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Full Court Press: Season Heating Up

I had a chance to check out a number of Tri-State players in person the other evening when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish paid a visit to Chestnut Hill, MA to face the Boston College Eagles.

I came away impressed, particularly with the play of Notre Dame junior Steve Vasturia (Medford, NJ/St. Joseph’s Prep) and freshman Matt Ryan (Cortlandt Manor, NY/Iona Prep).

Vasturia, one of four Irish team captains, has been one of Coach Mike Brey’s most dependable performers, having earned the start in 64 of the 79 games played in his career.

The BC contest marked his 59th consecutive start which is a team best.

Vasturia is averaging 12.2 ppg for the Irish and his 13 points (6 for 9 from the field) helped Notre Dame (10-4, 1-1 ACC) easily defeat BC 82-54.

Ryan, Mr. New York Basketball 2015, is making quite an impression in his freshman season for the Irish. One of Brey’s first player’s off the bench, Ryan scored a season-high 14 points vs. Loyola Chicago and hit for 11 points in 26 minutes of action against Iowa.

Ryan, a 6-foot 8 inch stretch forward, pumped in 9 points (3 for 4 shooting) in the win over BC while playing 22 quality minutes.

Ryan has a deft shooting touch and in time could be one of the most prolific scorers to lace ‘em up in South Bend.

Matt Farrell (Bridgewater, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach), a 6-foot 1-inch sophomore guard, is also seeing some time for the Irish.

For BC (7-8, 0-2 ACC), fifth year graduate transfer Eli Carter (Paterson, NJ/ Rutgers/Florida) had a rough go of it as Notre Dame’s All American candidate Demetrius Jackson limited BC’s leading scorer  to 13 points (4 of 14 from the field).

Speaking of Jackson, he is well worth the price of admission to get a look-see in person.

Jackson, a 6-foot 1-inch junior, is a dynamic performer with a powerful offensive arsenal (reminds me of Niagara University All American, NBA great and Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy) and lock-down defender.


Welcome back


Syracuse University Coach Jim Boeheim is back on the bench after sitting out a nine-game suspension for NCAA academic violations.

The Orange (10-6) will host North Carolina (14-2) in a sold out Carrier Dome on Saturday night at 8 p.m (ESPN).

When you think about it, how can the NCAA pull such a quick trigger on Boeheim and the Orange for academic violations, yet have yet to impose similar discipline on Roy Williams and the Tar Heels for what appear to be much more scandalous academic improprieties?

The Syracuse punishment resulted in a loss of 101 wins, a bunch of scholarships and Boeheim’s suspension.

And the Tar Heels….come on NCAA get moving!


Around and about


  • Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats have sent a message to the rest of the Big East that the road to the title still runs through, that’s right, Villanova, PA. The Wildcats spanked Xavier (95-64) and Creighton (85-61) while withstanding a challenge from Kevin Willard’s Seton Hall Pirate’s, 72-63.
  • Providence and Player of the Year candidate, Kris Dunn, were stunned at The Dunk by Marquette, 65-64. On Saturday, December 16, Seton Hall will travel to Providence for an important game with the Friars (Fox S1, 4:30 p.m). I will be there to check out the head-to-head matchup between the Pirate’s Isaiah Whitehead and Dunn.
  • How about that American Athletic Conference finish last night on ESPN between heavyweight’s SMU (14-0, 3-0 AAC) and Cincinnati (11-5, 1-2 AAC)? The Mustangs prevailed in the final moments, 59-57.
  • No. 23 UConn (10-4, 1-1 AAC) will look to rebound from their recent loss to the Temple Owls (7-6, 2-1 AAC) when they host Memphis (10-4, 1-0 AAC) at Gampel Pavillon on Saturday (ESPN2 7 p.m.). The Huskies junior guard Rodney Purvis was named AAC Player of the Week as he averaged 18 ppg in recent road wins at Texas and Tulane.
  • The Hofstra Pride dropped a tough CAA road loss to the College of Charleston last night, 72-61.
  • Joe Mihalich’s Pride was unable to hold onto a slim 37-35 lead at the half. They will finish off the two-game road trip Saturday against Elon.
  • Ivy League kick’s the season off Saturday with a game between rivals Penn and Princeton. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (Fox Sports1) from The Palestra. Both teams come into the game coming off victories. Princeton has won the last three games against the Quakers, though Penn leads the all-time series 124-108. In other action, Dartmouth and Harvard open Ivy League play on Saturday as well as the Crimson hosts the Big Green at 2 p.m.




Congratulations to Coach Fran Dunphy of the Temple Owls who became just the fifth coach in NCAA Division 1 history to record 200 wins at two separate D1 schools. Dunphy, who has coached at Penn and Temple, joins an elite club that includes Lou Henson (New Mexico, Illinois), Rick Pitino (Kentucky, Louisville), Eddie Sutton (Arkansas, Oklahoma State) and Roy Williams (Kansas, North Carolina).




Can’t overlook the latest inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame… You did it the right way, Ken Griffey, Jr and Mike Piazza…



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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