Bob Whitney is back from a short break for some thoughts on the New England (and national) college basketball landscape with a brand new edition of ‘Around the Rim.’
A pair of Braintree High School (Mass.) standouts are making a difference for the Southern New Hampshire women’s basketball team.
First-year Adriana Timberlake has earned a spot in the starting lineup and is averaging 12.0 points per game, along with 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Sophomore Jenna Roche has played an important role for the Penmen coming off the bench. Roche is averaging 5.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Southern New Hampshire has won four-straight since dropping its initial contest of the season to Georgian Court. The Penmen visit Assumption College tomorrow (Saturday, November 23rd) with tip-off scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Manis, Holy Cross scored an exciting win against Boston College
The Holy Cross women’s basketball team scored an impressive win earlier this month by defeating Boston College in its home-opener. The win was the Crusaders first over a Power 5 school since 2014.
Holy Cross is led by senior forward Lauren Manis (Bishop Feehan). Manis, who is a three-time All-Patriot League selection, concluded the 2018-19 season second in the conference in scoring (16.8 points per game) and rebounding (11.1 per game).
Prior to her team’s initial game of the 2019-20 season, Manis checked-in fourth in program history with 844 career rebounds and 12th in career points (1,461)
Manis, who is a terrific role model for all those youngsters that aspire to play at the next level, has scored 53 points in three games and has pulled down 33 rebounds.
Holy Cross hosts Merrimack College on Saturday in Worcester with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.
Christian, Boston College off to a successful start:
Jim Christian‘s Boston College men’s squad has had a solid start marked by an important Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win over Wake Forest University (77-70).
The Eagles hit a speed bump when they were torched at home, 100-85, by highly-regarded Belmont University team.
Christian has a slew of potential young talent that he is trying to integrate with veteran Nik Popovic.
The future looks bright at Conte Forum but this year they are likely to slug it out once again in the bottom quarter of the ACC – unless you are Duke University it is so very difficult to succeed with young talent in the country’s best college hoop conference.
While we are talking BC, why aren’t the Eagles and Ed Cooley‘s Providence College Friars playing this year?
Just Thinking 🤔:
If you get a chance, find a way to watch the University of Vermont‘s Anthony Lamb. He has the potential to be a player selected in next year’s NBA Draft. Lamb put on an offensive showcase recently scoring 30 points in a 61-55 loss to the University of Virginia.
If healthy these Catamounts will continue to dominate the America East and could be a real sleeper in March Madness.
Unfortunately, Lamb and the Catamounts will make just one trip to Massachusetts when they visit UMass Lowell in late February.
Virginia, the defending NCAA men’s champ, is off to an impressive start with Mamadi Diakite and Kihei Clark, who were the heroes of last year’s epic NCAA tournament run.
The Hoosiers, who are under the direction of coach Tony Bennett, have traditionally led all D-I programs in most of the key defensive categories. Their defense (and impressive play) will be on display tomorrow when they compete against UMass in The Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
UMass enters Saturday’s contest, which is scheduled to commence at 12 p.m, with an impressive 5-0 mark. The Minutemen are off to their best start since the 2013-14 season.
Have a great Thanksgiving….. Keep shooting! – Bob Whitney
Bryce Aiken and the Harvard University men’s basketball team are motivated to return to the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Dermer/Harvard Athletics)
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
For Harvard University, Tuesday’s 84-27 victory over MITwas an ideal way to begin a new season, but also an opportunity to gain some much-needed momentum heading into an important non-conference clash on Friday with Northeastern University.
Multiple Crimson players contributed on both ends of the floor against the Engineers, including first-year forward Chris Ledlum, who recorded his first collegiate double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Christian Juzang netted 12 points, while classmate Chris Lewis stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block.
Harvard’s 57-point victory margin matched the 1945-46 team, which established the mark with their win over Northeastern.
While it certainly was an impressive start to their 2019-20 campaign, Harvard, as well as their coach Tommy Amaker,know they have more work to do in order to accomplish their preseason goals. And one of those goals, according to senior guard Bryce Aiken, is to return to the NCAA Tournament, something the Crimson have not done since 2015.
Harvard has come close to returning to the ‘big dance,’ but has fallen short the past three seasons in the Ivy League tournament. Additionally, they saw their run toward a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title conclude twice within the past two years, including this past March when they lost a heartbreaker in the second round to North Carolina State University.
But despite falling short of accomplishing past preseason goals or winning tournaments and championships, Aiken remains optimistic. He believes this year’s crew can “make history,” and from what fans witnessed the other evening against MIT, perhaps the senior guard believes this year’s squad is truly capable of not just winning an Ivy League conference tournament but challenging other teams from across the country for the ultimate prize, a national championship.
“We haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament, so that is the biggest motivating factor for us.”
Added Juzang, “It’s been three years of all of us (for) things you can look at and you can call motivation (from) the Ivy League championship games, the NC State game, and we could point to a bunch of different things, but I think the biggest thing is (we’re) internally driven, not getting pushed around by the expectations and whatnot.”
The expectations, as both the coaches and student-athletes know, is rather high for a team that is scheduled to face some stiff competition this month against Northeastern, University at Buffalo, and Texas A&M. Harvard could also face the University of Maryland this month, too – they would need to beat the Aggies of Texas A&M in the opening round of the Orlando Invitational, which is scheduled to commence on Thanksgiving Day.
Weeks after competing in the Orlando Tournament, Harvard will commence conference play in mid-to-late January against Dartmouth College before ending the month with a visit to the University of Pennsylvania, which opened its 2019-20 season with an 81-80 win over the University of Alabama. Penn lost to Harvard last March in the Ivy League semifinals but was picked second in the conference preseason poll.
Yet, before Harvard worries about Dartmouth, Penn, and other future foes, they will keep their focus on Northeastern, a team that beat the Crimson last November, thanks to a game-high 35 points by Jordan Rolland. Rolland will certainly be a player the Crimson will need to slow down in order to pick-up their second win of the season, but from a quick glance at this year’s roster, Harvard is loaded with talent to slow down their opponents’ top players, and will certainly receive a boost from an impressive and hard-working first-year class.
Amaker praised his freshman class, which was ranked 38th nationally, according to 247Sports.com. All five newcomers logged time on Tuesday against MIT and have seemed to adapt to the college game quite well it seems.
“I have been impressed with our first-years,” said Amaker during the team’s media day last Friday. “This is a tough-minded group. They are physical – you look at who they are (with their) bodies and (what) they are capable of taking in … they have been durable, but they have been very (impressive) with their durability, dependability, and then fitting in.
“Our future is good hands with this first-year class.”
No matter who is on the floor Friday and later this season – Aiken, Ludlum, Juzang, sophomore Noah Kirkwood or seniors Seth Towns and Henry Welsh – Harvard is expected to compete and play some impressive basketball that should translate into more wins and an exciting 2019-20 season.
News and Notes from New England:
Andrew Fleming became the 31st player in the University of Maine men’s basketball program to net 1,000 points as the senior helped the Black Bears defeat Merrimack College, 84-64, on Wednesday evening. Fleming, who was named a preseason America East All-Conference honoree, recorded 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors to go along with five assists and two blocks.
Keep your eyes on the Saint Anselm College women’s basketball team this weekend – the Hawks, who were picked to finish atop the Northeast-10 Conference will tip-off Saturday, November 9th against Bloomfield College at 6:30 p.m. After facing the Bears, the Hawks will cap their weekend with a late Sunday afternoon contest against the University of Bridgeport.
Senior Shannon Ryan will be one of many student-athletes to watch on the Hawks this winter. Ryan recorded a double-double of 29 points and 18 rebounds last weekend against Bishop’s University.
WPI, which secured the fourth spot in our New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Preseason Poll, tips-off its season against ninth-ranked Brandeis University on Friday. Both teams are two squads to watch this winter – the Engineers were picked to capture the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), while Brandeis is expected to continue its success from last year under second-year coach Jean Bain.