Tag:America East
Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:40 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 8:47 pm
 

Night Court: Seton Hall, Purdue get bubble wins

Meyers Leonard struggled mightily on the offensive end against Michigan, as Illinois lost by nine. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: In a game with major implications for the bubble, Seton Hall went on an 18-5 run to finish the game en route to a 73-66 win over Pittsburgh. Even more impressively, the Pirates played the final six minutes without Fuquan Edwin, who fouled out after making a jumper to cut the lead to four. Brandon Mobley came up with an important steal, while Herb Pope made four free throws in the final 11 seconds, to clinch the victory for Seton Hall. Pitt probably needs to win the Big East tournament to get to the Big Dance now.

Win to brag about: Stony Brook came into Sunday at 12-1 in the America East and on top of the standings. Second-place Vermont simply went out and hammered the Seawolves by 19, holding them without a 3-pointer despite 15 attempts from behind the arc. Four McGlynn had 24 points off the bench for the Catamounts, who can now win a share of the regular-season title – and potential homecourt advantage in the conference tournament.

Loss to hide from: Only two days after beating Iona to take sole possession of first place in the MAAC, Loyola (Md.) was throttled at home by Fairfield, 68-51. The loss ended the Greyhounds’ seven-game winning streak, as they shot just 17.4 percent from the field in the second half. A 12-0 run midway through the second stanza broke things open for the Stags.

Player who deserves improper benefits: In the “Battle for Brooklyn,” LIU-Brooklyn senior Jamal Olasewere shot 11-for-11 from the field, finishing with 32 points and seven rebounds in an 81-78 win over St. Francis (N.Y.). The win keeps the Blackbirds atop the Northeast, and completes a two-game sweep of the city rival Terriers.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Michigan is most vulnerable on the inside, so most expected Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard to have a monster game on the interior. However, he struggled with foul trouble and only finished with five points on five shots as Michigan came out with a 70-61 win. Leonard did grab 12 rebounds, but Bruce Weber needed more offensive production from his big man. 

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 0: Binghamton is still winless after losing a 62-60 game to Hartford. The Bearcats have five regular-season games left to get a victory.
  • 6: The Northeast has a “Rivalry Week” where each team plays their rival twice in a matter of days. All six matchups featured 2-0 sweeps.
  • 26: Kyle Weems became the 26th played in Missouri Valley history to reach 1800 points, as Missouri State beat Bradley by 11.
  • 10: St. John’s became the first team in the country to lost 10 games to top 25 teams this season.

Three other notable results:

  1. Georgetown hit three 3-pointers during a key three-minute stretch late in the second half to hold off St. John’s, 71-61.
  2. The Big Ten featured a monster bubble battle on Sunday, with Purdue getting the big victory over Northwestern, 87-77. John Shurna had 30 points in the loss.
  3. Washington’s Terrence Ross had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead Washington to a 75-72 victory at Oregon State. The game was a must-win for the Huskies, in order to keep pace with California at the top of the Pac-12.

Notes:

  • Connecticut announced that Warde Manuel will be the new director of athletics for the university. Manuel has been the AD at Buffalo for the past six years.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in a missed 3 with 1.8 seconds left to give Virginia Tech a 66-65 win over Boston College.
  • Scott Machado racked up a triple-double in Iona's tougher-than-expected win over Marist. He had 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Stony Brook finally rids itself of BU demon

Stony Brook snapped a five-game losing streak to BU and became the America East favorite. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Boston University has been Stony Brook’s kryptonite the past three seasons, beating the Seawolves five consecutive times. The Terriers knocked Stony Brook out of the last two America East tournaments, including the title game a season ago.

The Seawolves finally broke through against BU on Friday night, with a 66-57 victory. Stony Brook is now 8-1 in the league – one game ahead of BU and Vermont.

Taking sole possession of first place in the conference by beating a team that had their number for the past few seasons wasn’t lost on the Seawolves.

“We needed this win bad,” junior Tommy Brenton said. “Coach has been reminding us about that streak. We knew we had to play harder, play more defense, play better offense.”

On paper, Stony Brook has been the best team in the America East for much of the season. With the BU cloud hanging over its head, though, it was tough to name the Seawolves the favorite going forward.

That’s no longer a problem.

“It’s still halfway through,” Brenton said. “We’ll take it game-by-game, not relax and slip-up.”

“We’re confident,” head coach Steve Pikiell added. “Too confident. We’re always on them. They’re veterans.”

The road to an America East automatic bid now goes through Stony Brook, and the Seawolves have the pieces to make life difficult for any future opponent. It starts with their defense. They’re now 11-0 when holding teams to fewer than 60 points, and they lead the conference in rebound margin (also rank No. 12 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage). They force turnovers, they don’t foul and they defend the perimeter very well.

They’re also physical and utilize gang rebounding and help defense.

“To prepare for them, you have to get your team to get ready to go,” Boston University head coach Joe Jones said. “It’s more about them collectively than about one guy.”

Against BU, Stony Brook had to constantly bounce back. The Terriers hit 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the opening minutes, getting out to an early lead. In the second half, they went on 17-0 run midway through the period to take a four-point lead heading down the stretch. Stony Brook responded with a 19-6 run to end the game.

The past couple of years, would the Seawolves have had the strength to respond after a huge run?

“We get a little déjà vu when that happens,” said leading scorer Bryan Douger. “We were able to pull out of it. It shows a lot of character about our guys.”

The entire night showed how far the Stony Brook program has come in the last few years under Pikiell. There was not a single general-admission ticket sold for the game, as students and season-ticket holders packed the arena to capacity. The two student sections were nearly filled 45 minutes before the game to “Red-Out” BU.

If the Seawolves do reach the conference tournament title game again – and need to host it – they will have to play at a different on-campus arena. The current one holds just 1600; America East rules stipulate that title hosts need to have a capacity of 3000. Stony Brook’s bigger arena is currently under renovation, but it would be the site of the championship.

“It was a championship-caliber game,” Brenton said. “I’m sure we’ll see them soon.”

Only this time, Stony Brook will have already rid itself of the BU demon.

Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Vermont's Apfeld overcomes three torn ACLs

By Jeff Goodman

After Luke Apfeld did it for the third time, in a preseason game as a freshman at Vermont, one of his former coaches suggested he sign up for a Facebook page.

"It was for anyone who had torn their ACL three times," The Catamounts one-time ultra-athletic forward said. "Now I'm an official member."

Apfeld can joke about it now, since he's as healthy as he's been since first tearing his right knee in a summer event in July of 2008. But this is no joke. Imagine going through the arduous rehab process three times.

Apfeld suffered the first injury prior to committing to Vermont in July of 2008. Then he rehabbed and tore the ACL in his other knee in the second practice of his senior year at Brewster Academy -- in January of 2009. Then came another rehab stint followed by yet another knee injury, this one coming in November of 2009 when he tore the right one again.

That's three within about a 16-month span. Enough to make just about anyone throw in the towel.

"I thought about giving up basketball," Apfeld admitted. "My doctor wanted me to hang it up, that the risk after doing it three times is as high as it can be. He told my parents that my body wouldn't be able to take it if it happened again."

But Apfeld had put so much into three rehabs to get onto the court and he had yet to play a college basketball game.

Now Apfeld is a starter, as a redshirt sophomore, at Vermont. He's second on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg) and rebounding (4.1 rpg) while playing 21.7 minutes per game.

"It's worked out," Apfeld said. "I've kept my fingers crossed and am keeping them crossed."

Apfeld's game has changed due to the injuries. He's no longer a pogo stick and has now worked on his skill, which fits well into new coach John Becker's flex system.

"I remember being able to jump off one leg really well," he said. "I can't do that anymore. Now I'm more of a two-foot guy. ... I know I'll never get that athleticism I used to have back."

But Apfeld is fine with that - as long as he can remain healthy and continue to be a key contributor.

"It's definitely a relief to see results," he said. "Everyone talks about how hard work pays off, but for the first couple years I didn't really see any results on the court. It feels good now that all the work and rehabs have paid off."

Since Apfeld is an expert in terms of coming back from major knee injuries (I'm not sure there's anyone else who has suffered three torn ACL's and returned), he's got some advice.

"The physical part of the rehab is the easiest thing," Apfeld added. "The most difficult part is the mental aspect. You've got to keep the faith and know you're going to get back on the court. Keep that mindset, come in ready to work every day."
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Joe Jones 'on top of the world' with B.U. gig

By Jeff Goodman

There's a reason Joe Jones is smiling so much nowadays.

There just aren't many guys that give up their gig as a Division 1 head coach for an assistant spot -- only to get another head job a year later.

"It couldn't have worked out any better," the first-year Boston University head coach said last week. "No way when I left Columbia did I think I'd be able to get a job like I got so quickly."

Jones spent seven years in the Ivy League with Columbia, going 86-108 in his tenure. The program had its ups and downs in his time in New York, but Jones decided to leave a little more than a year ago and join Steve Donahue's staff as his associate head coach at Boston College.

"My wife was the first one to tell me I should go," Jones said. "I knew I was taking a major risk, but looking back, it was the best decision I could have made - for my family and for me."

His kids now are able to have a backyard -- and Jones has a program that is considered tops in the America East.

He's also fortunate to inherit a team that will be picked once again to win the league despite the loss of league MVP John Holland and the season-ending injury to Jake O'Brien.

Four starters -- including talented sophomore guard D.J. Irving -- are back from last year's team that went 21-14 and won the conference tourney to get into the NCAA tournament.

"I'd rather be picked to win it rather than fourth - like we were a few years at Columbia," Jones said. "I'm 45 years old. Pressure is what it is. I'm fine with it."

Jones has a similar up-beat, high-energy personality than his predecessor, Pat Chambers, exhibits. The transition, Jones said, has been easier because of their relationship as ex-Villanova assistants.

Jones even sat right behind the BU bench for the America East championship game last season, a victory that may have wound up getting Chambers the Penn State job and landing Jones with the Terriers.

"I'm on top of the world," Jones said.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:12 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 12:37 pm
 

BU loses player of year candidate Jake O'Brien

By Jeff Goodman

Boston University senior forward Jake O'Brien is expected to miss the entire season after having a second surgery on his foot on Monday. 

O'Brien is a 6-foot-8 forward who missed the second half of last year after suffering a broken foot on Dec. 31.

"The foot never healed, so I had to go in and have a second procedure," O'Brien told CBSSports.com.  

O'Brien, who was set to to be cornerstone of new Terriers coach Joe Jones' team this season after BU graduated America East Player of the Year John Holland, said the rehab is expected to take anywhere from 3-5 months. 

"I'm going to redshirt and not rush back into anything," O'Brien added.

O'Brien, who hopes to practice with the team at some point later this year, averaged 13.8 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior and was averaging 10.9 points and 5.5 boards last season when he went down with the injury.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 10:54 am
 

Trippin': Healthy Stony Brook goes to Europe



In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click
here for all Trippin’ related stories.

By Jeff Borzello

It was the last day of Stony Brook’s three-city Europe trip, and the team was standing outside the Louvre in Paris.

Looking to get one last memory overseas, the Seawolves saw a ride that essentially shot you into the air until you were almost out of sight to the people on the ground. At first, everyone on the team wanted to do it.

Sophomores Dave Coley and Anthony Mayo were the first to go (video below).

“The guys wanted to show how tough they were,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “So two guys step up first, they get sprung up in the air. This thing bounces you a million feet in the air, players were going, ‘Oh my God.’ None of our players wanted to get on the ride after that.”

Overall, the trip to Dublin, London and Paris was a success, both on and off the court.

“It was as good a trip as you can have,” Pikiell said.

What Pikiell learned: “You learn about your newcomers. We have two newcomers, and one, Ron Bracey, led us in scoring and was second in rebounds. You learn how your players improve from one year to the next. It got Tommy Brenton back into playing real games because he hadn’t played one in a year. I think that was a real positive for us. There was some things we needed to work on, but now we’re ahead of the game a bit.”

What impressed him: Depth – “Our depth. We have a lot of guys, and I always look at it as a pro. Our guys are going to fight for minutes, and I think that’s a positive. In the past, we had about seven guys. Our guys know they have to work. I played everyone, and it was still hard to get minutes.”

What concerned him: Health – “My biggest concern is injuries. Chris Martin was one of my best guards, and he missed 19 games last year. Tommy Brenton was my best player; he missed the entire season. Marcus Rouse, missed seven games with a knee injury. Dave Coley missed six games. Coming off that trip, I’m very concerned about injuries.”

- Pikiell said he is leaning on seniors Dallas Joyner and Bryan Dougher as leaders for the upcoming season. “You see who’s leading your team when you go into a museum or something,” he said. “We had pretty good leadership, and that’s something I didn’t talk about before the trip.”

- While Ron Bracey led the newcomers, 6-foot-9 freshman forward Scott King was no slouch. “He can really shoot the ball,” Pikiell said.

- Brenton, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was back to his old self after shaking off the rust. He led the team in rebounding, steals, assists, field-goal percentage and also took the most charges. “He does a lot of things for us,” Pikiell said. “He’s very valuable to us.”

- In the five games over there – in which Stony Brook went 4-1 – the Seawolves had five different leading scorers. Marcus Rouse went 10-for-10 one game and scored 21 points; Lenny Hayes, Bracey and Dougher also paced the Seawolves in scoring for a game. On the defensive side, Pikiell highlighted Dave Coley as one a player who stood out.

- Senior forwards Danny Carter and Dallas Joyner look ready to take a step forward this season. Joyner was an effective scorer, while Carter shot 56 percent from 3-point range.

CBSSports.com’s list of teams taking preseason trips

Photo: Stony Brook Athletics

Posted on: September 7, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 1:03 pm
 

Trippin': Staying healthy is paramount for Albany


In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin’ related stories.

By Matt Norlander

First things first: Longtime Albany head coach Will Brown was thrilled he was getting a call from me, and not Goodman.

“I got the A team writing about us,” he said with an enthusiasm that nearly matched the thrill he must have had upon making the NCAA tournament in 2006.

You know it. And above anything else he shared with me, he wanted it in the post that he was delighted Goodman wasn’t taking up his time with a phone call. So I’m coming through on a promise here.

Now, to business. UAlbany took its summer trip to Ottawa and Montreal at the end of August. The team averaged 89 points per game playing “pretty good” competition, going 4-1 against the University of Quebec at Montreal; McGill University, in Montreal; lost its third game to an all-star team of European pros; defeated the University of Ottawa; and won over Carleton, who has won six of the last seven Canadian University national titles.

Brown, who can talk with the best of them, was positive about the trip (so few coaches actually admit to feeling down about these, though), but said there was some concern because the team played without its starting frontcourt, due to injuries. Six-foot, 8-inch Luke Devlin is one of the hampered. He had a nerve issue in his back that required surgery earlier this year. The 6-8 Australian will be key for Albany this year, as the group will often go to a four-guard look. The other player coming back to the team is 6-11 John Puk, who is overcoming Achilles tendinosis. Both men will have their first on-court individual workout on Friday, contact and all.

“It’s nothing to worry about — we just don’t want to work them too much too soon,” Brown said, adding that Puk’s been out of his walking boot for a month. Brown expects both to be ready for the start of the season, 100 percent.

What Brown learned: “Our new guys are pretty darned good, and that the group is unselfish. If this team has any interest in defending and rebounding, we’ve got a good chance to win the league. And as good as Mike Black is, there is another player who can play the point.”

Who impressed him: The new guy Brown was alluding to is Peter Hooley, a 6-4 freshman. Black actually got knocked out of the third game with a concussion and didn’t play the rest of the trip. Hooley, a known scorer, stepped in at the point in games four and five and put up a combined 44 points. In the team’s final game, Hooley had seven assists and zero turnovers against Carleton. The other freshman who stood out: Gerardo Suero, who was hurt most of the summer. Suero averaged 19 points per game in 19 minutes. He also got to the free throw line 32 times in five games and averaged five rebounds.

What concerned him: The low-post defense and the glass were issues, but the team was without Puk and Devlin, so Brown shrugged some of that off. His primary other concern right now is health. Brown’s hoping this team isn’t cursed. You’ve seen the injuries listed above. On top of that, Jacob Iati didn’t play the final three games after he took a shot to the ribs. They’re not broken, but very bruised, and that can sometimes be worse.

--Brown tried to start seven guys when I asked for five. After some pushing, he narrowed it down: Black (an all-conference player last season), junior Logan Aronhalt, Devlin, Puk, and he’d give the nod, right now, to Suero due to his potent offensive ability.

--The Great Danes have no seniors this season.

--The team went small, and it could even go five guards at points this year. Brown’s liking the look that much, and if some teams aren’t big, he’s not concerned about post plays.

“We’ve always been big and physical and found ways to score, and now we have to play differently based on the personnel available.”

Photo via Albany athletics is of the team in front of Ottawa Parliament
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Trippin': UNH aims to cure offensive woes

In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin’ related stories.

By Matt Norlander

With transfers in two, New Hampshire's hoping its offensive issues aren't existent in 2011-12.

The team took to Montreal for its summer trip. It was the first such adventure for Wildcats head coach Bill Herrion, despite 20 years as a D-I head coach. He loved it. He loved it so much, he tried to do what we do.

“It turned me into a blogger," Herrion said. "I’m one of you guys now!”

Herrion went full-bore on those blog posts linked above, by the way. The school’s budget prohibited it from taking a European trip. So Montreal for three days it was. The team played McGill University, the University of Quebec, LaVal University and Bishop’s University. It went 3-1.

What Herrion learned: “This is my 20th year as a head coach as the Divisional I level, and I’ve never done one of these foreign trips. Now that I’ve done it, I wish the rule wasn’t once every four years; I wish it was once every two or three years. Any time you get a chance to get your team together this early, it’s better. Some negative things came out of the gate the first night we played, and it’s better to know those things in August, than practice in October.”

What impressed him: “Alvin Abreu impressed me because he’s our guy. He’s a senior, and any time you come of an injury, you wonder if they’re ready to go. And he is. He’s a Second Team all-conference guy.” Herrio said Chandler Rhoads (left), a junior who was a point guard his freshman year but is now off the ball, was very effective in his scoring on the trip.

What concerned him: It was the rebounding, and Herrion said it’s “going to be an issue.” The post defense wasn’t great because the group is undersized.

“The trip served exactly the purpose that we wanted to get out of it,” he said. “Any time you can get your team together in August and get the extra practice and go play games, it’s positive.”

-- The offense has to get better. The Wildcats were one of the worst-scoring teams in the country last year, a lot of that due to injuries. But, to be fair, it’s been weak offensively for the past two season, and UNH hasn’t ever been relatively potent with the ball since Herrion came on board. The team is 25-35 the past two years and has never been above .500 in six seasons under Herrion.

“It’s no secret: We have to score easier baskets,” Herrion said. “We’ve relied so much on our perimeter game the past three years, and we haven’t had a true, bona fide post game. This year, we’re more versatile and can open up the court. … Now we know there’s certain things we’re going to have to play closer attention to.”

-- Injuries: The team is healthy right now, save for a concussion suffered by big man Brian Benson during the team’s first game of the trip. It’s a big turnaround from a year ago, when Abreu, the leading scorer going into last season (1,100 points), tore his ACL in the second game of year, at Dartmouth. Then, halfway through the season, Ferg Myryck -- another offensive necessity -- ruptured his patella tendon. Starting inside guy senior Brian Benson, suffered a concussion and sat out the final three games.

-- The team will have transfers Patrick Konan (coming in from Liberty) and Jeron Trotman (Centenary) eligible this season. Konan is a projected starter. And speaking of that …

-- If Herrion had to put a starting five on the floor tonight, he said it would be Jordon Bronner at point, Abreu at the 2, Rhoads also at guard, Konan at the 4 and Benson at the 5.

Photo via UNH athletics
 
 
 
 
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