On This Date In Sports History: Saturday, April 4th, 2020

OnThisDateApril4th2020

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Saturday, everyone – we hope everyone is doing well and staying safe, of course!

Starting today – and every day going forward! – we are going to hop back in time and share some exciting sports memories for each particular day. And today, our post is all about what happened in the sports world on April 4th, enjoy.


On This Date in History: April 4th

  • 1948: 84-year-old Connie Mack challenged 78-year-old Clark Griffith to a race from home plate to first base. And the end result was a tie.
  • 1974: Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth‘s home run record (714) against the Cincinnati Reds. Four days later (April 8th, to be exact) he would break the record from 1935, establishing a new mark for home runs with 715.
  • 1986: Wayne Gretzky recorded his 213th point of the 1985-86 season during a 9-3 setback to the Calgary Flames. Gretzky, who would finish the year with 215 points, broke his old record of 212 points in a single0season.
  • 1993: The Texas Tech women’s basketball team captured its initial NCAA Championship with an 84-82 win over Ohio State. Sheryl Swoopes, who was named the Most Outstanding Player, established a single-game championship scoring record of 47 points.
  • 1994: Arkansas‘ men’s basketball team won its first-ever NCAA Championship – the Razorbacks beat the Blue Devils of Duke in the title game.
  • 1997: The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim secured their first-ever postseason berth, which would conclude in the NHL conference semifinals. The Ducks won their first-ever postseason series in the quarterfinals – they outlasted the Phoenix Coyotes in seven games before falling to the Detroit Red Wings in four-straight semifinal contests.
  • 1998: The re-branded NFL Europe, which was originally named the World League of American Football, kicked-off a brand new season The Rhein Fire would be crowned the champions weeks later when they beat the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World Bowl by a score of 34-10.
  • 2011: Coach Jim Calhoun leads the Connecticut men’s basketball team to an NCAA Championship – the Huskies beat Butler, 53-41. Current Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker scored 16 points for the Huskies.

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!

March Madness Notebook: Previewing Three New England Matchups

NS March Madness 2019

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.

In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North Dakota State punched tickets to the big dance.

The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.

Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.


No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.

The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.

LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.

LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.


No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.

UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.

Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.

Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.


No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern: Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.

Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.

This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.

The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops 

Mass. College Lax: NCAA Championship Weekend Schedule

By NoontimeSports.com 

The final weekend of the college lacrosse season is upon us.

Two local squads – Amherst College (women’s lacrosse) and Tufts University (men’s lacrosse) – along with a handful of Division I, II and III teams will be competing for national championships over the next few days. Below this weekend’s schedule, which does include non-Massachusetts teams, too.

Men’s Division I Schedule (Games on ESPN2, both Saturday & Monday):

* Denver vs. Duke, 1 p.m. (Semifinal) Saturday, May 24

* Maryland vs. Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. (Semifinal) Saturday, May 24

* Denver/Duke vs. Maryland/Notre Dame, 1 p.m. (Championship), Monday, May 26

Men’s Division II Schedule (Watch on NCAA.com):

* LIU Post vs. Limestome, 4 p.m. (Championship) Sunday, May 25  

Men’s Division III Schedule (Watch on NCAA.com):

* Tufts vs. Salisbury, 1 p.m. (Championship) Sunday, May 25

Women’s Division I Schedule (Watch on ESPN3 & ESPNU):

* Virginia vs. Syracuse, 5 p.m. (Semifinal) Friday, May 23

* Northwestern vs. Maryland, 7:30 p.m. (Semifinal) Friday, May 23

* Virginia/Syracuse vs. Northwestern/Maryland, 8:30 p.m. (Championship) Sunday, May 25  (Game will be on ESPNU)

Women’s Division III Schedule:

* Trinity (Conn.) vs. SUNY Cortland, 1 p.m. (Semifinal) Saturday, May 24

* Amherst vs. Salisbury, 4 p.m. (Semifinal) Saturday, May 24

* Trinity/SUNY Cortland vs. Amherst/Salisbury, 2:30 p.m. (Championship) Sunday, May 25

Quick Note: The Division II Women’s Lacrosse Championship was decided last weekend as Adelpi capped a perfect season by defeating Lock Haven, 7-5. Adelphi concluded the regular season 21-0.   

Mass. College Lax: Saturday Afternoon Roundup

By Matt Noonan 

It was a busy Saturday in the lacrosse world and below are various outcomes and results.

Men’s Lacrosse

Towson 6, UMass 5: Joe Seider‘s third quarter tally pushed the Tigers ahead for good. UMass trimmed the deficit with a Jeff George goal roughly five minutes after Seider’s marker, but that was the closest the Minutemen would get.

Army 8, BU 7: Trailing 8-4 in the fourth quarter, the Terriers rallied, but only scored three goals, which wasn’t enough to defeat the Black Knights. Adam Schaal paced the Terriers with two goals and one helper, while Christian Carson turned away six shots.

Merrimack 15, So. N.H. 6: Tim Towler paced the Warriors with four strikes, while Mike PerdieCorey Davidson and Max Allen each netted two goals as the Warriors cruised to their sixth win of the season.

Tufts 18, Hamilton 3: John Uppgren netted seven goals and dished out one assist, while Cole Bailey recorded five points (two goals, three assists) as the Jumbos cruised to their eighth win of the season.

Amherst 14, Colby 7: Leading at the break, the Lord Jeffs extended their lead by outscoring the Mules, 9-4, in the second half, which helped them earn their eighth win of the season. Amherst’s Quinn Moroney finished with nine points on four goals and five helpers, while Devin Acton netted four goals.

Wesleyan 8, Williams 7: Quentin Dellafera‘s unassisted strike with 42 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter propelled the Cardinals to a one-point win over the Ephs. Thomas Fowler paced Williams with two goals, while Dan Whittam turned away eight shots.

Springfield 10, MIT 8: Trailing 8-7 with 7:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, Springfield rallied with two goals from Dylan Sheehan and one from Ryon Lynch to secure their second conference win of the season. Lynch and Sheehan each recorded two goals and two helpers, while MIT received two goals and two assists from Harris Stolzenberg.

Regis 14, Johnson & Wales 9: Nicky Rodrigo and Peter Leighton combined for eight goals and five assists as the Pride picked up their eighth win of the season.

Endicott 26, Gordon 6: Kyle Weber recorded nine points on six goals and three assists, while Harrison Cotter and Colin Bannon combined for eight goals and four assists as the Gulls soared past the Fighting Scots in Beverley. Jordan Heckelmann and Roger Evans each scored two goals for Gordon.

Women’s Lacrosse:

BC 13, Duke 11:  Sarah Mannelly and Covie Stanwick each netted five goals as the Eagles edged the Blue Devils in North Carolina.

Stonehill 7, Le Moyne 6: Kelsey Shannahan‘s free position strike at 18:08 in the second half pushed the Skyhawks ahead for good. The Dolphins did net two additional tallies after the strike, but were unable to tie the contest. Stonehill’s Lizzie Lane and Mikayla Couch each recorded two goals in the win.

Tufts 9, Hamilton 8: Caroline Ross recorded four points on three goals and one helper, Brigid Bowser recorded two goals and two assists as the Jumbos defeated the Continentals in Medford.

Endicott 10, Gordon 4: The Gulls extended their current winning streak to eight games as they defeated the Fighting Scots in Beverley. Emily Whitney and Kirsten Thor combined for six goals and one assist, while Ryan Socolow turned away eight shots.

Amherst 12, Colby 5: Rachel Passarelli netted a hat trick, while Christy Forrest recorded nine saves as the Jeffs defeated the Mules and extended their current winning streak to nine games.

Williams 13, Wesleyan 5: Nancy Palmer recorded five points on four goals and one assist as the Ephs defeated the Cardinals in Connecticut.