Mass. College Hoops: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Feb. 15-17)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, which means it is officially time to unveil our five college basketball games to watch this weekend. And as noted on this week’s hockey game post, make sure to check back throughout the weekend for recaps and roundups.

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog) and Facebook (Facebook.com/NoonSports).

Men’s Basketball:

Princeton at Harvard (Saturday, 7:00 p.m.) – After last week’s shocker against Columbia, Harvard now has one blemish on their conference mark. However, they can certainly turn the page with back-to-back wins against Penn on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.

Princeton remains a half game behind Harvard for first in the Ivy League, and enters the weekend having won one of their last three games.

Harvard ranks 11th in the country in field goal percentage (.487%) and 94th in assists per game (14.2). Wesley Saunders has tallied 10 points or more in every game this season, as well as registered a season-high 27 points against Columbia.

WPI at Clark University (Saturday, 3:00 p.m.) – After earning two back-to-back losses to MIT and Springfield College, the Engineers will look to conclude their regular season with a victory against the Cougars, a squad that’s dropped two straight.

WPI was ranked second in the country last week, but their loss to Springfield dropped them three spots. The Engineers, though, are most likely not worried about their spot in the recent D3Hoops.com rankings, but instead, capping their successful campaign with a win.

Keep your eyes on Clark’s Brian Vayda (16.9 points per game) and WPI’s Marco Coppola (15.8), as both players will be the players to watch in tomorrow’s contest.

Mount Ida College at Anna Maria College (Saturday, 3:00 p.m.) The AMCATs enter the final weekend of the regular season with a 14 game winning streak. Coach Shawn Conrad told Noontime Sports that their game against Mount Ida College earlier this season was a turning point. And ever since their 72-62 victory against the Mustangs in Newton, the AMCATs have been unstoppable.

Anna Maria’s Anthony Clink ranks second in the GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) in points per game (19.5), while Mount Ida’s Kenny Jean ranks fourth in field goal percentage (55.4%).

Women’s Basketball:

Harvard at Princeton (Saturday, 6:00 p.m.) – Similar to the men’s game, this particular clash is very important too.

Harvard’s won three straight, while Princeton is on a seven-game winning streak. The Crimson’s only blemish in Ivy League play came against Dartmouth College on January 26.

Princeton ranks first in scoring, while Harvard ranks second with 68.6 points per game. The Tigers are first in scoring defense and have limited their opponents to roughly 54 points per game.

Excluding team statistics, this game will feature the league’s two best scorers – Princeton’s Niveen Rasheed (321 points) and Harvard’s Christine Clark (316 points).

Adelphi at Assumption College (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.) – This particular tilt is an important one for the Hounds, who’re currently tied for third place in the Northeast-10 Conference with UMass Lowell.

Last time Adelphi and Assumption met; the Panthers defeated the Hounds, 66-58. Assumption finished the contest 23 of 65 from the field, while Adelphia managed to connect on 23 of 52 shots.

Assumption will certainly lean on Gabrielle Gibson, who is third in the conference in points per game (16.8). Adelphi will counter with Jessica Kitrys, whose second in the conference in points per game (17.8). 

Catching Up With Charlie Brock (Springfield College Men’s Basketball)

Springfield College Pride (Photo Credit: LaxJournal.com)

Springfield College Pride (Photo Credit: LaxJournal.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Springfield College’s men’s basketball team shocked the country on Sunday afternoon by handing the fifth ranked WPI Engineers their first setback of the season. At the time of the game, though, WPI was ranked second in the nation.

Earlier today, Noontime Sports caught up with head coach Charlie Brock to discuss his team’s win, as well as his team’s outlook toward their final two regular season contests against Clark University and Wheaton College.

On beating WPI: “Well first of all, we played well on Sunday and to beat a team like WPI you have to (because) they’re very, very good and they are a very, very good shooting team from the perimeter. All of their perimeter guys including Ryan Kolb, who’s an inside player that can shoot three’s really well, so that spreads the floor and creates matchup problems, and secondly I thought when we were (playing at WPI in Worcester) and they forced you to do this they are a very good defensively and they force you to do things that you’re not comfortable with typically and I thought we played with a little bit more patience on Sunday than we did up there, and maybe created a better opportunity for scoring for ourselves.”

On the team’s defense and free throw shooting: “I think we’ve evolved as the season has gone along into a better defensive team, a little bit better understanding of what needs to be done with certain players depending upon the kind of player they are and free throw shooting (is something) we all work on. If there were a miracle cure for how to be a great free throw shooting team, we’d all be doing it. It’s one of those things you don’t find in the manual. And at a crucial time of the game and always in a close game, if you knock them down it makes a difference and we did (against WPI).”

On utilizing every member of the team: “They get comfortable with the rotations with the way we would like to do them. Some things mess that up a little bit like guys getting in foul trouble and Sean Martin got into some trouble against WPI, which gave Matt Pascuzzo an opportunity for more minutes and he gave us a great lift and he’s a little water bug, he’s all over the floor. And Tim Swenson, (who) is in a six-year program, a very challenging physical therapy program and the first two years out of high school, we recruited him, but he didn’t think he was going to have time to play, but this is his first year (on our team and) he’s just now coming into a situation where he’s becoming a little bit more comfortable wit what he can do. He was getting in foul trouble early and he’s settled into that situation a little bit, and he’s a good strong body coming in off the bench. We’ve got some great big guys in our league (like) Will Tashman from MIT is a great player, Brian Vayda from Clark University is a great player, and John Wickey from Babson College is a great player, and Kolb is an outstanding player.”

On how the WPI win will help the Pride: “Well we hope so. Again, you’ve got to play well now at this stage of the game (because) it’s crunch time and every time you put your foot on the floor we’ve got to play well, we’ve got to do certain things well, you have to win the battles of the boards, you have to win the battles of the fouls and you have to win the battles of defensive field goal percentage. One of the factors (from) the WPI game was that we were able to get their shooting percentage a little bit lower than they’re accustomed to and have been doing and it was a factor in the game. It was a 60 point game instead of something in the mid 70’s.”

On finishing the regular season on a strong note: “Right now we’re just taking almost every moment at a time and that’s what we try to sell to the degree to which they buy into that and athletes are kind of fickle and you don’t know what they’re thinking, but the main thing we do now is focus on what we’ve got to do to win a game against a really good Clark team. I was just looking at some of their games and they’ve got three games that they’ve lost by one point, one of them in overtime to Tufts University the other night. They got a win over Eastern Connecticut (a squad) that’s a potential NCAA team early in the year. They go down to New York University and lose by one, and we were able to outlast them the first we played them. It was a great game. Their record is deceiving, they’re really good, they’ve got really good players, they’re very well coached and we’ve just got to live in the moment here and do (our best) and try to limit what they want to do and see if we can win the game.”

On the play of Alex Berthiaume: “Well he does a great job of making players around him better. He’s an outstanding passer. He’s a very good ball handler and he contributes to the team’s success for sure in so many ways. The thing that’s interesting about him was last year it was kind of an unknown and even during the course of the year even though he was having great games he was still an unknown, but he wasn’t an unknown this year and so he becomes a focus for teams going against him. If (teams are) going to beat us, they’ll have to limit what he does and that’s what made it more difficult for him. He did sustain an injury just before the holidays and actually over the past couple of weeks has really just ironed itself out to where earlier in January he was a little bit hampered by it. I think he’s very healthy right now, but we’re waiting on another player that we lost (Jordan Rote) a couple of weeks ago and he hasn’t played the last four games and one of those games (was against WPI in Worcester and we were) learning to play without Jordan because he brings such a different kind of look to (our unit). He’s a (player that can get inside), and the kid that replaced him (Nick Sienkiewicz) had a monster game against WPI the other day and he’s a different player, so as a team we’re getting used to that and we’re hopeful that we get Jordan back full strength for the tournament and that’s kind of a long range goal we’ve got right now.”

On being successful in the NEWMAC tournament: “I think any (team from the conference) is capable (of winning the tournament). In order to get there and win it, you can’t stain any injuries to key players, you’ve got to play with smarts (because) you’re doing executing and doing things well, not turning the ball over and taking care of it, and defensively now it becomes even more of a premium because as we go along every game gets tougher and tougher and kids playing harder and harder, so I think if you look at some of the scores of our league against teams from other leagues, we’ve been able to do pretty well, so I think any (team) could make some hay in the tournament.”

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week One)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Here is this week’s first official WACBA Honor Roll.

Remember you can nominate players via email (NoontimeSports@gmail.com), Facebook (Facebook.com/NoonSports) or Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog).

Phil Beans (Holy Cross) – The senior center has been clutch for the Crusaders thus far and against the University of Maine, Beans totaled 19 points (career-high), eight rebounds, one assist and one steal. His eight rebounds was his second-highest total of his collegiate career.

Ronson Quick (Assumption College) – Quick was clearly a factor this past week for the Hounds, who’re currently 3-0 and 1-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The junior averaged 16.7 points per game and 5.3 rebounds in three games, and against Caldwell, he scored 20 points (8-of-13 shooting) and pulled down three rebounds.

Katy Howard (Assumption College) – Through three games this season, Howard is averaging 14.7 points per game. In her team’s first game of the season against American International, Howard recorded 17 points, five steals, and two assists. This past weekend, the Medway native was named to the Stonehill College Tip-Off Tournament Team after leading her squad to back-to-back victories.

Kayla Cummings (Anna Maria) – Against Newbury College at the Gordon Invitational, the junior led all players with 14 points and 12 rebounds in her team’s 50-46 setback.

Brad Peterson (Anna Maria) – In two games this season, Peterson has averaged 25.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds. Against Daniel Webster last Friday, Peterson led all scorers with 31 points. He also chipped in 16 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal. Peterson was named to the All-Tournament Team, too.

Lee Brocket (Becker College) – In his team’s second game of the season against Plymouth State, the sophomore led all scorers with 33 points. Brocket also concluded the game with six three-pointers, seven free throws, eight rebounds, and two steals.

Emily Reilly (Clark University) – After two games, the junior from Marlborough is averaging 18 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. Reilly, who was named the Worcester City Tournament’s MVP, paced the Cougars with 24 points and eight rebounds in her team’s Worcester City Tournament championship against WPI. Clark has now won the tournament 20 times.

Brian Vayda (Clark University) – After missing 20 games last season with an injury, the graduate student from Sturbridge provided the necessary spark for the Cougars, who captured the Eastern Connecticut State Tip-Off Tournament crown this past weekend. Vayda recorded his team’s final 10 points in the championship game against Bowdoin College, as well as the game-winning three-pointer with four seconds remaining, which provided Clark with their second win of the season.

Dane Jobst (Worcester State) – After two games, the junior from Athol is averaging 23.5 points per game, seven rebounds and 2.5 steals. Jobst earned all-tournament honors last weekend at the UMass Dartmouth Hampton Inn Classic following two impressive performances against Trinity College and Wheaton College. Against the Bantams, he recorded 29 points and nine rebounds, and against the Lyons he finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Meaghan O’Keefe (Worcester State) – The senior from Warren was clutch for the Lancers, especially against Becker College in the Worcester City Tournament’s consolation game where she tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block. O’Keefe earned all-tournament honors, too.

Dani Davis (WPI) – Through two games this season, the sophomore is averaging 15.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. In the Worcester City Tournament’s championship, Davis registered a career-best 18 points, including four three-pointers and nine rebounds in her team’s first loss to Clark.