Bucknell 69, St. Joseph's 62 (story)
- This was the second straight win over the top half of the RPI for Bucknell ( Niagara
last Wednesday), so I'm as ready as anyone to join the chorus of those who would give them the Patriot League crown before it's actually awarded. Most importantly, this will likely keep them from having to make an extra trip to Dayton for the Tournament play-in game. A 17-6 run in the opening minutes of the second half, as well as blistering 63% shooting against a loose St. Joseph's defense, lifted Bucknell to victory. Bison junior guard Kevin Bettencourt went wild (you thought I was going to say "buck," didn't you) for 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, and 6-11 Chris McNaughton dominated Hawk bigman Dwayne Jones down low.
So wither St. Joe's, who lost for the first time at home in two seasons, and lost for the first time against Bucknell since 1979? "They don't know what's wrong, and so they don't know how to fix it," head Hawk Phil Martelli told
the Philadelphia Inquirer
. "It's bewildering to everybody." Well, call it the Curse Of The Hawk
then - this is a team that will have to run plays after several years of relying upon an on-court magician's creativity, one that will constantly have its inside shortcomings exposed (a weakness nobody really punished them for last year, except for Xavier
in the A-10 tourney), and one that will likely suffer such a dramatic dropoff as to nullify any recruiting bounce from last year's Elite Eight run.Gonzaga 78, Oklahoma State 75 (story)
- Televised college basketball coverage often reminds me of the Transformers I played with as a kid. Bear with me here. The way talking heads get when they're worked up about teams ("They do it all! Defense! Offense! Transition play!") is a lot like sandbox smack-talk - you'd think there was more than meets the eye, perhaps that the players are even robots in disguise.
So welcome Zag-Tron, the coolest Christmas toy ever. Listening to the ESPN wags fall all over themselves about how "real" Gonzaga is made me wish for a voice-activated mute button. Yes, they're for "real" and they've beaten a lot of good teams lately - but can we at least talk about how bad they've looked against athletic, swarming defenses like Illinois
? How they couldn't solve the triple-team on Ronny Turiaf against Washington State
? Just for a second? They could become even better than they are now, and that's scary.
And in the interest of devilish advocation, here are a few things to slightly curb one's enthusiasm about this result: when faced with solid halfcourt D, OSU too often jacked up threes like a frightened Tournament 14-seed (31 in all, 9 fell); the 'Pokes put the "olé" back in "defense"; and Gonzaga had better hope that starting point guard Derek Raivio lives long and prospers. How do the Zags spell Achilles heel? "Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes."Central Connecticut State 80, Santa Clara 68 (story)
- Never good to lose the first-round game of your own tournament, especially since hosting gives you the privilege of hand-picking your opponent. At the Cable Car Classic, the Broncos paid the price for skipping over Yale
and got thumped by hot-shooting CCSU of the NEC - despite a sterling effort by Deron Perkins (27 points, 11-for-18, 6 boards). Blue Devil Obie Nwadike, who excelled in the game I was at
, had 20 for a team that shot 62% on the night. Former MMBOW Travis Niesen
had 10 for Santa Clara.
So let's check in with the early-season darlings of the WCC. Former North Carolina
-vanquishers Santa Clara are now 7-6, and St. Mary's
has been galumphing along with ten-point wins over vastly inferior competition since beating California
at the Coaches vs. Cancer thingy. San Francisco
(who blew out the Joe-Hawks two weeks ago when that was still considered somewhat impressive) lurks in the shadows
, but they're likely a season away from presenting a serious challenge to the Zags as they adapt to a new coach's system. How much fun is it to play in this league these days if you're not Gonzaga? Probably as much fun as it was being a Pac-10 team in the late 60's if you weren't UCLA.
In keeping with the Holiday (Festival) spirit, College Hoops Net recently talked with Columbia
head man Joe Jones. Janet Paskin, TMM's new favorite journalist, says the Lions are recapturing their roar.
They gave N.C. State
a tight game last night before a late Wolfpack burst (with All-Everything Julius Hodge on the bench) put them away. Final score: 84-74
I am becoming increasingly convinced that I'm the only person left on earth that hasn't yet spoken with Ronnie Arrow. The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
coach, whose team demolished Alcorn State
last night 85-41
, was "dressed down" by Basketball Times'
Angela Lento a while back and the article's been released to the Interweb
We love Bruiser Flint. Not only does he coach my old school, Drexel
, he's one of the few helmsmen who can get away with standing on the three-point line while play is in progress at the other end. Bruiser makes a point about the importance of making plays down the stretch
whilst waxing poetic about the San Diego Chargers. Yes, writers are like weavers - we spin together yarns of varying hues and textures and sturdinesses, and we often get away with anything we damn well please.