ferry had to start over when he took the job over a year ago. And while their 95-77 win at UMass-Lowell doesn’t contain signs that they’re about to become a contender in the Atlantic 10, it was a step in the right direction nonetheless.

Ferry isn’t talking like this is a team that has its eye on a conference title and nothing less. The Dukes will come into every game wanting to win and thinking they can win the game if they play the right way, but this is a team that has a little to go before they can contend.

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Weekend notes – December 23, 2013

by - Published December 23, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

We just got through a busy weekend of college basketball. It wasn’t loaded with headline-grabbing upsets, but it had a lot of good matchups, including later Saturday in New York and Las Vegas. On Sunday, the Diamond Head Classic got going in Hawaii.

Here are notes on some important matchups and results from both days.

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New Hampshire is going through a very challenging time

by - Published December 19, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
newhampshire

DURHAM, N.H. – There are challenges, and then there’s what New Hampshire is going through and has in front of them. Nine straight losses, which is the Wildcats’ current streak after dropping a 62-48 decision to Dartmouth at home on Wednesday, appear to be just the beginning of them.

Can things get worse? They might before they get better largely because of personnel, and it’s not just who they don’t have right now.

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Dartmouth may not be just a young and promising team anymore

by - Published December 19, 2013 in Columns
dartmouth

DURHAM, N.H. – Dartmouth may be ready to turn a corner and not just be a young, promising team anymore. The latest evidence came on Wednesday night, when they lost a lead they held for a while and answered right back with a game-changing 12-0 run to take the lead for good, and then later put away an opponent on the road.

“In the past, when teams would make a run and come back, we would collapse,” said junior forward Gabas Maldunas, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds in their 62-48 win at New Hampshire. “We didn’t have the leadership on the court to help us get through the comeback.”

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Canisius tries to follow the Barons’ lead to success

by - Published December 17, 2013 in Columns
canisius

WORCESTER, Mass. – If you know Jim Baron and his sons, you know them to be high-character people. They are model citizens in every sense of the term. They are also nothing if not consistent, and fiercely competitive, even if the sons show it differently than the father does. Talk to younger son Billy, and you get a feeling that Monday night’s 83-73 win at Holy Cross is bigger than it looks to the untrained eye.

“It’s huge because we just came off a loss, and anytime you come off a loss in a game you feel you shouldn’t lose, it’s tough to right the ship,” said Billy Baron. “I felt like you saw the chemistry and the character of the guys on this team. We’re an extremely young team. We bounced back in two days being on the road. Without much practice time in between games, we had to rely on our off-the-court attributes in helping each other come along.”

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A freshman helps Bryant show defensive improvement

by - Published December 16, 2013 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The old saying goes that offense wins games and defense wins championships. If you’re a hard-line believer in that, then you’re not a believer in Bryant’s chances to win a championship as presently constructed. They’re a phenomenal offensive team at the mid-major level, but the defense has left something to be desired. The former shouldn’t change much, but a change in the latter would be big, and there are little signs that could be happening.

Bryant isn’t going to soar to the top of any defensive statistical categories anytime soon. Opponents shoot nearly 45 percent from the field against them, and the Bulldogs are out-rebounded by about four per game. The bright spots are that they force 13 turnovers per game and opponents shoot just over 30 percent from long range against them. It’s not unlike last year, and head coach Tim O’Shea freely admitted his team was not good defensively.

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Navy learns more in a tough loss at Bryant

by - Published December 15, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
navy

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Ed DeChellis is trying to figure out what he has with his team. That’s normal for non-league play, as well as with the youth on this team, as Navy’s ticket to the NCAA Tournament is in the Patriot League. Non-league play is winding down, and there are still more final exams for his team to come, but he learned more about them in a tough way as they battled back before succumbing to Bryant 90-80 in overtime on Saturday.

With the youth and a need to find some complementary pieces, as well as a lack of practice time lately because of final exams, DeChellis has been giving many players a chance to prove themselves.

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