Around The Rim with Bob Whitney

Around The Rim Whitney Social

By Bob Whitney 

Some random thoughts after looking around at the local and national basketball landscape.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)/Big Ten Conference (B1G) Basketball Challenge is always at the top of my viewing list each year – I love channel surfing.

This year, the Big 10 Conference reigned supreme with some impressive showings by Maryland, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.

Purdue absolutely dismantled Virginia and exposed the ‘Hoos offensive shortcomings while Ohio State throttled North Carolina. It’s early but Ohio State is looking like they have the horsepower to make a run to the Final Four next April.

Speaking of the ACC, Boston College is on a four-game losing spin and facing a rigorous conference road trip this Saturday at Norte Dame. A highly-touted freshman class must grow up in a hurry or the Eagles will once again reside in the ACC’s bottom quartile.

Save the date: current No. 1 Louisville will visit Conte Forum on Jan. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.

Carl Pierre, who played high school basketball at Boston College High School, is having an excellent season at UMass. The 2017 Catholic Conference MVP and two-time conference all-star selection is currently averaging 12 points per game.

Pierre and the Minutemen will visit Harvard on Saturday, December 7th with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. UMass will attempt to snap a four-game skid, which began prior to Thanksgiving with a 58-46 setback to Virginia. Harvard enters the non-conference clash at 4-4 – the Crimson have lost two-straight since beating Texas A&M last Thursday. 

Newton North’s Ethan Wright has seen an uptick in playing time this season with the Princeton Tigers. The second-year guard has logged 93 minutes in six contests this season – he even started a game last month against Indiana. Wright has scored 13 points on 5 of 21 shooting, including 3 of 14 from beyond the arc. He has pulled down 13 rebounds, including two offensive caroms to go along with five assists and two blocks.

Wright and the Tigers sit at 1-6 and are scheduled to compete next Tuesday, December 10th against Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Coach Trish Brown and the Stonehill College women’s basketball team are off to an impressive 6-2 start. Sure, their lone setbacks have come against Bentley and Molloy, but they have been fun to watch, especially in their last two contests against Assumption College and Franklin Pierce.

Emily Bramanti, who played locally for Westford Academy, credited all of her teammates in their most recent win against the Ravens for stepping-up and making plays when needed.

“That is just the greatness of our team is that any night anybody can step-up and play, so it’s really exciting to see how far we can get going,” she said following the Skyhawks’ 68-59 win over the Ravens.

Bramanti concluded her team’s eighth contest with a team-high 16 points.

Stonehill hosts Saint Anselm College on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach Florida two weeks later to compete in the Daytona Beach Shootout.

Finally, the Babson College men’s basketball team scored an exciting and impressive win last night over Amherst CollegeFrank Oftring, who grew up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts netted a career-high 30 points in the win to go along with 10 rebounds.

Babson’s Andrew Jaworski finished with 23 points with four of those points being recorded during the final 30 seconds of the second half.

Babson, which is 12-3 against the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) dating back to the 2016-17 season, will look to continue its early-season momentum this weekend when they compete in the New England Big 4 Challenge at Salem State University.

I’m getting ready to head back to warm and sunny Florida so I’ll be writing from the Sunshine State next week.

KEEP SHOOTING, Everyone!

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Keeps Title Hopes Alive, Set To Face Columbia

496202By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

Harvard kept their 2017 Ivy League title hopes alive with a come-from-behind 25-22 win over Dartmouth at Harvard Stadium last Saturday.

The Crimson’s win set up an important showdown  in New York on Saturday against Coach Al Bagnoli’s Columbia Lions 6-1 (3-1), who fell from the ranks of the unbeaten at the hands of Yale, 23-6.

Yale, Columbia and Cornell rest at the top of the Ivy standings with 3-1 records while the Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth remain in hot pursuit with two losses.

The Crimson rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Big Green 5-2 (2-2) behind the play of freshman quarterback Jake Smith. Smith was 18-for-35 for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Smith also rushed for 64 yards.

Smith’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Shampklin with 7:21 left in regulation sealed the win.

Meanwhile Bagnoli’s surprising Lions suffered their first loss of the season, courtesy of a dominating performance by a Yale defense.

Yale’s defense was the story as they recorded four sacks and two interceptions in limiting the Lions to just 206 yards of total offense and just one touchdown (1-yard run by quarterback Anders Hill).

Saturday’s contest will be the 76th meeting between the Crimson and Lions. Harvard holds a 60-14-1 lead in the series. The Crimson has won the last 13 games between the two schools. The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Bob’s Prediction: The Crimson will make it 14 in a row over the Lions and stay alive in the title chase. All signs point to THE GAME! PREDICTION: Harvard, 21, Columbia 17

Next week: Penn invades Harvard Stadium, Saturday, November 11 for a 12 p.m. kickoff (NESN).

Around the Ancient Eight: It’s crunch time in the Ivy League this weekend with three huge contests, in addition to the Harvard/Columbia clash. Yale 6-1 (3-1) hosts Brown 2-5 (0-4), Princeton 5-2 (2-2) is at Penn 3-4 (1-3) while Dartmouth 5-2 (2-2) travels to Ithaca to face Cornell 3-4 (3-1). There are six teams in the hunt for the title with just three weeks remaining in the schedule.

Harvard’s all-purpose back, Justice Shelton-Mosley, leads the nation in punt returns for touchdowns (two) and punt return average (23.1).

Yale’s freshman running back, Zane Dudek, is having quite an inaugural season for the Bulldogs. Last week in the Bulldogs huge 23-6 win over previously unbeaten Columbia Dudek rushed a season-best 173-yards. The effort earned the first-year phenom National Rookie of the Week as well as offensive player and co-rookie of the week in the Ivy League.

Dudek, who ranks second among all Football Championship Subdivision ball carriers (8.4 yards per attempt), was placed on the FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List. He has been Ivy Rookie of the Week three times while having four games where he rushed for over 100 yards.

Yale’s senior linebacker standout Matthew Oplinger leads the FCS averaging better than one per game and has 9.5 on the year.

Dartmouth’s upcoming matchup with Brown on Friday, November 10, will be held in historic Fenway Park.

Looking way ahead to a game that is looking more and more like it will determine the Ivy League football champion, Yale will host Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 18.

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)

Ivy League Football Set To Kick-Off This Weekend

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Ivy League Football returns this weekend with a big match-up looming after the first week between Harvard and Brown at Harvard Stadium. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob)

The Ivy League does things just a tad different. As opposed to the Power 5 conferences, which enter their third week of play, the Ivies get around to starting their 62th football season with a full slate of games this weekend.

All eyes will be on the Princeton Tigers, which claimed its second title in the past four years in 2016, was picked to finish first in the preseason poll.

Harvard, a dominant force in the league over the past decade (six titles) and still smarting from last year’s upset in THE GAME (21-14) to the Yale Bulldogs, joined Princeton as a preseason favorite.

Penn, Yale and Dartmouth figure to contend for the title with Brown, Columbia and Cornell projected to be real long shots.

Harvard opens its 144th season on Saturday (1 p.m.) at Rhode Island (0-2).

The game with the Rams will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools. The Crimson won the first game in 1923 at Harvard Stadium, 35-0, and last year, trounced the Rams, 51-21, at Harvard Stadium.

The Crimson has a number of All-Ivy players returning from last year’s squad 7-3 (5-2 Ivy League) which include defensive stalwarts, Luke Hutton, Raishaun McGhee, DJ Bailey, Jake McIntyre, Tanner Lee, Adam Scott and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

Shelton-Mosley was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League first team last year, with 48 catches for 568 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, Hutton and Lee will lead the defensive unit that was among the nation’s best in scoring defense and rushing defense in 2016.

Offensively, the Crimson should be in good shape, with experience at the skilled positions in quarterback Joe Viviano and running back Semar Smith along with Shelton-Mosley.

URI is led by quarterback Tyler Harris who has thrown four touchdown passes in their two losses. Last week, in a 35-18 loss to Stony Brook, Harris was 15-of-32 for 185 yards. Wide receivers Aaron Parker and Marven Beauvais will pose a challenge for the Harvard secondary.

Defensively, D.J. Stewart has been a force with a team-high 22 tackles.

Bob’s Prediction: It is the first game for Harvard, but the offense and Shelton-Mosely should have a field day with an under-performing Ram defense in Kingston, Rhode Island. Harvard 42 – URI 10

Next week: Harvard will host Brown in its home opener on Saturday, September 23 with a noon kickoff. The game will be televised on NESN.

Around the Ancient Eight: In other local Ivy action of note, Brown will open their 140th season on Saturday against Bryant University at Brown Stadium. Former Ivy League Player of the Year James Perry, who led Brown to the Ivy title in 1999, is the first year coach at Bryant.

The Ivy League football teams have fared well on opening day with a 49-39 (.557) record over the past 11 seasons (2005-15).

The NFL opened the season with 20 former Ivy Leaguers on NFL rosters (14 on active rosters).

When Harvard faces URI it will mark the 1,303rd varsity football game. The Crimson’s all-time record is 864-388-50 (.683).

Various Ivy League media outlets utilized to compile this report. 

Follow Bob Whitney on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram

Mass. College Lax: Saturday Evening Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

The second half of Saturday featured some interesting outcomes and below are scores and game summaries.

Men’s Lacrosse

Drexel 13, No. 14 UMass 9: The Dragons used a 3-0 run in the third quarter to push ahead of the Minutemen. With the loss, UMass falls to 7-4 overall and 1-2 in CAA play. Connor Mooney led the Minutemen with five points (three goals, two assists), while Zach Oliveri stopped nine shots.

Penn 8, No. 17 Harvard 7 (OT): Kevin Brown notched the game-winner at 2:38 in overtime to seal an exciting win for the Quakers. Penn rallied to force overtime after trailing Harvard, 8-6, halfway through the final frame. Peter Schwartz paced the Crimson with three points on two goals and one assist and Jake Gambitsky deflected 10 shots.

Williams 10, Colby 7: Andy Grabowski recorded a hat trick and Conor Roddy registered two goals and three assists as the Ephs defeated the Mules at Cole Field in Williamstown.

Bard 8, Regis 7 (3OT): Billy Stewart‘s marker with 49 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter helped Regis force an extra session, but it was Henry Blosfelds that secured the win for the Raptors in the third overtime period. The Pride trailed Bard, 6-2, heading into the third quarter and outscored the Raptors, 5-1, during the final 30 minutes. Peter Leighton paced the Pride with two goals and two assists, while Breandan Crane stopped 18 shots.   

Endicott 14, Salve Regina 8: Kyle Weber‘s goal at 13:27 in the first initiated a 7-0 run, which helped the Gulls secure the lead for good. Weber netted two goals, while Nick Pinciaro recorded four points on three goals and one assist.

Emmanuel 12, Becker 6: Tony Cibelli finished with one goal and three helpers, while Kaile MacLean-Daley notched a hat trick as the Saints defeated the Hawks in Boston. Myles White and Blake Boutiette each netted two goals for Becker.  

Women’s Lacrosse:

Princeton 15, Harvard 6: Marisa Romeo and Audrey Todd each recorded two goals, but it wasn’t enough to help the Crimson, which trailed the Tigers 8-3 at the break.

Williams 10, Colby 9 (2OT): Rebecca McGovern recorded three goals, including one in each overtime session, which helped the Ephs earn an important road win. Bridget Malicki finished with two goals for Williams, while Ali Piltch turned away nine shots. 

Endicott 15, Salve Regina 7: Kirsten Thor jumpstarted a 9-1 run for the Gulls, which helped Endicott secure a road win in Rhode Island. Thor finished with two tallies and Callie Murphy recorded a team-high seven points on five goals and two assists.

WNE 14, Roger Williams 12: Shelby Trebbe netted four goals on five shots and Kaitlynn Stevens recorded four points on three goals and one assist as the Golden Bears extended its current winning streak to 12 games.

Mass. College Lax: Saturday Afternoon Roundup

Beau Wood jumpstarted a 7-0 run, which lifted Tufts past Amherst! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Beau Wood jumpstarted a 7-0 run, which lifted Tufts past Amherst! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

It was a busy, but important Saturday for a lot of local teams that’re trying to secure spots for the upcoming conference tournaments and below is our roundup.

Men’s Lacrosse

Harvard 8, No. 14 Penn 7 (OT) – Murphy Vandervelde netted the game-winner 1:18 into overtime on a man-up to provide the Crimson their second consecutive win of the week. Vandervelde led all scorers with a hat trick, while Devin Dwyer finished with four points (one goals, three assists). With the win, Harvard improves to 6-6 overall and 2-2 in Ivy League play.  

No. 4 Merrimack 13, Pace 6 – Corey Lunney finished the contest with seven points (four goals, three assists) as the Warriors cruised to their eighth consecutive victory. Lunney’s seven points matches his effort from last weekend against Souther New Hampshire.

No. 4 Tufts 12, Amherst 8 – Beau Wood jumpstarted a 7-0 run at 6:44 in the first, which provided the Jumbos with the lead for good as Tufts topped Amherst and improved to 11-1 against the Lord Jeffs over the last 10 years. First-year Garrett Clarke netted his first collegiate strike at 11:50 in the fourth.

Endicott 15, Roger Williams 9 – Trailing the visiting Hawks, 7-6, at the break, the Gulls rallied to outscore the visitors, 9-2, during the final 30 minutes to secure their 10th win of the season. Harrison Cotter registered a team-best three tallies, while Jonathan Morgan and Chris Murphy each netted two goals.

UMass Boston 8, UMass Dartmouth 7 (OT) – Ryan McGoff scored seven seconds into the extra session as the Beacons defeated the Corsairs and earned their first Little East Conference win. Dom Fichera paced UMass Boston with five tallies, while UMass Dartmouth’s Adam Niden finished with a hat trick.

Women’s Lacrosse

No. 16 Princeton 11, Harvard 9 – Micaela Cyr registered a hat trick and one helper, but that wasn’t enough to lift the Crimson past the Tigers.

No. 1 LIU Post 15, No. 11 Stonehill 12 – The defending NCAA Division II champions fended off a second half rally by the Skyhawks to claim their 10th win of the season. Heather Sullivan recorded five goals in the setback, while Ashley Armstrong deflected 12 shots between the pipes.

Wheaton 10, Mount Holyoke 9 – Brooke Sabol recorded a season-best four goals, while Charlotte De Santis and Melanie Sharick each netted hat tricks as the Lyons earned their fifth conference win of the season.

No. 10 Amherst 6, No. 17 Tufts 5 – Marta Randall scored the game-winning strike with 13 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Lord Jeffs to victory. Caroline Ross led the Jumbos with two tallies.

Western New England 19, University of New England 18 – Taylor Scialdone registered a game-best nine points (six goals, three assists) as the Golden Bears edged the Nor’Easters in Springfield.