Daily Noontime – March 15, 2012

Kevin Garnett's late fourth quarter heroics lifted Boston past Golden State! (Photo Credit: Comcast Sports/Bay Area)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Good Thursday to everyone, and welcome into yet another amazing rendition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s kick-start the day with some news from the city of champions!

* Kevin Garnett’s 20-foot jumper with six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter provided the Boston Celtics with a 105-103 win on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors. Garnett paced the Green and White with 24 points, while Brandon Bass added 22 points. Boston is now 2-1 on their current eight-game swing, and will return to the court on Friday when they tip-off against the Sacramento Kings.

* Sources confirmed on Wednesday evening that Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox will undergo aortic surgery on Mar. 29, and miss the remainder of the season.

* Sources have confirmed that the Celtics are possibly considering trading Paul Pierce to the Portland Trailblazers. The NBA trade deadline is set to conclude at 3PM on Thursday, and it’s likely that president of operations Danny Ainge will pull the trigger.

* The Boston Bruins will look to snap their three-game skid on Thursday evening when they face-off against the Panthers in Florida. The Panthers enter the contest having won two of their last three matchups against Carolina and Toronto.

* Harvard University’s men’s basketball team will begin their quest toward NCAA glory on Thursday when they tip-off against Vanderbilt University. Also, UMass will play its second round NIT game against Seton Hall on Saturday, Mar. 17, at 11AM.

* Finally, the New England Patriots acquired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene on Wednesday, as well as inked his name to a three-year, $12 million deal. Fanene has spent the past seven season with the Bengals, as well as ended this pasts season with 24 tackles, 17 solo tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Mass College Hoops Recap: Harvard 67, Princeton 64

By Matt Noonan

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Consider this one of those “check the box” type of weekends for the Harvard University’s men’s basketball team, who’s currently on par to wrap up the Ancient Eight.

On Friday, they completed their first task, as they defeated a rather impressive Princeton University squad, 67-64.

“What a tremendous win by our kids, and our program,” said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. “Princeton has been an absolute sensational team and program in this conference forever, and we have the utmost respect of what they’ve accomplished, and how tough they’ve been against us.”

“There’s no doubt about it that we’ve always [been] looking up at [them] in some ways to try and figure out how to get out of a game against them,” added Amaker. “I just thought our defense, and our will to win [on Friday] was outstanding.”

Harvard mounted a small 7-0 lead during the first few minutes thanks to junior Kyle Casey, who led all scorers with 20 points, before Princeton’s sophomore T.J. Bray drew a foul and registered one point from the charity stripe. Bray’s stroke somehow electrified the Tigers offense, as seniors Douglas Davis and Patrick Saunders combined for four triples at 8:50, which helped Princeton pull ahead, 21-20.

Princeton then went on a 12-3 run, which was halted by freshman Steve Moundou-Missi, who’s layup at 3:38 rejuvenated Harvard’s offensive unit to end the half on a 7-0 run.

“We locked down and [defended],” said Casey of his team’s first half rally. “Against their offense, you’ve got to defend for 35-seconds, and you know, you breathe, they score, so we had to really lock down, stay discipline, and just defend, and make them take tough shots and finish the possession with a rebound.”

Davis, Bray and junior Brendan Connolly helped Princeton’s offense earn a 50-43 lead halfway through the second frame, which was eventually erased by Moundou-Missi, junior Brandyn Curry and senior Keith Wright, who helped Harvard regain the lead at 9:29.

Both teams then swapped a few baskets until Curry sank a critical trifecta at 6:54, which gave Harvard a 57-55 advantage. Curry then recorded a jump shot in the paint literally two minutes later before Bray connected from beyond the arc to make it 59-56 with 2:02 remaining.

“We have confidence in [Brandyn],” said Amaker. “He’s a confident player, and he’s been able to kind of lead us in these last couple games. [The] Yale ballgame, he was outstanding, and certainly [on Friday] in so many different ways.”

Bray then provided his team with an additional bucket in the paint before he fouled Casey, who marched to the free throw line and connected on both shots from the stripe.

Princeton then called a timeout, and penciled a play for junior Ian Hummer, who’s shot in the paint hit iron instead of nylon, which forced the forward to foul senior Oliver McNally, who wound up recording six consecutive free throws on three separate trips to the line to secure the victory, as well as a season split.

“I wasn’t always a great free throw shooter, [but] I worked really hard at it, and every time I get to the line, I tell myself, you’re a senior, you’re a captain [and] you have to make those,” said McNally. “I would have taken this type of game over a 30-point blowout because we’ve been in that situation so many times against Princeton in my four years.”

Harvard’s next task will occur on Saturday, when they welcome University of Pennsylvania to Cambridge for yet another critical matchup. The Quakers defeated Dartmouth College on Friday, 57-54, and have won four of their last five matchups, as well as remain in second place in the conference standings.

“It’s a quick turnaround, so it’s all about getting your rest, and coming back with a mental mindset to fight the next night,” said Casey, when asked about-facing Penn.  “This league is won on Saturday nights, so [I’m expecting] a real, gutsy battle for both teams.”

Daily Noontime – February 24, 2012

According to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, no news has been reported about Jason Varitek's future in the MLB! (Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, and before we break out into song and dance, let’s kick-start the weekend with some news and headlines from the Boston sports scene.

* The Boston Bruins will return to the ice on Friday evening when they skate against the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30pm. If the Black and Gold are able to salvage a win, they’d be able to earn their first back-to-back wins since January 10-12.

* The Boston Red Sox conducted their first official team workout on Thursday, as pitchers participated in live batting practice, so they could simulate pitching against an actual batter. Bobby Valentine was rather pleased with his numerous pitchers, especially Jon Lester and Daniel Bard. Also, GM Ben Cherington told the media that there was no current updates on team captain and catcher Jason Varitek, who is expected to make a decision on his big league career soon.

* New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan told members of the media on Thursday that his “guarantees” were a mistake. He used that particular word to attempt to motivate his team, especially since Gang Green reached the AFC Championship contest twice over the past three seasons. Although, the head coach seems confident that the Jets will be able to turn the page, continue to have fun, and focus on the overall goal — winning a championship.

* The Harvard University men’s basketball team will return to the hardwood on Friday evening when they welcome the Princeton University Tigers to Cambridge, Massachusetts at 7:00pm. The Tigers defeated the Crimson earlier this season, as well as knocked Harvard out of the ESPN/USA Top-25 poll, too.

Catching Up With BU, Harvard and Northeastern Men’s Hoops

Brandyn Curry tallied 18 points on Saturday to help Harvard defeat Yale. (Photo Credit: Harvard Athletics)

By Brian Willwerth 

It’s time now for our weekly look at the men’s basketball programs at Harvard, Boston University and Northeastern.

Most of our attention continues to be focused on Harvard, and with good reason. After consecutive back-to-back double-digit victories over Brown and Yale, the Crimson now sit at 9-1 in the Ivy League, and 23-3 overall. Their next two contests are at home – against Princeton and Penn. If Harvard wins both of those games – and they’ve won 27 in a row at Lavietes Pavilion – they’ll clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title. The Crimson’s 23 wins tie a school record. The 27-game home winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the country, trailing only Kentucky’s run of 50 in a row at Rupp Arena. Harvard has never been to the NCAA tournament. The school is already basking in the glory of Jeremy Lin’s newfound success in the NBA, but  will be there an even big party in Cambridge on Saturday night? Stay tune.

In order for there to be a celebration on Commonwealth Avenue or Huntington Avenue, Boston University and Northeastern need to run the table the rest of the way, including winning their respective conference tournaments. The Terriers and Huskies lost their BracketBuster games over the weekend to Loyola and Stony Brook, respectively. BU and NU both have two regular-season games remaining. BU is in the better position in its conference, holding down the #3 seed in the America East. Still, the Terriers will have to get past Stony Brook, Vermont, or both to repeat as conference tournament champions. The Huskies’ challenge is much more daunting; the CAA could very easily be a multiple-berth conference when Selection Sunday rolls around.