WACBA Men’s Basketball Postseason Awards (Tuesday, March 24th, 2020)

 

WACBABy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation & @WACBAHoops 

Another season of college basketball in the Worcester area is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our end of season Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Men’s Basketball awards for our coach, player, and rookie of the year.

Noontime Sports is excited to share our end of season WACBA honors for the seventh consecutive season after being the host site for the organization’s weekly honor rolls, which have appeared every Tuesday throughout the college basketball season. 

Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more.


Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton capped an impressive career with the Bison by placing first in program history in field goals made (863). (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

Men’s Player of the Year: DeAnte Bruton (Nichols College | Sr. | New London, Conn.): Bruton capped an impressive career with the Bison by securing the top spot in the program’s history for field goals made (863) while securing the second position in multiple categories, including scoring (2,334 points), three-pointers (226) and steals (226). He currently ranks fourth all-time in free throw (382) while placing sixth in the record book in scoring average (20.6 points per game) and seventh in free throw percentage. Bruton, who became the fourth student-athlete in program history to net 2,000th points, secured multiple first-team honorees at the conclusion of the regular and postseason from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), D3Hoops.com, National Association of Basketball Coaches, and NoontimeSports.com.


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Joe Pridgen averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Crusaders this past season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Holy Cross Athletics)

Men’s Rookie of the Year: Joe Pridgen (Holy Cross | Fr.|Winchendon, Mass.): Named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Pridgen concluded an impressive first season with the Crusaders that culminated in spots on the league’s all-rookie team and third-team. The Winchendon, Massachusetts native averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while hitting 55.8 percent of his field-goal attempts. He led the team in both scoring and rebounding while finishing fourth in the conference in scoring, sixth in field goal percentage, and seventh in rebounding. His 521 total points scored on the year were the second-most in both Holy Cross and Patriot League history.


Chris Bartley

WPI men’s basketball coach Chris Bartley guided the Engineers to a 20-8 overall record this season, along with an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/WPI Athletics)

Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year: Chris Bartley (WPI): Bartley guided the Engineers to a 20-win season, the program’s third-straight appearance in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament championship, and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in his 19-years coaching the WPI men’s basketball team. With a 20-8 overall record, Bartley has now guided the Engineers to 20 wins or more in 14 of 19 seasons.


Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 

WACBA Men’s Basketball Honor Roll (Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020)

WACBABy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation & @WACBAHoops 

Another busy week of college basketball in the Worcester area is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our thirteenth and final Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Men’s Honor Roll for the 2019-20 season.

Noontime Sports is proud to partner with WACBA for the seventh consecutive season to host the weekly honor roll, which will be seen every Tuesday throughout the current college basketball season. Each week, we will select a player and rookie of the week, as well as highlight various milestones, too.

Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 


Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton’s double-double helped Nichols College beat Endicott College in Saturday’s CCC Tournament Finals. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

Men’s Basketball Player of the Week: DeAnte Bruton (Nichols College | Sr. | New London, Conn.): Bruton averaged 38 points in three games while netting 114 points for the week as the Bison clinched their fourth-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title this past weekend against Endicott College. Bruton scored the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds remaining in last Tuesday in a quarterfinal win over Roger Williams, poured in a career-high 40 points in his team’s semifinal match-up against Gordon College, and then finished the week with a 38-point, 14-rebounds effort against Endicott. Bruton knocked down 12-of-14 freebies on Saturday in the CCC Championship and finished the tournament with 11.3 rebounds per game while going 27-of-31 from the charity stripe.


Men’s Rookie of the Week: Sam Dion (Worcester State | Fr. | Barre, Mass.): Dion averaged 14.0 points per game in Worcester State’s Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament run last week, which included a 24-point performance against MCLA in the semifinals last Thursday. His four-point play in the final minute of the MASCAC Championship against Westfield State cut Worcester’s deficit from five points to one point with 58 seconds remaining in the second half.


Men’s WACBA Honor Roll | Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Nicholas Tracy (Nichols College | Sr. | Indianapolis, Ind.): Tracy posted a game-best 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in an 80-78 quarterfinal round setback last Tuesday to the Trailblazers for MCLA.

Chris Cardoso (Worcester State | Jr. | Jamaica Plain, Mass.): Cardoso recorded a pair of double-doubles in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament last week, which helped the Lancers secure a spot in the title game for the first time in four seasons. Cardoso averaged 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the floor and 57 percent from three.

Garrett Stephenson (WPI | Jr. |Townsend, MA): Stephenson averaged 21 points and eight rebounds during a 1-1 week for the Crimson and Gray. The junior center posted 16 points and five rebounds in a semifinal victory over Babson College before delivering a double-double with 26 points and 11 boards in the championship game against Coast Guard.


Fans of Worcester college basketball are encouraged to follow @WACBAHoops on Twitter for scores, news and more. 

Nichols Tops Endicott, Secures Fourth-Straight CCC Tournament Title

Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton’s double-double helped Nichols College beat Endicott College in Saturday’s CCC Tournament Finals. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

DeAnte Bruton poured in a game-high 38 points on 12 of 27 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and two assists as the Nichols College men’s basketball team edged Endicott College, 76-75, in this afternoon’s Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship.

With the win, the Bison have now won four-straight conference tournament championships, including three against the Gulls. Additionally, the victory secures the Bison a spot in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament, which tips-off next weekend.

Nichols secured a three-point lead at the break (38-35), thanks to Bruton and Matt Morrow, who combined for 23 points in the first half. Bruton would net 26 points during the final 20 minutes on 7 of 16 shooting. He also netted 10 of 12 freebies in the final session.

Endicott did keep pace with Nichols throughout the second half – they mainly trailed by one or two baskets, but did fall behind by seven points with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Gulls would eventually close the gap to four points (76-72) with 1:06 remaining and then one point (76-75) with 38 seconds remaining, thanks to a made three-pointer by Keith Brown.

Brown and the Gulls would not convert an additional field goal following the made trifecta as Nichols drained the clock before firing a shot as time expired on the shot clock with eight seconds remaining. Brown did get the rebound of the missed field goal but had the ball taken away with two seconds remaining by Kash Jackson.

Morrow concluded the contest with 19 points while Jaekwon Spencer registered 11 rebounds, seven points, two steals, and two blocks.

Brown led Endicott with 23 points, Jalen Echevarria scored 21 points while Matt McDevitt tallied 11 points.

Nichols, which advanced to the elite eight last season, will find out who they will face in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament on Monday, March 2nd.

Player Perspective: Michael Pina (Nichols College)

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Michael Pina threw for a career-best 329 yards this past weekend, along with three touchdowns, which helped Nichols College outlast the University of New England in four-overtimes. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jill Souza)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For quarterback Michael Pina, last Saturday’s four-overtime win against the University of New England had the feel of a dramatic movie – it seemed as if it would never end.

“It was wild to be a part of a game like that,” said Pina. “It felt like we were in a movie.”

But eventually, the game would conclude with Pina’s team scoring the game-winning touchdown – a two-yard plunge by junior halfback Joshua Pierre-Charles – which helped Nichols College escape with a 51-48 victory.

Pina concluded the game by throwing for a career-best 329 yards, while also rushing for a season-high 53 yards on nine carries. He tossed three touchdowns, too, which helped the Bison move to 5-2 for the first time since 2001.

For his effort against UNE, Pina was named this week’s recipient of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for Division II/III, which is presented by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Pina, as noted in Monday’s release about the Gold Helmet award, is currently second all-time in program history in touchdown passes (30) and fourth in passing yards (3,442).

Following Saturday’s exciting win, Noontime Sports caught-up with Pina to discuss what it was like to be a part of a four-overtime contest and what his team’s outlook is for this upcoming week’s contest against Husson University.

Tell me about this past week’s effort from your offense and defense. What was the takeaway from both you and your teammates following an exciting four-overtime win against UNE? 

This past week’s game was the most exciting game most of us have ever played in. We fought through a lot of adversity on both sides of the ball to come out with the win.

No matter what I can always count on the guy to my left and right to give it (their best) effort. Our offensive line was huge in the run game and that all starts with the great leadership from senior captain Sam Gallant. We were able to rush the ball for four touchdowns.

You threw for a career-high 329 yards in the win. Did you imagine you would throw the ball that much against the Nor’easters? 

I wouldn’t say that I imagined (I was going to throw that much against UNE), however, I am always ready to do whatever our coaches ask of me. Whether it is throwing the ball, running the ball or even blocking a defender, (I’ll do what is needed to help our team win).

Your team is still in contention for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title, so what is the mindset heading into another game week this week?  

The mindset heading into another game is to go 1-0 this week. That has been our goal every week this season. Whatever week it is, we must give full attention to that opponent.

Do you think the offense and defense are peaking at the right time? 

Yes, I do believe the offense and defense are peaking at the right time. I also believe our special teams are peaking at the right time, too.

I feel as if all three units can attack the opponent in multiple ways, which makes us dangerous (heading into the final three weeks of the regular season).

Finally – and I know it is only Wednesday – but what must you (and your teammates) do to be successful again this Saturday against Husson?

We have to have the best week of practice we’ve had all year long. Husson University is a team that won multiple championships in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). They will be extremely well-coached and will want to come to our home field and beat us.

The Early Preseason Outlook: Nichols College Bison

Nichols Bison

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ college football coverage resumes with a closer look at the Nichols College Bison, who begin their season on Friday, September 6th when they visit Dean College for a 7 p.m. kick-off.

The Bison’s 2018 Season: Nichols enjoyed its best season since 2016 by finishing with a 5-5 mark, including a 4-2 record in Dudley, Massachusetts.

The Bison won three of six Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) games while scoring non-conference wins against Anna Maria College and Alfred State.

Nichols ended its campaign with a 39-29 win over Curry College, which seemed to provide the unit with some momentum and excitement for the upcoming season.

Hunter Ferreira, who was a first-year wide-out last season, ended the season by recording a career-high 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his team’s win over Curry. His impressive effort resulted in him being tabbed the conference’s offensive player of the week.

Coach Dale Olmsted was named the Worcester Area Football Association Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while seven Bison were named to the 2018 squad.

The 2019 Outlook: The Bison graduated 11 student-athletes from last year’s squad, including halfback Jacob Duffrene, who led the rushing attack with 794 yards on 103 carries and nine touchdowns.

McCoy Scott also graduated after enjoying an impressive final season with the Bison by tallying 99.0 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Scott also forced two fumbles, recovering one, while recording one interception.

But despite some graduation losses, the Bison will return some key pieces of last year’s squad, including quarterback Michael Pina, wide receiver Hunter Ferreira, and linebackers Christopher LawrenceMichael Spraulding, and Sean McGuigan.

Additionally, Jared Abbruzzese returns in the secondary, while Patrick Porter will be spotted up front on the defensive line.

Sam Gallant returns to the offensive line for his final season – he was named to Worcester Area Football Association team last fall, while also being honored by the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Gallant has been a leader for the Bison’s offense the past few seasons and will certainly be counted on this fall with helping the team continue its winning ways.

Nichols’ Schedule: The Bison will be challenged immediately by a trio of non-conference squads, including Dean, a team to keep an eye on in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Games against Coast Guard Academy and Anna Maria won’t be easy, as well.

Nichols hops into conference play during the final weekend of September when they host Salve Regina before traveling to Western New England.

Weeks later, the Bison will close out their schedule with two marquee contests against Husson University (November 2nd) and Endicott College (November 16th).

Players to Watch: Michael Pina (Quarterback/Brockton, Mass.), Hunter Ferreira (Wide Receiver/Mansfield, Mass.), Daniel Espinosa (Kicker/Tamarac, Fla.), Sam Gallant (Offensive Line/Gardner, Mass.), Christopher Lawrence (Linebacker/Newport, N.H.), Michael Spraulding (Linebacker/Lithonia, Ga.), Sean McGuigan (Linebacker/Charlton, Mass.), Jared Abbruzzese (Defensive Back/Natick, Mass.), and Patrick Porter (Defensive Line/Natick, Mass.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.