With the “workweek” slowly coming to a close — yes, we know this is more a “holiday week” — we have decided to start a new weekly post beginning today that will highlight (and yes, revisit) our podcast episode(s) from each week.
First, let’s tell you about our Monday chat with Kelly Johnson: Johnson, who is the founder of the Kelly Johnson Foundation and executive director (and host) of The Daily Grind podcast, chats with Matt about starting an organization to hosting a podcast with an emphasis on inspiring, but also telling stories of various individuals from various fields. Johnson also shares an important thought for our listeners: make every day count.
Our second show of the week, which was released earlier today (Thursday, December 23) featured Larry Anderson of MIT men’s basketball.
Let’s tell you more about the show: Anderson joins Noonan to discuss a variety of topics, including culture, what it takes for a program like the Engineers’ basketball team to be successful to mentorship, and yes, more. The two also discuss mindfulness and identifying time for oneself, which can help us learn and grow. This show, like the one above, will certainly inspire you.
A brand new season of New England Division III basketball is set to tip-off tomorrow morning – in fact, it will be an early morning clash, to be exact, between Clark and Worcester State.
For the third-straight season, the Cougars and Lancers will meet a minute after midnight to compete for that initial win of the season.
Last year, the Cougars edged the Lancers, 77-74, thanks to a late triple from Luca McCormick, who concluded the contest three of eight from beyond the arc.
McCormick returns this season – he is a junior small forward – and will certainly be one of many players to watch on the Cougars this season. Additionally, keep an eye on senior John Pisacreta, who led the Red and White with 12.2 points per game.
Clark graduated a trio of seniors that paced the teams in rebounds, but perhaps McCormick will be a player to watch on the glass this winter.
Worcester State, which was chosen to finish fifth in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) this season, will be led by Cal Howes, who was honored four times last season as rookie of the week. Howes competed in 27 games last year (stared in seven) and averaged nine points per contest. He tallied 244 points, while pulling down 59 rebounds (51 defensive caroms).
Following their early morning meeting, Worcester State will head to Babson College this weekend for the Babson Invite – will include Babson, Endicott and Regis – while Clark will compete in the NYU Tournament in New York City. The Cougars’ initial game of the tournament will be against Haverford on Saturday, November 18th at 9:30 p.m.
Larry Anderson and the MIT men’s basketball season begin their New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title defense later tomorrow – 7 p.m., to be exact – when they welcome Bridgewater State to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Engineers competed in the annual MIT-Harvard game last Friday, but came up short against Tommy Amaker‘s Crimson. Harvard defeated MIT, 73-64, but the Engineers provided the Crimson offense and defense with some challenges in both halves.
“They beat us,” Anderson said shortly after his team’s nine-point setback to Harvard. “It’s an exhibition game for us and a regular season game for them, but I just thought in some areas we competed well, (while) other areas we were disappointed in … I was hoping we would (have) done a little bit better (from looking at the post-game stats).”
Harvard’s Seth Towns netted a game-high 20 points, while MIT received 17 points from Bradley Jomard. According to Anderson, Jomard will certainly be a player that will help the Engineers this season, especially in conference games against Babson, Springfield and WPI.
“Brad brings a lot to us. Being a 6’6″ point guard, he can guard one through five on the defensive side of the basketball and (for his height) he is a pretty smooth ball handler,” said Anderson.
“(Brad) fills the stat sheet, but even the things that don’t show up in the stat sheet that we always talk about, getting yourself in the invisible newspaper is doing things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, and he brings that level of calmness that we really covet.”
Look for Jomard to have a big impact on the Engineers this season, who will also receive contributions from AJ Jurko, Tim Roberts, Ian Hinkley and Cameron Korb.
Following their opening day tilt with the Bears of Bridgewater State, the Engineers will host Eastern Nazarene on Saturday before visit Tufts University next Tuesday, November 21 at 7 p.m. The Engineers will conclude the month of November with games against Keene State, Salem State and UMass Boston. Keene State and Salem State both advanced to last season’s NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Husson women’s basketball team was picked to captured the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), while Castleton and Colby-Sawyer checked in second and third, respectively.
Husson, which is led by coach Kissy Walker, is optimistic about the upcoming season, but also believes they have what it takes to contend for a conference crown, especially after capturing it the past two seasons.
The Eagles collected six first-place votes in the NAC preseason poll, while Castleton garnered a trio of votes. Colby-Sawyer earned one first-place nod.
Kenzie Worcester will certainly be one of many Husson players to watch on this year’s squad.
The Eagles will head to Williamstown this weekend to compete against St. Lawrence on Saturday (Nov. 18th) before facing Williams on Sunday, November 19th. The Eagles’ home-opener is set for Tuesday, November 28th when they host Thomas (Maine) at 5:30 p.m.
Games to Watch on Opening Day: If you’re up early – or perhaps late – make sure to check-out Clark-Worcester State at 12:01 a.m., but here are a few games I’ll be keeping an eye on tomorrow evening.
Brandeis at Roger Williams, 5:30 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Southern Maine at University of New England, 5:30 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Western New England at Springfield, 6 p.m. (Women’s Basketball)
Keene State at Southern Vermont, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Brandies at Suffolk, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Bridgewater State at MIT, 7 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Lasell at Babson, 7:30 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
Western New England at Springfield College, 8 p.m. (Men’s Basketball)
The Noontime Sports Basketball Podcast (Episode One): Matt Noonan chats with John Cabral on the first-ever edition of the Noontime Sports Basketball Podcast about the upcoming season, as well as what he expects from both Babson College and UMass Dartmouth this winter.
Friday will be an exciting day for multiple New England NCAA Division III men’s and women’s basketball teams as they begin their quest toward a national title.
The afternoon and evening features some exciting match-ups, including a few local teams squaring-off in neutral sites.
The first-round also includes a pair of New England squads – Nichols College (men’s) and UMass Dartmouth (women’s) – making their initial appearances in the ‘big dance.’
Nichols, which captured its first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) crown, earned date with No. 11 Neumann, while UMass Dartmouth, which secured an at-large bid to this year’s tournament, will square off against La Roche.
“I am just so happy for the players and program,” UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball coach Matt Ducharme said, who is in his third year with the program.
“My Athletic Director is over the moon. She was the former coach before I was, so it was special for her as well, but it is certainly a good time for the program and great step for future success.”
Nichols coach Tom Glynn, who is also in his third season, expressed similar excitement for his program, too, but also added “the campus is absolutely buzzing.”
Both coaches know their respective foe presents unique challenges – the Bison will be facing a Knights squad that hasn’t dropped a home contest this season, while the Corsairs will meet a Redhawks unit that is riding a 17-game winning streak.
“They’re very talented,” Glynn said of Nichols’ first-round foe. “They’re very athletic and start four seniors, they press a little bit, they like to go up-and-down, and they’re really good at rebounding the ball, and they average 92 points per game, so it should be an up-and-down game and should be a great atmosphere, too.”
Said Ducharme, “I want to say (La Roche) is similar to UMass Boston because the (forwards and centers) are very athletic and they play a little bit more of a freestyle and they have a lot of sets.”
If both teams are able to advance to Saturday’s second round, then it would be possible to see a New England match-up take place on a neutral court.
Endicott will play the first game at Neumann on Friday against Salisbury, while Westfield State will play after UMass Dartmouth against host Montclair State. Both Nichols and Endicott have met three times this season, including the CCC Championship, while UMass Dartmouth defeated Westfield State last December.
“That would be so cool if we had two teams from the CCC playing in round two,” Glynn said. “Knowing that someone from our league would advance to the sweet sixteen would be amazing.”
In addition to both first-round contests, some other men’s games to keep an eye on would be Babson-Husson, Amherst-Keene State, Tufts-Salem State and MIT-Eastern Connecticut (just to name a few!).
The Engineers and Warriors will be meeting for first time – both teams captured their respective conference crowns as MIT defeated Babson in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, while Eastern Connecticut beat Keene State to secure the Little East Conference (LEC) crown.
“We have played teams in (Eastern Connecticut’s) conference like Rhode Island College, UMass Boston and UMass Dartmouth, so I know they comes from a strong league and are extremely well-coached,” MIT men’s basketball coach Larry Anderson said.
“I know Bill (Geitner) and if you look at what his team’s have done overtime since he has been there – they have been a model program and remain that way, and I know Bill will have his guys ready to play.”
One of the players MIT will need to stop – or at attempt to slow down – is Hugh Lindo, who was tabbed this year’s LEC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Lindo is averaging 14.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game and will most likely be defended by MIT’s Tim Butala, who was named the NEWMAC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Butala was a big part of the Engineers’ exciting wins over the Beavers as he sank four important free throws down the stretch, which helped MIT defeat Babson, 67-62.
“He is a guy we follow without question,” Anderson said of Butala. “He was the one that (told our younger players) that you have to do the boring stuff to be able to get where you want to go, so I was just glad to see the guys get some results from all the hard work they have put in, especially Tim, who is (our only) senior.”
Switching to the women’s bracket, the NCAA set-up a possible national title game between Amherst and Tufts. Both teams will host first-round contests with the Purple and White meeting Regis, while the Jumbos will entertain St. Joseph’s (Maine). Both games are slated to tip-off at 7 p.m.
Also making the trek to Medford is Husson, this year’s North Atlantic Conference (NAC) tournament winner. The Eagles will take on a DeSales team, which saw its bid toward a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) crown dashed by No. 25 FDU-Florham.
Additional women’s basketball games to follow include Babson-Messiah, Scranton-UNE and Eastern Connecticut-SUNY Poly (again, just to name a few!).
Similar to the Corsairs, the Warriors of Eastern Connecticut earned an at-large bid despite falling to Keene State in the conference championship.
“I think it is outstanding for the Little East Conference and says a little bit about the conference’s competition,” Ducharme said of his conference having three teams in this year’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Friday promises to be an exciting day and we’ll have more from the opening round throughout the weekend, so make sure to follow-us on Twitter (@Noontime) and become a fan on Facebook, too.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – There was less than four minutes remaining when Babson College took its first lead of the game.
And that lead would never be relinquished.
The Beavers, who tallied just 17 points in the first half, scored 54 in the second en route to defeating MIT, 71-65, at Rockwell Cage on Wednesday evening in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.
Babson overcame a slow start in the opening session in which they shot under 26%, including 0-for-10 from beyond the arc to a second half in which they shot above 65% and drilled seven-of-12 trifectas.
“We did a good job running balls screens,” Babson head coach Stephen Brennan said of his team’s second half effort.
“A lot of different people played the point and a lot of different people set the screens.”
MIT did a superb job of limiting Babson’s Joey Flannery in the
first half, who was whistled for a pair of fouls, while tallying just two points. He rebounded in the second half – literally – jumpstarting the Beavers’ offense with 11 points, while locating Isaiah Nelsen (18 points and four rebounds) for multiple easy backdoor layups.
“It’s hard to take him out (of his game),” Brennan said of Flannery, who finished the contest with 13 points. “When he gets a full-head of steam, he’s pretty crafty.”
MIT came out of the gate with purpose, gathering up an early lead, while looking to avenge their 12-point defeat to the Green and White from last February’s NEWMAC championship game by securing a 7-0 advantage before Nick Comenale put the Beavers on the board with a layup.
Cameron Korb responded shortly after, keeping the momentum on MIT’s side by drilling his second trifecta minutes later that pushed the hosts ahead, 27-15, before ending the session on an 11-4 run, securing a 30-17 lead at the break. The 13-point lead was MIT’s biggest lead of the frame.
As the second half commenced, MIT Coach Larry Anderson called an early timeout, just ten seconds into the half following a Flannery layup – his first field goal of the contest.
Minutes after the quick breather, Korb helped MIT push ahead with a three-pointer from the wing, which provided the Engineers with their biggest lead of the game (42-27) with 13:25 remaining.
Babson would begin to deduct the deficit roughly one minute later as Flannery and Nelsen got the offense started with a number of high screen pick-and-rolls before ending the Green and White’s futility streak from beyond the arc with 12:39 remaining.
Flannery’s trifecta with 12:39 remaining would be the team’s first of the contest – the unit was 0-for-13 before he converted their 14th attempt.
Babson’s Matthew Droney hit a three with 10:47 to play that cut the lead to five before Flannery connected with Nelsen on another backdoor pass a minute later on transition to bring the visitors within three-points (44-41).
Comenale would keep momentum on the Beavers’ side – he was a big part of Babson’s second half Renaissance – as he converted three-of-four in the session with all his field goals being three-pointers. One of those triples tied the game at 55-55, but it was a Sam Bohmiller three-pointer that put Babson ahead for good.
MIT attempted to regain the lead with a Tim Butala layup that brought the hosts within one point, however, that was the closest they would get as a layup shortly afterward by Nelsen secured the win for the Beaver.
Wednesday’s win extended Babson’s conference road winning streak to 21 games, a streak now fast approaching three years.
Both teams return to action Saturday with Babson visiting Coast Guard Academy on while MIT heads to Emerson College.
It’s been a learning process for the MIT men’s basketball team this season.
Larry Anderson’s squad is extremely young – six first-years and six sophomores, to be exact – but every player is eager to learn, both through practices and games. And that willingness to be the best has resulted in an impressive 11-3 overall ledger.
Senior co-captain Tim Butala is one of many players that have stepped-up this season for the Cardinal and Gray – he has netted a team-high 200 points, including 18 trifectas.
Sophomores Dakota Pierce, Cameron Korb and AJ Jurko have also contributed to MIT’s recent success on both ends of the court – all three can drive, pull-up and secure important rebounds, especially on defense.
“I am proud of my guys,” Anderson said following his team’s 84-59 win over Fitchburg State on Monday. “They’re finding a way to compete and figuring out how to play basketball the right way.”
Playing basketball the ‘right way,’ according to Anderson, starts with defense followed by success at the free-throw line. And the Engineers defense certainly did its job against the Falcons, forcing 15 turnovers that resulted in 20 points.
Additionally, the Engineers were successful at the stripe, converting 20 of 28 free throws, while locating quality shots, both inside and outside the half circle.
The game also featured glimpses of what this squad could become – again, the Engineers are young, but constantly learning from Anderson and the coaching staff on how to play basketball ‘the right way.’
“I saw a few plays that we made on both ends that I was pleased with,” said Anderson.
Those few plays Anderson highlighted will be needed throughout the remainder of the season, especially over the next few weeks.
MIT, currently 3-0 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play, is set to host Springfield College on Saturday before entertaining top-ranked Babson College on Wednesday.
“We’re 0-0 right now. That is the way we have always approached it,” said Anderson. “Our guys understand that each game is different, each matchup is different and we try to prepare that way, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Extra, Extra: Earlier this week, I saw an exciting Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) clash between Mount Ida College and Lasell College (men’s basketball).
The game was billed as a must-see contest and it lived up to the hype.
Lasell captured the game, improving to 6-0 in league play and 9-4 overall. Their win snapped Mount Ida’s longest win-streak in league play of six-games.
Senior Armin Omanovic was quite impressive; netting a game-high 35 points, while sophomore Tim Blair sank a season-best eight three-pointers. Blair was on a roll after his initial trifecta in the opening session, knocking down three-pointer after three-pointer. He finished the game 8 of 14 from beyond the arc.
Mount Ida did not back down after the opening tip, receiving contributions on both ends from senior Ethan Dujon and juniors Jayson Clark and Errald Jordine.
Both teams will play again later this month, so if you’re looking for a quality mid-week clash, head over to Mount Ida on Wednesday, January 25.
* The Endicott College men’s basketball bounced back from a 74-70 setback to Western New England with an 82-66 win over Salve Regina on Wednesday. The Gulls will host Nichols College on Saturday – if you’re around, head to campus to watch a very important Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) clash. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
* The Roger Williams University women’s basketball secured the top spot in the CCC with a 57-47 win over Western New England on Wednesday. Both teams entered the game undefeated.
Senior Bridget Quilty led the Hawks with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, while junior Anna Walther netted 15 points and dished out a trio of assists. Roger Williams visits Gordon on Saturday.
* The Eastern Connecticut State University men’s basketball captured its sixth-straight contest last night by defeating UMass Dartmouth to bump its conference ledger to 4-0. Both teams last met in the Little East Conference (LEC) semifinal last season, a game the Corsairs captured en route to the league championship.
The Warriors of Eastern Connecticut return to the hardwood on Saturday when they visit UMass Boston. The Beacons have won three-straight, including a double-overtime win last night against Plymouth State.
* New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play just started, but I have a few teams – or technically thoughts on some squads worth keeping an eye on over the next few weeks.
The Bates College men’s basketball team could be a tough out in the league tournament; they’re off to their best start in league play since 2011 (the Bobcats are currently 2-0). The Bobcats have a challenging weekend ahead – they will face Hamilton tomorrow (Friday, January 13) and Middlebury College on Saturday.
Middlebury visit Tufts University on Friday evening – that game should be a must-watch or attend if you’re in the area. Could this game be perhaps a semifinal or championship preview? Possibly, but I also think we shouldn’t overlook Williams College, too.
As for some women’s NESCAC teams to watch, keep an eye on Bowdoin College, Connecticut College and Middlebury. All three will challenge Amherst College and Tufts for the top spot.
* The Husson University women’s basketball team has been unstoppable this season, winning nine of ten games, including six North Atlantic Conference (NAC) tilts. They could distance themselves in the standings this weekend with wins over Johnson State and Lyndon State.
Keep an eye on Lyndon State junior Mikayla Hodge, who was tabbed this week’s conference player of the week after posting a three double-doubles last week. She averaged 16.7 points per game, 14.7 caroms and 1.3 blocks.