Minor does it all as Hartford tops Brown, 58-46

Anthony Minor dunks vs. Brown. Photo credit: Adam Manison

WEST HARTFORD, CT – Based on his postgame reaction, one might be led to believe Hartford senior forward Anthony Minor had a completely ordinary performance at Chase Arena last night.

“I was just looking to play my game,” Minor said without even hinting at the actual quality of his performance.

Before yesterday’s game, Minor’s career-high in points scored was 12, set against Yale his freshman year. He had never recorded more than seven rebounds in a game. Four steals in a game occurred just once. Most blocks in a game? Just two.

Hartford (2-5) put together an exemplary team defensive performance to earn a much-needed win in its final home game of the calendar year. But while the 58-46 final score is what counts in the standings, Minor’s career day is the focus, and deservedly so. Continue reading “Minor does it all as Hartford tops Brown, 58-46”

Fraser’s muscle not enough as Maine falls to Quinnipiac, 75-67

One man cannot box out five opponents at once, but Alasdair Fraser certainly tried.

Maine’s mammoth freshman power forward routinely occupied the bodies of multiple Quinnipiac players while shots made their way toward the hoop. Swarms of opposing players descended on the hoop and prevented Fraser from securing many rebounds himself (4) or giving the Black Bears the rebounding edge (offensive rebounds were 19-9 in favor of Quinnipiac), but the effects were noticeable.

In a game Maine (3-2) would eventually lose, 75-67, Fraser was the best player on the court. With Fraser’s help, Maine managed to keep Northeast Conference Preseason Player of the Year Justin Rutty in check. Rutty had 12 points and eight rebounds but required 15 shots to amass his total and never took over the game. Continue reading “Fraser’s muscle not enough as Maine falls to Quinnipiac, 75-67”

Kemba Walker steals the show, Fjeld’s 26 not enough as Catamounts fall to UConn

HARTFORD, CT – “Kemba Walker is unbelievable.”

During the postgame press conference after Vermont’s 89-73 loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies (2-0). Evan Fjeld briefly reflected on Walker’s performance. And Fjeld couldn’t be more accurate: Walker’s 37 minutes produced some staggering numbers.

While on the court, Walker dropped 42 points on the visiting Catamounts (1-1), tying the single-game record for a UConn player before Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun removed him with 1:32 remaining. Those 42 points required just 24 field-goal attempts (the junior guard would also attempt 10 free throws). Walker also pulled down eight rebounds from his perimeter position, which led all Huskies.

42 points is a staggering total, but most of those points proved to be necessary. Despite the typical deficiencies in athleticism that crop up whenever an America East squad encounters major-conference talent, Vermont converted 50 percent shooting from the field into a 36-33 halftime lead. While the Huskies’ various advantages manifested themselves in the second half to great effect – Connecticut scored 56 points in those 20 minutes, grabbed 60 percent of their own misses and accumulated seven steals and seven blocks – the Catamounts’ performance did not go unnoticed by their opponents. Continue reading “Kemba Walker steals the show, Fjeld’s 26 not enough as Catamounts fall to UConn”

Hartford falls, 64-62, in Gallagher’s first game as head coach

UNCASVILLE, CT – Despite leading by as many as 12 points during the second half, the Hartford Hawks fell just short in their season opener against Central Connecticut State (1-0), losing 64-62 in the middle game of the Connecticut 6 Classic at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Despite the disappointing result, new Hartford head coach John Gallagher found plenty of positives to draw from his team’s performance, starting with the effort the Hawks displayed.

Asked about the result, Gallagher responded, “I expected to win, but I look at it like this: I’m a process guy, I look at the process. We didn’t get the win – didn’t get the result – and part of the process is good results, but we got the effort.”

Leading Hartford (0-1) in effort – and almost everything else – was senior forward Morgan Sabia. Sabia posted career highs in both points and rebounds with 23 and 13, respectively. Perhaps even more importantly, Sabia was fueling Hartford’s rallies and interrupting the Blue Devils’ attempts to cut the deficit.

The Hawks were in control on the boards for most of the evening, which stands in sharp contrast to the subpar rebounding performance Hartford has been known for the past several years. Hartford hands corralled 17 of 42 available offensive rebounds (40%), while allowing CCSU only 6 of 28 at the other end of the floor (21%).

Yet Hartford ended up on the wrong side of the result. 17 turnovers were a factor – Gallagher noted, “I feel great about our defensive side of the ball and our rebounding numbers, I don’t feel great about our turnover numbers,” – but fouls were also a major concern.

The Blue Devils’ second-half comeback was fueled by 21 free throw attempts; the Hawks would manage just five after halftime. The resulting 12-point discrepancy was enough to erase even Hartford’s largest second-half lead, and from there, a couple of bounces in the wrong direction were all CCSU would need.

Still, Gallagher wasn’t about to panic over one close loss. While admitting that, “It’s two things when you coach college basketball, you teach players how to play and you teach them how to win. Right now, that second thing is the concern,” the new head coach offered another observation, one that hints at his team’s ultimate goal.

“Do they hand out NCAA watches on November 13? No, that’s why I’m so excited about this group and this program.”

Terriers drop season opener to Northeastern, 66-64

BOSTON, MA – After withstanding a furious second-half comeback, the Northeastern University Huskies held on to win a tightly contested game against their crosstown rivals, the Terriers of Boston University, 66-64, at the venerable Matthews Arena.

Terrier senior swingman John Holland and freshman point guard D.J. Irving combined for a highly efficient 39 points to fuel the Terrier surge. Equal to the challenge, however, were Husky senior guard Chaisson Allen and sophomore forward Kauri Black. Allen did a little bit of everything for the Huskies (1-0), tallying 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Black led all players in rebounds with 12 and added 11 points for a double-double.

Yet neither Allen nor Black would be credited for the most important play of the evening. With BU down by two and refusing to go away quietly, Allen had to launch a 3-point attempt with the shot clock ticking down and 10 seconds remaining in regulation. When the shot failed to find twine, Black saved the ball from going out of bounds and the rock was collected by Alex Harris, a 6-foot-1 freshman guard. Harris gave Northeastern its 65th and 66th points after Holland provided the obligatory foul.

Asked about Harris and the game’s penultimate sequence, Northeastern head coach Bill Coen remarked, “The dunk was nice, but the two free throws were a lot bigger.” ‘The dunk’ was Harris’ first basket of his career; he finished with 11 points.

Rebounding was a problem for the Terriers (0-1) at both ends of the floor, particularly on defense. BU secured just 7 of 28 available rebounds on offense (25%), while allowing the Huskies to grab 16 of 37 available offensive rebounds (43%). The rebounding edge allowed Northeastern to overcome a second-half shooting slump: the Huskies shot just 27% from the field in the second half compared to 55% for the Terriers, but the advantage on the boards and a 12-point halftime lead were just enough of a buffer for head coach Bill Coen’s squad to hang on.

BU’s next game is November 16th. The opponent is another familiar early-season foe: the George Washington University Colonials.