Tag Archives: David Hixon

Around The Rim With Bob Whitney: Welcome Back College Hoops

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Former Braintree High and Kimball Union star Nic Timberlake in action last year for Towson University. Timberlake is now a redshirt freshman for Towson this winter after last season’s injury-riddled campaign. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bob Whitney)

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

In case you haven’t noticed the 2019-20 college basketball season is off and running, highlighted by a nationally-televised doubleheader last evening featuring the top four teams in the men’s basketball preseason rankings: Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.

For all of us veteran purists, it was hoop heaven, the talent was amazing but the quality of play was spotty at best given such a huge stage on opening night.

That aside, it is my pleasure to pen a weekly hoop column for the hard-working Matt Noonan and his many followers here at Noontime Sports.

I have covered one of the Power Five conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), to be exact – for the last eight seasons, but this year I will focus on a little bit of everything but the primary focus will remain on all that is happening in New England – and that is a lot!

First of all, check out the Noontime Sports Men and Women’s New England D-III Basketball Preseason Top 10 Polls: (Men’s Basketball | Women’s Basketball)

A few thoughts from the basketball polls.

  • No surprise that Amherst College is perched at the top of both rankings. They have been the gold-standard regionally and a regular participant in the NCAA D-III Tournaments for years.
  • Speaking of Amherst, the men’s program suffered a sudden jolt in September when legendary coach David Hixon (after 42 seasons at the helm) opted to take a non-health sabbatical to deal with some family issues. The big question is can the program move on without Hixon’s leadership?

    Those close to the program feel that with the elevation of trusted assistant Aaron Toomey, who played under Hixon and helped win NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the transition should be seamless.

  • A game to watch (and to gauge how Toomey and his squad are managing the transition) is on January 10 when New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Middlebury College travels to Amherst.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • There have been a number of rule changes introduced with the most important one being the extension of the 3-point arc from 17 inches to the international standard of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Although testing of this change in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last year found little change in shooting percentage, it was felt by the officiating honchos that it would alleviate congestion in the paint by forcing defenders to guard shooters further away from the basket. Stay tuned on this change.
  • All eyes will be pointing to Cambridge, Mass this season to see if the Harvard University celebrated senior class, led by awesome point guard Bryce Aiken, can finally win an Ivy League title, as well as earn an automatic tournament bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Better yet, the Crimson will have some home-cooking help in March as this year’s conference tournament moves from the storied The Palestra to Lavietes Pavilion, March 14-15.

    The Ivy poo-bahs move to a conference tournament for men and women was a no-brainer – the atmosphere is pulsating and the quality of play is as good as it gets.

  • A shoutout to former Marquette University assistant Brett Nelson who assumes the reins at Holy Cross after Bill Carmody‘s decision to retire from the coaching ranks.
  • Did you know that we have a number of the top coaches in the women’s college game led by the legendary Barbara Stevens, who ranks fourth in wins among college coaches at Bentley University, Harvard’s Kathy Delaney-Smith, Stonehill College‘s Trisha Brown, Springfield College‘s Naomi Graves, and Babson College‘s Judy Blinstrub. If any of you have a daughter that may be destined to play at the college level the price of admission to catch one of these coaches in action will help with a final decision.
  • In my eight years following ACC men’s basketball, I had the privilege to hear firsthand from some of the great coaches in the game, including Coach Mike KrzyseskiRoy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, and Mike Brey. Buzz Williams was a real stitch in the press room. But most impressive among this elite group of coaches was the University of Virginia‘s, Tony Bennett.

    Obviously, Bennett’s run to the national title was the big news last year but most noteworthy was his recent decision to forego a well-deserved a big raise. Bennett felt that his family was blessed and thankful for what they have and felt that the money would be better spent in funding a program to help athletes transition to careers after basketball. Bennett is destined to be the voice of the ACC once Coach K and Roy retire.

A FINAL THOUGHT

Best wishes to Kristen McDonnell who left the Braintree high school girls basketball program after a ten-year run which included four D-1 state titles and a bunch of sectional crowns. McDonnell is seeking a new challenge as the Norwood high school boys head coach.

Keep shooting. See you next week!

Noontime Hoops Notebook: Amherst, Tufts Win NESCAC Crowns

Noontime Hoops Notebook

By Matt Noontime | @MattyNoonz11

A busy weekend of conference championships has come to an end today with Amherst College beating Hamilton College in the men’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship, while Tufts University topped Bowdoin College in the women’s title game.

With their respective wins, Amherst and Tufts are headed back to the NCAA Division III basketball tournaments – we will learn the pairings tomorrow for the opening round games, which will take place next Friday, March 1st.

Here are some news and notes from both today’s championship, and what you need to know heading into tomorrow’s selection show.

Tufts hands Bowdoin its first loss of the 2018-19 season: Coach Carla Berube led the Jumbos to their third conference crown in five seasons this afternoon with an exciting 75-69 win in Maine.

With the win, the Jumbos have now won six games since falling to Amherst earlier this month at home. The victory also provided Bowdoin its first setback of the season – the Polar Bears entered the contest riding a 26-game winning streak.

Tufts’ Jac Knapp paced all scorers with 25 points, while Erica DeCandido contributed 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, along with five assists, two steals, one block, and one rebound.

Maddie Hasson led Bowdoin with 20 points – she finished the game 10 of 10 from the stripe, while Abby Kelly added 16 points. As a team, Bowdoin ended the game 20 of 21 from the charity stripe.

Tufts led by one (52-51) heading into the final stanza but relied on Knapp down the stretch to sink some key freebies to secure the win.

The victory provided the Jumbos with the conference’s automatic bid for the upcoming tournament, while Bowdoin will wait to hear its name called as an at-large tomorrow.

Amherst tops Hamilton to win its first title since 2014: After defeating Williams College in yesterday’s semifinal, the Mammoths secured the conference’s automatic berth to the upcoming postseason tournament with a 62-56 win over the Continentals. Fru Che and Granton Robinson each netted 16 points, while Devonn Allen added 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and one block.

The Mammoths led Hamilton, 36-31, at the break before padding its lead with 26 points in the final stanza.

Peter Hoffmann paced Hamilton with 15 points, while Kena Gilmour added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Amherst has now won eight NESCAC crowns dating back to its initial in the current stretch in 2001 when coach David Hixon led the Mammoths to an 86-75 win over Trinity College.

Who is headed to the NCAA Tournament from New England? So, what schools secured an automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament? The answer is below!

Men’s Basketball Teams 

  • Nichols College
  • Albertus Magnus
  • Keene State
  • Salem State
  • Mitchell College
  • Amherst College
  • Emerson College
  • Husson University

Women’s Basketball Teams

  • Western New England
  • Emmanuel College
  • Eastern Connecticut
  • Westfield State
  • New England College
  • Tufts University
  • MIT
  • Husson University

Who could receive an at-large bid? So, who could receive an at-large bid? Well, here are some thoughts on which teams we think could get into the tournament (below again!).

Men’s Basketball 

  • Gordon College: The Fighting Scots should hear their name called tomorrow, but as of now, it appears as if they are on the bubble.
  • Eastern Connecticut: The Warriors will certainly be considered by the committee, however, if their name is called, then it will most likely be at the end.
  • Hamilton College: The Continentals have been one of the NESCAC’s top teams this year, so they should get an invite tomorrow.
  • Middlebury College: An early round exit in the NESCAC Tournament left me wondering if their season was over, but similar to Hamilton, they have been one of the top teams in their conference and region, so expect the Panthers to hear their name announced tomorrow.
  • Williams College: The Ephs should be in the tournament this year, but Hamilton and Middlebury should hear their name called before Williams, though.
  • MIT: Despite falling to WPI last Thursday in the NEWMAC semifinals, the Engineers have done enough to secure an at-large bid. They will certainly hear their name called.

Women’s Basketball 

  • St. Joseph’s (Maine): Despite falling to Emmanuel College, they most likely have done enough to secure an invite to the ‘big dance.’
  • UMass Dartmouth: If the Corsairs hear their name called on Monday, they will most likely be one four teams into the tournament.
  • Amherst College: The defending champions will be in.
  • Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears saw their 26-game winning streak conclude this afternoon, but they will get an invite as one of the top teams in the country.
  • Middlebury College: Advancing to conference championship weekend may be enough for the Panthers to get into the postseason.
  • Trinity College: Their loss last week to Middlebury may hurt their chances, but anything is possible, so maybe they sneak in as one of the last teams in.
  • Smith College: Despite a heartbreaking loss to Springfield College earlier this week, these Pioneers have appeared to have done enough to get a look from the committee.
  • Babson College: Similar to UMass Dartmouth and Trinity College, they will be waiting to hear if they are one of the last four in.

Stay connected with Noontime’s basketball coverage by following @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter!

Mass. College Hoops: Amherst, Tufts To Meet In NCAA D3 Sectional Final

Stephen Haladyna poured in a team-high 30 points as Tufts defeated Johnson & Wales in Friday's NCAA Division III Sectional Semifinals. (Photo Credit: Tufts Athletics)

Stephen Haladyna poured in a team-high 30 points as Tufts defeated Johnson & Wales in Friday’s NCAA Division III Sectional Semifinals. (Photo Credit: Tufts Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Tufts University men’s basketball head coach Bob Sheldon secretly wanted to play Amherst College in the Sectional Final.

His wish was granted on Friday evening following 101-85 victory over Johnson & Wales University at Cousen’s Gymnasium.

Tufts and Amherst will square off in Saturday’s Sectional Finals with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

“(The) Rubber-match tomorrow (with) the ‘elite eight’ on the line,” said Sheldon. “We’re excited.

“I think deep down inside I wanted to play Amherst to be honest with you. I wanted to have the rubber-match; I want to go at (them) tomorrow.

“They’re a great team. They shoot the ball well, they run, (so) I think it is going to be another game in the 80’s-90’s. We’re excited to play them – it is an Amherst-Tufts thing, and what is going to happen is a NESCAC team is going to be in the final four.”

Stephen Haladyna highlighted the Jumbos’ effort, netting a team-high 30 points, while Tarik Smith scored 25 points. As a team, the Jumbos collaborated for an impressive 29-of-36 from the charity stripe.

Senior Tom Garrick paced the visiting Wildcats with 30 points, while classmate Quarry Greenaway finished with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Tufts led 47-43 at the break before outscoring the visitors, 54-42 in the second session.

Johnson & Wales – this year’s GNAC champions – concludes its season 28-3 overall. The Wildcats earned a trip to Medford following first and second round victories against Trinity (Conn.) and Fitchburg State.

“(My team) gave everything they had,” said Johnson & Wales head coach Jamie Benton, “great year.”

Five members of the Amherst men’s basketball team registered double figures, as the Purple and White defeated Babson College, 88-76, prior to Tufts-Johnson & Wales.

Jayden Dawson poured in a game-high 19 points, Johnny McCarthy netted 15 points, including a trio of trifectas, while David George tallied 13 points and seven caroms.

Amherst trailed Babson, 39-37, at the break, but outscored the Beavers, 51-37, in the second session.

“We tried to execute a little bit better,” Amherst head coach David Hixon said of his team’s second half effort. “We started the second half by going right inside to David George – that always helps your percentage so 52 percent is a great percentage inside.”

A trio of Babson players netted double-figures, including Bradley Jacks, who paced the Green and White with 15 points. Joey Flannery and Isaiah Nelesen each recorded 14 points, respectively.

“I feel very blessed to go 23-6,” said Babson head coach Stephen Brennan, who guided the Beavers to back-to-back New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championships.

Mass. College Hoops Notebook: Amherst’s Hixon Earns 700th Win

By Matt Noonan 

This week’s basketball notebook features some news and notes about Amherst College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Last night, the men’s squad provided head coach, David Hixon, with his 700th career victory as the Lord Jeffs defeated Babson College, 90-77. According to the sports information department’s release, Hixon is now 700-253 on the sidelines and now ranks fourth all-time in Division III in career victories.

Hixon, who is in his 37th season with the Purple and White, owns a .735 winning percentage, which ranks seventh all-time. He’s also guided the Jeffs to 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and two national titles in 2006-07 and 2012-13.

This season, Hixon’s bunch, which is currently ranked No. 7 in the most recent D3Hoops.com poll, owns a 7-1 overall record and will enjoy some time off before returning to the hardwood on Wednesday, January 1 when they take on Nova Southeastern.

Additional Notes From Thursday’s Win: Senior Tim Killian poured in a career-best 27 points against the Beavers, along with seven rebounds. Classmate Aaron Toomey registered 23 points, while sophomore Connor Green added 26 points.

Amherst Women’s Extend Home Winning Streak To 92: Against Bridgewater State University, Amherst extended its home winning to 92 straight contests as the Lord Jeffs defeated the Bears, 86-73.

Junior Megan Robertson and sophomore Marley Giddins each registered a double-double in their team’s eight win. Robertson finished with 18 points and 12 boards, while Giddins recorded 23 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Amherst is currently 8-0 overall and will return to action on Saturday, December 28 when they take on Vassar College in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tip is scheduled for 9 p.m.

Mass. College Hoops: Amherst Celebrates Second NCAA Title (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Amherst College’s men’s basketball team capped their season with an NCAA championship on Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia, as the Lord Jeffs defeated Mary Hardin Baylor, 87-70.

Below is a video from Amherst’s YouTube channel, which features coach David Hixon congratulating seniors Willy Workman, Allen Williamson and Peter Kaasila, as well as the entire team on a successful campaign. Amherst ended its season with a 30-2 mark and 10-0 in NESCAC play, along with a 24-game winning streak, too.

 

 

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