WACBA Men’s Basketball Postseason Awards (Tuesday, March 24th, 2020)

 

WACBABy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation & @WACBAHoops 

Another season of college basketball in the Worcester area is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our end of season Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Men’s Basketball awards for our coach, player, and rookie of the year.

Noontime Sports is excited to share our end of season WACBA honors for the seventh consecutive season after being the host site for the organization’s weekly honor rolls, which have appeared every Tuesday throughout the college basketball season. 

Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more.


Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton capped an impressive career with the Bison by placing first in program history in field goals made (863). (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

Men’s Player of the Year: DeAnte Bruton (Nichols College | Sr. | New London, Conn.): Bruton capped an impressive career with the Bison by securing the top spot in the program’s history for field goals made (863) while securing the second position in multiple categories, including scoring (2,334 points), three-pointers (226) and steals (226). He currently ranks fourth all-time in free throw (382) while placing sixth in the record book in scoring average (20.6 points per game) and seventh in free throw percentage. Bruton, who became the fourth student-athlete in program history to net 2,000th points, secured multiple first-team honorees at the conclusion of the regular and postseason from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), D3Hoops.com, National Association of Basketball Coaches, and NoontimeSports.com.


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Joe Pridgen averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Crusaders this past season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Holy Cross Athletics)

Men’s Rookie of the Year: Joe Pridgen (Holy Cross | Fr.|Winchendon, Mass.): Named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Pridgen concluded an impressive first season with the Crusaders that culminated in spots on the league’s all-rookie team and third-team. The Winchendon, Massachusetts native averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while hitting 55.8 percent of his field-goal attempts. He led the team in both scoring and rebounding while finishing fourth in the conference in scoring, sixth in field goal percentage, and seventh in rebounding. His 521 total points scored on the year were the second-most in both Holy Cross and Patriot League history.


Chris Bartley

WPI men’s basketball coach Chris Bartley guided the Engineers to a 20-8 overall record this season, along with an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/WPI Athletics)

Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year: Chris Bartley (WPI): Bartley guided the Engineers to a 20-win season, the program’s third-straight appearance in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament championship, and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in his 19-years coaching the WPI men’s basketball team. With a 20-8 overall record, Bartley has now guided the Engineers to 20 wins or more in 14 of 19 seasons.


Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 

Bartley Was Determined To Lead WPI To The NCAA D-III Tournament

Jake Wisniewski

Jake Wisniewski will play in his first NCAA Tournament game on Friday, March 6th with the WPI

By NoontimeSports.com 

Chris Bartley and the WPI men’s basketball team were determined to find a way into the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament, despite falling to Coast Guard Academy last weekend in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship.

WPI scored some important and impressive wins this season, including a few against some squads that will be competing this afternoon and evening in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And those victories certainly impressed the committee, which rewarded the Engineers with an at-large bid to the ‘big dance,’ but also a challenging opening-round match-up with Yeshiva University.

The Engineers have not competed in the NCAA Tournament since 2016, but Bartley seemed to determined to lead this year’s squad to the postseason so he could provide his two seniors with an opportunity to contend for a national championship before departing campus later this spring.

“It was our mission to get Jake Wisniewski and (senior) Lou Doherty to the NCAAs,” Bartley said, via Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “No senior that I’ve coached here has not made it to the NCAA Tournament.”

Wisniewski and Doherty have attempted to lead the Engineers back to the postseason as first-years, sophomores, and juniors, but will finally have a chance to compete in an NCAA Tournament game this afternoon against a talented Maccabees squad that has not lost a game since early November.

For WPI to advance to Saturday’s second round, they will need both seniors, along with juniors Kahleb DowningColin McNamara, and Garrett Stephenson to play their best basketball of the season.

WPI has not advanced past the first round since the 2012-13 season when they beat Purchase College, 80-67, before falling to Randolph-Macon by a score of 79-68.

D3 Hoops: 10 Games To Watch (Dec. 28-Dec. 31st)

NS 10 GAMES TO WATCH HOOPS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

It’s FRIDAY, which means … (drum roll please) … it is NOW time for a brand new edition of 10 Games to Watch this weekend in New England D3 Hoops!

Yes, it has been a few weeks since our last 10 Games to Watch, but entering this weekend’s contests, we have predicted 12 of 20 contests correctly (two posts), so let’s see how we do this weekend. (Last time we made predictions, we finished 5-5.

As always, stay connected with @NoontimeSports and @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter for updates, scores and more!


Men’s Basketball 

Nichols College vs. Eastern Conn. (Saturday, Dec. 29th at 3 p.m.): The Bison enter the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic as the team to beat. Nichols has won nine-straight and should find a way to pick-up their 10th victory against the Warriors. The winner of this match-up will face either host Springfield College or Salisbury University on Sunday. PREDICTION: Nichols College

Endicott College vs. Colby-Sawyer (Saturday, Dec. 29th at 5 p.m.): This game certainly has potential to be a high-scoring affair. Keep an eye on Endicott’s Keith Brown and Colby-Sawer’s Patrick Coffey as both players should provide their respective unit with a boost on the offensive end. PREDICTION: Endicott College 

Salem State vs. Thomas College (Saturday, Dec. 29th at 7 p.m.): The Vikings scored an exciting win over Endicott earlier this month to provide the Blue and Orange with some momentum heading into their holiday tournament. Expect that momentum from their three-point win to continue against the Terriers. PREDICTION: Salem State 

WPI vs. Maryville (TN) (Saturday, Dec. 29th at 7 p.m.): It’s been a few weeks since we last saw these Engineers in action – they scored an 86-71 win over Husson University in their last outing. Sure, the game feels like ages ago, but one should expect coach Chris Bartley‘s squad will be ready for this particular contest, along with a potential championship contest, too, at this weekend’s Tampa Bay Shootout. PREDICTION: WPI 

Emmanuel College vs. St. Joseph’s (Maine) (Sunday, Dec. 30th at 3 p.m.): This early season GNAC clash has potential for an exciting finish as both teams enter the Catholic Classic Tournament with some momentum. The Saints have won four-straight, while the Monks haven’t lost since falling to Tufts University last month. Both teams will be in action Saturday with St. Joseph’s facing Rivier University, while Emmanuel will take on Regis College. PREDICTION: St. Joseph’s (Maine) 


Women’s Basketball

Trinity College vs. Lehman (Friday, Dec. 28th at 2 p.m.): The Bantams enter the CUNYAC Coaches v. Cancer Tournament with some momentum, which they earned earlier this month by defeating both Connecticut College and Stevens. As of this morning, four players on the Trinity roster, including Courtney Erickson, are averaging 10 points or more. PREDICTION: Trinity College 

TCNJ at MIT (Saturday, Dec. 29th at 2 p.m.): This will be a good test for the Engineers, who will resume NEWMAC play one week later when they visit Smith College. MIT has been rather successful this month, but so have the Lions of TCNJ, who enter the non-conference clash on a six-game winning streak. MIT is averaging 72.9 points per game, while TCNJ’s offense averages 66.5 points. PREDICTION: MIT 

Babson College vs. Salve Regina (Sunday, Dec. 30th at 1 p.m.): Babson will host the Judy Pearson ’85 Memorial Tournament on Sunday and Monday – we expect them to find a way past the Seahawks to secure a championship match-up against the winner of St. Lawrence-UMass Dartmouth. Babson enters the two-day tournament on a five-game winning streak. PREDICTION: Babson College 

UMass Dartmouth vs. St. Lawrence (Sunday, Dec. 30th at 3 p.m.): As noted above, this will be one of four games taking place at Babson College on Sunday and Monday, but this is certainly an enticing match-up. Since falling to Bowdoin College, the Corsairs have rebounded with two important wins over Keene State and Johnson & Wales. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 

Bates College vs. Springfield College (Monday, Dec. 31st at 1 p.m.): The Pride will attempt to defend their Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic championship when they host the Bobcats of Bates College on the first day of their holiday tournament. The winner of this match-up will face either Newbury College or Vassar College on Tuesday. PREDICTION: Springfield College 

Weekend Notebook/Column: Reflecting on the MIT-WPI Rivalry

By Matt Noonan 

This is my very first – and hopefully more will follow, I will do my best, I promise! – of my Weekend Notebook/Column series. My plan is to post a weekly column every Sunday that highlights an event, game or moment from the past week in the world of Massachusetts’s college sports.

So, without further ado, here is my first Weekend Notebook/Column!

And if you would like to critique it, send me a note or possibly pitch an idea for this weekly column or any future blog posts, you can contact me at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.

MIT-WPI, A Great Rivalry: Yesterday, I had the great fortune of PA Announcing MIT-WPI men’s basketball, the first of two meetings this season. Prior to the contest, WPI head coach, Chris Bartley, remarked, “This must be a big game with you announcing.” I laughed and wished him good luck.

MIT-WPI has truly become a marquee matchup or a must-see over the past few seasons. Sure, you have Amherst-Williams and Bentley-Stonehill, two great matchups, too, but there really is something special about these games.

Yesterday’s contest truly demonstrated why this is a must-see matchup. MIT was victorious, claiming a 51-46 win over WPI. The game featured five ties and one lead change. Four players – two from each side – reached double-figures, while MIT and WPI recorded 31 team rebounds, respectively.

MIT and WPI will play their second game on February 11, a game that could determine seeding for the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament. The Engineers of WPI swept the regular season meeting last year, but lost to MIT in the semifinals of the conference tournament last March, 64-46.

“We just had to come out, bring lots of energy (and) make sure we were out there in every play, in the play, both mentally and physically, so we could get it done,” MIT’s Matt Redfield said after last year’s tournament win over their rival.

Who knows, maybe we could see MIT-WPI in the NEWMAC title game later this winter, it certainly is possible!

Since the 2011, MIT or WPI has either won the league and tournament crown. The Engineers of MIT, who have won the conference tournament in three of the last four seasons, have also finished as Regular Season Champions twice since the 2011 campaign. They also shared the regular season crown in 2012 with WPI.

WPI last won the Tournament in 2013, their first tournament victory since beating MIT in the title match, 69-56, in 2006.

Said Bartley after winning the 2013 Tournament Title against Springfield College, “It’s a great feeling because it’s been a long time.”

So, mark your calendar for February 11, the rematch of yesterday’s back-and-forth affair. And I promise you, it will be another great chapter in this rivalry of Engineers.

Links from Around the Web: 

* Stonehill College’s women’s basketball team won their sixth consecutive game yesterday, beating Pace, 63-46. Jamie Panton recorded a season-high 11 points in the win.

* A late three-pointer helped Williams’ men’s basketball team edge Amherst College in Williamstown. Check out the story from the Berkshire Eagle.

* Boston University’s Victoria Bach registered a career-best three points in last night’s 5-3 win over Maine.

Wheaton College’s women’s basketball team halted Springfield’s six-game winning streak yesterday with a 64-53 win. The Lyons are now in a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Babson College and Springfield.

Mass. College Hoops: Catching Up With Chris Bartley (WPI Basketball)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been an exciting season for the WPI men’s basketball team, which is currently ranked fourth in the country, according to the latest D3Hoops.com poll.

Chris Bartley, who is in his 13th season with the Engineers, has guided the Crimson and Gray to a 17-1 overall mark, including a 7-0 record in NEWMAC play. Bartley’s crew, which hasn’t lost a regular season contest since falling to Castleton State in November, will look to continue its momentum on Saturday when they host Springfield College for a 3 p.m. tip.

We caught up with Coach Bartley earlier this afternoon to chat about his team’s next contest, but also the Engineers’ resiliency and defense, too.

On the team’s foundation: “I think we’ve always had tough kids. One of the things that’s been really important for us is trying to recruit tough kids and help them with their mental toughness, so we just approach everything by doing the best we can with what we have (each) year. The names change sometimes and the faces changed, but hopefully the foundation and the pillars of the program as far as the work ethic and guys that care about each other and hold each other accountable and play hard every night out.”

On identifying the team’s identity: “If you look at us statistically, we’re pretty good on defense. We kind of hold our own on the boards and when we’re playing well we’re playing a pretty good team defense and the guys play hard. Offensively, I think the biggest thing is that we’re a team that has to share the ball and we have to help each other score. When we struggled earlier against Wheaton and last night against Coast Guard and in the second half against Clark (because of ball movement), but for us to be successful we need to pass it to each other and we need to cut and screen. We’re not the type of team that has guys that’ll create their own shots because we really have to create shots for each other, but when we play the right way we’re pretty good.”

On the importance of team defense: “It always starts with our defense. Every single day starts with our defense and so does every meeting and film session, so it always starts there. (Against Wheaton), Agyei Gregory made some ridiculous shots. He made NBA type shots, but I thought Wheaton came out with a lot more enthusiasm than we did and typically when guys from the other team (knows they’re playing us), I find that (our opponent’s) kids shoot the ball better because they’re more focused. So, if you don’t bring equal intensity level and energy level and enthusiasm, which I didn’t think we did (from the start) that can happen. I think it is important to play through adversity, so I don’t take a lot of quick timeouts, but I think our guys are mature enough to play through stuff like that and I thought we did a good job in the second half of the first half of that game of getting back to our identity and making it a little more difficult for them. I thought we started sharing the ball (toward the end of the first half) and we started to play WPI basketball, which is what it’s all about for us.”

On the play of Ryan Kolb: “He plays exceptionally hard, he really plays hard. I was texting him this morning and was like, ‘Dude, you played really hard last night.’ And when your seniors and best players play really hard, it’s kind of filters down to everybody else. He’s got a lot of versatility in his game, but the biggest thing is he’s a really tough kid. He’s tough mentally, he’s tough physically, he’s a hard shell to crack emotionally because he doesn’t show a ton of emotion, but he’s playing like a senior should and a senior usually does.”

On Domenick Mastascusa and Ryan Kolb working together, as well as the impact of Sam Longwell: “(Kolb and Domenick have) been together now for three years, so they know when one is low (on defense) the other is usually coming high. They know where they’re going to be, too. We pretty much run motion offense, so having those guys in sync and working well together is huge. Some games, it is better for Ryan to be on the perimeter, while other games he needs to be down on the post, so it just depends on the matchup. I think Dom knows when he has a good matchup and goes to the spots where he can score and he’s been terrific for us.

“I think one of the keys to the whole thing has been Sam Longwell. He’s just (exhibits) consistency on both ends of the floor for every single practice and every single game, and he’s just been a rock for us and just has brought it from a leadership standpoint, talent standpoint and toughness standpoint. He often covers (our opponent’s) best player, too. He’s doing it on both ends of the court and he’s really had a special season so far.”

On the play of first-year guard Marcus Middleton: “What I have found with Marcus is he’s a really a good all around player, he’s got a really good understanding of what we’re trying to do and he’s got a lot of confidence in himself, both mental and physical toughness. I think our guys are pretty good when they get an opportunity because they try to take advantage of it and he’s one of those kids where we put him in there in some tough positions and he seems to come through every single time.”

On facing Springfield College on Saturday: “They’re a very mentally tough team. I think Sean Martin is one of the best point guards and one of the toughest kids in the region from what I’ve seen and I think Robbie Burke is the same. Tim Swenson gives them a dimension where he compliments those guys really, really well and he’s a beast in there. They also have a bunch of guys that can make shots from (beyond the arc), so they really have a nice balance and statistically they’re terrific, they do a nice job on defense by holding teams to a low field goal percentage and rebounding the ball well. They also take good care of the ball with Martin as their point guard because Charlie Brock’s teams always execute well. They’re a very, very formidable team, they do everything well, so you really have to be on top of your game to battle and we’ll have to be on Saturday in order to be a position to be successful.”