Noontime’s Senior Salute: Eric Savage (Tufts University)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our Noontime Senior Salutes continue with honoring Eric Savage, who guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team to its first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Championship last month, along with a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament wins.

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Eric Savage helped Tufts University win a pair of NCAA Tournament games last month, as well as the program’s first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Dan Saunders)

Savage, who started all 29 contests this past season, netted his 1,000th career point last November during the Jumbos’ 96-65 win over Lasell University before drilling the game-tying basket during the final seconds of the second half months later against Colby College in the NESCAC Tournament Finals. The game-tying basket provided the Powder Blue and White with enough momentum to outlast the Mules, 102-94, in double-overtime and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

After helping his team rally to beat Western Connecticut in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, Savage scored 19 points on 5 of 11 shooting to go with seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal against RPI in the second round.

An economics major from South Brunswick, New Jersey, Savage averaged 15.8 points per game this past season along with 6.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He scored 1,408 points in 105 games while tallying 615 rebounds, 290 assists, and 126 steals.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

Winning our first-ever NESCAC (Tournament) Championship.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?

Our entire postseason run, both our conference tournament and the first NCAA weekend were extremely memorable. Being able to host (all five postseason games) on our home court in front of our families, friends, and fans were awesome. The energy in Cousens Gymnasium was electric and we were able to win all five contests, which made it all the more special.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Tufts men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

The friendships and relationships I have built over the last four years mean so much and are so special to me. The Tufts basketball program has brought me so much joy over the course of my career and I am happy to have given back to the school by helping to deliver their first (NESCAC) championship.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I would love to be a coach at some point in the future. I am not sure what my specific plans are regarding basketball moving forward, but one thing is for sure and that is I am not ready to say goodbye to the sport just yet.

What interested you in pursuing a major in economics? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

From a young age, I actually wanted to be an astronaut, but when I came to Tufts I was originally majoring in astrophysics. A variety of factors (including my ironic discovery that astronauts cannot be colorblind) forced me to pivot.

In high school, I developed an interest in business and entrepreneurship which led me to an economics major with minors in finance and entrepreneurial leadership studies.

Revisiting Some Exciting Moments From The NCAA D-III Basketball Tournament

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Today would have been the sectional finals for eight NCAA D-III women’s basketball teams. It would have also been a day of third-round men’s basketball action with eight teams vying for spots in next weekend’s quarterfinals.

Sure, we don’t know who would have extended their respective season an additional day or week, but the opening weekend of the 2020 NCAA D-III Basketball Tournaments did produce some exciting outcomes and finishes, as well as some dramatic moments, which I have highlighted below. 

Here are a few moments that I will remember from the opening weekend of both NCAA Tournaments, enjoy!

Tufts’ epic comeback against Western Connecticut. Trailing the Colonials by 21 points at the break, Tufts leaned on Luke Rogers and Carson Cohen to lead the Jumbos past Western Connecticut in an exciting opening round contest last Friday, March 6th in Medford, Massachusetts.

Rogers led the Jumbos with a double-double of 16 rebounds and 15 points while Cohen chipped in 14 points, including two three-pointers.

The win prompted an enormous celebration, which would continue the following day when Tufts beat RPI, 75-66, to secure a date with the College of Brockport in the third round.

Smith College advances to its first-ever “Sweet 16.” The Pioneers entered the postseason with some serious momentum – they scored three-straight wins in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament and had not lost a game since early February. That momentum carried the Pioneers to not just one, but two postseason wins last weekend over No. 20 DeSales (81-72) and SUNY New Paltz (62-60).

Their win over SUNY New Paltz was highlighted by a late 10-0 run during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, which was capped by a go-ahead and eventual game-winning basket by Amelia Clairmont.

Jim Calhoun makes his initial NCAA D-III Tournament debut. After leading the University of Saint Joseph’s (Conn.) to its initial Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title in just its second season as a varsity program, coach Jim Calhoun earned his first trip to the NCAA D-III Tournament. But unfortunately, the Blue Jays’ appearance in the tournament didn’t last long as Hobart defeated the Blue and Gold, 78-74, in the opening round.

The setback to the Statesmen concluded an impressive second season by the Blue Jays, which was highlighted by a 25-game winning streak that stretched from late November to early March. Additionally, the 2019-20 season included an impressive milestone for Calhoun, his 900th win in January.

Eastern Connecticut’s defense highlighted its opening-round win. It was the Warriors’ defense that helped Eastern Connecticut top St. John Fisher, 60-43, in the opening round and score its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2015.

St. John Fisher was limited to 13 points or less in each frame, including seven points in the second quarter.

The 43 points were the lowest total Eastern Connecticut had surrendered “in 18 years of NCAA Division III competition.”

Williams College returns to its first NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” in seven years. The Ephs were a team to watch this season – they won 20 of 28 contests and came within a few baskets of advancing to the 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship last month. But despite losing in the NESCAC semifinals to Tufts University, the Ephs were able to bounce back as an at-large bid to this year’s “big dance” and win back-to-back contests against Albright College and Ithaca College.

Williams trailed Ithaca, 16-14, after opening quarter before outscoring the hosts in the final three sessions to secure a 69-61 win, along with a spot in the NCAA D-III “Sweet 16” for the first time in seven seasons. Maggie Meehan led the Ephs with 18 points on 7 of 17 shooting while Mikaela Topper added 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Yeshiva Overcomes Late Start, Tops WPI In the 2020 NCAA Tournament

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John Lowther netted a team-high 18 points Friday afternoon in WPI’s first-round NCAA Tournament game. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI ATHLETICS)

By Matt Noonan 

A late start to the opening day of the 2020 NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament didn’t seem to faze Yeshiva University men’s basketball team, which captured its first-ever postseason contest with a 102-78 victory over WPI.

Friday’s contest between the Engineers and Maccabees was delayed by eighty minutes and did not include spectators as the hosts Johns Hopkins University announced last night in a press release that no fans would be allowed in the gymnasium due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. The statement also noted the university elected to follow the guidelines of the CDC for large gatherings.

Ryan Turell led all players with 41 points on 13 of 16 shooting to go with five rebounds and two assists while Simcha Halpert added 20 points, two assists, and one block.

Yeshiva led WPI, 51-30, at the break before pushing ahead for good with a 72-51 advantage around the midway point of the second half.

WPI attempted to trim the deficit but struggled to contain both Turrell and Halpert, along with Eitan Halpert, who finished the contest with 14 points, eight assists, and four rebounds.

John Lowther led the Engineers with 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting while tallying five rebounds, two assists, and one block. Jake Wisniewski, who was playing in his final game with WPI, netted 12 points on four of nine shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

WPI advanced to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid after losing to Coast Guard Academy in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship. The Engineers registered 20 wins in 28 contests this season, which is the most any WPI team has recorded since their 2015-16 campaign. Additionally, today’s NCAA Tournament game was WPI’s first since securing an at-large bid to the ‘big dance’ in 2016.

With the win, Yeshiva has now won 28 consecutive contests dating back to last November and will play the winner

The Maccabees will play the winner of Johns Hopkins-Penn State Harrisburg tomorrow (March 7th).

Bartley Was Determined To Lead WPI To The NCAA D-III Tournament

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Jake Wisniewski will play in his first NCAA Tournament game on Friday, March 6th with the WPI

By NoontimeSports.com 

Chris Bartley and the WPI men’s basketball team were determined to find a way into the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament, despite falling to Coast Guard Academy last weekend in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship.

WPI scored some important and impressive wins this season, including a few against some squads that will be competing this afternoon and evening in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. And those victories certainly impressed the committee, which rewarded the Engineers with an at-large bid to the ‘big dance,’ but also a challenging opening-round match-up with Yeshiva University.

The Engineers have not competed in the NCAA Tournament since 2016, but Bartley seemed to determined to lead this year’s squad to the postseason so he could provide his two seniors with an opportunity to contend for a national championship before departing campus later this spring.

“It was our mission to get Jake Wisniewski and (senior) Lou Doherty to the NCAAs,” Bartley said, via Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “No senior that I’ve coached here has not made it to the NCAA Tournament.”

Wisniewski and Doherty have attempted to lead the Engineers back to the postseason as first-years, sophomores, and juniors, but will finally have a chance to compete in an NCAA Tournament game this afternoon against a talented Maccabees squad that has not lost a game since early November.

For WPI to advance to Saturday’s second round, they will need both seniors, along with juniors Kahleb DowningColin McNamara, and Garrett Stephenson to play their best basketball of the season.

WPI has not advanced past the first round since the 2012-13 season when they beat Purchase College, 80-67, before falling to Randolph-Macon by a score of 79-68.

Jim Calhoun Is Headed To The NCAA D-III Tournament This Weekend

By Matt Noonan

Jim Calhoun is headed to the NCAA D-III Tournament this weekend – well, Friday, March 6th, to be exact.

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Jim Calhoun is back in the NCAA Tournament with the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) men’s basketball team. (PHOTO COURTESY: DAVE MARTIN/AP)

The legendary college basketball coach, who guided the University of Connecticut to three NCAA D-I Championships, just helped the University of St. Joseph’s (Conn.) win its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown on Sunday while securing a spot in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

USJ will face Hobart at Springfield College on Friday with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. The winner will face either Springfield or SUNY Canton in the second round on Saturday, March 7th.

Calhoun, who is in his second season with the Blue Jays, has led the Blue and Gold to 25 consecutive wins since falling to Tufts University last November. The loss to the Jumbos seems to be a distant memory for the Blue Jays, who posted a perfect mark in conference play this season while securing two wins over in-state rival Albertus Magnus.

Prior to their match-up against the Falcons yesterday, USJ provided Calhoun with his 900th win on the bench in January when the Blue Jays beat the Pratt Institute Cannoneers, 105-61.

Calhoun was named the program’s first coach prior to their initial season last school year. The Blue Jays concluded their inaugural season with a 16-12 overall record, as well as an appearance in the GNAC Championship.