It was a very busy weekend for the CAA and mid major teams in general. But first, a day after playing perhaps their best game of the year, the Iona Lady Gaels played their worst game of the year, a 54-44 home loss to Western Michigan in the Iona Thanksgiving Classic. The Lady Gaels only shot 32 percent from the field, including a horrific 2 of 15 from three. The Lady Gaels only had one double digit scorer, freshman sensation Kristina Ford who had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Ford and sophomore Anda Ivkovic combined to shoot 9 of 21 from the field while the rest of the team shot 7 of 29. The Lady Gaels also were outrebounded 43-34 and committed 26 turnovers. I was there on Saturday when the Lady Gaels shot 55 percent in the first half (and 45 percent overall) in rout to a 80-47 drubbing of Maryland Eastern Shore. Thazina Cook led four Lady Gaels' scorers in double figures with 18. Ford added 13, Ikvovic had 10 and freshman Tomica Bacic had 11 points. The Lady Gaels also forced 37 Hawks turnovers.
My friend Tieff and I left the Iona game Saturday night with 10 minutes left and went to the Hofstra-Manhattan game. First, it is very hard to park at Manhattan for a men's basketball game unless you get there very early, which we did not. The lot was full and we ended up parking on a side street which resulted in a ten minute walk. We brought some toys because it was Toys for Tots night and bringing a toy resulted in a free ticket. The Draddy Gymnasium is actually a very nice gym, quite large actually and is a nice place to watch a game.
As for the game itself, well it quite possibly might have been the ugliest played and officiated game I will see all season. The Pride and the Jaspers each committed 17 turnovers (it seemed like more than that) and both shot poorly from the line;Manhattan went 17 of 27 - 63 percent, Hofstra 7 of 17- an abysmal 47 percent. Despite all that, it was an entertaining game which was only decided in the final minute when Charles Jenkins stole a pass with seven seconds left and hit a free throw to seal the win for the Pride 65-61. Jenkins had a terrific second half scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half. Cornelius Vines had 12 points and Tony Dennison added 10. The key player for the Pride (4-1) was Darren Townes (8 points) who along with Jenkins provided much needed energy in the second half. The Jaspers (3-2) were led by Chris Smith with 15, Devon Austin added 11 and Brandon Adams had 10.
In CAA action, VCU (3-3) lost the championship game of the Cancun classic 71-66 to Vanderbilt. Eric Maynor scored 31 points and Larry Sanders added 10 in the losing cause. Maynor and Sanders, the only double figure scorers for the Rams, combined to shoot 16 of 28. Unfortunately, the rest of the VCU team shot only 9 of 30. The Rams had defeated New Mexico the night before 67-55 as Maynor had 18, Joey Rodriguez added 12 points and Lance Kearse came off the bench to add 11.
George Mason (5-1) continues to roll with a 74-65 win over Ohio. The game was a rematch of last season's Bracketbuster won by Ohio (2-1). The Patriots had five players in double figures with Dre Smith and Cam Long each scoring 15 points, Ryan Pearson had 13, Andre Cornelius 12 and Darryl Monroe added 11. Ohio was led by Jerome Tillman's 22 points and 16 rebounds.
ODU (1-3) lost another close game to Marshall 68-64. Despite shooting 57 percent from the field, the Monarchs only had five free throw attempts (the Thundering Herd had 14, only hitting 8 of them), were outrebounded 28-22 and had 16 turnovers to Marshall's 12. This resulted in Marshall having four more field goal attempts from the field and the Herd shot 50 percent from the field. Ben Finney led the Monarchs with 16 points. The Herd (2-3) were led by Tirrell Baines' 15 points.
Northeastern (2-3) had another ugly road game on Saturday night. Northeastern scored only 11 first half points on their way to a 55-37 loss to South Florida. The Huskies shot 4 of 29 in the first half and 13 of 54 for the game (24 percent) including 1 of 9 from beyond the three point arc. Huskies star Matt Janning shot 1 of 11 from the field for 3 points.
Towson (3-3) also had a rough weekend in Philly as first noted on Saturday, #22 ranked Villanova waxed the Tigers 64-47 Friday night. Then on Saturday night in the consolation game, Penn State trounced Towson 78-54. Troy Franklin was the only Tiger in double figures with 12 points as Towson shot 29 percent including 5 of 20 from three. As for the Tim Crossin Burial Watch, Crossin actually played some quality minutes..ok, quality minutes for him. In the Penn State game, Crossin played 5 minutes, scored three points on 1 of 2 shooting (both from three), with a rebound and a steal!
UNC Wilmington (3-4) had an up and down weekend. Friday night, UNC Wilmington coasted to 79-64 win over NC Central in the South Padre Invitational. Dominique Lacy had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for the Seahawks. Then on Saturday, the Seahakws got pasted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi 97-64. The Islanders, only ahead by 1 at the half, proceeded to outscore UNCW FIFTY EIGHT to twenty six in the second half. It was the fourth time this year that the Seahawks gave up 95 or more points in a game. Lacy again led UNCW with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
It was a better weekend for William and Mary (3-4), though they also split their games in the Liberty Classic. In the first game, the Mary knocked off South Carolina State as David Schneider had 22 points and Danny Sumner added 20 to lead the way for the Tribe. In the championship game vs. Liberty, again Schneider and Sumner led the way with 23 points each, but the Mary lost in overtime to the Flames 80-74 in front of a paltry 934 people in Lynchburg (and trust me I have been to Lynchburg, not much to do there, so why not go see some good college basketball- Liberty has beaten Virginia this season). Sumner and Schneider are making quite the duo for the Tribe.
Delaware (2-4) had an early eleven point second half lead, but Seton Hall came back on its own home court to win 75-70. Four Blue Hens players had double figures, including two that had double doubles, Marc Egerson with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Jim Ledsome had 13 points and 10 rebounds. The difference was Delaware had 19 turnovers to Seton Hall's 11.
Matt Brady seems to have righted the James Madison ship as the Dukes (4-2) have now two in a row. At the Davidson Tip Off classic, JMU first lost to the now infamous Loyola Maryland 64-54. JMU was led by freshman Julian Wells with 13 points. Then the Dukes came back to beat Florida Atlantic 81-64 as another freshman, Andrey Semanov led the five JMU scorers in double figures with 17 points. Wells had 15 points, Dazzmond Thornton had 11 points, and Kyle Swanston and Pierre Curtis each had 10. The Dukes then followed up with a 73-53 pasting of Fordham at Rosedale. Swanston led the way with 21 points including five three pointers.
Earlier in the week, Georgia State (2-4) lost to Troy 68-63 (a team UNCW beat earlier in the season 101-95). Leonard Mendez had 21 in a losing cause for the Panthers who allowed the Trojans to hit 10 three pointers in the game.
Drexel (1-2) has not played since November 22, when they got smoked by Georgetown 81-53. The Dragons shot 24 percent from the field (surprisingly they shot 38 percent from beyond three). Four Dragons players scored in double figures and accounted for 46 of the 53 points led by Scott Rodgers 13. The six Drexel big men combined to score the other seven points on seven free throws as they shot 0 for 16 from the field. UGH!
In other mid major action over the weekend, there was one major upset. Western Kentucky shutdown #3 Louisville 78-64 at neutral site Freedom Hall (which is really a home game for Louisville) . A sweet sixteen team from a season ago, the Hilltoppers held the Cardinals to 27 percent shooting including 5 of 20 from beyond the three point arc. AJ Slaughter led the way for Western Kentucky with 25 points. The Hilltoppers also outrebounded the Cardinals 48-34 as Stephen Pettigrew had 12 rebounds to go with his 17 points for Western Kentucky. It was the Hilltoppers first win over a Top 3 ranked team in 40 years.
In other mid major games, #10 ranked Gonzaga ran the table impressively at the Old Spice Classic, winning the championship game from #12 ranked Tennessee 83-74. Stephen Gray led five Zags in double figures with 19 points as Gonzaga shot 52 percent from the field, including 11 of 20 from beyond the three point arc. Matt Bouldin added 17, Josh Heytvelt had 15, Micah Downs 12 and Jeremy Pargo had 10. The Zags get the Vols in a rematch at Tennessee on January 7.
Kent State had a rough weekend. After losing to Illinois in overtime Friday night, the Golden Flashes lost to a very solid Texas A&M squad in the South Padre Invitational 77-71. Kent State was up two at the half but couldn't contain A&M. The Aggies shot 58 percent from the field for the game and went 16 of 19 from the charity stripe. Al Fisher led the way for the Golden Flashes with 24 points. It doesn't get any easier for Kent State tonight as they go into Lawrence and face Kansas.
After losing to soon to be new member of the Bakers Dozen Arkansas Little Rock, Creighton lost a tough 58-56 game to Nebraska. It was a similar game to the UALR contest in that Creighton jumped out to a thirteen point halftime lead vs the Cornhuskers, only to see Nebraska come back and win the game on a shot with 3 seconds left (against UALR, the Bluejays had a 7 point halftime lead and lost at the end of the game as well). The difference was 24 Bluejays' turnovers which counteracted a 36-25 rebounding edge for Creighton. Kenny Lawson Jr was the only Bluejay in double figures with 10 points.
Saint Mary's finished the 76 classic with a 2-1 record winning the 5th place game from Providence 81-75. Patty Mills led four Gaels scorers in double figures with 24. Finally, Butler continues to roll as they bounced Evansville 75-59. Shelvin Mack led the Bulldogs with 18 points as Butler shot 52 percent from the field to now go 5-0 on the season.
Finally, we end with the Chris Gadley Resurrection Watch. Gadley had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks as Canisius defeated Saint Bonaventure 68-66 Saturday night. In fact the former Pride player had almost as many points as all of Hofstra's big men combined vs Manhattan (15 points from six forwards/centers).
Next post will be a new Baker's Dozen, with a couple of new members.