Welcome back and happy 2010. Here is hoping all enjoyed their time with family and friends. When finals are over, most students are long gone and hard to find. The same can and can’t be said for the hoopsters.
Some programs budget for trips away from New England, whether it be to the West Coast or Florida or anywhere in between. Usually, the schools will make these trips every other year or so, depending on department and program budgets. Here are a few highlights of some programs that traveled over the holidays.
The Bowdoin men traveled to North Miami, Fla., and came away with a 64-61 win over Johnson and Wales. Williams split down in Virginia at Randolph Macon, losing to the host school. Plymouth State traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla., and played in the Chuck Daly Classic, which is named after the late Pistons head coach and the coach of the one and only Olympic Dream Team. UMass Dartmouth played in the ECAC Holiday Invitational in Orlando, Fla., and Rivier traveled out to Pasadena, Calif., to play Cal Tech. I have to admit, seeing the Rose Bowl would have been highlight enough for me.
The women also did some traveling of their own. Tufts went 2-0 down in Daytona Beach, Fla. Across town, Trinity (Conn.) played and also went 2-0. Emmanuel went to Cal Lutheran and went 2-0, highlighted by a win over No. 17 Messiah. The Emerson men and women went to California to play two games each. The trip was also highlighted with meeting many alumni who are making their mark in Hollywood and a trip to a taping of The Price is Right. It'd be interesting to find out if any players were told to “come on down.”
The highlight of the holiday travel season goes to the Worcester State women’s team. The ladies went clear across the pond to play two games in Italy. They split the two games, but I am sure the memories on and off the court will last forever. Now that the trips are over, it is time to get back into the groove of classes and dorm life — and of course, conference schedules.
Some early second-semester milestones: Becker’s Trey Jacobs on Jan. 9 scored his 1,000th point against Southern Vermont. Also in that game, Southern Vermont’s Joe Karnik equaled Jacobs by joining the 1,000-point club. Becker won the game 83-79
Allison Cappelloni became the 13th member of the Colby Women’s 1,000-point club on Jan. 9 in a win over Husson .
Two coaches reached victory milestones. Springfield men’s coach Charlie Brock recorded his 400th win on Jan. 9 with a 69-61 win over Coast Guard Academy, while Worcester State’s Dave Lindberg won his 200th game with a 72-54 win over Salve Regina.
A special mention in the milestone section goes to Carolyn Freeman of St. Joseph’s (Maine). On Jan. 3 against Skidmore at Bowdoin, Freeman joined the 1,000-point club. What is so special? She joins her mother Linda — class of 1981 — on the Monks' list. They become the first mother-daughter 1,000-point scorers in St. Joseph’s history.
Games of the week
Men: Those who follow rivalries know that Williams vs. Amherst rates right up there in New England. The football game is a must-see if you ever get the chance. These top-notch academic institutions also have top-notch basketball programs. Add to the mix that both were ranked heading into the game (Amherst No. 9, Williams No. 11) and you have the makings of a classic. They did not disappoint.
Williams jumped out to a 43-30 lead at the half and held off Amherst’s rally, as the 11th-ranked Ephs knocked off Amherst 72-69. The sequel to this year’s battle royale will be in Amherst on Feb. 12.
Women: I had a couple of other games I was going to use here, but then I would be cheating Andrea Bailey of Wheaton. Bailey knocked down a shot in regulation with 10 seconds left to force OT against WPI. Then, as time was expiring in the extra frame, Bailey heaved a 40-footer that banked in, giving Wheaton a 64-63 win over WPI. How is that for a start to the NEWMAC conference schedule?
As always, please send any news, milestones or stories firstname.lastname@example.org. I have just two eyes and ears, and there are so many programs in New England. Help make New England basketball the exciting sport that it is.