Nov 13, 2010, 1:08 PM EDT
I will be headed out to Fairfax, VA,
today to check out George Mason and Harvard, but I wanted to be sure
to catch you up on the action from the First Friday (trademark pending)
of the season.
The Biggest Winner: Georgetown
the fourth straight time in their series with Old Dominion, the road
team won, with the Hoyas taking a 62-59 win last night. But the
Monarchs didn’t go down without an impressive fight. ODU used their
typical scrappy defense to frustrate the Hoyas offensively, opening up
a 49-41 lead midway through the second half. But then Georgetown caught
fire. Austin Freeman drilled threes on back-to-back possessions (one of
them a four point play) before Chris Wright hit consecutive threes. A
few possessions later, Jason Clark buried one to open up a 59-55 Hoya
lead, which ODU was unable to recover from. Of note — Georgetown got
54 of their 62 points from Freeman, Wright, and Clark.
Other Notable Winners:
The Biggest Loser: Wake Forest The Other notable losers: Debutante’s Ball:
The Owls are a terrific basketball team, and nothing that they did last
night changed our opinion of them. They were tough defensively and
balanced offensively. The best sign for the Owls? They beat a good
Seton Hall team (and don’t let this loss fool you, Seton Hall will be
good) when Juan Fernandez and Lavoy Allen didn’t play their best.
Ramone Brown and Rahlir Jefferson will both be names you hear quite a
bit this season. Seton Hall is still a work in progess. They are
learning to be more patient offensively and waiting for Herb Pope to be
back to 100%, and while that’s a disappointing loss, there is reason to
Perhaps the most underrated great matchup of the day, MEAC favorite
Morgan State got 31 points and seven triples from DeWayne Jackson and
17 points and 11 boards from Kevin Thompson as they overcame a 15 point
deficit on the road in the second half. LMU had high expectations this
season, but this kind of loss — even in MSU makes the tournament — is
killer considering the weak non-conference schedule the Lions have.
Drew Viney went for 27 points to lead LMU.
An ACC team beating a CAA team at home by 24 shouldn’t be cause for
celebration, but Virginia is a very young team that whipped up on a
good William & Mary team in the second half last night. Freshmen
Billy Baron and KT Harrell combined for 32 points, Mike Scott had 18
and 9 boards, and Jontel Evans aded seven assists and one turnover in
place of Sammy Zeglinski.
The big win isn’t what’s important. Neither is Jimmer Fredette’s stat
line. What I care about? Noah Hartsock out played Greg Smith, Fresno’s
sophomore center and a NBA prospect at center. Hartsock had 21 points
and 5 boards. Smith had more turnovers (three) than FGA’s (two).
Don’t be fooled, Wofford is a good basketball team and potentially a
tournament team, but Minnesota was in control much of this game. The
best sign for the Gophers? Their front line of Ralph Sampson, Colton
Iverson, and Trevor Mbakwe looks like it could be one of the best in
the Big Ten. Those three combined for 42 points and 32 boards.
The Golden Eagles, who don’t exactly have a loaded non-conference
schedule, picked up an important win in Tampa. Gary Flowers had 15
points and USM closed the game on a 16-1 run. Southern Miss is likelt
the second best team in Conference USA.
Look, Western Kentucky is a good basketball team, and a 28 point win at
St. Joe’s is always impressive, but this likely says more about the
state of the Hawks than the Hilltoppers (who are a favorite to win the
Demon Deacons lost to Stetson. I’m sorry, let me rephrase that. The
Demon Deacons got smacked by Stetson at home, 89-79. And the second
half wasn’t even that close. Stetson, at one point, was up 75-56. Its
gets worse. Point guard Tony Chennault will shelved for two months
after breaking his foot.
Mike Rice’s debut as Rutgers new head coach did not go as well as time
on the recruiting circuit has. The Scarlet Knights went into Jadwin Gym
last night and got “punched in the mouth”, as Rice put it, finding
themselves in a 14 point hole early. They fought back and forced
overtime, but the Ivy favorites — led by 26 points from Dan Mavraides
– were able to pull out the win in OT.
No one expected Tony Barbee’s first season to be easy, not with the
injuries, ineligible freshmen, and overall lack of talent in his
program. But could anyone have expected the Tigers to blow a 16 point
half time lead in the first game in their new arena? Allowing 10
offensive rebounds in the second half is an easy way to do that.
Asheville chipped away, eventually forcing overtime, before taking
control in the extra frame.
People picked UTEP to win Conference USA this season. Those people must
feel silly after seeing the Miners blow a 36-25 halftime lead and lose
to Pacific at home in their debut this season. The Tigers made 8-13
second half threes while UTEP took quick shots and broke down
defensively. Randy Culpepper was 6-9 with 13 points at the half, but
went scoreless and missed all six of his field goals in the second half.
There is some good basketball being played in the Southern Conference.
Wofford and College of Charleston are known entities, but Appalachian
State proved to a threat as they went into Tulsa and beat the Golden
Hurricane. Led by 35 points from Omar Carter, a Charleston Southern
transfer, the Mountaineers got Tulsa into foul trouble and used a late
11-0 run to take control of the game.
In Alan Major’s debut as head coach, the 49ers began the game without
starters An’Juan Wilderness and Shamari Spears (suspension) and
finished it with just six players (including two walk-ons) due to
players fouling out and injuries. Jon Moore went for 24 points and 9
boards as the Runnin’ Bulldogs gave Chris Holtmann a nice road win in
his own coaching debut. Finally, someone won in a coaching debut!
All three played well, as Barnes had 14 points and 4 boards, Bullock
had 12 points and 4 boards off the bench, and Marshall looked like the
team’s best back court player, contributing 10 points and 4 assists in
OSU won in a blowout against NC A&T, but Sully went for 19 and 14
and Thomas dropped 24 and 8 boards in 20 minutes. Craft was the most
important, however, finishing the game with 9 assists and 0 turnovers.
Melo played just 18 minutes, finishing with more fouls (five) than
points (four) or rebounds (three) in a win over Northern Iowa.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.
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