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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Haven trims SCSU in men's hoop

@BillCloutier

NEW HAVEN — University of New Haven guard Jeffery Adkins Jr. is playing this season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Being a top member of a team picked 16th in a 16-team conference can do that to you.

Adkins and the Chargers continued to play the Rodney Dangerfield role on Saturday beating rival Southern Connecticut State 61-53 in front of 812 fans at the Moore Fieldhouse.

Eric Anderson led New Haven (7-2 overall, 5-2 Northeast-10) with 14 points and Justin Exum had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremy Williams had 10 points and Sean Harris had nine points and nine rebounds in a balanced Charger effort. Southern was led by Tylon Smith who was 6 for 7 from the floor finishing with 13 points.

“We feel like we can play with anybody in this conference and they don’t give us any respect,” Adkins said. “We wanted to come out and play good defense like we’ve been playing.”

New Haven coach Ted Hotaling isn’t relying on his team’s lack of respect for motivation. He’d prefer to bank on solid defense and rebounding, like the kind they got on Saturday. Facing Southern (5-4, 4-3) and its big three of Greg and Dominique Langston and Trevon Hamlet, the Chargers limited the Owls to 31 percent shooting from the field.

The Owl’s star trio, entering the game averaging a combined 48 points, shot 11 for 45 from the floor and finished with 30 points.

“Coach (Hotaling) told us they’ve got some big scorers but (Ade Barek) locked up Hamlet and we played the Langstons as good as we could.”

Said Hotaling: “We’re a very good defensive team right now. We did what we’ve been doing (defensively), holding teams under 40 percent shooting and under 30 percent from 3-point range and out-rebounding them.

“I wish we could have made a few more shots, but Barek shut down Hamlet who’s one of the best players in the league and he’s done that all year for us.” Continued...

Southern coach Mike Donnelly said his team didn’t play very well.

“I give all the credit to New Haven,” Donnelly said. “They did a great job. But for some reason we were a step slow and that’s my fault.

“This has to motivate us to go catch New Haven. The did a great job on our three guys and they made plays and we didn’t.”

After erasing a 20-13 deficit midway through the first half, the Chargers rarely trailed again. New Haven led 36-30 at the half and opened up a 10-point lead in the early stages of the second half. When Southern cut the margin to 48-46 the Chargers outworked Southern a crucial possession.

New Haven missed three straight shots on the trip but got every offensive board and kicked the ball out to Sean Harris for a wide-open 3-pointer to give the Chargers a 51-46 lead.

“We talk about that all the time and it really hasn’t happened, but it showed up at a good time,” Hotaling said.

But the game was still in doubt in the final minute when Quinnipiac transfer Dominique Langston (10 points on 3 for 15 shooting) finally connected on a long, fadeaway 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining. Following a Charger turnover, Dominique took the ball the length of the floor but missed an open layup and New Haven capitalized immediately, scoring the final six points to put the game away.

“Dominique’s been struggling shooting,” Donnelly said. “He’s been inconsistent. He can do a lot of things, and he has to understand with him it doesn’t all come down to shooting. He has to do everything else he’s capable of doing.”

The Chargers, which went 8-18 last season, have won four straight.

“Anytime you can beat your rival its’ big,” Hotaling said. “If I said it wasn’t I’d be lying. It’s great to beat them and it’s a league game, too.”

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