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

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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.

Revisiting Some Exciting Moments From The NCAA D-III Basketball Tournament

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Today would have been the sectional finals for eight NCAA D-III women’s basketball teams. It would have also been a day of third-round men’s basketball action with eight teams vying for spots in next weekend’s quarterfinals.

Sure, we don’t know who would have extended their respective season an additional day or week, but the opening weekend of the 2020 NCAA D-III Basketball Tournaments did produce some exciting outcomes and finishes, as well as some dramatic moments, which I have highlighted below. 

Here are a few moments that I will remember from the opening weekend of both NCAA Tournaments, enjoy!

Tufts’ epic comeback against Western Connecticut. Trailing the Colonials by 21 points at the break, Tufts leaned on Luke Rogers and Carson Cohen to lead the Jumbos past Western Connecticut in an exciting opening round contest last Friday, March 6th in Medford, Massachusetts.

Rogers led the Jumbos with a double-double of 16 rebounds and 15 points while Cohen chipped in 14 points, including two three-pointers.

The win prompted an enormous celebration, which would continue the following day when Tufts beat RPI, 75-66, to secure a date with the College of Brockport in the third round.

Smith College advances to its first-ever “Sweet 16.” The Pioneers entered the postseason with some serious momentum – they scored three-straight wins in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament and had not lost a game since early February. That momentum carried the Pioneers to not just one, but two postseason wins last weekend over No. 20 DeSales (81-72) and SUNY New Paltz (62-60).

Their win over SUNY New Paltz was highlighted by a late 10-0 run during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which was capped by a go-ahead and eventual game-winning basket by Amelia Clairmont.

Jim Calhoun makes his initial NCAA D-III Tournament debut. After leading the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) to its initial Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title in just its second season as a varsity program, coach Jim Calhoun earned his first trip to the NCAA D-III Tournament. But unfortunately, the Blue Jays’ appearance in the tournament didn’t last long as Hobart defeated the Blue and Gold, 78-74, in the opening round.

The setback to the Statesmen concluded an impressive second season by the Blue Jays, which was highlighted by a 25-game winning streak that stretched from late November to early March. Additionally, the 2019-20 season included an impressive milestone for Calhoun, his 900th win in January.

Eastern Connecticut’s defense highlighted its opening-round win. It was the Warriors’ defense that helped Eastern Connecticut top St. John Fisher, 60-43, in the opening round and score its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2015.

St. John Fisher was limited to 13 points or less in each frame, including seven points in the second quarter.

The 43 points were the lowest total Eastern Connecticut had surrendered “in 18 years of NCAA Division III competition.”

Williams College returns to its first NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” in seven years. The Ephs were a team to watch this season – they won 20 of 28 contests and came within a few baskets of advancing to the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship last month. But despite losing in the NESCAC semifinals to Tufts University, the Ephs were able to bounce back as an at-large bid to this year’s “big dance” and win back-to-back contests against Albright College and Ithaca College.

Williams trailed Ithaca, 16-14, after opening quarter before outscoring the hosts in the final three sessions to secure a 69-61 win, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” for the first time in seven seasons. Maggie Meehan led the Ephs with 18 points on 7 of 17 shooting while Mikaela Topper added 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Hobart Spoils Jim Calhoun’s NCAA D-III Tournament Debut

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Jim Calhoun guided the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) to their first NCAA D-III Tournament appearance on Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP FILE PHOTO/Berkshire Eagle)

By NoontimeSports.com

Jim Calhoun‘s initial trip to the NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament did not last as long as many thought it would as the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) fell to Hobart, 78-74, on Friday evening in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The four-point setback snapped an impressive 25-game winning streak, which began last November, as well as brought an end to an impressive second season for the Blue Jays, who came within one game of reaching the ‘big dance’ one year ago.

Hobart secured a nine-point (34-25) lead at the break and was able to withstand multiple Saint Joseph’s rallies in the second half that brought the Blue Jays within a basket three times during the final four minutes.

Dan Masino, who sealed the win by sinking one of two free throws during the final seconds, led Hobart with 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting while Jackson Meshanic registered a double-double of 13 rebounds and 12 points.

Saint Joseph’s Jaecee Martin led all scorers with 22 points to go with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal while Jordan Powell finished the contest with 15 points and three caroms.

Hobart will face the winner of Springfield CollegeSUNY Canton on Saturday, March 7th with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Setting The Stage For The First Day of the NCAA D3 Men’s Basketball Tournament

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Jake Ross and the Springfield College men’s basketball team will open the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament at home against SUNY Canton. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

We’re just one day away from the start of the 2020 NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament, which means its time to highlight a few things you need to know about this year’s postseason while also sharing some predictions, too.

Which New England teams will be competing in this year’s NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament? 

  • This year, there are 13 teams from our region that will begin their respective quests to Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow, including two teams that will be host sites for both the first and second rounds.
  • The teams competing in this year’s tournament are the following: Babson College, Coast Guard Academy, Middlebury College, Westfield State, Tufts University, Western Connecticut, New England College, WPI, Springfield College, University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.), Nichols College, and Colby College.

What are the first-round matchups, times and locations? 

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s (Friday, March 6th) first-round schedule:

  • WPI vs. Yeshiva University, 1 p.m. (at Johns Hopkins)
  • New England College vs. RPI, 3:30 p.m. (at Tufts University)
  • Colby College vs. Christopher Newport, 4 p.m. (at Stevens Inst. of Technology)
  • Middlebury College vs. Westfield State, 4 p.m. (at Brockport)
  • Babson College vs. Ithaca College, 5 p.m. (at Swarthmore College)
  • Univ. of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) vs. Hobart, 5 p.m. (at Springfield College)
  • Western Connecticut at Tufts University, 6 p.m.
  • Coast Guard Academy at Brockport, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nichols College at Stevens Inst. of Technology, 6:30 p.m.
  • SUNY Canton at Springfield College, 7:30 p.m.

Which teams could advance to Saturday’s (March 7th) second round? 

  • Colby College: The Mules face a real tough test tomorrow against a talented Christopher Newport squad. The Captains will certainly challenge Colby from the opening tip, but if the Mules play the way they did against Tufts, as well as against Amherst College and Bates College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament then I think they will be able to squeak out a first-round win.
  • Middlebury College: The Panthers haven’t played a game since late February, but this isn’t the first time they have had to wait to hear the committee announce their name on ‘Selection Monday.’ The Panthers should be able to beat Westfield State and then find a way to beat either Brockport or Coast Guard Academy in the second round.
  • Springfield College: The Pride of Springfield are equipped and ready to go on a very deep run this month. They should be able to top SUNY Canton on the opening day of the tournament. But can they turn around one day later and beat the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.), which is the favorite in their first-round matchup? I think they can.
  • Tufts University: The Jumbos enter the postseason riding some serious momentum, thanks to an exciting double-overtime win on Sunday in the NESCAC Championship. Their momentum will be tested immediately against a talented Western Connecticut squad, which enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak. If they can beat the Colonials, they will most likely have to beat an RPI squad, which should beat New England College in their opening-round matchup.
  • University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.): Jim Calhoun and the Blue Jays could be a real tough out. They have not dropped a game since falling to Tufts last November and proved they are a resilient bunch, especially this past weekend against Albertus Magnus in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. The Blue Jays should be able to beat Hobart, but will certainly be tested against Springfield in the second round.

What first-round match-up will I be watching? 

  • WPI vs. Yeshiva. The Engineers face a real tough test in the opening round. And if they are able to beat the Maccabees, who have not dropped a game since falling to Occidental College last November, they will most likely face Johns Hopkins, which is the favorite in their opening round match-up.For WPI to be victorious tomorrow, they will need to play the way they did against Babson last Friday. They will also need big games from Garrett StephensonColin McNamara, and Kahleb Downing.

First-Round Predictions! 

  • Ithaca College over Babson College
  • Brockport over Coast Guard Academy
  • Middlebury College over Westfield State
  • Tufts University over Western Connecticut
  • RPI over New England College
  • Yeshiva University over WPI
  • Springfield College over SUNY Canton
  • St. Joseph (Conn.) over Hobart
  • Stevens Inst. of Technology over Nichols College
  • Colby College over Christopher Newport

Stefan Thompson is “looking forward” to coaching against Jim Calhoun

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Jim Calhoun will be making his first-ever NCAA D-III Tournament appearance on Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY: Univ. of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

In just two days, the Hobart men’s basketball team will tip-off against the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament. And the team’s head coach, Stefan Thompson, seems excited for his Statesmen to compete against Jim Calhoun‘s squad, which enters the national postseason riding an impressive 25-game winning streak. 

“As a coach, I am looking forward to it,” Thompson said, via Joe Sager of D3Hoops.com. “I know he is a competitor and that’s why he’s still in the industry and able to sustain such a great career.”

Calhoun has never coached in the D-III Tournament but has plenty of experience coaching in the postseason with both Northeastern University and the University of Connecticut. He won three national championships with the Huskies of UConn while guiding Northeastern to five March Madness appearances, including a pair of second-round contests in 1981 and 1982.

Last season, Calhoun and the Blue Jays came close to making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance but lost to Albertus Magnus in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament.

This season, the Blue Jays erased the memories of their 2019 conference tournament championship setback by beating the Falcons in the 2020 GNAC title game this past Sunday.

USJ, which is in its second season as a varsity program, only has one junior on its roster. A majority of the team is first-years and sophomores, who have turned the Blue and Gold into a team to watch over the past few weeks in both Connecticut and New England.

The winner of Friday’s match-up will advance to Saturday’s second-round against the winner of Springfield College and SUNY Canton.