Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cornell is the "Best Team We've Played", Northern Iowa and Another Fun Night in the CAA

Another day, another Moore son is sick, thus dad is home again. Today it's Matthew and he has the same virus as Jonathan. He had a fever yesterday and started coughing a little today before I took him to the doctor. He had some chills now too. Hopefully now that he is sleeping, he will feel better. Thus for me, it's catching up on work e-mails and writing an article discussing yesterday's game.

I was watching highlights of the post game news conference with Kansas Coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks came back to beat Cornell 71-66. Self said "“No disrespect to anybody we’ve played. That’s the best team we’ve played, though." He can thank Sherron Collins for saving his team last night. Collins, who I think is the best guard in the country, scored 12 of his 33 points in the last seven minutes of the game.

And the Jayhawks know how good their opponents were, especially Cornell's Ryan Wittman, who had 24 points last night. Collins said "One time I had my hand on his (Wittman’s) nose, and he still made it. Wittman’s a terrific player. I told him that on the court.”

In yesterday's "Wednesday Night Preview", I talked about the two big Missouri Valley basketball games. Well, one was never close from the outset and the other looked to be the same way for a while. Northern Iowa is the best team in the Valley after they soundly defeated Southern Illinois on the Salukis home court 61-49. The Panthers were up by 16 at halftime and by as many as 25 in this game. Interesting stat of the game. Both teams only combined for 14 turnovers in the game. That's as many as UNCW seems to have in a half.

In the other Valley game of the night, Wichita State stormed out to a 25 point second half lead, 45-20 with seventeen and half minutes left. Missouri State then came all the way back and had a chance to tie on two Nafis Ricks free throw attempts with 12 seconds left. Ricks missed the second and the Bears had to foul. Thus Wichita State held on for a 65-62 win.

Now for the CAA. I was at Hofstra tweeting and blogging last night's 77-61 Pride win over the worst defensive team in the CAA, the Towson Tigers. As for the first 13 minutes of the game, as I noted in a blog posting last night, "If you like defense, this is not the game for you." And it wasn't. The score was 30 all with 8:18 left. The teams combined for EIGHTY field goal attempts in the first half alone. Compare that with the 83 combined field goal attempts for the entire game when Drexel beat Northeastern 49-47 earlier in the season.

The Pride ended the half on a 15-6 run. And it was all about the freshmen as Chaz Williams and Halil Kanacevic combined for 24 first half points.

At halftime, I think the Pride finally remembered that coming into the game they were first in the CAA in FG percentage defense. In the second half, the Pride limited Towson to 20 field goal attempts, of which Towson made 5, including 0 of 8 from beyond the arc (Towson did hit 15 of 18 from the charity stripe). Meanwhile, Hofstra shot nearly 50 percent (13 of 27) from the field and cruised to their ninth victory of the season, 2-2 in the CAA. Towson suffered their tenth loss in thirteen games and are now 0-4 in the CAA.

The good news for Hofstra - Kanacevic had a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 8 of 14 from the field. Williams had 16 points on 4 of 4 shooting from beyond the arc (Williams is now shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc and 40 percent now overall). The bad news for Hofstra - Charles Jenkins is still struggling. He had 13 points but was only 5 of 13 from the field. Williams had 7 turnovers and from once was a terrific assist to turnover ratio of 3-1 at the beginning of the season has dropped now to 1.4 to 1. Greg Washington, as Jerry Beach so aptly puts it, is invisible. 2 points in 13 minutes. He had 6 rebounds but he seems to be out to lunch as far as on the defensive end and Beach is again correct, as he would rather camp out for the jumper than post up.

As for Towson, first, Pat Kennedy was not on the bench, due to serving a mandatory one game CAA suspension for being ejected in Monday's night loss to Old Dominion. Tieff and I wondered if Pat was driving the bus for the team last night. God knows they needed to warm up the bus once there was 7:11 left in the game and the Pride were up 17. They are the worse defensive team I have seen in person this year. It's sad because Robert Nwankwo 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks and Calvin Lee 17 points deserve better. But the Tigers seem destined for the cellar in the CAA. It was probably for the best that Kennedy didn't see the carnage last night.

If I told you before yesterday that Drexel would be 3-1 going into today and VCU, the defending CAA champ would be 1-3, would you have made me play VCU's Kirill Pishchalnikov in a one on one game (if you read this column, I have often said that Pishchalnikov is Russian for five fouls)? Well, first, I wouldn't have because I didn't believe it myself. And second, I bruise easily. But the Dragons survived a late Ram comeback and won at the DAC 75-72.

This was due in large part...wait for it...the Dragons three point shooting. Yes, the team that is next to last in scoring offense in the CAA shot 10 of 17 from beyond the arc. Chris Fouch and Gerald Colds combined to shoot 9 of 13 from three and scored 38 points. Combine that with double figure scoring from Jamie Harris (15 points) and Samme Givens (14 points) and you had 67 of Drexel's 75 points.

Drexel was up most of the game but VCU rallied to within two points and had a chance to tie with 13 seconds left. But Larry Sanders missed one of two free throws (sound familiar Missouri State fans) and VCU had to foul and thus the final score.

VCU's Bradford Burgess had a career high 30 points on 9 of 14 shooting and 9 of 9 from the line. Sanders had 15, but really needed that sixteenth point that escaped him and had four blocks. The Rams were also a dreadful 4 of 16 from beyond the arc.

Now as I was writing this, I did my daily reading of my favorite web sites and Kyle has an article about last night's game vs Drexel, but really Drexel in particular, since he went there. Kyle has learned that they have got a better student section now than when he was there (and it really started in 2004 or so when I first started going to those Hofstra - Drexel games..well actually wars - see #11 on my Baker's Dozen Live List of the Past Decade). Kyle goes further into the article about the CAA and I hope to talk more about this in a later post.

William and Mary are considering changing there mascot name from the Tribe to the Houdini, cause that's how they win in the CAA. Down seven with 20 seconds left in overtime, the Tribe nailed three 3 pointers during that span, the last of which by David Schneider with 3 seconds left to give the Mary a 74-73 win over Delaware. The Blue Hens contributed to the comeback with a turnover and Alphonso Dawson only hitting one of two free throws.

The Tribe got Schneider "off the scheid" as he scored 26 points on 9 of 15 shooting including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. Jawan Carter had another very good game for Delaware as he had 27 points including 6 of 12 from beyond the arc and a perfect 5 for 5 from the line. Dawson added 19 as Delaware shot 12 of 26 from beyond the arc.

All four Mary games have been decided by a point. That's called living on the edge.

Old Dominion (3-1 CAA) survived a James Madison team (1-3 CAA) that is looking more like a MASH unit every day now that Andrei Semenyov has joined Devon Moore in being out for the season. Despite Julius Wells going off for 29 points, ODU held on for a 74-72 win over JMU last night at the Constant Center. Wells was unreal for the Jukes, shooting 10 of 16 overall including 7 of 12 from beyond the arc. His partner in crime, Denzel Bowles had 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. The problem was the rest of the team was 9 of 28 from the field.

Meanwhile ODU had four scorers in double figures led by Kent Bazemore's 19 points on 9 of 11 shooting. Gerald Lee and Frank Hassell each scored 14 while Keyon Carter added 13. The Monarchs may want to consider scrapping altogether their horrible three point shooting. ODU went 2 of 15 from beyond the arc while shooting 29 of 49 from the rest of the field (over 58 percent). ODU and JMU are tied for ninth now in three point shooting (3o percent).

Finally, UNCW is on a little bit of a roll. The Seahawks won their second consecutive CAA game defeating Georgia State 57-50. Give UNCW credit, they played terrific D, holding the Panthers to 32 percent shooting, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. Joe Dukes had 21 points but GSU's leading scorer, Trae Goldston had only 2 points on 1 of 6 shooting.

Meanwhile, John Fields had a double double with 13 points, 16 rebounds and added 3 blocks for UNCW (2-2 CAA). The Seahawks again had another terrific rebounding effort, outrebounding the Panthers 46-36. Georgia State is now also 2-2 in the conference.

That leaves tonight's game, undefeated in the CAA George Mason (3-0 CAA) vs. Northeastern (2-1 CAA), the hottest team in the CAA having won five in a row. Mason has gone undefeated despite being next to last in the CAA in rebounding margin and assists. Northeastern is third in the CAA in FG percentage at 44.6.

NU's Chaisson Allen has been on fire, ever since Litos called him out. In his last three games, Allen is 15 of 28 from the field including 10 of 19 from beyond the arc and an assist to turnover ratio of 2.2 to 1.

Meanwhile, Ryan Pearson has been the bomb for Mason in their last two games, averaging 17 points on 13 of 26 shooting. He was a man child against Hofstra, scoring 16 second half points helping the Patriots comeback for the win. Pearson will have to face the Manny Adako- Nnem Ojougboh duo.


  1. Love the coverage of the CAA. Tough loss for my Dukes, but Bowles and Wells are legit. Now if JMU could just find someone else to score...

  2. UNI is on a roll. 12 straight wins. The depth that the Panthers have is unreal. Most Northern Iowa teams (in the past) have been 5-6 guys that take most of the minutes and they wear down towards the end of the season. Not this one.

    Should see them in the Top 25 this week.

    It brings up the question. With teams like UNI, Creighton, Wichita State, Southern Illinois, etc -- and combine in the large attendence numbers --I really don't think you can consider the MVC a mid major anymore.