Mass. College Hoops: Div. III Men’s Basketball Rankings

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Div. III college basketball season is in full swing, and below is our first official men’s poll of the season.

Do you agree with our rankings? If not, send us an email to NoontimeSports@gmail.com or contact us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog).

1.) Amherst College (5-1) – The Lord Jeffs might indeed be the best squad in the state, but a loss to Springfield College, an honorable mention, proves the purple and white are beatable. The schedule doesn’t get easy for David Hixon’s bunch, as they’ll face Brandeis, Babson and Emmanuel this week.

2.) MIT (6-1) – Despite being the number one team in the country to kickoff the season, the Engineers came down to earth last week with a tough loss to Rhode Island College. However, they rebounded with a victory against Newbury College at home last weekend. Larry Anderson and his Engineers can regain their early season momentum by picking up wins this week.

3.) WPI (7-0) – The Engineers squeaked out a non-conference overtime victory on the road Saturday against Husson. This week, WPI will face Fitchburg State, Rhode Island College and Salem State, which will be telling signs of where this unit is headed.

4.) Westfield State (6-0) Rich Sutter’s squad is on a roll. The Owls remain the top squad in the MASCAC and have picked up wins against Elms, Regis and Springfield. Keep your eyes on Lee Vasquez, who currently leads the squad with 99 points.  

5.) Brandeis (5-1) – After dropping their first game of the season, the Judges have won five straight. Their only setback came against Rhode Island College, a squad that’s receiving a good chunk of votes on the D3Hoops.com poll. Brian Meehan’s squad will play four of their next five contests on the road, which won’t be easy.

Honorable Mentions: Curry College, Springfield College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Wheaton College, Williams College, Worcester State, UMass Boston

Mass College Hoops Recap: Amherst 74, Tufts 65

By Brian Willwerth 

MEDFORD, MA – This was a matchup between two of the top teams in the NESCAC who came in having won a combined 11 games in a row between them.  The game played out at the high level you’d expect from two such teams.

In a game that featured non-stop action from the start, Amherst College defeated Tufts University on Saturday, 74-65. With the win, the Lord Jeffs improved to 8-0 in the conference, (20-2 overall) and clinched a home quarterfinal game in the upcoming NESCAC championship. The Jumbos fell to 6-3, (16-6 overall.)

The first half was back-and-forth the entire way, with neither team being able to open up much of a lead. The action was fast and furious. There were eight ties and eight lead changes in the first 20 minutes alone.

The Jumbos shot 51% from the field, compared to 45% for the Lord Jeffs. The home team led by one at the intermission.

“I thought the great thing was that we were only one down at halftime,” said Amherst head coach David Hixon. “I said ‘guys, we did this, this and this…and we’re only down one.  Let’s go.’”

After the break, Amherst went on an 8-2 run to open up a small lead, and then turned up the defensive intensity, as Tufts was unable to retake the lead the rest of the way.

Each team had four players in double-figures, and leading the way for the Lord Jeffs was Aaron Toomey, (18 points), while David Waller added 15. The pair combined to go 5-12 from behind the arc, while Willy Workman and Allen Williamson scored 10 apiece.

“We like to set (Toomey) free and move the ball around himself,” said Hixon.  “Offensively, we started to sort-of let this kid loose a little bit, and let him start to do some things and make everybody better when he couldn’t get something himself.”

The Jumbos, playing before a full house at Cousens Gymnasium, were led by Ben Ferris’ 16 points. C.J. Moss had 12, and Alex Orchowski and Scott Anderson added 11 and 10, respectively.

The Jumbos were hoping for another big win, one night after beating Trinity at the buzzer.

“We missed some shots, and they were a little bit more poised than we were,” said Tufts head coach Bob Sheldon, who said his team was ready for the big matchup after Friday night’s dramatics. “To be honest, they were a little tougher than us.”

Saturday Afternoon D3Hoops Scoreboard

Photo Credit: Images.Picturehunt.com

By NoontimeSports.com 

Here are some scores and highlights from various Massachusetts D3Hoops games on Saturday, Feb 4.

Men’s Basketball: 

MIT 69, Springfield College 67 – The Engineers picked up an important NEWMAC conference win on Saturday afternoon in Springfield, as MIT handed the Pride their seventh overall loss. MIT tallied 39 first half points, but yielded 38 to the Pride, which wasn’t enough for the home team to earn a victory. Will Tashman led all scorers with 17 points, while Noel Hollingsworth added 16 for the Engineers.

WPI 82, Coast Guard 76 – The Bears tallied 43 second half points, which wasn’t enough to overcome the visiting Engineers, who earned their 16th victory of the season, as well as six conference win. Matt Carr finished the afternoon with 25 points for the Engineers, while Kevin Sowers and Trip Fernandes scored 14 points each for the Bears.

Amherst College 74, Tufts University 65 – David Hixon‘s crew picked up their final road victory of the season, as well as clinched a home quarterfinal NESCAC game too. Aaron Toomey led all scorers with 18 points.

Bowdoin College 89, Williams College 84 (OT) – The Polar Bears held the Ephs to just five points in the extra frame, which helped the home team pick up their fourth conference win of the season. Nate Robertson helped Williams force overtime when he sank two free throws and recorded a layup with with 24 seconds left in the second half.

Bridgewater State 68, Westfield State 59 – The Bears earned an important conference victory on Saturday, as they defeated the Owls in Westfield by nine points. Bridgewater State has now won three of their last four games, and currently resides in first place in the MASCAC.

Women’s Basketball: 

Babson College 79, Wheaton College 54 – The Beavers earned their 10th consecutive victory, and preserved their undefeated record in the NEWMAC on Saturday afternoon in Norton. Sarah Collins led the Green and White with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Nicole Cullinane paced the Lyons with 14 points.

Smith College 73, Coast Guard 51 – The Pioneers earned their sixth consecutive victory by defeating the Bears in Northampton. Smith College has now won 11 conference games, and will hit the road for a two-game swing, which starts in Worcester on Wednesday evening against the Clark University Cougars.

Wellesley College 58, Clark University 53 – The Blue entered halftime with a five-point lead, which proved to be the difference against the Cougars, who tallied 31 points in the second half. Wellesley remains one game back of Clark, who currently resides in third place in the NEWMAC.

Amherst College 48, Tufts University 31 – Lem Atanga McCormick led the Lord Jeffs with 13 points, as Amherst defeated Tufts in Medford and earned the top spot in the upcoming NESCAC tournament.

Williams College 67, Bowdoin College 55 – The Ephs snapped their one-game losing streak with a commanding conference victory in Maine. Williams is now 5-3 in the NESCAC, and 18-4 overall.

Fitchburg State 71, Framingham State 69 – The Falcons snapped a four-game losing streak with a two-point victory at home on Saturday against the Rams. Amy Fahey led all scorers with 34 points in Fitchburg State’s 15th victory of the season.

Regis College 74, Wheelock College 29 – Head Coach Julie Plant picked up her 100th career victory with the Pride, who routed the Wildcats for their fifth consecutive victory.

Amherst College Fends Off Babson College, 61-50

By Rory Duyon 

BABSON PARK, MA — Moral victories don’t count in the standings, as Babson head coach Stephen Brennan said after a 61-50 loss to Amherst College on Thursday, but there’s something to be said for hanging with the No. 2 squad in the country, despite shooting only 25% from the field for most of the game.

A late second half Amherst run put this game out of reach, but with 13 minutes to play, it was a one possession game, as the Beavers held the Lord Jeffs of Amherst to 30.6 points under their season average.

“We’ve got to make more shots. We had lay ups we missed, we missed a lot of threes, we’ve got to make plays,” said Brennan. “We’re right there, we’re a very good defensive team, they’re the number two team in the country, but there’s no moral victory.”

The Amherst trio of Willy Workman, Aaron Toomey and Taylor Barrise was held to 21 total points, less than half of their combined average, while David Waller, Jeff Holmes and Peter Kaasila scored 29 points.

“Jeff [Holmes] really stepped up with the offensive rebounds,” said Amherst head coach David Hixon. “He made some good plays. Pete [Kaasila] played big, he’s coming off a sprained ankle, but [David Kalema] made some great plays with his quickness too.”

Babson trailed 4-0 after seven-and-a-half minutes until Matt Florio put his team on the board with a layup, (he led all scorers with 15 points). Amherst made five of their first 26 shots before hitting four of their last five in the first half to take a 24-20 lead at the break.

Amherst opened a double-digit lead in the second half, but a 10-2 run got Babson to within three points. At that point, Amherst overpowered Babson with a 21-7 run of their own, as Kalema scored nine points in that particular stretch to help put the game out of reach.

Russell Braithwaite and Marcus McDermott struggled from the field all night. They combined for just 13 points, including three baskets by Brathwaite in the final two minutes.

Babson protected the ball quite well by recording just 13 turnovers in a span of 40 minutes, but they only connected on 19-of-61 shots.

The Beavers [7-3] head into a three-week layoff with three losses in a row. They will return to the hardwood on December 30 in California when they visit Claremont McKenna.