Sunday, November 30, 2008
What's at stake?: The Mount defeated Boston University on Saturday night at home to take care of one potential team that it might be compared with at the end of the season come seeding time if both teams make the NCAA tournament. American is another one of those potential teams, picked to win the Patriot League. The Eagles like the Mount were a part of the tournament last year, a 15-seed losing to Tennessee in the opening round.
When is tipoff?: Monday Night at 9:00pm.
Where is the game?: The Mount has hosted the Eagles the last two years, so a trip back to Bender Arena on the American University campus is in order. If you can't make it down to AU, and the late start might have something to do with, our fine friends at MASN will once again have the broadcast. Just don't ask them who is playing. Not sure who gets the call, but I'm guessing Craig Esherick might be in there somewhere. WTHU-AM Thurmont 1450 will have the radio call. Steve Stofberg and The Mouth of the Mount Roy Sigler bring you the action on the Mount Radio Network. And of course if you want quality (and entertaining) analysis the whole way through, you can join us here at TheFanBlog for a live blog of the festivities.
The Analysis: Another quality mid-major matchup for the Mount. But American has owned the Mounties winning all three games in this series the last three years. Last year was one of the Mount's most disappointing performances of the season. Clearly, the worst performance that I saw from this group all year. The Eagles absolutely manhandled the Mount at the Knott. Both teams have a ton back from last year, and both have been playing well at the start of the year. AU won 66-45 last year and it didn't seem that close.
Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: There might be a bit of revenge after last year's poor showing by the Mounties. Plus, the Mount hasn't backed down from anyone this year and believes it can win against anyone. Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou continue to impress for the Mount, but it might be the frontline where the Mount has the real advantage here. I think the Mount's depth of brothers Shawn and Sam Atupem along with Markus Mitchell - and even Tayvon Jackson, who looked good in limited action last night, could be an advantage over American.
Advantages for American: There aren't too many times this year when I'm going to call the opposing guards an advantage, but I think the duo of Derrick Mercer and Garrison Carr is top notch. They had their way with the Mount last year and have been doing this for quite awhile as both are seniors. They'll have their hands full with Cajou and Goode, but they might do what nobody has done yet and contain them. Playing against Goode the last two years should help them as they know what to expect.
What to expect?: I'm looking for a grind it out defensive type of game. American had won four in a row before losing to Fairfield on Saturday. Keep in mind that Fairfield lost to Virginia Tech by about 20 a few days after the Mount nearly beat them. I have no doubts in my mind that Jeremy Goode is a better guard than he was a year ago, and no worries that Jean Cajou will add something the Mount lacked in trying to handle American's duo last year. I also think the Mount will get something from the frontline of Beidler, the Atupems and Mitchell. The numbers also show that the Mount has performed better at the start of this season against the better competition. But I can't get the haunting visions of last year out of mind, I hope this team proves me wrong, but I'm taking AU in a war 62-61.
For now on, after I've written my preview - any additional links about the game will be posted at the end of the preview, instead of within the opposing teams links post.
ACC Stats likes the Mount
Here is everything that has been written about the Eagles in the last few weeks.
American thumps St Francis in home opener
American signs four for next season
Carr, Mercer lead Eagles past Jacksonville
Gilmore has big night in win over Dolphins
Carr's huge week rewarded by Patriot League
American downs Stony Brook
Stony Brook rally comes up short
10 games to be televised this season
American held on over Howard
American plays its fourth straight on the road
Fairfield drops American
Fairfield snaps American win streak
Curry can't make a pick
The Mount preview
A couple of housekeeping notes, before I break into the thoughts from the action last night.
....Great crowd on hand at the ARCC. Not sure everyone realized they were showing up to see Boston U and not Boston C but so be it. And I'll bet there are a few who went home thinking the Mount beat Boston C, again so be it. This is an exciting team and everyone should get out to see them. The official announced attendance was 1568, but it seemed like more than that. Had the students been there, I'm sure the atmosphere would have been more raucous.
....The banner ceremony was nice. Milan Brown thanked his team, the fans and his staff, before calling on the departed Chris Vann to pull the cord and the banner fell. Gone are the small banners recognizing the other NEC members, up is the banner recognizing the 2008 NEC tournament champions. I did note there is room for additional banners on that wall. Its a snazzy banner in the new Blue and Gold with the new insignia. If you weren't there last night, you'll like it when you see it next time.
....There was also a notice of the All-Century team on all the seats for the fans when they arrived.
....Danny Thompson and Malcolm Parham were in street clothes last night. Not sure of the cause. Neither has appeared in any of the first four games.
....I also noticed the departed Jason Loughry on hand for the festivities, and if I can match up internet photographs with tall players in street clothes, Raven Barber was also in the house.
Ok now to my thoughts from the game.
I gotta admit, I was a little concerned headed to the game last night. I didn't have the same feeling I had going into the last few games. Maybe it was because this was a game, I thought the Mount should win. That makes a difference on expectations. Plus I really thought this game was a key to jumpstart a busy week, one that will not be easy.
I have to say that the team put me at ease pretty quickly. It was obvious from the outset that the Mount was the far superior team, in terms of a matchup standpoint. There really wasn't a matchup on the floor, that I thought BU had an advantage.
Consequently, BU opened in a zone. It was either a 2-3 or a 1-2-2, but it was extremely soft in the middle. The Mount, prior to past attempts at attacking a zone of this sorts, went right at that soft spot at the foul line and really attacked it well. I think the desired effect from the BU staff was to eliminate Jeremy Goode's penetration and for the most part that was succesful. But BU was only playing the zone after made baskets and the Mount defense was keeping them from scoring so the Mount was facing a lot of man-to-man defense as well, as was succeeding. Early in the game, I had the thought that the Mount was going to win by 20. They appeared very sharp, and were playing a team that was athletically insuperior.
About that time, BU started making everything. In particular, Curtis Strong who came off the bench starting making everything. Strong made 3 first half three-pointers and finished with 18. His flurry, along with a three from Corey Lowe in the stretch turned a 13-5 deficit into a 24-21 Terrier lead.
But the Mount got control back, and got it back quickly. Markus Mitchell had seven points in a 17-4 run to restore the lead to eight, when Jean Cajou bombed in a three-pointer from the wing with just over four minutes to play in the half.
The Mount led 40-33 at the break as John Holland's three pointer got the lead back to single digits before intermission.
After the break, the Mount built the lead to 12, before BU went to a 1-3-1 zone it had tinkered with in the first half and slowly cut into the lead. The defense seemed to keep the Mount away from the basket and force it to shoot from the outside. Many of those jumpers came with the rangy 6-5 Holland (who played the top of the zone very well) flying at them. It seemed to bother the Mount. The Mounties shot a season high 25 three-pointers and made just 6.
But it was a key three-pointer that restored the lead after the Terriers had tied it at 62-all. Kelly Beidler, who has missed more shots in four games that seemed to be home than most guys miss all season, found the mark with the key bucket of the game from the corner. Goode followed it up by picking the pocket of Marques Johnson and rushing in for a layup to make it 67-62. Two plays and the game was won.
That was all there was to it. From there the Mount made its foul shots and walked away with a key win, that who knows, may keep them out of the play-in game come March.
Oh yeah there was that matter of the possible shot clock violation before Shawn Atupem's bucket with under a minute to play. Fact is, chances are high, real high that the goal was late. Checking the play-by-play on the Mount website confirms that the bucket was late, although I'm not sure it was as late as the site indicates. The situation was this: the Mount called timeout with 57 seconds left and proceeded to take three shots - none of the first two hit the rim - before Atupem scored. BU brought the ball up the floor and the game was whistled dead with 31 on the shot clock and 43.something on the game clock. With the game clock stopping off the made basket and shot clock having run off four seconds since the inbounds, and there being eight seconds on the shot clock when the Mount called timeout, I quickly determined in the crowd that if the timeout came before 55 seconds - which the p-b-p shows 57 then there was no way the shot should have counted. But the three referees couldn't come to the same conclusion. But I'm pretty sure BU Coach Wolff had figured it out. Because he was not happy. Not happy at all. Still it pushed the Mount lead from five to seven, and I don't think it really would have mattered anyhow. The Mount had 72 points before the disputed basket and BU finished with 69. So....
Anyhow, I thought this was probably the best 40 minutes the Mount had played all year. They certainly looked to push the ball and had great success doing it. The total field goal percentage of 43 percent, includes the 24 percent from behind the arc. The Mount was 19-of-33 from inside the arc, as the Mount did a good job on the fast break and getting the ball inside early.
Jeremy Goode was as good as always, and maybe slightly better than we've seen. He finished with 23, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for the Cousy nominee. OBTW, Goode was 8-for-8 from the line.
But it was the fact that the Mount got everyone involved that impressed me the most. Jean Cajou finished with 16, Shawn Atupem had 11 and Markus Mitchell a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards.
The Mount dominated on the glass and outrebounded BU 46-29 for the game.
No rest for the Mounties, they begin a 3-game road trip tomorrow night at American.
The AP story on Yahoo
Stan Goldberg's story in the Frederick News
The Official BU recap
Bob Blubaugh's game story from the Carroll County Times
The Cookers story at the Gettysburg Times
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Boston University, which had been playing from behind nearly all night, tied the game at 62 - and the Mount came back to life.
Kelly Beidler made a clutch three-pointer out of the corner and Jeremy Goode, team high 23, picked the pocket of the point guard Johnson and went in for a layup to restore the Mount lead to five.
The Mountaineers were never really seriously challenged the rest of the way.
I'll have a full report tomorrow, but I must admit I'm kind of interested to see how this football game ends up.
A good win for the Mount, who won't have much time to enjoy it, they are back on the road to face American on Monday night.
Or actually if he'd won ten games in four years in the majors, he might still have a job. But 10-37 in college football just doesn't cut it. Especially, when you only win twice in the conference. The funny thing was I was chatting with a Notre Dame fan this week, and they didn't understand why the guy got fired.
It only took about ten minutes for me today to realize exactly why Robinson did get fired and why he'd never be able to take the Orange to the top. Because he was a defensive coach, who 47 games into his head college coaching career had no idea how to stop the spread. His gameplan has always been keep the spread in front of the defense and hope the offense makes a mistake. But the opposition simplifies things ever more and methodically marches through the defense. Its the same thing we've seen for four years.
So next year, we'll have a new coach to complain about.
I can't wait.
I'm off to the Knott Arena. Full recap when I get home. Go Mount.
The team will be announced at the Mount's home finale on February 21st versus St. Francis (PA).
Once I've given the team the proper consideration, I'll post my choices right here.
This is a great way to recognize the history of the Mount basketball, and the fact that the fans get to vote on the team is a nice touch.
It will be interesting to see who gets selected. 15 is a lot of players, but if you look down the list of players, you realize how many great players have played here.
Let's get a win tonight to celebrate this
Couple that with the fact that this Virginia team was coming off a loss to Liberty and the fact that they were picked somewhere near the bottom of the ACC and it was easy to suspect that the Orange might come out a little flat.
But I don't think anyone suspected that the smell was going to be this bad. Because that first half was just about as bad as it could be.
Syracuse was lazy, sloppy and played as if it had no desire to actually be on the floor Friday night. What a major disappointment after the excitement that was created in Kansas City this week.
But as bad as it was in the first half, it was that good in the second half. All of a sudden (and it might not have come until Rick Jackson came off the bench with three big dunks) the Orange was energized. And that energy led to a second half rally. It was the second game in a row that Syracuse trailed by 13 after the break only to rally to victory. This time they didn't overtime to accomplish the feat however.
Jonny Flynn, who was listless and awful in the first half, all of sudden was getting into the lane and providing for his teammates. His passes were leading to Jackson dunks and Andy Rautins' threes. Rautins' jumpers were once again a key to the Orange success.
The other factor that must be noted is that most of this was done with AO on the bench in foul trouble.
So, I guess we have to be thankful for the win. But at the same time it is hard not to be concerned that some of this lame effort (and wasn't it the same way in the Richmond game) is going to cause problems down the road.
I think we've seen that this team can play with some of the best teams in the country. But in my view it isn't one of the dominant teams. Consequently, it needs to be at its best at all times and that means against the lesser competition, so that it can be prepared to lift its level against those dominant teams.
Still, the Orange is 6-0 with 11-0 on the horizon. Wait maybe we should just look to get to 7-0 first.
This is the year to play Indiana
Focus for the Hokies is on Wisconsin
Stephen Curry planning an encore
Count on the Knicks to provide drama
Markus Mitchell answers the NEC's questions
Peacocks win an ugly one over LIU
Scratch Kiffen off the Orange's list
Sacred Heart to host Yale on Sunday
Friday, November 28, 2008
First of all, let me say I'm especially grateful that MASN is broadcasting all of these Mount games at the beginning of the year. I really really am.
But with that said....
I fielded a phone call after the Mount's win at Loyola about how one-sided the broadcast by Scott Garceau and Kevin Grevey was.
I had a different Mountaineer fan let me know how they really thought the broadcasters of the George Mason game were outright rooting for the Patriots as the Mount tried to rally at the Patriot Center.
I couldn't really disagree with either, but figured since both of those games were broadcast from the other team's gym, and I was happy that the games were on TV, I'd let it pass.
But as I was just watching the completion of the Iowa/West Virginia game from Las Vegas on MASN, it reached a level that I could not pass on. During one of the commercial breaks there was a promo for the Mount's road game at Sacred Heart on Thursday which will be broadcast on MASN. (Incidentally, how good is the Big East? Preseason league #9 just destroyed Iowa from the Big Ten on a neutral floor.) But anyhow at the end of the promo, the announcer comes on the air, as the logos are flashed on the screen and says, "Tune in as the St. Mary's BLUE KNIGHTS take on the Pioneers of Sacred Heart."
Now I was sure, MASN just doesn't care about the Mountaineers. Had they messed up just the University name, I might have let it slide. But both the school name and the Nickname was too much. Give them credit though, St. Mary's is close.
1) There was a lot of excitement about the Terriers entering the season as they were picked by many to win the America East. Why the reason for all the excitement?
We're bringing back pretty much our whole team from last year. We were picked to finish first last year and this year, and our young nucleus is another year older, another year wiser. It's the first year in a long time we haven't been killed by injuries or transfers in the offseason.
2) It seems to have carried over into the regular season though as the Terriers have started well. BU has won three times after an opening season loss to GW. Are folks in Boston starting to take notice or is the focus on the Celtics or BC or something else in the city?
It's a safe bet that people in Boston are not going to take much notice! It could be BC, the Celts, or the Pats. Even at BU, it's all about hockey - when the hockey team is ranked #1 early in the year, it doesn't bode well for attention to the hoops team! People in Boston will begin to take notice if and when we make the NCAA tournament.
3) In its last outing against crosstown rival NU, the Terriers made 15 three-pointers. Do they rely on the shots from behind the arc or was that game just a little over the top?
We do rely heavily on shots from behind the arc, but we usually don't make as many as we did against Northeastern. It was a pleasant surprise, and one of the key reasons we were able to beat them. But in general, we are a perimeter-oriented team.
4) 6-9 Scott Brittain averaged 10 points a game last year, but he's hardly getting 10 minutes a game this year. What's the story? Is there an injury or just someone better taking his minutes?
I'd say it's a combination of both. Scott missed the first 2 games after he got a concussion in practice, and Coach Wolff has been bringing him back slowly. But at the same time, freshman big-man Jake O'Brien has stepped up and filled in nicely. He's aggressive and LOVES to step out for a 3 once in a while. When Scott recovers fully, we're going to have a couple of real good scoring options down low.
5) 6-5 John Holland has been the Terriers leading scorer through three games. He's launched 27 three-pointers, is he just a standing jump shooter or does his game have more offensive options?
He is way more than just a 3 point shooter. He can slash and dash his way to the hoop, and hopefully he'll treat the good fans of the Mount to one of his patented thunderous dunks. He's pretty damn good on defense too - he made the All-Defensive team as a freshman. Holland can do it all. I'd wager that he'd have a good shot at the America East Player of the Year this year if it weren't for Vermont's Marqus Blakely.
6) It would appear that Corey Lowe is the main ballhandler for the Terriers. He's scoring some points as well. Tell us about his game. Is he the Terriers most valuable player?
Tyler Morris is our main ballhandler, but Corey does run the point when Tyler's out. But they're both better when they play off the ball. I'd say that's one of our weaknesses - lack of a true point guard. Corey probably is our MVP because he does so much. He can slash to the hoop, and he has never met a 3-point look he didn't like. But he's also getting better at creating shots for others.
7) The Mount has played several America East teams the last few years, series with Binghamton and Maine in recent memory and routinely scrimmages UMBC - is BU's style of play similar to the rest of the league or will we see something different at the Knott Arena on Saturday?
Coach Wolff runs his team with a focus on defense - moreso than any other America East team. He usually likes to grind out possessions and we don't run much. It backfires when our shots don't fall, which happens once in a while. This year though, we have a number of scoring threats, so we may see a more aggressive Terriers team.
8) What are your thoughts on the outcome of the game between two mid-majors mentioned in College Insider's most recent mid-major rankings this week (the Mount at 23 and BU in the others receiving votes category)?
The High Roller: Whoever wins, it'll be a step in the right direction towards gaining some national attention, in the mid-major world anyway. My prediction: BU 74-Mt St. Marys 66
Tall-Boy: The Mount is going to be one of the better teams we play out-of conference. I'm going to say the teams need more than 40 minutes to decide this thing - with BU squeezing out a 62-60 win in overtime.
What's at stake?: The Northeast Conference and the America East are two Mid-major conferences that are always trying to gain superiority in this section of the country. This matchup features the two preseason favorites in both. Boston University has gotten off to a better start winning three in a row, while the Mount has dropped two straight after winning its opener. The Mounties embark on another three game road trip after this game, they'd like to gain some momentum before heading out.
When is tipoff?: Saturday Night at home, 7:00pm.
Where is the game?: The Mount opens its home schedule. Part of the festivites will be the raising of the NEC championship banner. The game is also the Mount's first home game since longtime head coach Jim Phelan was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. If you can't make it to the game, and what excuse can you possibly have other than a Christmas parade or something, WTHU-AM Thurmont 1450 will have the radio call. Steve Stofberg and The Mouth of the Mount Roy Sigler bring you the action on the Mount Radio Network. Sigler was the head coach at Boston University in the early 70's before Rick Pitino arrived.
The Analysis: Another quality mid-major matchup for the Mount. The Mount is ranked #23 in CollegeInsider.com's mid-major poll, the Terriers are also receiving votes. Still the Mount has struggled to get wins against its difficult schedule at the start of the season, while BU has pulled in wins against Bucknell, St. Peter's and hometown rival Northeastern. The Mount has struggled to find consistent scoring behind guards Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou. Kelly Beidler and Shawn Atupem have both provided possibilities, but the Mount needs to continue to develop more of an inside game. I also think that this could be the game you see the Mount's up-tempo attack really flourish. BU made 15 three-pointers in the win on Tuesday over Northeastern and has had a trio of players John Holland, Corey Lowe and Jake O'Brien averaging more than 13 points.
Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: Playing at home with all the celebration going on from last year should provide a boost to the Mount. Also the team should be playing with confidence after near losses on the road at Virginia Tech and George Mason. Plus, the fact that BU plays a more up-tempo style than the last two opponents, should help the Mount's offense solve some of its recent difficulties.
Advantages for Boston University: A wise man once said, "there is no substitute for winning games" And if a wise man never said that, I just did. BU has been winning games - and Northeastern was picked to finish ahead of George Mason in the CAA, so you can't knock the level of competition. Plus the Terriers seem to have the offense going both inside and outside, with Lowe and Holland knocking down jumpshots and O'Brien gaining points inside.
What to expect?: I think this is going to be an entertaining home opener. The homecourt advantage might not be as much as it normally is as the Mount Maniacs are on Thanksgiving break, but playing at home with the championship ceremonies should help the team. I think the uptempo style from both teams will end up being to the Mount's favor. I also expect that the Mount's defensive intensity will not allow the Terriers to make 15 three-pointers. Of particular interest will be how the Mount defends Holland, a 6-5 wing player with range. I would expect Beidler will be a key asset in this area. The end result could depend on this matchup. In the end, I expect the Mount to prevail 78-72, but it won't be easy.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Looking at the Orange schedule, tomorrow night is a big game against Virginia. And the Orange needs to be cautious. After the big wins in KC this week, they can't afford to get sluggish. The Wahoos aren't very good, I mean they aren't the best team in the ACC, and this isn't the best UVA team. But its a game Syracuse can't get complacent in. A win is important because a loss will eliminate some of the good that went on in KC. And a win also points the Orange directly to an 11-0 start. Because the next five games are all at home and all against teams that shouldn't beat the Orange. Colgate, Canisius, Cornell, Cleveland State, and Long Beach State. That would be a solid start headed to Memphis just before Christmas.
Here is a preview of the Syracuse-Virginia game from the Post Standard
It is still early in the second game of the night at Disney. But Oklahoma State is trying to pull the second stunner of the night. Maryland throttled Michigan State in the opener tonight. Save about six or eight minutes of the game, right before halftime and just after the intermission, the Terps were the dominant team.
Tennessee and Georgetwon won earlier in the day and will square off in a semifinal tomorrow afternoon.
I'm going to watch Pitt and West Virginia tomorrow afternoon. I think the Backyard Brawl could provide some dramatics. Lesean McCoy announced earlier this week that he is returning for his junior season. Still I wouldn't be surprised if he might reconsider that after the season due to the pending rookie salary cap in the NFL. If he finishes strong and climbs into an area where he might get a worthwhile signing bonus, that could happen.
Watching the first ten to twelve minutes of North Carolina and Notre Dame last night it was obvious that I hadn't seen anyone play at that pace and efficiency yet this season. Eventually the Irish couldn't keep up. I'm not sold on Notre Dame being a Top 10 team. I think that the depth in the Big East might be too much for them. I've been more impressed with Pitt and Connecticut for certain early, and the Orange looked good as well. Still you had to be impressed with ND's win over Texas.
Mount women win
Losing the last shred of respect for Patsos
Fairfield and Heart synopsis
News from around the Ivy League
Big East is a Beast
Mount President optimistic about Univeristy's economic status
Ari Kramer telling the world what loyal readers of The Fan Blog already knew
Hawks drop fifth in a row
Checking in on the Big East
Penn Women visit ARCC on Friday
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Syracuse pulled off a pair of victories over the two teams that won the last two national championships. Certainly, the landscape of college basketball changes dramatically and very quickly so beating last year's national champion doesn't necessarily mean a lot. Afterall, Florida won a pair of national champions and didn't make the tournament the next year. So that could be Kansas this year. But it sure didn't look that way.
The Orange looked very good in both games - save for maybe the first ten or twelve minutes of the championship game with Kansas. But even when that led to a large deficit, Syracuse never quit and eventually worked its way back into the basketball game. Then it made enough plays down the stretch, Arinze Onuaku's two blocks, Jonny Flynn's three-pointer to force overtime for example, to defeat the Jayhawks who were playing before a raucous partisan crowd.
Flynn led the way with 25 points in the overtime win, but really it was the quality coaching of Jim Boeheim that deserves most of the credit.
Boeheim made two decisions during the game that seemingly made a huge difference and gave his team a chance to win the game. In the first half, with his team reeling and Onuaku and Paul Harris (14 points and 14 rebounds) both on the bench with two fouls, Boeheim realized his team couldn't afford to get further behind and he put them both back in the game, and the Orange got back into things before halftime. A late run by Kansas seemed to restore order, but the Orange was able to rally again in the second half after Boeheim again made an adjustment.
At that point, Boeheim went away from his trademark 2-3 zone and switched to a man-to-man defensive set. That allowed the Orange to erase a 51-38 deficit and get back into the basketball game.
Eric Devendorf chipped in with 20 as the Orange had four players in double figures.
The trip to KC showed me that this Syracuse team can be highly competitive this year. A potential sleeper in the Big East. Onuaku has to be involved, and there won't be many guards better than Flynn. Andy Rautins and Devendorf give the Orange legitimate three point threats. So this could become a special season for the Orange.
But for now the focus must be on Virginia, who comes to the Carrier Dome on Friday as Syracuse tries to pick up win #6 on the season.
Nobody interested in excuses
BU dropped opener in OT to Colonials
Questions facing the Terriers
GW wins tight one in opener
It wasn't pretty, but GW gets out of Boston with win
Holland had big night in season opening defeat
BU guards struggling out of gate
BU's preview of Bucknell
BU & BC both win
Boston University preview of home game with St. Peter's
BU and Hartford earn home victories
Weymouth's Jake O'Brien was the third-leading scorer (11.5 ppg) on the Boston University men's basketball team through two games. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound freshman, who started both games, was also averaging 4.5 rebounds per game and had a team-high four blocks.
O'Brien helped BC High to its first MIAA Division 1 boys' basketball state championship his junior year. As a senior, he was named Catholic Conference MVP and averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds
Holland = Closer
Northeastern and Boston U square off in cross-town rivalry
Good times for Boston teams
BU Terriers blog - Northeastern preview
Terriers pick up win against one of CAA's finest
BU right on target/
I'll add anything else that I dig up before tipoff.....
Lowe and O'Brien each score 20 plus in a half in win over Northeastern
Mount Athletics preview
Curry finally picks the Mount
Mount set for home opener
The Official Terrier preview
Still as I look back on last night, I am disappointed.
Some areas that need improvement....
The foul shooting has to be better. I'm pretty certain that it will be. It just went sour last night for a moment and steamrolled from there. I'm confident it will be better as time goes on.
Somebody needs to step up and become the consistent third scorer. Kelly Beidler would seem like the most likely to fill that role. But as of now, he hasn't shown the ability to be a consistent scorer. His open jump shots haven't fallen the last two outings, after being near perfect shooting the ball in the opening win at Loyola. I believe he can and will make more of those in the future. However, he seems to do his best when getting to the basket, and he actually seems to be pretty comfortable with his back to the basket. I'd like to see him more in that role.
Shawn Atupem is another guy who has seemed like an option for that third scoring role. But for whatever reason he struggled last night.
Some of the credit must go to George Mason, which really did a fine job defending the interior and keeping the Mount off of the glass. But the Mount interior passing game, which had been a huge asset in the first two games, was virtually non existent last night.
The bench must step up and provide points on the perimeter. Will Holland is candidate number one in that role, but the junior from Texas has seemed hesitant. He just needs to shoot the ball. Its what he was brought here to do, and its got to be his role on this team. He has played well on the low block at times this season, but I still think his best asset is his jump shot and he needs to use it.
Defensively, I thought the Mount struggled, particularly in the second half. Again credit to the Patriots and Larrananga who really made some fine adjustments to break down the Mount defense.
But no adjustment was better than the one he made to go with the big defender on Jeremy Goode. After Goode had scored 17 in the first half, the change made all the difference in the world as the small guard was unable to shoot overtop the taller Vaughan and because of that Vaughan was able to give some ground and not let Goode by him. Because it was obvious that Mason's original gameplan wasn't working as the point guard scored 17 points in the first half.
The defensive adjustment reminded me of the adjustment that Penn State made on Chris McGuthrie back in the fall of 1992 or 93. When the young point guard/shooting guard torched the Nittanys early in the game at Rec Hall and had the Mount build a big lead. But Bruce Parkhill made an adjustment at half time to play the bigger defender on him and give some ground. Very similar results.
Unfortunately, for the Mount nobody stepped up quick enough to help get the Mount back in the game. Jean Cajou had a very solid final nine or ten minutes (I still think he was a little extra amped playing in his backyard) and helped lead the rally.
But again credit to Mason when the Mount drew within 3 with just under three to play, the Patriots made some plays.
Saturday night is another night, and I expect the Mount to be a lot sharper. That will not be an easy contest either. Boston U, might just be the best team in Beantown this year, and they are off to a fast start. They are the pick to win the America East and will be a true challenge on Banner Night at the ARCC.
Mason pulls away for win
Vaughan's defense as much a key as his 22 points
Closing moments take toll on Mount
Washington Post article
Mount can't hold onto halftime lead
Mount can't catch Mason
The George Mason PR recap
GeorgeMasonhoops.com recaps the game
Phelan, Hall of Fame Class, get additional recognition in KC
Another story on Richardson and the Hall of Fame
Lasalle College High School recognizes its Hall of Famer
I'm sure this guy understands what he is talking about, but I expect to see Syracuse high up in those rankings next week
Banner to be unfurled on Saturday Night
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Mason shot nearly 57 percent for the game, including 68 percent in the second half to rally from a 29-27 halftime deficit. John Vaughan led the Patriots with 22 points while freshman Ryan Pearson scored 14 inside off of the bench.
Jeremy Goode was the leading scorer for the Mount as he tallied 22 points. He was outstanding in the first half, scoring 17 of the Mount's 29 points. Jean Cajou finished with 16, scoring 14 after the break in his homecoming game.
The Mount trailed 56-43 with just under ten minutes to play, but battled courageously to draw with 63-60 on a Cajou three with just under three to go. Ultimately, the atrocious foul shooting was too much to overcome and Mason scored the game's final nine points to seal the win.
The Mounties are back in action against Boston University, in their first home game on Saturday evening at 7pm.
I'll have more thoughts and reflections from tonights game at some point tomorrow.
But there he was, just moments after the Orange defeated Florida in the CBE Semifinal, that Orange-Hater that he is, Doug Gottleib pointing out that this was the Orange's first non-conference win against a ranked team away from home since 04-05. A period of better than 3 years. Now, I mean how could you argue. Even the SU grad Ryan Burr right there in the studio couldn't say too much. The facts were what they were, and I'm sure Gottleib had his facts right.
But when you narrow the criteria as Gottleib did, it makes it so much easier to to make a statement that sounds extremely negative. What Gottleib failed to mention was that during that 05-06 season, when Syracuse failed to win a game against a ranked team away from home, it played the toughest schedule in total per the NCAA standards. So how in the world can that schedule be knocked? Yet there was Dougie Boy, and somebody from SU must have really done something horrible to him one day, pointing out that Syracuse doesn't go away from home.
The other thing I decided to do, was take a look at how the other two main combatants in this CBE thing, Kansas and Florida had fared using the same criteria that Gottleib had set forth. Well, low and behold, the numbers that I found made Gottleib's argument seem even more shallow.
What I found was the only definite win away from home against a ranked team by either Kansas or Florida in the last three years, was Kansas's win over Florida in Las Vegas in December of '06.
So what's the big deal.
Now it should be pointed out that the Jayhawks also own a win at USC early last season, but with the way the Trojans started last year, I couldn't imagine them being ranked.
Florida did have two wins back in Madison Square Garden at the start of the 05-06 season over teams that may have been rankend, Wake Forest and Syracuse. But it is my recollection that neither team was. And even if Florida had one or two wins in that three year time period over ranked teams away from home, it doesn't change my point. And that is that Syracuse shouldn't be singled out for this. Because here are the two teams that won the national championships during those three years and they don't have any major area of superiority in this stat over the Orange.
Furthermore, it isn't as if Syracuse has played a bad schedule in that time frame, because the Orange's schedule was ranked as the toughest in the country by the NCAA entering the 2006 postseason.
So Burr, let Gottleib know all of this tonight.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The top five is Gonzaga, Davidson, St. Mary's, Creighton and Siena.
Mercer (3-1) is the highest debut team this week at #10, and received one first place vote after road wins at Alabama and Auburn and an OT loss at home to Georgia Tech.
The Mount's next two opponents are both in the Other Receiving Votes category of the ranking. George Mason is 28th, while Boston University got one 25th place vote from the panel.
For a full look at the Top 25 click here.
What's at stake?: There won't be too many better mid-major non-conference matchups all season. It has a bracket buster feel in November. The Patriots got national attention when they won the Eastern Regional and advanced to the Final Four three years ago. This isn't the same Mason team, but its no slouch as its 3-1 record indicates. The Mount needs a win like this to help its case at the end of the year, should it win the NEC tournament again, to avoid the #16 seeds and give itself a chance in the tournament.
When is tipoff?: Tuesday night at the Patriot Center, 7:00pm.
Where is the game?: The Mount is on the road for the third straight game, while the Patriots play at home for just the second time in five early season games. The game is at the Patriot Center, home to such great performances in the past as High School Musical on Ice. For those of you unable to get around the beltway at that time of day, don't bother, the game is on TV again, its live on MASN - channel 640 on DIRECTV. If you can't pull it in on the TV, WTHU-AM Thurmont 1450 will have the radio call. Steve Stofberg and The Coach Roy Sigler bring you the action on the Mount Radio Network. And since I want no part of that beltway traffic, I'll be in front of the computer live blogging on The Fan Blog. We had a fun group for last week's near win in Blacksburg. We're always looking for more folks at the Inn.
The Analysis: Mason is in a bit of a rebuilding year, but they are 3-1 thus far. Only a loss at Hampton has the Patriots from sporting a perfect record. The Mount's 3-game losing streak to start the season comes to an end with a tough game. This is one that folks around the country would probably take notice to. A win over GMU gets instant recognition, and would clearly justify the Mount's #22 mid-major ranking. The recent Bog Poll has Mason 6 and the The Mount 7, so this should be a good one.
Advantages for Mt. St. Mary's: The Mount hasn't played in better than a week. Is that an advantage? It just might be as George Mason played three times last week, including two on the road at the end of the week. I think the Mount's solid defensive play could be a big advantage for it against the Mason offense that lacks a real superstar. The Patriots shot it tremendously in the win over East Carolina, but really struggled against Hampton. Which shooting team shows up? My guess is the Mount defense has a say in that. I think the Mount backcourt of Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou, playing a home game, will provide difficulties for the Patriots. I also look for Kelly Beidler to rebound from a tough shooting night in Blacksburg. He needs to get to the basket.
Advantages for George Mason: Mason has six players averaging almost eight points a game. So they epitomize balance. They don't need to rely on one player if somebody is having an off night. And that balance goes both inside and out. 6-6 widebody Darryl Monroe is the leading scorer and the Mount will need to keep him off the boards. Freshman Andre Cornelius had a great day shooting the ball on Saturday at ECU. Senior John Vaughan also has an outside j that the Mount will need to contend with.
What to expect?: I get the sense that the Mount has been stewing for a week after that one that may have gotten away in Blacksburg. There was no satisfaction in the near loss. That is a good sign. But this isn't going to be easy. Not by any standard. Mason scheduled this game for a reason, and this is a team that plays in the ever tough CAA - so they get games like this all the time. With the schedule the Mount has been playing - and will be playing, this is very comparable. Again this is a game that the Mount can win. It doesn't mean they will and truly, I think they are the underdog. However, if they give a comparable performance to the one they played last week at Tech, they will have every right to win this game. And if they put themselves in that position again, I think they will perform better down the stretch. I'm picking them to pull the upset, 66-60 going away down the stretch.
Sounds like Jim Phelan didn't differentiate from the Jim Phelan we know and love last night. Not that anybody was expecting him to. But in this Kansas City Star story it tells of how Phelan seemed to want to talk more about the current Mountaineers than himself. No surprise.
The story also says that Phelan was inducted and is finally a member of the College Hall of Fame. We couldn't be happier. We're sorry we missed out on the night in Kansas City, but glad that Phelan finally got some of the deserved recognition. Springfield should be calling next.
Frederick Paper with a very nice story about Phelan and the induction
Here is the Associated Press story
Manning recalls glory days
Packer helped increase game's popularity
Vitale credits parents for success
Razorback Hall of Famer
Barkley among seven enshrined
The buzz around Kansas City
Doors to the past
Hoops Weiss at the Hall Ceremony
Albany welcomes Central for home opener
Recap of Robert Morris and Rutgers
A Tech notebook and a mention of Raven Barber
Nantz thinks Packer should have gone in Hall before Vitale
St. Francis NY preview
Fairleigh Dickinson and Mississippi State preview
Quinnipiac and Bryant preview
Vitale's new book chronicles Top 50 players and moments of ESPN era
The Bracket projection after a week with the Mount as a #16
Hoya fan not impressed with the Mount among others on the schedule
Can anyone beat the Heels in Maui?
Washington faces defending champs in KC
Albany and Central recap
Wagner season preview
Hoops junkie knows the opening week hasn't been too kind on NEC
Ambrose wins at buzzer for Albany
Mount finishes fourth at YSI
Sacred Heart preview
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1.) Mason has started the season with three out of four games on the road. What type of atmosphere can we expect at the Patriot Center on Tuesday night?
Patriot Center will have a decent crowd. Week day games are light on fans due to the ridiculous traffic during rush hour in Fairfax. Hard to fill a 10,000 arena every night for a mid-major team but the arena should be about three quarters full by the start. Student sections are always packed and loud.
2.) I'm sure that the new mascot will have the crowd fired up. What has the reaction around campus been? It seems to have stirred up quite a bit of media coverage.
I have written numerous times on my blog how ridiculous I thought Gunston was as a mascot. I thought the creature poorly represented our athletics and what we stood for. There seems to be a mixed reaction with the students on the new mascot.
3.) It seems as if Mason has had quite a bit of balance this season, as nine players are averaging better than five points per game. Is that a good thing - or does it lead to some of the problems that occurred in Hampton, where the offense struggles for periods of time?
Mason always has a very balanced lineup, the team is mostly about Coach Larranaga's system then it is star players. Guys will exchange nights being the leading scorer, you never really know who it's going to be. The Hampton game was a huge off night shooting wise for the team. Looked like they couldn't hit anything. They made up for it yesterday at ECU but at times they will show their youth.
4.) Do you expect that there is someone that can step up and being a leading scorer like Cornelius and Birdsong were against East Carolina. It seemed as if it was an extremely good shooting day for the Patriots?
Cornelius is someone Mason were excited about before the season began. A lot of people around the program think he's got all-caa written all over him in the years to come. Each game it seems he is getting better. I expect him and Darryl Monroe to be big in the game on Tuesday. Birdsong has had a history of being a streaky player but the last two games he has been on and I think it will be continue as long as Monroe plays well. Guards Dre Smith and John Vaughan have been struggling lately with their shooting. They will both need to step up for Mason to beat Mount St. Mary's
5.) Freshman Michael Morrison had a big game against Brown. His size 6-9 could be a concern for the Mount. Do you expect him to be a factor, or was his performance against Brown just a result of the game score?
He got a lot of minutes against Brown due to the lop-side score, but he will contribute every now and then. He's still a bit raw when it comes to Coach L's system, but when he's in the game he's a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end.
6.) What type of post player is Darryl Monroe? Can he get some points away from the basket, or does he need to be postioned down low?
Monroe has excellent passing skills for a big man and although doesn't have much range, can still put up a lot of points. He does most of his work down low getting rebounds and scoring on second chance opportunities.
7.) What exactly is Mason trying to accomplish in the pre-conference schedule? It seems as if they have gone away from having to play any true major teams and are focusing on playing good mid-majors. Has that been an on going project or is just for this season as it was more of a rebuilding year?
I believe Mason's schedule is what it is this season because the coaching staff knows that the team is basically in a rebuilding state after losing twoo all-conference players. They are very young and inexperienced and I feel the coaches wanted them to have some winnable games before conference play started instead of getting beaten up by BCS schools.8.) How would a win over Mt. St. Mary's be viewed at this point of the season?
A win over Mt. St. Mary's would probably be viewed as the team's best win entering into conference play.
9.) Your prediction on how this will turn out?
I predict this to be a close game but with Mason coming out on top if they can hit their three's and out rebound the Mountaineers.
Thanks to Ryan for answering our questions. Be sure to stop by his site to check out everything else you need to know about the George Mason Patriots.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
He'll be part of the third induction class and he'll take his 830 wins and 49-year career as head coach of Mt. St. Mary's into the Hall with him.
He'll be enshrined with names that many sports fans around the country are more familiar with. Danny Manning, Charles Barkley, Nolan Richardson, Billy Packer and Dick Vitale are all more recognizable to many. Utah's Arnie Ferrin is the final inductee.
But none are more deserving than Jim Phelan.
For years, Phelan was the guy who made the little team in the little town go. For generations, he was simply the coach. His teams won game after game, a College Division National Title in 1962, and reached the NCAA Division I tournament on two occasions after he watched his program bump from DII to the next level.
He had other opportunities. He could have taken a job elsewhere. Could have moved his family from the small town of Emmitsburg, just south of the Pennsylvania/Maryland border. Could have gone to a school or a pro organization that could have paid him more than they could have Mt. St. Mary's. But he never did.
Instead, he stayed for 49 years. 49 years in one place touching the lives of all those young men. Many of them returned for his final game when he finally called it a career a few years ago.
As a Mount fan, I couldn't be happier. This type of award, this type of recognition is so deserved. I love the game of basketball and if it weren't for Jim Phelan, I'm not sure I would.
As a kid, I lived for Mt. St. Mary's games. I remember that old Memorial Gymnasium and the crowds that certainly the fire marshalls could have never approved. I remember the streamers all over the floor after the first bucket.
The players were different each year, but the Coach was always the same. The memories that I have of those games and those times are fabulous. An offensive oriented basketball team that played the game hard, and won so often. The Division II playoffs and a quest to make another Final Four trip to Springfield, Massachusetts always seemed on the agenda.
He was fiery on the bench. His teams resembled that on the floor. He had a way of recognizing talent that others marveled at. He could simply identify it quickly.
As a family, we saw many Mount games. And we often took other families to games along with us on a Saturday night. I'll never forget when one night, when another mother compared Jim Phelan to Joe Paterno. It made perfect sense to me. Two individuals performing at the same school for a long period of time, and doing things the way you'd want things to be done. With class and honor.
But as time wore on, I started to think of Phelan more as a Cal Ripken type. For two reasons, again for the longevity of what was going on, and for the fact that all the accomplishments were done with a total respect for the game and the other players in it.
And Phelan had done what Ripken had done for me. He had earned my respect on the playing field, but he had also earned it off the floor. Talk to one of Phelan's former players and you know he's a Hall-of-Famer.
Jim Phelan took me on a journey. He made the game fun. He produced teams that played an exciting brand of basketball and played hard. It was fun when they won and tough when the lost. But you knew that you'd always get a top notch effort out of Phelan's teams.
He's been a hall of famer for a long time. Tonight he gets the recognition he deserves.
Stand up and cheer for Jim Phelan today, the College Basketball world shines on him and the other inductees today. The rest of the college basketball community is getting to share what we've known in the Mount community for such a long time. That Jim Phelan is more than deserving of this recognition.
Congratulations Coach, but most of all, Thank you for putting Mt. St. Mary's on the college basketball world map to stay.
I'm happy for Greg Robinson. He's a terrible coach, but he's a good guy, and he deserves this. I truly do think that the program is pointed in the right direction. There is so much more reason to believe that in November this year, then in November last year.
Also have to be extremely happy for Cameron Dantley. To win at Notre Dame Stadium on the campus where his father had such a great career.
I wonder if this win makes Randy Edsall a candidate. I think it does. Not that I ever believed he wasn't.
A super job by the defense, which had to fight all day long and was on the field so much. Just a great effort by Arthur Jones. But also a fine effort by Paul Chiarra and Max Suter. Derrell Smith continues to impress me as a budding linebacker.
Antwon Bailey did a great job in the second half for the Orange running the ball. He looks like a back who can step in and replace Boonah Brinkley next season. Also don't forget to give the offensive line credit for some of that. And for protecting Cam Dantley.
Some other young guys showed that they will give the new coach something to work with. Just a few names who caught my eye, Nick Provo, Dan Sheeran, Dorian Graham, Mike Holmes, Donte Davis, Marcus Sales, Kevyn Scott, Randy Mckinnon, Mike Mele and all those offensive lineman.
How soon until next year?
Mountain Echo recap of the Catholic Clash
Mount License plates available again
How the banner raising came to be on the night of the Boston U game
Checking in with LIU
Some Orange bloggers share their thoughts
Mount seventh in latest bog poll
Mount women lose to Duquesne
Bryant comes up short in opener
Richardson part of Phelan's induction class at College Basketball Hall of Fame
All the Way back to the opener for CCSU
Villanova hosts Monmouth
Montgomery is back in college coaching across the Bay at Cal
Penn hosts Monmouth
Rush the Court checks the Summit
This Hofstra blogger is feeling your pain with the time off
Could Davidson win really be defining moment for Oklahoma?
A humorous European look at why Americans struggle with the game of soccer
Friday, November 21, 2008
We've known for awhile that Mt. St. Mary's had two commitments to add to its stable of talent on the basketball floor. Raven Barber and Dave Golladay made verbal commitments some time ago, but secured those commitments with national letters of intent this week.
Barber is a 6-8 athletic post player from Paul VI, the same school at current Mountaineer Jean Cajou. He averaged 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks as a junior. He is thought to have some of the most potential of any post player to sign at the Mount in recent years.
Golladay is a another athletic player. At 6-1, he will play on the wing for the Mount. He averaged nearly 12 points a game and better than 5 rebounds a game as a junior.
We will monitor their senior seasons as closely as possible here at The Fan Blog. If you have any information on either of the two players do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
For more information on the signings, click HERE
Here is a section devoted to the coverage of legendary Mt. St. Mary's head basketball coach Jim Phelan and his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City on Sunday evening.
Stick around the Fan Blog all weekend for our thoughts on the great coach - also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post your thoughts and memories of his career at the Mount.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Still getting over Monday night's loss to Virginia Tech. I think it really proved that this Mount team can be and is already pretty darn good. They don't play again until Tuesday at George Mason and that will once again be a big test. The Patriots weren't supposed to be as good this year, but they have really flown out of the gate. You know that Jim Larranga can coach and he's going to keep that program going.
Tech won today in Puerto Rico defeating Fairfield handily. I caught the last few minutes over lunch, but it wasn't that exciting. AD Vassallo had a big game for the Hokies in his homecoming. They'll face Xavier tomorrow who rallied late to beat Missouri. I've got USC and Seton Hall on right now. They are tied about midway through the first half, the winner faces Memphis tomorrow.
Just saw a preview for Feast Week on ESPN. What a great week of hoops that that is going to be. The Maui Invitational with Carolina, Notre Dame and Texas, the CBE Classic with Syracuse, Florida and Kansas, the Final Four of the Preseason NIT (BC, Purdue, Oklahoma and UAB), the Old Spice Classic - which may be the best field with Gonzaga, Maryland, Georgetown, Tennessee and Michigan State, the 76 Classic in Anaheim with Wake Forest, St. Mary's, and Arizona State, and the Mount home opener versus Boston University. Yes, it is going to be good stuff.
Put me on the record as saying that Oklahoma will beat Texas Tech this weekend.
Also put me on record as saying that I want Steve Mariucci to be the next football coach for Syracuse. But believe me when I tell you it isn't going to happen.
And I'm not saying that Randy Edsall will get the job, but I don't believe that he's entirely out of the equation. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's very much still a part of the equation.
I'd really like to see Syracuse win on Saturday. Beating Notre Dame would be a good way to start building for next year and beyond. Credit Greg Robinson for the quality way he's handled himself through this situation. We wish him the best in the future as long as its not as the head coach of the Orange.
I have a feeling that Penn State will blow out Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans don't seem to have enough defense to stay in the game.
Credit Mercer for its 3-0 start, including sweeping the SEC's Alabama schools on Auburn and the Crimson Tide's home floor. But don't forget the Bears won their opener at USC last season, before losing 19 games.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Another set of preseason picks. Including the Mount back on top of the NEC
Everybody grows up wanting to be Joe Lunardi
Bleacher Report preview on the second best team in the State of Maryland
ESPN Recruiting evaluation on Raven Barber
How the Mighty have fallen. Isiah Thomas from star to this
Saturday recap including that Northeastern upset
First weekend recap from the America East
Bracketology 101's first edition of the season
Sacred Heart dropped opener to Holy Cross
Scouting the Preseason NIT
Some Memphis Notes
Week in Review in the SEC
Rice High School Durand Scott to announce decision. He is down to Miami, Pitt and UCONN
Mount gets tennis signee from Florida
Wagner prepares for St. Peter's
Seeing the Mount in a bracket projection never gets old
Not happy with the Virginia Tech AD
Georgia basketball preview
First Lessons in Upsets
This Week in the A-10
Milan meets with former Football coach
Quinnipiac the last of the unbeatens in NEC
Bryant begins Division I journey tonight
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Maybe the days of a non-conference opponent walking into the Carrier Dome and being blown away are over.
Maybe I should just be happy this wasn't a football game.
But I guess I just expect a lot more from the Syracuse basketball team. I give the Orange credit, for the play out of the gates in the second half. Eric Devendorf and Jonny Flynn helped to key that second half run that erased a seven-point halftime deficit. That was nice. But the Orange was down seven to a middle-of-the road (at best) Atlantic 10 team in its own building. Somehow, I just don't think that should happen.
Personally, I thought that Arinze Onuaku needed to see a whole lot more of the ball. When he got it inside, good things happened. But it seemed as if he didn't get it nearly enough. He finished with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
Maybe I need to be patient. Maybe I need to wait on this team to get fully healthy and gel. But with two years out of the tournament, because of lacksadasical play against mediocre non-conference opponents, I expect something more. Maybe I'm expecting too much.
For the first time this season Jeremy Goode was picked the Choice Hotels NEC player of the week.
Goode scored 25 points in the Mount's season opening win over Loyola on Friday night. He also handed out four assists.
With his 11-point performance in Monday's loss to Virginia Tech, the junior point guard is now 9 points out of the Top 50 scorers in school history.
He is a Bob Cousy Award nominee and was named to a pair of mid-major all-American teams.
The Mount is in action again next Tuesday at George Mason.
There aren't many times you get the opportunity to go into the barn of an ACC team, expected to contend for an NCAA tourney berth and walk away with a win. But that is exactly what could have, and possibly should have happened last night. Because for 35 of the 40 minutes of action (and I might be a little conservative in the number) the Mount was the better basketball team. It played better defense. It protected the basketball better. It hustled more. And it created better scoring opportunities.
Still, in the end, the fact that the Mount missed some shots that I'm sure they feel they'd make today, earlier in the game, allowed the Hokies to make some key shots late and rally for a 62-57 win. Malcolm Delaney's three foul shots with under a minute to play finally gave the Hokies a lead they would never relinquish. Jeremy Goode's open, yet not wide open three-pointer, bounced off the rim a few seconds later and the Hokies were able to walk away with the W.
It was refreshing afterwards to see Milan Brown say, "we are done with moral victories." He is 100% correct in the fact that the Mount must believe that every night it walks out onto the floor they have a chance to win the basketball game. And the schedule, although it is loaded with quality opponents, many on the road, does not present this team with unwinnable games.
So let's take a look at what went right last night....
1) Jean Cajou stepped up when he was needed in the second half. This team is going to need another scorer. Jeremy Goode is going to get his points, and he's going to create points and opportunities for other. But there are going to be times when it is necessary for someone else to step up. Cajou did that last night.
2) The defense and rebounding was so much better than it was on Friday night versus Loyola. Credit the coaching staff for making some adjustments at key spots. And also credit the players for getting it done. Defense and rebounding is about desire. And it was obvious that the players knew their assignments. I can only recall two specific times where the Tech offensive rebounding made a difference. Also give credit to Kelly Beidler for slowing AD Vasallo down. He's a solid offensive player, better than most the Mount will see and Beidler seemed to really contain him.
3) I also liked the continued development of Shawn Atupem. He continues to score points and provide an athletic option down low. Tech made some adjustments to take him away, but I think he surprised them early.
4) Also give credit to the deep bench. Obviously, not a lot of minutes out of the bench. But I thought that Lamar Trice and Tayvon Jackson really gave quality contribution when they were in the game. The fear when you're playing a level or two above the normal level, is that by taking the starters out, the level of play really drops. But that was not noticeable last night. In fact, Trice even got into the lane made a great pass and looked comfortable on the floor. Jackson picked up a bucket.
From this, this team will get better. Last night was part of the process. It demonstrated how far along in the process this program has traveled. But it also showed that there is still ground to be covered. I have confidence in this group that the development will continue, and that they next time they are faced with a similar circumstance they will have a better chance to persevere.
Last night hurt, that's a good thing.