ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Haven vs. Dominican capsule preview


Where: SNHU Fieldhouse, Manchester, N.H.
When: 8:30 p.m.
Records: New Haven (19-8); Dominican (22-6)

What to look for
Scouting New Haven: New Haven has four players averaging in double figures led by Justin Exum at 15.7. New Haven had its six-game winning streak come to an end in the first round of Northeast-10 Conference tournament against Southern New Hampshire. UNH is making its first appearance in the NCAA DII tournament in nine years. It is 2-7 all-time and have never advanced past the second round. Eric Anderson averages 13 points and 12 rebounds a game. He has led UNH in rebounding in 26 of their 27 games. New Haven is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring defense.

Scouting Dominican: Also nicknamed the Chargers, Dominican is playing in its first NCAA tournament. Coach Joe Clinton won the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference coach of the year award after leading his team to the regular-season title. It was ranked 23rd in the nation's Top 25 poll. Leon Porter leads the team in scoring at 15.3 ppg. He is a slick 5-5 guard who also led the team in assists while hitting 52 3-pointers. Dominican was 2-2 against NE-10 teams this season.

- Bill Cloutier

New Haven meets Dominican in first round of NCAA Division II tournament

By Bill Cloutier


Twitter @BillCloutier

WEST HAVEN – Three years ago, University of New Haven guard Jeremy Williams was faced with a difficult decision.

With the men’s basketball program in disarray having won just three games the prior season, the Chargers were turning over their entire coaching staff. New Haven brought in former assistant Ted Hotaling to try to change the Chargers’ fortunes.

Williams, however, was a freshman on that dismal New Haven team, a recruit of the former coach. He wondered if he’d fit in Hotaling’s new system or if the new coach even wanted him. He wondered mostly of all if things would get better.

Three seasons later Williams is about to get his first taste of postseason basketball as No. 4 seed New Haven (19-8) will face fifth-seeded Dominican College ( ) in the NCAA Division II tournament Saturday at Manchester, N.H. To say the least, Williams is happy he stayed.

“My freshman year, to be honest, it wasn’t a good program to be in,” Williams said. “We went 5-22 and we were unorganized. I decided to stick around because I looked at (Hotaling’s) credentials and he looked like he could do a good job.

“This turnaround that he’s managed in such a short time has been amazing. We went from not even making the conference tournament to making the NCAA Tournament.”

Said Hotaling: “We met with all the guys that were holdovers. If they decided to leave we weren’t offended by it. Jeremy decided to stay and (reserve guard from West Haven) Mark Palmieri decided to stay and we’re better because of it.

“They were my guys, all the guys who were there before.”

But the revival has been stunning. Like his counterpart at Southern Conn. State Hotaling and SCSU coach Mike Donnelly have reversed the fortunes of rival schools in a head-turning flash in the rugged Northeast-10 Conference.

Hotaling figured it’d take two years to turn things around and then hoped his team could put in this type of season where his Chargers won 11 straight games at one point and finished fourth in the conference. Despite its loss in the opening round of the NE-10 tournament New Haven was certain it would earn an at-large bid to the NCAA.

“I looked at our first two years as a two-year season,” Hotaling said. “We never coached our first year just to win games. It was all, ‘This is how we’re going to coach in Year Three.’

“Fortunately for us the residue of the first two years led us to this. Defensively the guys were really familiar with what we were doing. We never changed our court philosophy so guys have improved a lot. But everything we did in those first two years was geared toward the third year.”

The Chargers went 8-18 in Hotaling’s first season but he was ecstatic with their 5-5 finish. Last season New Haven was 15-13.

“We added a few pieces to the mix last year and got 15 wins,” said Hotaling, who coached with Jay Young at New Haven 12 years ago. “That’s what got us here.”

Williams is one half of a stellar backcourt combo that combines to average 29.3 points and has knocked down 134 3-pointers on the season. Sharp-shooter Justin Exum leads the team with a 15.7 average. The Chargers also feature Eric Anderson, one of the most difficult matchups in all of DII basketball. Anderson averages 13 points and a dozen rebounds playing both inside and outside the paint.

“I saw the type of players that we had coming in and that was the main reason I decided to stay,” Williams said. “The talent and height we have made me stick it through. It’s been a lot of fun.”

New Haven will play in the East Regional which features five NE-10 conference teams. The Chargers also own a win against Franklin Pierce, the top seed in the region so they feel they can compete in the region. It is the first time in nine years that UNH will play in the NCAA tournament and sixth time in program history. UNH has never advanced past the second round, posting an all-time record of 2-7 in the NCAA tournament.

“Our guys have some maturity to them,” Hotaling said. “It’s unchartered territory for us but I think our guys are confident. If they do what they can do we should have a good chance to play with anybody.”

Said Williams: “I’ve been trying to tell the guys to enjoy this and take advantage of it. It’s special. I’ve been here for four years and I saw where we came from.”

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

LIU going back to the Big Dance; Hartford to the

C.J. Garner scored a career-high 31 points and LIU Brooklyn punched its ticket for the NCAA tournament with a 91-70 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the finals of the Northeast Conference tournament at New York.

Jamal Olasewere added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Blackbirds (20-13), who became the only team to win three straight conference tournament titles. Coach Jack Perri also became the third coach in the conference to win the title in his first year on the job.

After a frantic back-and-forth first half, LIU Brooklyn opened the second half with a 35-31 lead. Led by a decisive dunk by Olasewere and a three-point play from Garner, the Blackbirds went on a 13-4 run to go ahead by 13 only 6 minutes into the half.

LIU Brooklyn didn’t allow Mount St. Mary’s to pull closer than 12 the rest of the way.

Hartford to play postseason: For the first time since making the jump to Division I for the 1984-85 season, the Hartford men’s basketball team has been invited to participate in a postseason tournament.

Hartford’s opponent will be announced at a later date, however, tickets for the 7:00 p.m. tip are available for purchase after 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday by contacting the Malcolm and Brenda Berman Athletics Ticket Office. The box office, located in the Reich Family Pavilion (Sports Center), can also be reached by calling 860-768-HAWK or tickets can be purchased online via The Box Office will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Ticket prices are: general admission ($5), gallery seating ($12), lower chair back ($15), courtside ($20) and VIP ($30).

The Postseason Tournament was created in 2009. What began as a 16-team event quickly expanded to 24 teams in 2011 and is now a 32-team postseason event, with invitations extended only to teams outside of the BCS power conferences.

Last season, Mercer became the third team in four years to win the CIT Championship on the road, defeating Utah State to capture the 2012 title. Santa Clara captured the 2011 CIT, winning at Iona to finish with 24 wins, the most in over 40 years. Missouri State (2010) and Old Dominion (2009) were the first two teams to take home the CIT title.

After matching the program record for regular season wins (17), the Hawks, who boast one of the youngest rosters in the nation with six sophomores and four freshmen, fell short of making their third-straight semifinal round appearance in the America East Championship last weekend in Albany, suffering a 69-62 loss as the third-seed to the sixth-seeded UMBC Retrievers.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Quinnipiac season wrapup: Bobcats headed to MAAC next year

By Bill Cloutier

Twitter @BillCloutier

BROOKLYN -- The sheer drama in Wednesday night’s Northeast Conference quarterfinal game between Quinnipiac and Long Island was right out of a motion picture.

In fact, the suspense grew so greatly that actor/director and basketball junkie Spike Lee left his seat and stood on the baseline directly under the Long Island basket for the game’s final minutes.

Unfortunately for the game Bobcats, they won’t be able to make a curtain call. Quinnipiac’s heart-breaking 91-83 loss in Brooklyn marked the second straight season that the Bobcats were eliminated by LIU in NEC tournament.

It won’t happen again. That’s because Quinnipiac is moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference next season.

Wednesday’s game turned into a foul-fest and the Bobcats’ free-throw shooting woes reared their ugly heads again. Ousmane Drame, who otherwise was brilliant and is generally one of the best Bobcats at the line, missed six of his eight attempts from the stripe in the second half as Quinnipiac squandered a nine-point lead in the game’s final 10 minutes.

“We were up good but we started fouling and they got back into the game with free throws,” Quinnipiac junior forward Ike Azotam said. “We didn’t execute and we lost our poise. Free throws lost us a couple of games this year and they won us a couple. In the second half it came back to haunt us.

Azotam fouled out of the game with over five minutes remaining. He was one of four Bobcats to foul out.

“It was tough to watch from the bench,” he said. “You never can guess that you’ll lose four starters in a game. I don’t want to say that the (officiating) was one-sided. They played better than us in the second half.

“I kept telling them to keep playing, that we’ve been down before. We started the season 5-11 and 1-3 in the conference. We were in close games all year.”

Moore wraps up his first six seasons at Quinnipiac with a 70-39 mark in NEC play. He is a bit disappointed about the past season but once his Bobcats proved their mettle down the stretch.

“I really wish we had won the Central (Connecticut State) game in particular,” Moore said. “That might have given us a better seed and we wouldn’t have had to start our journey at Long Island. Arguably this is as hard a place to win because of the belief they have. They’re going to be a tough out.

“I think our record should have been better than 15-16. I’m really proud of the hole we dug ourselves out of. We’ve prided ourselves, the last five years, of having strong Februarys with teams that continued to improve. This team carried the torch.

“I’m really excited about the individual improvements from a lot of our young guys. We had a lot of guys stuck with no confidence but we grew a great deal in January and February. They rattled off a great winning streak.”

Azotam, Quinnipiac’s rugged forward who led the team in scoring and rebounding and was named to the NEC second team, will be back as will Drame, who Moore called the best big man in the conference as the season progressed.

“Drame had a great end to his sophomore year and he’s terrifically talented,” Moore said. “The drive to win is coming out for him. I’m very excited about what he can do for us the next two years.”

The Bobcats will lose unflappable guard Dave Johnson who has been a court leader for the past few seasons as well as versatile forward Jamee Jackson, and oft-injured swingman Garvey Young. But guards Evan Conti and Zaid Hearst will return and both proved themselves in Quinnipiac’s biggest games.

“It’s hard to say because we lost in the first round but I was proud of how we played in the last month,” Azotam said. ”I’m looking forward to next year. We bring back most of our team and I’m confident about next year.”

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Betting the Ivies; Princeton hosts Harvard in an Ivy League showdown

Here is tonight's edition of Betting the Ivies.

Dartmouth at Penn -7.5
The Quakers have played much better as of late and are always tough at The Palestra. Still, I like Dartmouth to keep it close with Alex Mitola hitting a few 3-pointers.
Pick: Dartmouth

Shonn Miller

Brown at Cornell -4.5
The Bears have had another disappointing season and have not fared well on the road. Look for Shonn Miller and the Big Red to roll in the first part of important weekend in its battle for third place in the Ivy.
Pick: Cornell

Yale at Columbia -4.5
The Bulldogs rolled over Columbia earlier in the season but in that the Lions were battling the flu bug and star Brian Barbour hardly played. But Yale has owned this series and should have enough to pull off the slight upset on the road.
Pick: Yale

Harvard at Princeton -6
This is the game of the year in the league as Princeton has to protect its homecourt to gain at least a share of the league lead. If Harvard wins the Crimson can start packing for the NCAA. If the Tigers win the race will go down to the final day. I like Princeton to win a war here so I'll take the points and Harvard could win this on the court.
Pick: Harvard

Best bet: Cornell

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Saturday's gameday capsules; Yale, Albertus Magnus and Quinnipiac


Where: Wellness Center, Brooklyn
When: Today, 4:30 p.m.
Records: Quinnipiac (15-14, 11-6 Northeast); Long Island (16-13, 11-6)
Radio: WQUN-1220 AM
Video: NEC Front Row

What to look for
Scouting Long Island: The Blackbirds held off Sacred Heart in Thursday's crucial penultimate NEC game. The victory leaves the preseason favorites in a four-way tie for second place with Quinnipiac, Bryant and Wagner. A win today guarantees a home game in the first round of the tournament. Robert Morris has locked up the top seed. LIU is 10-4 at home and led by Jamal Olasewere averaging 18.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. Point guard Jason Brickman leads the nation in assists.
Scouting Quinnipiac: The Bobcats rebounded from a tough loss at Central Connecticut State to defeat St. Francis, N.Y., on Thursday. The victory kept Quinnipiac's chances of a No. 2 seed in the NEC tournament alive but they can finish as low as sixth in the regular-season standings with a loss. Quinnipiac beat LIU earlier in the season but the Blackbirds, who knocked Quinnipiac out of last season's NEC tournament played without its top players Olasawere and C.J. Garner. Quinnipiac has won seven of its last eight games and had four players reach double figures against SFNY led by Ike Azotam with 19.


Jefferson Lora

Where: Physical Education center, Reading, Pa.
When: 7 p.m.
Records: Albertus Magnus (24-4); Alvernia (23-4)

What to look for
Scouting Albertus Magnus: The Falcons are in the tournament for the third time in the last four year. In both of their previous trips they won their tournament opener but lost in the second round. Albertus is a veteran team with six seniors. Darius Watson leads the team in scoring at 23.3 ppg. while both Arshad Jackson and James Jennings are scoring over a dozen a game.
Scouting Alvernia: The Crusaders are making their eighth appearance in the championships and hosting for the first time since the 2002-03 season. Alvernia (23-4) used a 78-68 win over Lycoming on Saturday afternoon in the Commonwealth Conference Championship game to earn an automatic berth into the tournament. Like AMC, Alvernia is receiving votes in the D3 top 25 poll. Kahlil Bennett leads four Crusaders scoring over double figures at 14.3 ppg.

(Records before Friday's games)

Where: Newman Arena, Ithac, N.Y.
When: 7 p.m.
Records: Yale (11-15, 5-5 Ivy); Cornell (13-14, 5-5)

What to look for
Scouting Cornell: The Big Red won at Yale earlier in the season as Cornell raced out to an early 11-2 lead, withstood a Yale comeback and held on for a 68-61 victory on Feb. 15. The Bulldogs were hurt by poor foul shooting as they shot just 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from the line. Shonn Miller had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to pace Cornell and Johnathan Gray also scored 18. Miller is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Scouting Yale: Yale has placed fourth or better in league play in each of the last 12 years and is looking to finish with a winning league record for the third straight year and for the fifth time in the last seven years. The future certainly looks bright as well. There are seven freshmen or sophomores averaging at least 13.9 minutes per game, and players who return next year have scored 1,250 of Yale's 1,804 (69.3 percent) points. Yale's depth has played a big role in the success of this year's team. In the 10 league games, the Bulldogs' bench is averaging 28.3 points.

-- Bill Cloutier

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