Patriot League Recap, 11/11/13 and 11/12/13

Monday, November 11, 2013
St. Francis (PA) 60, Navy 57
You’d think Navy would get a boost on Veterans Day, no? No? Apparently not, or at least not enough. The Midshipmen (0-2) hung around for all 40 minutes in what was a remarkably close game. Neither side led by more than six points at any point. Navy, though, will be upset despite showing noticeable improvement just three days after a 27-point drubbing at Towson, because the Midshipmen held that six-point lead early in the second half and could never extend it. The Red Flash bounced back after their own 20-point loss, riding a highly efficient scoring performance from freshman Malik Harmon (20 points on 5-of-7 shooting, 8-of-10 FT). And St. Francis (1-1) needed every bit of those 20 points to overcome Navy’s industry on the boards (plus-23 percent rebounding, or 123 TRB%*).

Note: TRB% is total rebounding percentage, a better (more accurate) way to describe how well (or how poorly) a team rebounds in a given game (or a given season). It’s pretty straightforward: if offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%) is the percentage of available offensive rebounds secured by a team, and defensive rebounding percentage (DRB%) is the percentage of available defensive rebounds secured by a team, then TRB% is just ORB% + DRB%. 100 is average. In Navy’s case, 123 is an excellent figure for a single game. Note that over the course of a full season, teams will naturally trend closer to 100. The best rebounding team by TRB% last year was NCAA Round of 32 partipant Colorado State, clocking in at 118.2 for a full-season.

One of the ongoing side projects here at OBW is to add a handy-dandy glossary page of abbreviations commonly used on the site, including those for advanced stats. Over the course of the season you should see that page show up and grow. We hope it proves a helpful reference.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Robert Morris 90, Lafayette 81
The tyranny of schools named after people continued this evening, as Robert Morris… oh, right, Lafayette is also named after a person. Perhaps the tyranny of the NEC fits more closely. In any case, Robert Morris (2-0) hit the points jackpot at Lafayette (0-2), with five players reaching double figures in scoring and two others finishing with 8 points apiece. The Fightin’ Marquis – er, Leopards – were no slouches themselves on offense, led by 2012-13 Patriot League All-Rookie Team member Bryce Scott and his 25 points. But after building an 11-point lead by the 14-minute mark of the second half, the Colonials came roaring (hey, that’s the Leopards’ verb!) back, scoring 42 points in those final 14 minutes (yes, that’s equivalent to a made 3 every minute). An opening loss to Villanova was expected; losing the home opener, even to a quality program like Robert Morris, will sting a bit more sharply for a team picked to finish second in this year’s Patriot League coaches poll.

Lehigh 92, Rider 76
Speaking of scoring, how about shooting nearly 60 percent from the field? Lehigh (1-1) did that, and broke the 60 percent mark from 3 (14-of-23) in the first home game and first win of the Mountain Hawks’ post-C.J. McCollum era. Freshman Austin Price lost no momentum after picking up this season’s first Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors, pouring in 21 points. He had plenty of help though, as Jesse Chuku (18 points, 4-of-4 from 3), Tim Kempton (16 points), and Mackey McKnight (14 points). Rider (0-1) fought hard in its season opener, and held its own on the glass and by taking care of the ball, but the rims at Stabler Arena must have looked five feet wide to the Mountain Hawks after coming back from Minnesota.

BU freshman Hankerson shows flashes in debut

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BU freshman Cedric Hankerson fires up a three in front of the Northeastern bench in the first half of the Terriers 72-69 win over their arch-rival Huskies. Hankerson scored eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from downtown and 2-of-2 from the line in 11 minutes in his debut. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

(Boston) — With 16:52 remaining the first half of Boston University’s season opener, bruising Terriers forward Dom Morris’ shimmy-shaked his defender out of his shoes, burying a silky-smooth jumper into the bottom of the net. The bruising Terriers’ forward seemed well on his way to picking up where he’d left off during a breakout junior season and BU looked ready to leave hated-rival Northeastern in the dust.

But then the 6’6” 240-pounder picked up successive fouls 30 seconds apart, relegating him to spectator status on the bench for the remaining 15 minutes and change of the opening stanza.

Losing a starter – any starter — was a scenario that usually proved to be disastrous last season for zero-margin-for-error Terriers, a team loaded with star talent but lacking any serviceable reserves.

But Sunday was a new day and a new season for Boston University and in Morris’ absence in stepped highly-touted freshman Cedric Hankerson, a 6’5” 200 pound wing who chose BU over multpiple BCS schools, and the Terriers offense kept on chugging.

With 10:41 left in the first half, Hankerson drilled the first shot of his career, a contested three from close to NBA range, putting the Terriers up 16-13, a lead they would hold until well into the second half and recover during the game’s final minutes. Continue reading “BU freshman Hankerson shows flashes in debut”

For Dudzinski, every moment on the floor is a gift

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Holy Cross forward Dave Dudzinski slams home two of his game-high 25 points over a swarm of Harvard defenders on Sunday night at the TD Garden in Boston. The Crusaders fell 82-72 to the Crimson, but Dudzinski shined none the less. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

(Boston) — At some point during their senior year, most players take stock of their careers and realize their time on the hardwood is fleeting – that they only have so many games and so many minutes left on the court.

Holy Cross senior forward Dave Dudzinski isn’t like most players. Since the first day that he set foot on the floor at the Hart Recreation Center, Dudzinski has had the mindset that every game is sacred and that not a single second on the court is guaranteed.

“I’ve taken that mentality my whole career: Every day you get to step on the floor is a gift and you’ve got to treat it like that and go as long as you can as hard as you can,” Dudzinski said softly, sweat still seeping from his brow a half an hour after the final horn.

It’s a mindset that has pushed Dudzinski to become the player that he is: A reigning Second Team All-Conference selection; a preseason First Team All-Conference pick; a forward that one NBA scout in attendance at Holy Cross’s season tip off against Harvard remarked “is going to be able to play this game for a long time.”

And it was why, on Sunday evening, on the hallowed parquet floor of the TD Garden, facing off against a Harvard squad picked by many to be a Top-25 team and featuring a plethora of high-flying stars, Dudzinski was the best player on the court. Continue reading “For Dudzinski, every moment on the floor is a gift”

Watson: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

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5’9″ BU point guard Maurice Watson Jr. scored 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go along with five assists to power the Terriers to a dramatic 72-69 win. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

When Boston University stepped out onto the hallowed floorboard of the TD Garden for their season opening tip-off against cross-town rival Northeastern Sunday afternoon, the Terriers found themselves craning their necks towards the rafters.

The magnitude of taking the floor beneath the 17 championship banners that gently swayed overhead was not lost on BU. But it was more than that: When the Terriers took the floor, they literally found themselves looking up at archrival Northeastern.

With a starting lineup of 5’9”-ish guards D.J. Irving and Maurice Watson Jr., 6’3” sniper John Papale, and forwards Dom Morris and Nathan Dieudonne – each of whom likely needs to stand on a phone book or two to see their listed height of 6’7” – the Terriers found themselves on the short end of the stick at every position against a Huskies lineup that went 6’2”-6’6”-6’7”-6’7”-6’8”.

But the Terriers were able to turn Sunday’s battle of speed versus size into a track meet down the stretch, sprinting past Northeastern for a 72-69 photo finish.

“We expected this kind of game. It’s been unbelievable, our games [versus Northeastern],” said Boston University head coach Joe Jones, whose team lost on a buzzer beater against the Huskies last season. Continue reading “Watson: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.””

New year, same opponent, but new look for Northeastern

IMG_3933Just as it did the last three years, Northeastern opened its season against cross-town rival Boston University.

But this year was different.

This year, the Huskies were without Joel Smith and Jonathan Lee—the duo that averaged double-figures each of the last three seasons, the duo that led Northeastern in scoring for the past two years, the duo that a season ago, guided the Huskies to their first CAA regular season title.

But even without Smith and Lee, Northeastern nearly made it four victories in a row over BU, a team picked unanimously to win the Patriot League.

This time, Northeastern got help from a new duo.

The pair wasn’t Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer—the team’s top returning scorers.
The duo, this time, was made up of a guy who averaged just 16.7 minutes a season ago and a guy who, until Sunday afternoon, had never played a minute in a Northeastern uniform.

These were sophomore Zach Stahl and junior Scott Eatherton.

The pair combined for 31 points and 18 rebounds, leading a Northeastern frontcourt that the Huskies will rely on heavily this season.

“Last year we had two very talented senior guards,” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen after the Huskies 72-69 loss Sunday at the TD Garden. “We were able to establish our frontcourt, which I think ultimately is going to be the core strength of our team.” Continue reading “New year, same opponent, but new look for Northeastern”

Mass. Basketball tips off at the Boston Garden — site of opening triple-header

By Martin Kessler

Harvard forward Jonah Travis should be a favorite to win the Crimson's dunk contest on Friday, Oct. 18. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins
Harvard forward Jonah Travis should be a favorite to win the Crimson’s dunk contest on Friday, Oct. 18. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

The head coaches from Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern gathered in a large room tucked beneath the bleachers. Just outside, a fresh layer of ice was freezing on the surface of the rink at the center of the cavernous arena. The Boston media swarmed.

The scene looked familiar on Thursday morning at the TD Garden—the site of Boston’s annual college hockey Beanpot. But when all 6 feet 9 inches of UMass forward Raphiael Putney walked through the door into the Legends Room, it became quite clear that the crowd wasn’t there for hockey.

On the cusp of the start to the 2013-14 college basketball season, representatives from Holy Cross, UMass Amherst, and UMass Lowell joined their peers from the Boston area’s four Division I programs for the third annual Commonwealth of Massachusetts Media Day.

In a city known for its historic college hockey rivalries, college basketball is looking to establish its own tradition in Boston. For now it will settle for sharing center stage.

The TD Garden—site of the hockey Beanpot since the arena opened in 1995—will host a college basketball tripleheader on Nov. 10 featuring matchups between Boston University and Northeastern; Holy Cross and Harvard; and Boston College and UMass.

“We’re trying to see if we can gain some traction and some momentum for college basketball in the New England and Boston area,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker explained. “We think it has an opportunity to carve out a little bit of a niche a la what the Beanpot has done in hockey. You know that’s been going for years and years and years, but we think this is the right time.” Continue reading “Mass. Basketball tips off at the Boston Garden — site of opening triple-header”