Tag: Keene State Owls

Player Perspective: Marcus Azor (UMass Dartmouth)

Marcus Azor and the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team recently captured the 2021 Little East Conference (LEC) Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

By NoontimeSports.com

Marcus Azor says he continues to replay his team’s Little East Conference (LEC) tournament championship win in his head.

“It has been replaying since the final buzzer went off,” said Azor, a junior guard from Brockton, Massachusetts, who led the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men’s basketball team to a 108-68 win on Thursday, March 4 against Keene State.

Azor, who finished his team’s final contest with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, was named the LEC’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Corsairs to an 8-2 record this winter. The junior guard averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game in back-to-back conference tournament games this month, and is already looking ahead to next season with hopes his team will continue its recent momentum once the 2021-22 season tips-off.

“I have no doubt in my mind that my teammates and I will be motivated next year to continue this momentum,” said Azor.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Marcus Azor to discuss his team’s first conference tournament title since 2009, as well as how the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team was able to improve from one game to the next.


Tell me about winning the LEC Championship earlier this month. Are you still replaying the game in your head? 

Yes, I am.

We were so close last season to winning the conference crown, but came up short (against Western Connecticut), so that loss provided us with extra motivation. Most of the 2019-20 team returned this winter, so we were confident that we could achieve our goal of winning the conference crown.

Cutting down the net is truly a moment I will never forget.

In addition to helping your team win the LEC title, you were also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player. What does this particular honor mean to you? 

I owe this honor to my teammates and coaches for challenging me every while giving me the confidence to play my game. Everyone played a huge role in the tournament, so the award could have gone to any member of the team.

All in all, this is truly a special honor to me.

Marcus Azor averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in a pair of LEC Tournament games this month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

You and the team had a successful shortened season, winning eight of 10 contests. How did you and the team improve from one game to the next? 

It always starts off with practice, we make each other work extremely hard, but also ask everyone to put forth their best effort in every drill so we can be more prepared for our next game. And after games conclude, we go over our mistakes through a film review with an emphasis on improving them in our next practice, so we will be better prepared for our next game.

What did you and the team learn from your two setbacks this winter against Eastern Connecticut and Keene State? How did those loses fuel an eventual title run?

Those losses were disappointing because we were leading throughout each contest. We learned that we shouldn’t get comfortable with any sort of lead and continue to be aggressive – we needed to attack when necessary, and I felt that we exhibited that approach in our championship game against Keene State.

With the season officially over, what will you be doing over the next few weeks and months to prepare for next season? And do you imagine you will enter next year’s campaign with additional motivation to continue your squad’s recent success as a senior? 

I’ll be resting the bumps and bruises from the season before returning to the gym to prepare for next season.

Everyone is determined to win the conference title again and make a lengthy run through in the 2022 NCAA D-III Tournament.

RIC Tops Keene State In Season-Opener, 51-47

By Matt Noonan

RIC women’s basketball won its season-opener against Keene State. (PHOTO COURTESY: RIC Athletics)

The first New England D-III women’s basketball game of the 2020-21 school year is in the books as Rhode Island College topped Keene State, 51-47.

With the win, the Anchorwomen improve to 1-0 overall and 1-0 against Little East Conference (LEC) foes while the Owls dip to 0-1 (0-1).

RIC’s Maci Dorantes led all scorers with 15 points – she converted 6 of 14 field goals while tallying two rebounds and two steals. Brooke Young and Sophia Guerrier combined for 21 points while Arianna Hebert led Keene State with 10 points on 3 of 6 shoot.

Rhode Island raced out to a 12-8 lead, which would increase to 24-17 at the break. Keene State would keep things close throughout the second half – the Red and White netted 30 points during the final 20 minutes – but could not snatch the lead from the Anchorwomen, who led the entire contest.

Saturday’s matchup between RIC and Keene State marked the beginning of a short and abbreviated LEC season – it was also the first time a member of the conference competed on the hardwood since March 7, 2020 when Eastern Connecticut lost to Messiah in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Rhode Island will seek its second-straight win next Wednesday, January 27 when they host UMass Dartmouth for a 6 p.m. match-up. Keene State will also compete against the Corsairs next week – they will visit UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, January 30 for a 12 p.m. tip-off.

Catching Up With Tyler Hundley of Worcester State Men’s Basketball

hundley basketball
Tyler Hundley was recently named the new men’s basketball coach at Worcester State last week. (PHOTO/GRAPHIC Credit: Worcester State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

It was announced just last week that Tyler Hundley would be taking over the Worcester State men’s basketball program for this upcoming season.

Hundely, who is no stranger to the New England D3 basketball world, arrives in Worcester after spending three seasons with the Keene State Owls. Keene State concluded its recent campaign 19-9 overall – the Owls advanced to the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship in February, but fell to Eastern Connecticut State, a program Hundley competed for as a student-athlete.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Hundley to discuss his first-ever head coaching position with the Lancers, as well as his outlook for team’s upcoming 2018-19 campaign.

What interested you in becoming the Worcester State men’s basketball coach? 

Worcester State interested me for a number of different reasons. The first being that I know that the Worcester community has a rich and storied basketball history, but also being able to join a community like this one felt like an honor in itself. The investment Worcester State made in its athletic facilities was extremely appealing to me as well and will benefit our program in numerous ways.

 

Who have been some of your coaching icons over the years that have helped you, both as a player and assistant/associate coach over the years? Do you plan on consulting with them throughout the upcoming season? 

I consider myself lucky to have worked with such a variety of coaches with unique coaching styles, dating back to my high school days. Ron Johnson, who is a local high school coaching legend in North Carolina, really sparked my interest in basketball. His attention to detail in coaching and teaching the game was extremely important in my development as a student-athlete, as well as a young coach.

Kevin Kehoe at Cheshire Academy was instrumental with providing me some college exposure, while finding the right college program for me, as well.

Bill Geitner, who I played for at Eastern Connecticut, is one of the best basketball minds I’ve ever worked with in my opinion. I learned so much from him and his sustained success proves how intelligent he is.

Sean Foster gave me my first coaching opportunity at Salve Regina – both he and Matt Adams set the tone that first year, which allowed me to realize that I wanted to pursue coaching as a career.

Aaron Galletta, who is the men’s basketball coach at Lasell College, is a great offensive coach that really helped me look at the game from a different perspective. He also allowed me to speak and have a platform to coach on the fly.

Lastly, Ryan Cain, who is the men’s basketball coach at Keene State – he certainly made a mark on my young coaching career. We both came to Keene State at the same time – it was his first-ever head coaching gig. We hit it off immediately and he really taught me how to recruit, which has become one of my biggest strengths. He truly empowered me, while allowing me to have a lot of responsibility and influence on the Owls’ program. We had a ton of success, especially during the postseasons, which was a testament to the level that we were able to play at, but also the work that we put in, too.

I plan to consult with all of my coaches during the upcoming season, but I see myself consulting Ryan quite frequently, especially in year number one.

What is the most important thing you need to concentrate on heading into your first season with the Lancers? 

The most important thing for this season is to build a culture and camaraderie, both on and off the court, while creating a sense of pride for Worcester State basketball.

Do you have a certain basketball philosophy you plan to implement with the team/program? If so, what is it?  

I am inheriting a team that gave up over 85 points per game last winter. I have been a part of, as well as learned from some of the best defensive coaches in our region, so our biggest goal (heading into the upcoming season) will be to significantly improve our defense.

What do the next few months look like from a new coaching perspective? How will you get both yourself and the team/program ready to go come mid-October? 

I have already begun building relationships with returners and incoming recruits. They need to feel comfortable and confident in me – vise-versa. We will have numerous team activities and fundraisers planned in the fall before October 15th (our first practice day as a team) comes around. I plan to maintain constant communication with our strength and conditioning team to ensure that our team is physically ready to go, so that way we can spend more time on basketball and less on getting their bodies ready for a season. (Also), I will make sure (to use this time currently) to make sure I am well-prepared for my initial season as a head coach.

A few fun questions, beginning with your all-time favorite basketball player: who is it and why? 

I was a big Kevin Garnett fan growing up. He was a tremendous teammate and played with passion that seemed to forced his teammates to play at his level.

How much of the NBA Finals have you been watching and who are you cheering for to win this year’s crown? 

I’m not a fan of either team that played in this year’s NBA Finals. I really just like to see a good, competitive series. LeBron James is the best player of this generation and is fascinating to watch. On the other hand, the Warriors have the three of the most unique players on the planet in Steph CurryKevin Durrant and Draymond Green, who are just as entertaining to watch.

What is your all-time favorite basketball movie? 

I’m not a big movie guy, but I really like a lot of the ESPN’s 30 for 30’s, along with their basketball documentaries, too. I see them as learning opportunities.

Finally, what was the greatest advice you were given as a young basketball player that has helped you become a successful student-athlete and coach? 

I grew up Davidson, North Carolina and went to multiple sessions at Bob McKillop‘s Davidson Basketball Camp. He was very prominent at his camps and at times would talk to each camper individually. He always seemed to explain things very clearly and helped me improve my basketball IQ.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ basketball Twitter: @Noontime_Hoops 

D3 Lacrosse: 2018 Men’s Midseason Report

NS D3Lax Midseason Report

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Welcome to April, New England D3 Lax fans! We have officially made it to the mid-way point of the 2018 season – crazy, right?

With just a few weeks remaining before conference tournaments begin, let’s take a spin around the New England landscape and check-in on every conference.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports lacrosse by following us on Twitter: @Noontime_Lax


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): It should come as no surprise that Endicott College and Western New England remain the top two teams in the CCC. Both squads will meet on Saturday (Apr. 7th) in a pivotal regular season match-up. The winner will most likely be the top seed in the upcoming postseason tournament.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Western New England. The Golden Bears seem to be the team to beat in the CCC this spring and should take care of business on Saturday against the Gulls. Maybe they get tripped up down the stretch by Roger Williams or Salve Regina, but the Golden Bears are my pick to win the regular season crown and host the 2018 CCC Tournament.


Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): This is an interesting conference to watch – there really isn’t a favorite. Lasell College captured the GNAC crown last season, but appears to have rebounded from a difficult start. The Lasers boast a 2-0 ledger in league play and can really push ahead for good with a win this weekend over Mount Ida College. The Mustangs are certainly in contention for the regular season crown, as well as Johnson & WalesNorwich University and Rivier University.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Despite a slow start, I still like Lasell College, especially if they can find a way past Mount Ida this weekend.


Little East Conference (LEC): Keene State will remain the favorite in the LEC, but it will be interesting to watch a few teams over the next few weeks, including UMass Dartmouth, which is riding a three-game winning streak. The Corsairs will meet the Owls this weekend in New Hampshire.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): Let’s go with … Keene State! The Owls will secure the top seed. Sure, they may get tripped up once (or twice?) down the stretch, but they will be the team to beat in the LEC postseason.


New England Collegiate Conference (NECC): Dean College appears to be the team to beat in the NECC. They currently boast a 5-3 overall ledger and will begin conference play this Saturday, April 7 when they host Mitchell College at 1 p.m.

All three NECC teams will qualify for the tournament later this month, but as of now, it appears the Bulldogs have the upper hand against Mitchell and Becker College.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The Dean Bulldogs should most likely be the team that hosts the championship game on Saturday, April 28.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): As expected, the NESCAC has been a fun conference to follow this season – a majority of their team’s have continued to appear in our weekly Top 10 poll.

My guess, as of now, is Amherst College will find a way to secure the top seed, but I wouldn’t rule out Tufts University or Wesleyan University. All three teams will meet over the next few weeks, which will help determine the regular season champion.

Keep an eye on Bowdoin CollegeConnecticut College and Williams College over the next few weeks, as well.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): I think Amherst College is the team to beat in the NESCAC this season. They remain our top team in the latest Noontime Sports Top 10 Poll and will most likely be the squad that hosts the semifinals and championships next month.


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Coast Guard Academy has been the team to watch – can they continue their March momentum this month against MIT and Springfield College? Their mid-week match against the Pride in two weeks will most likely determine the top seed in the NEWMAC.

Springfield has enjoyed another successful regular season campaign, as well. They boast a solid 6-3 ledger, which includes some non-conference wins over SUNY CortlandNazareth and Union College.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): I think Coast Guard Academy will find a way to get past Springfield to secure the top seed in the NEWMAC.


North Atlantic Conference (NAC): Once again, New England College appears to be the favorite – I am not sure if Castleton University will catch the Pilgrims, but we shall see.

NEC has rebounded from an 0-4 start with seven-straight wins, including some non-league victories over University of New EnglandMount Ida and Norwich University.

Regular Season Champion (Prediction): The New England College Pilgrims will finish its conference slate undefeated and secure the top spot in the NAC playoffs.

D3 Lacrosse Notebook: Bates Earns Top Spot On ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10

NS Lax Notebook2018

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

In case you missed it: Bates College men’s lacrosse earned some national attention last night by earning the top spot on ESPN’s Top 10 on SportsCenter.

Bates earned the highest spot in the well-known Top 10 highlight package, thanks to a pair of behind the back looks from Brendan Mullally and Matt Chlastawa. The duo connected for an extremely impressive goal from the nearside during the Bobcats’ 21-8 win over Keene State.

Following the conclusion of yesterday’s contest, Chlastawa told the Sun Journal, “It’s nice to mess around out there and have some fun with it. That’s why we’re out here, because we love the sport.”

The Bobcats have won three-straight and will look to earn their fourth consecutive win when they host Williams College on Saturday, March 24th with face-off set for 1 p.m.