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Full Court Press: A Little of This, A Little of That

The highly-anticipated point guard matchup between National Player of the Year Candidate Kris Dunn (New London, Ct) of the Providence Friars and Boston College’s Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J./St. Anthony, Jersey City) never materialized when the two teams clashed for the 110th time last Wednesday at THE DUNK in Providence. The Eagles entered the game stricken by a norovirus, which many of the players fell victim to after eating at a Chipotle near the BC campus.

The game was a disappointment as the Friars (9-1) held on to beat BC (3-6), 66-51. Carter led BC with 15 points while Dunn, who left the floor with flu-like symptoms before the end of the first half and never returned, was limited to four points. BC Coach Jim Christian (Bethpage, N.Y./ St. Dominic HS), now in his second year at the helm, has his hands full this season. Not only does Christian have to deal with the physical and mental effects of the gastrointestinal issue that has ripped through his team, but he also has a boatload of untested freshmen on his roster who can ill afford to lose precious practice time. The Eagles kick off their ACC schedule on January 2 with a date against Duke.

MAAC Musings

The MAAC got their season rolling last weekend with Iona and Saint Peter’s emerging as the early leaders with 2-0 records. The regular season race in the MAAC is always hotly-contested, however, this year could be one of the more competitive in recent memory. Remember, in the MAAC it’s always about the conference tournament, so the regular season is all about the seedings. Whoever peaks at the right time come March will punch their ticket to the big dance!

Iona’s All-American candidate, A.J. English (Wilmington, Del.) led Iona to their 2-0 start, averaging 31.0 points, 8.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks while posting a 60.6 percent field goal percentage including 65.2 percent from beyond the arc. English, who was named the ECAC Player of the Week, torched Fairfield for 46 points which tied the MAAC single-game scoring record.

Saint Peter’s Antwon Portley was named Rookie of the Week.

Can Monmouth do it again? Coach King Rice and his Hawks will have another shot to pick up a high quality, non-conference win when they play John Thompson III and his Georgetown Hoyas on Tuesday, December 15.

Ancient Eight

The Yale Bulldogs, led by Justin Sears, are the early favorites to retain their title in the Ivy League. The Elis, who are coming off a superb 22- 10 record last year (11-3 Ivy League), can expect challenges from Columbia, Princeton and Harvard. The Ivy League regular season schedule is arguably the most rigorous in college basketball.

What other D1 conference plays back-to-back games every weekend in the regular season? Got to love the Ivies!!!

Kudos to Brown University senior Cedric Kuakumensah (Worcester, MA) who became the greatest shot blocker in Ivy League history when he swatted away his 253rd career blocked shot last week against Georgetown.

Can they finish?

The UCONN Huskies have had a frustrating start to the non-conference portion of their 2015/16 season. Coach Kevin Ollie and his squad, who sport a 5-3 mark entering today’s contest with Ohio State (Gampel Pavillon, 12 noon, CBS) have struggled to close out games while losing to Syracuse, Gonzaga and most recently Maryland.

The Huskies are led by sophomore Daniel Hamilton in scoring (13.9), junior Rodney Purvis (13.8), and grad students Shonn Miller (12.1) and Sterling Gibbs (11.9). Gibbs previously played at Seton Hall and took advantage of the NCAA fifth-year rule which allows a student to transfer and play immediately. The Huskies will need to find a go-to guy at crunch time if they expect to challenge Cincinnati and SMU in the AAC.

Hall of Fame

Congratulations to the latest College Basketball Hall of Fame inductees – Lou Henson, Felton Gayles, Don Donoher, Charlie Scott, Ed Ratleff, Rolando Blackman, Quinn Buckner and one of my all-time favorites John “Hondo” Havlicek.

Just thinking

Will anyone challenge the UCONN Huskies women this year????

A little history

Last week marked the 119th year since the first college basketball game was played between Wesleyan and Yale. The final score was a 4-3 barn-burner!!!

Tip of the cap

A Full Court Press salute to the Eastern HS (Vorhees, N.J.) field hockey squad, who won their fourth consecutive New Jersey Tournament of Champions title, while finishing with a 27-0 record. They stretched their unbeaten streak to 133 games.

Keep shooting….

Follow Bob on Twitter for all the latest in college hoop happenings, game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob


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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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