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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 10, 2014

by - Published November 10, 2014 in The Morning Dish
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Picking up where we left off with conferences, we start today with the best academic league of them all, the Ivy League.

The Ivy League is in the midst of a great up cycle, and league favorite Harvard has a lot to do with that. The Crimson will again be favored, though not to the same degree as last year when they were prohibitive favorites. They have the league’s best backcourt and plenty of options up front. They will be pushed, however, by the likes of Yale (whose own star, Justin Sears, will be in the running for Player of the Year), Princeton and Brown, for starters. Columbia figured to be right there, but the loss of Alex Rosenberg is a big blow and has to knock them back some.

… Continue Reading

Percolating hoops intrigue makes February a fantastic month for sports

by - Published February 1, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
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It’s February — one of the most underrated sports months of the year.

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, the biggest event in U.S. sports will command the attention of tens of millions of viewers, generating tens of millions of dollars for everyone associated with the event.

A few weeks later, the NBA All-Star game will show the NFL how exhibition weekends should be run. In my opinion, the NBA All-Star weekend festivities are the best of any pro sport, with baseball coming in a close second. Did anyone actually watch the Pro Bowl last weekend?

We don’t have any winter Olympics this year, but that’s a February event, too.

And then we have college hoops. To casual fans, March is the month of joy. But February is the month that sets the table for March. Dozens of teams are jockeying for position right now, fighting for a better seed and location or merely a bid to the Big Dance.

The schedule-makers know what they’re doing, too. Next Wednesday — just days after the Super Bowl — the top rivalry in college hoops will go down for the first of two meetings in a month when Duke visits North Carolina. That’s a nice way for the NCAA to tell America: “Guess what? Football is over. It’s time to set your sights on the hardwood.”

And of course, as we work through the thick of conference play, we’ll have the rush of bracket projections to feed the hoops addiction. Hoopville will join the fray as usual, starting this Friday. We choose to wait until February because it just feels right. By now, we have a large enough sample size to judge teams’ résumés and make projections that have a good shot of standing up during the final few weeks before Selection Sunday.

We take you coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Get ready for more technical fouls and a shorter leash on players or coaches who act out. Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog reports that John Adams, the NCAA’s national officiating coordinator, sent a notice to all officials that implored them to clamp down on bad behavior.

Clemson has indefinitely suspended junior Milton Jennings, a former McDonald’s All-American, because of academic reasons, according to the Associated Press. Jennings averages 8.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg.

Arizona will finish the season without junior Kevin Parrom, who broke his foot in a loss to Washington last weekend, according to a CBS Sports.com report. He averaged 4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 1.7 apg this season.

Iona is looking to remain one of the premier programs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and the university extended the contract of coach Tim Cluess to help make that happen, according to a CBS Sports.com report.

Don’t mess with a player’s routine. North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes shared some of the details of his routine with Andrew Jones of Fox Sports to explain why he changed his shoes at halftime of the Tar Heels’ win against Georgia Tech. Like the rest of the team, Barnes started the game with pink shoes to help promote breast cancer awareness. But he went with his usual Kobes in the second half.

VCU coach Shaka Smart stirred some commotion in the commonwealth during a teleconference Monday, writes Myron Medcalf for ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. Smart asserted that Virginia’s best schools reside in the CAA. He didn’t call out the ACC teams in Blacksburg or Charlottesville by name, but Smart felt compelled to give UVA coach Tony Bennett a call to clarify his comments.

The NCAA won’t be seeking any further action against Connecticut freshman guard Ryan Boatright regarding an investigation into his eligibility because of money and benefits that he and his mother received, according to the Associated Press. But the AP reports that the Boatrights’ lawyer isn’t finished with his actions against the NCAA, lambasting the organization for releasing private information.

The only coach to ever lead Canisius to an NCAA Tournament win died Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Joseph Curran, 89, passed away in Mystic, Conn. He led the Golden Griffins to a 76-66 record in six seasons, which included a shocking four overtime victory against No. 2 North Carolina State in the 1956 NCAA Tournament.

It’s All Coming Together For Fairfield

by - Published January 4, 2011 in Columns

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – It all seems to be coming together for Fairfield. Yes, it’s still early, and head coach Ed Cooley says they’re still figuring things out, but one has to think the Stags have made their way to a good place.

Fairfield’s 70-48 win over Niagara was their ninth in a row and improves them to 3-0 in MAAC play. More than just the win, in what Cooley described as “kind of a strange game” as there wasn’t much flow, the Stags did it largely playing the kind of basketball they will need to in order to win the conference, as many projected before the season. They shut down the Purple Eagles, ran the offense well when they weren’t turning the ball over, and have a number of players improving. … Continue Reading

Niagara’s Struggles Are an Aberration

by - Published January 4, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – This, too, shall pass. This is sure to be an aberration.

Niagara has been a consistent contender in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since Joe Mihalich took the reins of the program in 1998. Now in his 13th season there, Mihalich is the winningest coach in the history of the conference with 226 wins, and only one season has been a sub-.500 one. In recent years, they’ve always been right at or near the top of the conference. If you look at this season’s standings, you might do a double take upon seeing their 3-12 overall mark and 0-3 start in MAAC play. There’s clearly an explanation for it. … Continue Reading

Fairfield Starts Well Amid Personnel Challenges

by - Published December 14, 2010 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – This was the chance for someone like Fairfield to unseat Siena atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Saints aren’t dead, but they lost the core of their team to graduation and the guy who coached them, although an assistant on those teams is now running the program. Meanwhile, Fairfield has some things coming together that might make their selection by many as the preseason favorites in the conference look like a good one.

Fairfield’s 71-60 win at Holy Cross improves the Stags to 7-3 on the season. Included in that record is a 5-2 mark away from home, and during their current six-game winning streak four of the wins have come away from home. Less than 48 hours before the Stags beat Holy Cross, they went to Loudonville and took care of Siena in convincing fashion. … Continue Reading

MAAC Tournament Notebook

by - Published March 8, 2010 in Columns

ALBANY, N.Y. – Friday gave an opportunity to see six games at the Times Union Center in Albany. The MAAC Tournament was on the bill and in the conference both the women’s and men’s championships are contested at the same site. The women’s quarterfinals were first and following a ninety-minute break the men’s two first round games followed. It ran from 9:30 a.m. through the stroke of midnight. If you are a fanatic you just can’t beat it.

The Women’s Quarterfinal scores:

Iona 59 Siena 43
Fairfield 70 Loyola 56
Marist 57 Canisius 38
Niagara 66 Manhattan 54

The Men’s First Round:

Manhattan 94 Loyola 79
Canisius 72 Marist 54

Notes

  • Good officiating friend Joe Barrise was on the first game. Joe & crew enjoyed a nice tempo with the first foul not occurring until 8:05 had elapsed.
  • I thought Iona coach Tony Bozzelli had a solid defensive game plan keeping Siena’s inside threat Serena Moore away from the basket or closely attended as much as possible. the saints’ main inside threat. Mission accomplished. Moore scored 14 points but was 3 of 11 from the field. For the Gaels, their outstanding forward Thazina Cook committed 5 of Iona’s 20 turnovers. All was forgiven as Cook in general had an outstanding game leading all with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes.
  • I never tire watching and admiring the play of Rachelle Fitz of Marist. The MAAC Player of the Year never forces a thing, is the consummate unselfish and fundamentally sound performer. Fitz , a 6-0 senior forward, had a solid 12-point, 8-board effort for the Red Foxes.
  • I also never tire of watching the teamwork and defensive expertise of Marist. They are a group who simply does not care who gets the points or headlines. They simply want to win. Defensively they are outstanding, forcing you into poor shots and getting in the passing lanes for deflections that are turned into turnovers. Marist is a joy to watch… unless you are on the opposite sideline. Stephanie Geehan of Fairfield, the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, came up with sixteen rebounds (14 defensive) four blocks and four steals against Loyola. A 6-2 senior center, Geehan showed her prowess is not limited to the defensive end as she led the way with 22 points.
  • It was a brief appearance but what a four minutes for Maggie Blair of Manhattan. The 5-10 freshman guard played the last four minutes and scored 10 points, second on the team to Michelle Pacheco’s 11. Blair was 3 of 4 from the field (2 of 2 from three) and hit both of her free throws. She entered the game without a point all season, having played in just five games. Something tells me coach John Olenowski will take a long look at Blair’s prospects next season.
  • Niagara’s Kendra Faustin was selected Coach of the Year and it was an excellent choice. She came on board two years ago and has transformed Niagara from dormancy to respectability with a nice future for this program. The Purple Eagles were 9-9 in the conference and had a win over Marist this season. They knocked off fourth seed Manhattan 66-54 thanks to solid defense and a well-distributed attack with four players in double figures.
  • Some observers were speculating if this is the year Marist women surrender their MAAC championship supremacy. Not likely, per Canisius coach Terry Zeh. “People are saying Marist might get beat (in the MAAC tournament) but they did go 15-3 (conference) and lost to nationally ranked Oklahoma in overtime,” Zeh noted after his team‘s quarterfinal setback to the Red Foxes. “They are a team whose big stars make plays and unheralded players step up”
  • The Manhattan-Loyola game to tip off the men’s tournament was a high-energy, fast-paced, intense battle. Manhattan, which lost twice to the Greyhounds this season, prevailed 94-79. The Jaspers had a 19-point lead before Loyola came storming back in the second half. Loyola got it to a two possession game but never any closer.
  • The game was a tale of two halves for the leading scorers. Rico Pickett, a junior guard from Manhattan with range and a quick trigger finger, had 23 points at the half and wound up with 33.  Shane Walker had two at intermission, but the 6-10 sophomore forward led Loyola’s charge the second half in scoring 24 of his team-high 26 points.
  • Even with Pickett going for 33 points, Manhattan had good balance with four players in double figures. George Beamon, a 6-4 freshman, came off the bench for the Jaspers to contribute a crucial 13 points, 11 in the second half.
  • Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen said his team came to Albany “planning to play our best basketball. The MAAC tournament is a new season for us.” Rohrssen naturally was pleased, except for the defense, which allowed the Greyhounds to shoot 50 percent from the floor.
  • Marist finished their long season at 1-29 with a first-round loss to Canisius. The lone win, ironically, came against Manhattan. The same problems the Red Foxes had all year showed up again. They hung around early and were only down 34-26 at the half, a margin was thanks to a Canisius trey at the buzzer. The second half mistakes of youth and an ineffective inside game spelled doom for coach Chucky Martin’s squad once again.
  • The difference between veterans and youth: Marist committed 16 turnovers to Canisius’ 11. Frank Turner, the Griffs’ outstanding senior guard, had one turnover in 37 minutes.
  • I spoke with Siena assistant Mitch Buonoguro, who was advance scouting. Buonoguro spoke about life as a 17-1 conference team favored to win here in Albany. “It’s not that easy,” he said. “Everyone is aiming for you and comes at you with your best shot.” Especially in the “survive and advance” setting of post season tournament play.

Metro Atlantic: Conference Tournament to Taste Basketball History in 2012

by - Published December 27, 2009 in Newswire

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will hold its conference tournament in Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of the sport, in 2012-14, according to a conference press release.

The conference will play all tournament games at the MassMutual Center, which is a neutral site. Several teams wanted the tournament to move to a neutral site instead of playing at opponents’ courts.

“The coaches and administrators had expressed to the Council and league office during the selection process that home sites have become too big of a playing and recruiting advantage for the host school.  This is understandable, and speaks to the increased competitiveness of the MAAC.  It seems appropriate and financially sustainable to move beyond the comfortable confines of an arena with a home school fan base. I would note that the MassMutual Center and the Local Organizing Committee have guaranteed the league its best ever financial result,” said conference commissioner Rich Ensor.

Springfield is home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, named for James Naismith, the inventor of the game of the basketball. He devised the game while working at the Spingfield YMCA in the late 1800s.  He later founded Kansas’ storied basketball program and witnessed basketball become an Olympic sport.

Three Days, Three Games, with a Big East Thriller

by - Published January 14, 2009 in Columns

PITT    76    Seton Hall    40

A women’s game last Tuesday. Pitt just got into the rankings at 25th. Seton Hall was playing well and hosting the Panthers at Walsh Gym, a place Pitt has struggled in recent seasons. The game was never in doubt. The Panthers raced to a 42-17 halftime lead. They simply dominated from tap to buzzer. The defense was just as impressive as the offensive end. Pitt forced 21 turnovers while limiting the Pirates to 13 field goals and 24% shooting from the floor. Shavonte Zellous, one of the Big East’s best, led Pitt with a game high 29 points.

“We played great,” Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. “We were on a mission we took this as a business trip. We were worried about this game because we watched Seton Hall on tape and saw they are a good team. They took Notre Dame to the wire here a few weeks ago. Our defense, though, was phenomenal.”

To a person Pitt is wonderful. Starting with Berenato, her staff, players and support personnel, the entire group is cooperative, friendly and personable. They just go out and make life miserable for their opposition from tip to buzzer.

“We really wanted to win this for Janey,” Berenato said. ‘Janey’  is Jania Sims the junior point guard for Pitt who is out for the year with a stress fracture. Sims is a Newark native who played at powerhouse Shabazz High School. “My team really wanted to win this for Janey,” Berenato said. They did and in convincing fashion.

Providence    98    Seton Hall 93 (OT)

On Thursday evening over the Prudential Center the Seton Hall men battled but came up short in search of their first Big East win of the season. Providence gradually wore down the Pirates, fouling out three players in the process, to earn a hard fought road win.

The opening half saw a shootout. Providence led 46-42 and both teams were attacking the basket, with bombs from beyond the arc. At the half the teams were shooting a combined over 60% from three. Providence was 9 for 12 while the Hall was 6 of 12. The final half saw Providence coach Keno Davis make a more concerted effort to attack the basket, the traditional way, in the paint. “We made it a point to attack the basket and wear them down,’ Keno said. “ I was pleased because earlier in the season if a team starting taking away our threes defensively we would have moved farther out and kept shooting them. Today we showed our maturity as a team.”

Jeremy Hazell led all scorers with 30 points (7 of 12 beyond the arc). In crunch time of regulation and overtime Providence made it a point not to allow Hazell any good uncontested looks. Jeff Xavier, ironically a Bobby Gonzalez recruit and player at Manhattan led four Friar double digit scorers with 20 points.

Gonzalez was not thrilled with Providence’s 42-22 edge in free throw attempts but did not criticize the officials. In all fairness, the Hall had a 6-5 advantage at halftime when it was a perimeter game, In the final half Providence went inside as noted and enjoyed a 41-30 final edge on the boards. Those factors get you to the line.

“We have to keep fighting, “ Gonzalez emphasized. “We have been playing some pretty good ball but nothing in this league is automatic.”

St.Peter’s    64        Niagara    46

On Friday at Yanitelli Center this MAAC women’s matchup saw two teams looking for better days. St.Peter’s is coming off a strong season that saw them advance to the conference semifinal. The Peahens entered the game 5-11 (2-5 in the MAAC). Simply, it’s a case of replacing several key losses from last year. Niagara, on the other hand, entered in the midst of a dreadful 1-17 campaign.

From the outset this would be St.Peter’s’ night. The hosts raced to a 39-16 halftime lead. Niagara shot 26% the first half with only six first half field goals. For the game the Purple Eagles had more turnovers (20) than field goals (17).

St.Peter’s was led by senior guard Tania Kennedy, a consistent performer this season, with 21 points. There were a number of contributors that pleased coach Stephanie DeWolfe. “We had a great first half,” DeWolfe said. “Execution could have been a little better second half but overall I’m pleased.” A few areas are positives to the St.Peter’s mentor.

The play of Charlene Riddick, a sophomore post player, is improving and giving the team an inside presence. “We are young,” DeWolfe said. “The freshman are working hard and coming along and we have been playing with a freshman point guard (Sakara House) out there.”  Among the first year players, Jamie Smith, a 5-6 guard is coming on and contributing. Smith had 17 points (10 of 11 from the line) in a recent win over Loyola.“We’re coming along as a team,” DeWoilfe added.

St.Peter’s is halfway through their MAAC schedule. As a staff and team, they eagerly look forward to the second half.

Siena Has Grown Since the Start of the Season

by - Published December 31, 2008 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – Before the season, there were many who felt Siena was more than just a mid-major team to watch this season.  With five starters back from the team that convincingly knocked off Vanderbilt in last season’s NCAA Tournament, the general feeling was that the Saints would be prohibitive favorites in the MAAC and even win a game or two in non-conference play against high-major schools.  They certainly had enough games on the schedule for that to happen.

2008 is just about in the books, and the Saints haven’t quite done all of that.  They lost three straight in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic, then lost at Pittsburgh earlier this month.  The only loss among those four that might go down as a bad loss was the two-point decision they dropped to rebuilding Wichita State.  But with no signature wins and just two possibilities left for one – at Kansas and possibly their BracketBusters game in February – the Saints look like a team that will most likely make the NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier.  And given what Niagara and Fairfield have shown thus far as well as their respective personnel, they don’t quite look like the prohibitive favorites in their conference that some thought them to be.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of in all of that.  In fact, the high preseason projections of them were probably a bit unrealistic.  The Saints are very good, with a nice veteran cast and a lot of the team returning from last season, but depth was not a given before the season.  Sometimes, all it takes is one signature win and an excellent conference showing, then losing in the conference championship game for an at-large bid.  But projections of the Saints getting one might have been a bit much.

Not only was it going to be difficult to capture a couple of games on the road against high-majors, but the MAAC is rarely a conference whose regular season champ runs away from everyone else.  Only twice in the past 11 seasons has at least three games separated first place from second place.  The last time that happened was in 2003-04, when Manhattan finished three games ahead of Niagara, and six years earlier was the last time it happened before that.  More common are cases where there are at least four teams within two games of first place, or even 2000-01, when six teams finished within a game of each other.

But while the Saints may not look like prohibitive favorites, the conference should still be theirs to lose.  They are 2-0 as they enter the meat of the conference schedule starting on Thursday, and they’ve improved along the way.  The development of younger players like sophomores Clarence Jackson and Ryan Rossiter and freshmen Owen Wignot and Kyle Downey has been an important part of it.

“I think we’ve developed fairly well,” head coach Fran McCaffery said.  “I think our key guys are doing what we thought they would do.  We needed Clarence and Ryan to do what they’re doing, and we needed Owen and Kyle to develop the way they did.”

McCaffery is thinking they would benefit by being able to go another player deep on a consistent basis.  Junior Cory Magee figured to be in the rotation before the season, but he has been out all year from post-concussion syndrome after an elbow from Rossiter in an early practice.  He has practiced on and off recently.  More likely candidates are sophomore Steven Priestley and freshman Eric Harris.

The development of Jackson and Rossiter has been perhaps most important.  Both were bit players last season, but Rossiter is now in the starting lineup and Jackson is playing key minutes off the bench.  Jackson led them in scoring in the win at Saint Joseph’s with a career-high 28 points, and while it might have seemed to come out of nowhere, it didn’t surprise a teammate.

“From seeing him play in practice sometimes, we know that’s what he’s capable of doing,” said junior forward Edwin Ubiles.

As important as their development has been, Siena also got a breakout game from Kenny Hasbrouck on Tuesday night.  Mired in a nearly season-long shooting slump, Hasbrouck had 19 points on 6-14 shooting, including 5-10 in the second half.

While it’s obvious that Hasbrouck coming back is a big development for the team – and both he and his teammates know that just one game doesn’t do it – there’s a positive to take out of things before that.  The Saints were still 7-4 heading into the game and 5-1 since the losses in Orlando.  They were still winning despite Hasbrouck’s offensive struggles, which helped him manage through the tough time.

“When we lost, it was hard,” said the senior guard.  “When we were winning, it was like, okay, we’re doing great, so my shooting is not really affecting us yet.  When we lost, it took a big toll on me because I would think if I made more of my shots, I think we would have won the game.”

It’s also no accident that the Saints continued to win during that time.  Hasbrouck didn’t stop excelling in other facets of the game, and that made it easier for his teammates to step up.

“That’s what you do.  When the shot’s not falling, you don’t want to get down, you try to make up for it other ways – on defense, rebounding,” said Ubiles.  “There’s a lot of different ways you can be effective on the court.  When you’re not scoring, you’ve got to do other things.  I think that’s what the better players do.  He was down, but he always plays hard, no matter what.”

“The thing about Kenny is he’s really got a lot of character,” said McCaffery.  “In the period where he wasn’t making shots, he was helping us win games.  He plays defense, he’s all over the place, he runs the point for us when we need him to, he passes it well.

As important as it is for the Saints to get Hasbrouck going again – junior forward Alex Franklin said, with a smile, “I miss Kenny going out there dropping 20 a game” – more important is what changed after the three losses in Orlando that allowed them to bounce back with the big month of December they had.  In those three games, defense and rebounding were issues that led to the losses.  But since then, the Saints have tried to focus on improving in both areas.  They force nearly 18 turnovers per game, and while they are still being out-rebounded on the season, Pittsburgh is the only team to beat them on the glass in the past five games.

“We know why we lost in Orlando.  It was bad mistakes on defense, we weren’t rebounding the ball well, we weren’t communicating as a team,” said Hasbrouck.  “We’ve changed that, we’ve changed the image of the team.  We’re starting to rebound against the better teams, and that’s why we’re winning right now.”

“In practice, coach tells us all the time, no matter what the game plan is, if we don’t rebound, we won’t win the game,” said Ubiles.  “I think we all put that together as a team, to collectively go in and get rebounds, and I think we’ve all been doing a great job of that.”

With that winning, the Saints look more like the team some thought they would be before the season.  They look more like the favorites in the MAAC, even if they aren’t prohibitive ones at that.

A Surprising End to Siena’s Win over Holy Cross

by - Published December 31, 2008 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – It was a surprising scene to end the game.  That’s the case not only because it happens so rarely, but also because of who was involved.

As the final seconds of Siena’s 83-71 win at Holy Cross ticked off the clock, Siena head coach Fran McCaffery motioned to all five of his players on the floor toward the exit.  At first glance, it might have looked like he was motioning to get the ball across mid-court to avoid a ten-second violation before dribbling out the final seconds, but once the buzzer sounded it was clear that wasn’t the case.  The Saints walked right out of the gym without shaking hands with the Holy Cross players and coaches.

Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard, who did not comment on it after the game, stopped walking towards the bench once the Saints were walking away and looked as dumbfounded as just about everyone else in the gym.  McCaffery, who is well-respected among his peers for far more than just his winning ways as a head coach, made it clear why he did that.  Like everything else in life, it didn’t happen in a vacuum.

“I was upset at how our guys were being fouled,” McCaffery said.  “I’ve got guys bloodied, I’ve got guys with black eyes, I’ve got guys needing stitches.  That’s not how the game’s supposed to be played.”

McCaffery noted that last year’s game in Loudonville was similar to this.  Alex Franklin missed five games with a back injury after the meeting.  Asked if he thought the officiating, which did leave something to be desired, contributed to it, McCaffery said, alluding to Holy Cross, “I think it’s a result of how they play.”

In fact, McCaffery had no real issue with the officials, even though at times he appeared to get a little heated with them, as did Willard.  46 fouls were called in the game, with the Saints whistled for two more than the Crusaders, so the stat sheet alone won’t explain everything.  The Saints made three more free throws (25) than Holy Cross attempted (22).

While any tension that was mounting between the teams wasn’t obvious, anytime a game gets as physical as this one was, things can escalate between the teams.  That led McCaffery to approach getting help from the officials in a different way.

“I said, ‘what do you want me to do now?  What am I supposed to do?’  Because you really don’t want that, you don’t want me to ‘send in a goon’ and all of a sudden there’s a melee,” said McCaffery, who said he had no intention of doing such a thing.  “That’s not what we want.  But I’d like to know what recourse we had.”

The game was the fourth in a home-and-home series between the two schools.  One might first think that this will be it for a while, and the Siena game notes suggest as much since they said that this is the final game of a four-year series.  But a Holy Cross source said that the schools have a six-year series and are scheduled to meet next December in Loudonville for the fifth game.  It is not known how easily the Saints could get out of the final two games if they desire to, although the schools could agree to put off the next meeting by a year or two.

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