By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
A brand new season of New England Division III basketball is set to tip-off tomorrow morning – in fact, it will be an early morning clash, to be exact, between Clark and Worcester State.
For the third-straight season, the Cougars and Lancers will meet a minute after midnight to compete for that initial win of the season.
Last year, the Cougars edged the Lancers, 77-74, thanks to a late triple from Luca McCormick, who concluded the contest three of eight from beyond the arc.
McCormick returns this season – he is a junior small forward – and will certainly be one of many players to watch on the Cougars this season. Additionally, keep an eye on senior John Pisacreta, who led the Red and White with 12.2 points per game.
Clark graduated a trio of seniors that paced the teams in rebounds, but perhaps McCormick will be a player to watch on the glass this winter.
Worcester State, which was chosen to finish fifth in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this season, will be led by Cal Howes, who was honored four times last season as rookie of the week. Howes competed in 27 games last year (stared in seven) and averaged nine points per contest. He tallied 244 points, while pulling down 59 rebounds (51 defensive caroms).
Following their early morning meeting, Worcester State will head to Babson College this weekend for the Babson Invite – will include Babson, Endicott and Regis – while Clark will compete in the NYU Tournament in New York City. The Cougars’ initial game of the tournament will be against Haverford on Saturday, November 18th at 9:30 p.m.
Larry Anderson and the MIT men’s basketball season begin their New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title defense later tomorrow – 7 p.m., to be exact – when they welcome Bridgewater State to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Engineers competed in the annual MIT-Harvard game last Friday, but came up short against Tommy Amaker‘s Crimson. Harvard defeated MIT, 73-64, but the Engineers provided the Crimson offense and defense with some challenges in both halves.
“They beat us,” Anderson said shortly after his team’s nine-point setback to Harvard. “It’s an exhibition game for us and a regular season game for them, but I just thought in some areas we competed well, (while) other areas we were disappointed in … I was hoping we would (have) done a little bit better (from looking at the post-game stats).”
Harvard’s Seth Towns netted a game-high 20 points, while MIT received 17 points from Bradley Jomard. According to Anderson, Jomard will certainly be a player that will help the Engineers this season, especially in conference games against Babson, Springfield and WPI.
“Brad brings a lot to us. Being a 6’6″ point guard, he can guard one through five on the defensive side of the basketball and (for his height) he is a pretty smooth ball handler,” said Anderson.
“(Brad) fills the stat sheet, but even the things that don’t show up in the stat sheet that we always talk about, getting yourself in the invisible newspaper is doing things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, and he brings that level of calmness that we really covet.”
Look for Jomard to have a big impact on the Engineers this season, who will also receive contributions from AJ Jurko, Tim Roberts, Ian Hinkley and Cameron Korb.
Following their opening day tilt with the Bears of Bridgewater State, the Engineers will host Eastern Nazarene on Saturday before visit Tufts University next Tuesday, November 21 at 7 p.m. The Engineers will conclude the month of November with games against Keene State, Salem State and UMass Boston. Keene State and Salem State both advanced to last season’s NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Husson women’s basketball team was picked to captured the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), while Castleton and Colby-Sawyer checked in second and third, respectively.
Husson, which is led by coach Kissy Walker, is optimistic about the upcoming season, but also believes they have what it takes to contend for a conference crown, especially after capturing it the past two seasons.
“We have high expectations,” Walker explained in her team’s season-preview video.
The Eagles collected six first-place votes in the NAC preseason poll, while Castleton garnered a trio of votes. Colby-Sawyer earned one first-place nod.
Kenzie Worcester will certainly be one of many Husson players to watch on this year’s squad.
The Eagles will head to Williamstown this weekend to compete against St. Lawrence on Saturday (Nov. 18th) before facing Williams on Sunday, November 19th. The Eagles’ home-opener is set for Tuesday, November 28th when they host Thomas (Maine) at 5:30 p.m.
Games to Watch on Opening Day: If you’re up early – or perhaps late – make sure to check-out Clark-Worcester State at 12:01 a.m., but here are a few games I’ll be keeping an eye on tomorrow evening.
Brandeis at Roger Williams, 5:30 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Southern Maine at University of New England, 5:30 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Western New England at Springfield, 6 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Keene State at Southern Vermont, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Brandies at Suffolk, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Bridgewater State at MIT, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Lasell at Babson, 7:30 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Western New England at Springfield College, 8 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
The Noontime Sports Basketball Podcast (Episode One): Matt Noonan chats with John Cabral on the first-ever edition of the Noontime Sports Basketball Podcast about the upcoming season, as well as what he expects from both Babson College and UMass Dartmouth this winter.