Here’s a recap of the last two days of action in the CAA. There are no games on tap for tonight, so tomorrow we will look at the results of today’s National Signing Day.
William and Mary came roaring back from a 15-point halftime deficit to defeat Liberty 71-59 Monday night. The Tribe went on a dominant 32-5 run to open the second half and overtake the Flames, shooting an eye-popping 60% from the field in the second half.
While the offense picked up after the intermission, head coach Tony Shaver was quick to compliment the defense for keeping the Tribe in the game. The Flames shot nearly 60% in the first half, but a renewed effort from the College kept Liberty to just 22.6% from the field in the second half.
“It’s a real gut check for us,” head coach Tony Shaver said in a post-game radio interview. “They had a determined look in their face [during halftime] and the first three or four minutes [of the second half] defensively really set the tone.”
Junior guard Brandon Britt led the group with 21 points in another superb performance. Britt, who was 8-of-13 from the charity stripe, nailed a few free throws to halt a late Liberty rally. Britt was also exceptionally efficient, as he was 6-for-8 on the evening, 1-of-2 from three-point range.
While Britt effectively led the Tribe, the story of the day was freshman guard Terry Tarpey. Tarpey, who stepped in while sophomore guard Marcus Thornton was in foul trouble. Tarpey recorded 14 points on a 5-for-8 shooting night, and brought down a team-leading eight rebounds for another impressive showing in just his second glimpse of collegiate action. If the Tribe can continue to get this type of production out of Tarpey, head coach Tony Shaver’s options at guard will continue to grow.
Thornton, who was dominant in the College’s opener against Hampton, turned in a decent performance against the Flames. In his 29 minutes of court time, Thornton shot 3-for-8 night from the floor, but managed to hit all five of his free throws.
At center, the Tribe benefitted from a pair of steady performances. Junior center Tim Rusthoven turned in 15 points and provided a formidable presence inside. His backup, junior Fred Heldring, also played nicely and gave the College a nice advantage under the net.
One ominous but ultimately insignificant stat: With the win, the College is 2-0 for the first time since 2004-05. After winning its first two games that year, the Tribe finished 8-21. But as they say, that is ancient history.
The Tribe will resume action Saturday when it takes on 2-0 High Point in High Point, N.C.
When Virginia, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Kansas State were selected to host the regional rounds of the Pre-Season NIT, it was largely expected that those four teams would blow through the competition and advance to the semifinal round in Madison Square Garden. Heading into Tuesday evening, everything was going to plan, as the top four seeds took care of business in Monday’s first round. But on Tuesday night, the (arbitrarily) eighth-seeded Delaware Blue Hens sabotaged those plans with a 59-53 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Before their second round showdown with the Cavaliers, the Blue Hens had to deal with the pesky Penn Quakers on Monday night. The Blue Hens trailed 31-30 in a seesawing first half. Whatever Coach Monte Ross said during the final media timeout ignited the Blue Hens. Guards Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt spearheaded a 23-5 run between halves to give Delaware a 54-36 lead heading into the first media timeout of the second half. Delaware stretched its lead to as high as 24 points in the second half. Penn pulled to within nine with less than four minutes to play, but Delaware’s efficiency from the line wrapped up the 84-69 victory.
Saddler had a great overall game, filling the stat sheet with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals (as well as 8 turnovers). Threatt finished with 12 points, converting 8 out of 9 attempts from the charity stripe. Senior forward Josh Brinkley chipped in 15 points, missing only one shot from the field. Freshman guard Terrell Rogers set a career-high with 14 points.
The Blue Hens’ hot play continued into the first half of their Tuesday evening duel with Virginia, as they took a 28-15 lead into the half. Virginia made a run in the second half, and even held a brief 42-41 lead with 7:50 to go, prompting a Delaware timeout. Once again, Ross worked his timeout magic.
Ross put his trust in the veteran Saddler, who was held scoreless in the first half, and had only 4 points to that point. Saddler sandwiched two 3-pointers around a Brinkley layup to give the Blue Hens a 49-42 lead. Virginia closed to within three points a few times, but three clutch free throws from Saddler secured a 59-53 victory for the Blue Hens.
Saddler led the Blue Hens with 15 points, and Threatt contributed 14 points of his own. Forward Jamelle Hagins did his thing, scoring 10 points while snatching 16 rebounds. Delaware used a short bench, as only seven players saw playing time for the Blue Hens. A depleted UVA backcourt was no match for the Saddler-Threatt duo.
This was a monumental victory for the Blue Hens: it was their first victory over an ACC opponent in 50 years, when they defeated Virginia in Charlottesville back in 1962. Beating the Cavaliers is becoming a routine for the CAA, as Mason and Delaware handed Virginia its first two losses of the season. The Blue Hens have a chance at another quality win with a semifinal matchup with Kansas State on Wednesday, November 21st in a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU.
It would be difficult to find a team that’s had a more exciting start to the year than the Northeastern Huskies. Last night’s win in Princeton helped to assure that the previous statement was true. The Princeton Tigers seemed to be in control of the game. They jumped out to a double-digit lead just nine minutes into the game, and seemed as if they would never look back. This continued through the first half, as they headed to the locker room with a comfortable 12-point lead, 44-32.
The Tigers’ star, Ian Hummer seemed to be winning the battle of senior captain play, with 21 points going into the half, but tellingly he only had four points in the second half. With Hummer leading the way, the Tigers’ had no trouble passing through the Huskies 2-3 zone.
However, Coen made some crucial halftime adjustments and the Huskies looked like a completely different team coming out for the second half. It wasn’t evident early though, as the Huskies trailed by as many as 18. But boy do these sophomores for Northeastern look primed to be perennial stars in the CAA.
Leading the way, Quincy Ford, his stat line had a little of everything, starting with a career high 27 points. He also contributed 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and shot 5-6 from three-point range. It was a great and necessary standout performance on a night where Joel Smith couldn’t get it going, shooting 2-7 and finishing with almost as many turnovers (4) as points (6). While Ford required most of the Tigers’ defensive attention, it was the other star sophomore, Reggie Spencer, who won the game for the Huskies.
Inbounding the ball with just 6 seconds left on the clock and down by one, freshman Zach Stahl drove towards the basket. At the last second he dished the ball to Spencer, who made the layup with just 2 seconds left, clinching another last second win. It was the first lead of the game for the Huskies. It seemed that the Tigers’ defense was waiting for Stahl to dish to Ford or Smith, but the freshman made a great move to the basket, catching everyone by surprise.
That being said, Spencer did a great job finishing the play, as he ended up with another solid performance, shooting 6-8 and finishing with 16 points and 5 boards. The Huskies finished the game on an 8-0 run, with Princeton shooters missing 6 different shots over the course of the final three minutes to play. As the game wound down, Princeton had a chance to seal the victory from the free throw line, but Princeton forward Mack Darrow missed the front end of a 1-1 allowing Spencer to make the game winning shot.
The hypertension Huskies return home to take on the Vermont Catamounts on Saturday, November 17th.
UNCW was routed by former CAA opponent Richmond 101-58 on Sunday. The final score tells you most of what you need to know about how the game went for the Seahawks. At the first media timeout UNCW trailed by only one point, but that was the last time the game was close.
The silver lining was the Seahawks’ free throw shooting. UNCW was a perfect 19-for-19 from the line. However, in every other column of the box score the Seahawks had a night to forget. The Hawks shot just 32.1% from the field, and committed 18 turnovers.
Keith Rendleman gave the kind of performance we have grown to expect from him. He totaled 14 points, 12 rebounds in his 23rd career double-double. Rendleman needs to average 9.4 rebounds per game this season to become the all-time leading UNCW rebounder. While he is not a lock to reach that mark, so long as he remains healthy I would be surprised if he didn’t end the season at the top of the list.
This was the second straight game the Seahawks committed 18 or more turnovers. Needless to say, that number needs to go down if the team wants to be competitive in most of their games this year.
Last year the team played through their schedule without a true point guard after Craig Ponder decided to redshirt and undergo surgery on his ankle. This year, Ponder is back, and joined at point guard by transfer Chris Dixon. Thus far, the two have combined for all but a handful of minutes running the offense. Combined this year they are 2-for-19, and have 4 assists, compared to 16 turnovers. Look for those numbers to improve as the two get to know their teammates better, and adapt to the speed of the game.
The next game for the Seahawks is another tough road matchup against a very good Ohio team.
The Georgia State Panthers left Provo, Utah still seeking their first victory of the young college basketball season. The Panthers suffered a 80-62 loss to the BYU Cougars on Tuesday evening in the host round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
The game was ugly from the start, as BYU jumped out to a 31-2 lead. Cougars’ senior forward Brandon Davies dominated with a 29-point performance that reminded us of his impeccable scoring abilities. He was 10-of-14 from the field, with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Sophomore Tyler Haws had 22 points for the second straight game, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Manny Atkins, the Virginia Tech transfer, led the Panthers’ with 21 points and 8 rebounds and was the only player to make a 3-pointer for Georgia State. Junior guard Devonta White managed 14 points to go with 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and assists.
CAA Rookie of the Week R.J. Hunter added 12 points, 8 of which came from the free throw line. The Panthers’ were held to 35% shooting from the field. Discounting Atkins’ three 3-pointers, the Panthers were 0 for 16 from behind the arc.
The Panthers will play their season opener next Monday, November 19th, against the Monmouth Hawks as a continuation of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. With seven of their next nine games coming at home, Georgia State has a chance to right the ship in the comfort of the GSU Sports Arena.
After a big George Mason win over the Virginia Cavaliers to start the season last Friday night, the Patriots came out flat and never really recovered in a 61-56 loss at Bucknell Tuesday night. For Mason fans, it’s probably not how they expected their team to rebound after such a promising start.
And hey, speaking of how a team rebounds, what’s up with GMU’s rebounding? They got beat down 31-24 in the loss to Bucknell. A quick return to the UVA box score reveals that, even in a win, they got outrebounded by five boards.
In case you were internally wondering how terribly George Mason is rebounding through these first two games, they currently rank 328th nationally in total rebounds per game. I’m not a math major, but out of 347 teams, 328 seems…poor.
So Mason can’t rebound. In my best Jerry Seinfeld impression, what’s up with that?
Let’s not jump to conclusions. After all, the Patriots are still without two important members of their frontcourt, sophomores Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray, for undisclosed, double-secret probation student-athlete conduct violations. Copes and Gray will miss Mason’s next game too, their first game in the Paradise Jam tournament against Rider.
Until then, overly harsh judgments of George Mason’s rebounding should probably wait in the wings. Still, one has to wonder if physical, forward-heavy teams could bother this team in the future. It’s not like Bucknell is a rebounding powerhouse to begin with.