By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
We’re just a few weeks into a brand new season of New England Division III basketball – maybe I shouldn’t say a ‘new season’ since a few weeks of hoops have already been recorded!
While we are starting to see certain teams emerge from the pack, we are also seeing some of the usual squads like Babson and WPI begin to pick-up momentum at the right time.
Last night – Thursday, December 7th, to be exact – the Beavers and Engineers scored impressive regional wins by knocking off Amherst and Eastern Connecticut State.
Both Amherst and Eastern Connecticut State are Top 25 teams, per the latest D3Hoops.com Men’s Basketball Poll.
For Babson, it was clutch free throw shooting down the stretch – the Beavers concluded the game eight of nine as a team from the stripe, while Amherst finished four of six. Babson’s Shyheim Ulrickson connected on all three freebies, while Nick Comenale was a perfect two-for-two.
WPI had five players net double-figures in their 75-70 win over Eastern Connecticut, including Kahleb Downing, who added 15 points off the bench. Downing concluded the game four-of-seven from beyond the arc, while also recording seven assists, six boards and one block.
The win was WPI’s fifth of the season, while the loss halted Eastern Connecticut’s seven-game winning streak.
WPI is back in action tomorrow – that would be Saturday, December 9th, to be exact – when they host Salem State at 2 p.m. The Vikings are coming off their initial New England Big 4 Challenge win this past weekend, which included wins over Babson and Tufts.
In addition to solid wins by Babson and WPI, the NEWMAC saw a few other teams pick-up some impressive non-conference victories last night as Wheaton defeated Lasell, 65-60, while MIT topped Rhode Island College, 76-63, thanks to a career-high 32 points from Cameron Korb, who connected on 10 of 16 shots, including 8 of 13 from beyond the arc.
As of today, MIT and Wheaton sit atop the NEWMAC with eight wins, respectively, while Babson, Coast Guard, Emerson and WPI have captured five games apiece.
News and Notes from New England: As mentioned above, the Salem State men’s basketball team captured its first-ever New England Big 4 Challenge this past weekend when they defeated Babson and Tufts. I had a chance to PA Announce the game last weekend and wrote a few words about the Vikings’ win for D3Hoops.com.
The Middlebury women’s basketball team is off to a great start – they captured their eighth-straight contest last night by defeating Sage, 56-50. Middlebury’s Maya Davis led all scorers with 18 points. The Panthers take on Skidmore this evening at 8 p.m
As of this morning, Middlebury is one of five NESCAC women’s basketball teams that have yet to drop a single contest this season. Amherst, Bowdoin, Hamilton and Tufts remain undefeated as well, while Connecticut College and Williams have won six games, respectively.
Since falling to Wesleyan a few weeks ago, the Nichols men’s basketball team has won five-straight, including a 91-79 victory earlier this week against Roger Williams. The win against the Hawks was the team’s third-straight conference victory of the season. The two teams will meet again in January.
Games to Watch this Weekend: As always, Friday and Saturday will be busy days here in New England, so make sure to stay connected with both myself (@MattNoonan11) and (@NoontimeSports) on Twitter for scores and updates. Here are a few games I’ll be watching this weekend:
- Men’s Basketball: No. 2 Middlebury at No. 16 Skidmore | Friday, Dec. 8th at 6 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: Middlebury at Skidmore | Friday, Dec. 8th at 8 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball: Brandeis at No. 18 Wesleyan | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 1 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: Springfield at Worcester State | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 1 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: West Conn. at UMass Dartmouth | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 1 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball: Springfield at No. 2 Williams | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 2 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball: Salem State at WPI | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 2 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: UNE at Tufts | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 2 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball: Western Conn. at UMass Dartmouth | Saturday, Dec. 9th at 3 p.m.
- Women’s Basketball: Conn. College at Roger Williams | Sunday, Dec. 10th at 2 p.m.