Salem State Set To Face Tufts In NCAA Tournament

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Salem State’s Marcus Faison and the Vikings will take on Tufts University in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament’s First Round on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Salem State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Salem State University men’s basketball coach Chris Harvey knows his Vikings will be challenged on the opening day of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Winners of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), the Vikings earned a date with Tufts University this Friday at St. John Fisher College (Pittsford, N.Y.) with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Salem State and Tufts did not meet this season, but did compete against each other last year at the New England Big 4 Challenge. The Jumbos beat the Vikings, 90-77, thanks to 25 points from Vincent Pace and 20 points from Tom Palleschi.

“It’s going to be a tough match-up for us,” Harvey said of his team’s first-round contest against the Jumbos.

“Coach (Bob) Sheldon is as good as an offensive coach that you will find and they’re playing good defense as well, so it’s cliché, but we will have to bring an A-effort to stay in the game, and if we do that and get a little bit of tempo going then we’ll have a fighting chance.”

The Jumbos, who advanced to this year’s NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, enter the postseason winners of 20 contests. They saw their bid toward a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown conclude last Saturday with an 81-65 setback to Williams College.

Despite not facing the Jumbos this season, Harvey and his crew would consider themselves ‘very familiar’ with Tufts – in a way, they believe their last meeting, along with some current film study will help with crafting a game plan for defending the Powder Blue and White.

“We’re very familiar with Tufts (despite) not playing them this year,” Harvey said. “We played them last year and didn’t have success (against them), but we know a little bit about their (current) personnel and we’ll have to dive into film here and try to piece together a plan of attack.”

Part of that so-called ‘attack’ will be attempting to find a way to slow down Tufts’ offense, which has averaged 83 points per game this season. Not only can they score inside the paint, but also outside the half circle, too.

In order to be successful, the Vikings will need every member of its roster to step-up, whether it is on offense or defense. They’ll need their seniors and captains – Marcus Faison and Shyheim Davis-Smith – to guide them, along with some long-range field goals from Jacob Lindland. Additionally, they’ll need Faison and Drew Healy to control the glass on defense.

“We have to do what we do,” said Harvey, “and make sure how we play gets the most of our focus in practice. We’re not going to recreate Tufts, every set they run, every tendency they have, every individual player stuff … I am just a believer in really focusing on what you’re doing and put a lot of focus on that, what they’re doing and at the end of the day just go in confident with your game plan and try to execute and adjust in the flow of the game when you can.”

The winner of Salem State-Tufts will meet host St. John Fisher-St. Lawrence on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

Mass. College Hoops: MASCAC Tournament Schedule

By Matt Noonan 

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) released the pairings/brackets for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, and below is the schedule. 

Men’s Basketball: 

* Quarterfinals: No. 3 Worcester State vs. No. 6 Framingham State, 7 p.m. / Tuesday @ Assumption 

* Quarterfinals: No. 4 Westfield State vs. No. 5 MCLA, 7 p.m./ Tuesday @ Westfield State 

* Semifinals: No. 1 Salem State vs. Winner of Westfield State/MCLA, 7 p.m. / Thursday @ Salem State 

* Semifinals: No. 2 Bridgewater State vs. Winner of Worcester State/Framingham State, 7:30 p.m. @ Bridgewater State

* Finals: MCLA/Salem State/Westfield State vs. Bridgewater State/Framingham State/Worcester State @ Highest Remaining Seed on Saturday/ Time TBA 

Women’s Basketball:

* Quarterfinals: No. 3 Framingham State vs. No. 6 Worcester State, 7 p.m./ Tuesday @ Framingham State 

* Quarterfinals: No. 4 Salem State vs. No. 5 Fitchburg State, 7 p.m. / Tuesday @ Salem State 

* Semifinals: No. 1 Bridgewater State vs. Winner of Salem State/Fitchburg State, 5:30 p.m./Thursday @ Bridgewater State 

* Semifinals: No. 2 Westfield State vs. Winner of Framingham State/Worcester State, 7 p.m./Thursday @ Westfield State

* Finals: Bridgewater State/Fitchburg State/Salem State vs. Westfield State/Framingham State/Worcester State, @ Highest Remaining Seed, Time TBA 

Mass. College Hoops: Westfield State Upsets Worcester States, 45-36

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Worcester State University sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the women’s basketball game. The Lancers lost to Westfield State in the semifinals of the MASCAC tournament, and here’s the recap:

Worcester, MA — Westfield State sophomore Jen Ashton (Beverly, MA) turned in a solid all-around performance with nine points, four boards, four assists, and three steals to help propel third-seeded Westfield State past #2 Worcester State, 45-36, in the semifinals of the MASCAC Women’s Basketball Tournament this evening at Lancer Gymnasium.

The Owls (18-9) move on to the title game to take on top-seeded Bridgewater State on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley Center. The Lancers (13-13) await word on a possible ECAC bid on selection Monday.

The meeting marked the 16th matchup between the two squads in the MASCAC Tournament since it started in 1989-90 and the 10th time in the semifinals. Westfield State is now 11-5 all-time in the tournament versus the Blue and Gold.

The Owls were also paced by senior Briana Kelly (Hamden, MA) who netted a team-best 10 points while senior Jenny Bell (Northampton, MA) chipped in with a season-best seven swipes.

The Lancers were led by senior Meaghan O’Keefe (Warren, MA) who recorded a game best 11 points to go along with 13 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the campaign. Classmate Kara Rogers (Lowell, MA) collected nine points and grabbed five boards in the defeat.

Worcester State came out of the gates early going on a 7-0 spurt to open the game after O’Keefe was able dial one in from long range at the 17:03 mark.

Westfield State then battled back with strong defense causing 15 first-half turnovers led by Bell who had five swipes of her own in the opening frame.

The Owls grabbed their first lead of the contest after an 11-2 run was concluded with a lay-up from third-year Tania Ortiz (Holyoke, MA) with just under nine minutes left in the stanza (11-9).

The Blue and Gold then tied up the contest at 11-11 after a pair of free throws by Rogers before Westfield State used an 11-4 spurt to close out the half after a trey by first-year Tayler Travis (Somerset, MA) made it 22-15 at the intermission.

To start off the second period, Westfield State opened up a 14-point edge after Kelly tickled the twine from behind the line with five minutes gone in the final period (30-16).

The Lancers then cut the deficit to ten after consecutive layups from Rogers and O’Keefe just 40 ticks later.

The Owls jumped back out to a 14-point margin with back-to-back buckets by Kelly and Ortiz to make the score 34-20 with 11:47 remaining.

Worcester State sliced the deficit to single digits after a Rogers layup and an O’Keefe which made it a 34-25 game with just over nine minutes left in regulation.

After a Westfield bucket, Rogers converted a traditional three-point play to help the hosts trail 36-38 at the 7:15 mark to get the standing-room only crowd back into the contest.

Kelly then converted a layup for the Owls stretching the lead back to 10 before junior Meaghan Burns (W. Brookfield, MA) hit consecutive jumpers to make the score 38-32 with 5:22 left to play.

But that was as close as the Lancers got as Westfield State utilized a layup by Ashton and a Travis jumper in a two-minute span to get the lead back to double-digits (42-32).

Worcester State cut the lead to eight on a pair of occasions in the waning minutes of the contest, but the Owls ran out the rest of the clock for the final score.

Westfield State played a tenacious man-to-man defense to hold the Lancers to just 29 percent from the field (14-for-50) while the Blue and Gold equaled the effort on the other end of the floor limiting the visitors to just a 31 percent clip for the contest (17-for-54).

The Blue and Gold were dominant on the glass turning in a convincing 45-30 margin in rebounds and used a 13-8 edge in offensive caroms to hold a 9-4 lead in second chance buckets.

However, the Owls had their hands in the passing lanes all night and used 13 steals to cause 26 miscues and parlay a 19-12 edge in points off turnovers.

Westfield State also lead in fast break points (11-0), points in the paint (22-20) and bench scoring (20-6).

The two squads combined for 13 blocks in the contest as the visitors had eight rejections as a team.

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Weekly Report (Jan. 14-20)

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the long weekend in the rearview mirror and another chapter of Worcester basketball in the books, here is this week’s WACBA Rookies of the Week, Players of the Week and Honor Roll.

QUICK NOTE: Write-ups courtesy of the college’s sports information director.  

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Alex Lopez (Worcester State) Fr., Guard, Springfield, MA: Averaged 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists in a 2-0 week for Worcester State including a contest-high 20 points and six boards (sank the game-winning lay-up with nine seconds left) in a 71-68 victory over Fitchburg State. Also had 18 points, four rebounds, four assists in a 98-92 win over Bridgewater State, shot .465 for the week (13-28) and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Molly Hourigan (Holy Cross) Fr., Center, Mephis, NY: The first-year earned her first start against American and hauled in a game-best eight rebounds in 23 minutes. She blocked two shots in each contest and shot 83.3 percent from the field.

Men’s Player of the Week: Ryan Kolb (WPI) Jr., F, Southington, CT: Kolb posted a team-best 18 points as the Engineers remained undefeated with a 65-59 home victory against MIT.  The junior also grabbed five rebounds and added an assist, a block and a steal as WPI improved to 18-0 on the season.  Earlier in the week, Kolb registered 13 points in a hard-earned win over cross-town rival Clark.

Women’s Player of the Week: Alex Smith (Holy Cross) Jr., G, Delran, NJ: Smith scored team-highs in both games this past week, as well as tallied her 1,000th career point with a three-pointer versus American. She finished the week with 15 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and one block.

Honor Roll:

Terrance Bobb-Jones (Assumption College) Soph., Guard, Wilmington, DE: Bobb-Jones averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, 1.5 steals and one block per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field for the No. 23 ranked Hounds. In a comeback road win at Stonehill, Bobb-Jones had the game-winning basket with 21.5 seconds left as he ended the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. He ended the week with a 13-point, six-rebound, five-assist, one-block, one-steal outing in a home win over Saint Anselm as the Hounds now hold a two-game lead in the Northeast-10 standings.

Cindy Chelius (WPI) Sr., C, Northfield, NJ: Chelius posted a career-high 15 points in WPI’s 59-39 road win at Clark.  The senior narrowly missed her first double-double of the season and third of her career when she hauled in season-equaling nine rebounds.  Chelius, who shot 6-of-10 from the field against the Cougars, also tosses in a team-high eight points in a road loss earlier in the week at Smith.

Meaghan Burns (Worcester State) Jr., Guard, Brookfield, MA: Averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists in a 2-0 week for Worcester State including 15 points and three helpers in a 76-64 win over Fitchburg State and 16 second-half points and five boards to help spark a 76-71 comeback win over Bridgewater State. She finished the week shooting .608 from the field (14-23).

Robert Hunter (Worcester State) Sr., Forward, St. Louis, MO: Averaged 21.5 points, 9 rebounds and 2.5 steals in a 2-0 week for Worcester State including 18 points, eight boards and 3 swipes in a 71-68 triumph over Fitchburg State and 25 points, 10 caroms and three blocks in a 98-92 win over Bridgewater State. Connected for a .667 percent for the week (20-30).

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Players Of The Week (Week Three)

Worcester State's Dane Jobst powered the Lancers to two back-to-back victories last week! (Photo Credit: Worcester State Athletics)

Worcester State’s Dane Jobst powered the Lancers to two back-to-back victories last week! (Photo Credit: Worcester State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The third week of the college basketball season in Worcester is in the books. And as usual, here is this week’s WACBA Players of the Week:

Men’s Basketball: Dane Jobst (Worcester State/Junior Forward) – In his team’s last two contests, the Athol native averaged 24.5 points and 15.5 boards, which helped the Lancers improve their mark to 3-1. Jobst recorded a double-double against Clark, as he netted 22 points and 20 rebounds in a 85-68 triumph. Against Regis he tallied 27 points and 11 boards. Finally, he connected on 17-of-30 shots from the field and 13-of-16 from the stripe.

Women’s Basketball: Kelly Morgan (WPI/Junior Guard) – Against MIT, the junior from New Hampshire sank all four of her three-point attempts and tallied 16 of her career-high 18 points in the second half, as WPI defeated the visiting Engineers, 68-56. Morgan finished the contest 7-of-10 from the field, and also recorded one rebound and one assist.