Tag: Keene State

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.

Noontime’s Small College Basketball Team of The Week (Jan. 25, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

The first official weekend of New England small college basketball (Division II and III) is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our first-ever Noontime Sports Team of the Week.

This week’s team is made-up of Little East Conference (LEC) student-athletes that competed last Saturday.

Our weekly team of the week will be unveiled every Monday – it will also include other student-athletes from other schools and conferences, pending they compete later this winter.


Noontime’s Men’s Basketball Team of the Week (Jan. 25, 2021)

Jake Ashworth (UMass Dartmouth): The Fairhaven, Massachusetts native enjoyed a very successful start to his final season with the Corsairs by scoring a game-high 23 points on 7 of 16 shooting to go with three assists, three steals, and one rebounds as UMass Dartmouth topped Castleton University in its season-opener.

Shion Darby (Rhode Island College): Against Keene State last Saturday, Darby netted 19 points while registering six rebounds and five assists.

Jeff Hunter (Keene State): This week’s LEC Player of the Week paced the Owls on Saturday against Rhode Island by netting 25 points on 10 of 13 shooting to go with 14 rebounds, including 10 defensive caroms, two assists, and one steal.

Mason Jean-Baptiste (Keene State): Against Rhode Island last weekend, Jean-Baptiste scored 16 points on 5 of 8 shooting while stuffing the stat sheet with seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

Dante Law (Rhode Island College): In his debut with the Anchormen against Keene State, the Taunton, Massachusetts native led Rhode Island with 22 points on 7 of 14 shooting while tallying five rebounds, one block, and one steal. Law was tabbed this week’s LEC Rookie of the Week.

Noontime’s Women’s Basketball Team of the Week (Jan. 25, 2021)

Rylee Burgess (Keene State): Tabbed this week’s LEC Rookie of the Week, Burgess registered 10 rebounds, nine points, two steals, and one assist against Rhode Island.

Maci Dorantes (Rhode Island College): Dorantes netted a game-high 15 points on 6 of 14 to go with two rebounds and two steals as the Anchorwomen edged the Owls in their season-opener.

Sophia Guerrier (Rhode Island College): In her team’s first conference clash of the 2020-21 season, Guerrier posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in Rhode Island’s four-point win against Keene State.

Michelle LaBonte (Keene State): LaBonte was one of three student-athletes to register 10 rebounds last Saturday to go with three points, one assist, and one steal.

Brooke Young (Rhode Island College): This week’s LEC Player of the Week recorded a double-double in her team’s first win against Keene State with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Young also recorded two assists in her team’s four-point victory.

Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 24, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Sunday, everyone!

It’s hard to believe this is the final Sunday of January where football will be played – yes, you will be missed – but since we have a few minutes before kickoff, allow me to share a few thoughts for the upcoming week.

As usual, thank you to everyone that has and continues to stop by, both on Sundays for this column and other content we’re producing throughout the week.

And just a friendly reminder, make sure to subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify – you can also support our show through Anchor!

Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy today’s football games!


Make sure to stay connected with Noontime Sports on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube


Since this column is being posted a bit later than anticipated, I am going to dish out just six thoughts, but plan to share my usual 10 next week.

Thought No. 1: Is it just me or is it getting harder to not root for Tom Brady? Yes, I know he is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have won just one Super Bowl, but I am having a hard time not rooting for the former New England Patriots signal-caller. And that is why I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers this afternoon.

Thought No. 2: I really like Josh Allen. And like I have said on previous ‘Football Friday’ podcasts, I believe he is the best quarterback that was selected in the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft. But today, I just don’t think he will be able to beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I could see Allen and the Buffalo Bills back in this same spot next January, but today, the Chiefs will prevail. But these Bills are not going away anytime soon. They will get even better this offseason.

Thought No. 3: Friday’s news of NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) going off the air later this year was startling, but I think this plan from the three-letter network will workout just fine. Yes, this is probably a sign that NBC will put more of its sports content like hockey and car racing behind its paywall (Peacock), but it will also mean more people will tune into games and events on USA Network. NBC will be fine – don’t worry, they’re not going anywhere – but the streaming war will certainly continue if National Hockey League (NHL) or NASCAC fans have to subscribe to Peacock to watch their favorite teams and competitors.

Thought No. 4: I have throughly enjoyed Mike Florio‘s thoughts on the NFL this season, especially with how the league has ignored the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thought No. 5: It was nice to see three New England D-III basketball games take place yesterday – fans were treated to a pair of exciting contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College (both men’s and women’s basketball). I am rooting for these teams, along with the rest of the Little East Conference (LEC) to succeed, but I am sure everyone knows it will take an entire league effort to keep everyone safe, both this week and next month, so games can be played.

Thought No. 6: The National Women’s Hockey League‘s (NWHL) began its two-week sprint to the Isobel Cup yesterday with fans being able to watch contests on their Twitch channel. I watched some of the first game – I enjoyed it, and give the league credit with not just offering a streaming service to watch every game, but also finding other creative ways to stay connected with its fans as games are taking place in a bubble environment. Additionally, I loved the tweets from yesterday’s Boston Pride contest. Kudos to the Pride’s social media team – keep up the great work with keeping myself and others in the loop with all the action as I love what you’re tweeting!

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.

LEC Set To Tip-Off Its 2020-21 Basketball Season This Weekend

The LEC is set to tip-off its 2020-21 college basketball season this week. (PHOTO COURTESY: bobert1980 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Little East Conference (LEC) basketball season is set to begin this weekend. And this is certainly good news for New England small college basketball fans.

As of this evening, three men’s basketball games are scheduled to tip-off this Saturday, January 23, along with one women’s contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College. More games will occur both later this month and next month, along with a four-team playoff in early March. And pending a national postseason does occur, the winner of their respective conference tournament would represent the league in the NCAA D-III playoffs.

Both Keene State squads have competed previously this school year in their Red vs. White contest while the men’s team squared-off last November against New Hampshire. The Rhode Island men’s basketball team competed last December against Bryant.

While the opening weekend will feature just six of the league’s nine members, Southern Maine is expected to play some games next month, according to a recent post from Al Bean, who is the school’s athletic director.

UMass Boston and Western Connecticut are the only two LEC members that won’t be competing this winter.

The Western Connecticut men’s basketball team captured the LEC crown last winter to secure a date with Tufts University in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

The Eastern Connecticut women’s basketball team, which won its second-straight LEC title last February, announced earlier this month that they would not play an abbreviated season due to “health risks surrounding COVID-19.”

Here is this weekend’s LEC men’s and women’s basketball schedule:

  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (WBB) | 12 p.m.
  • Eastern Connecticut at Plymouth State (MBB) | 1 p.m.
  • Castleton at UMass Dartmouth (MBB) | 2 p.m.
  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (MBB) | 3 p.m.