A HOOPS WINTER BLOG: College roundball in the basketball-crazed DMV
TOWSON PLAYS TODAY IN CAA
March 5, 2016
BALTIMORE - Drexel blew a 17-point lead but came back to beat Elon while College of Charleston beat Delaware on Friday as the CAA tourney began on Friday. Local team Towson will play Saturday night against Northeastern, the defending tourney champ.
CAA TOURNEY BEGINS TODAY
March 4, 2016
BALTIMORE - Once more, with feeling perhaps? The CAA men's tourney will end a three-year run in Baltimore when the event begins today. Next year the tourney will head to Charleston, South Carolina - where it should not snow the first weekend of March! The CAA title game is Monday and William & Mary is still looking for that first-ever trip to March Madness.
A FITTING SENIOR NIGHT
March 3, 2016
COLLEGE PARK - Jake Layman had 18 points in his final regular-season home game as Maryland beat Illinois here on Thursday. Layman is from suburban Boston but has relatives who live in Bel Air, Maryland. Some of them were on hand as he was honored before the game.
A BIG WIN FOR MASON
March 3, 2016
RICHMOND - The Dayton women's program has advanced to the past six NCAA tournaments. That won't happen this year, as the Flyers have been bugged by injuries. But it was still a big win for George Mason as the Patriots beat Dayton on Thursday at the Atlantic 10 tourney by a score of 66-62 after watching a lead of 14 points with 9:21 left in the game slim away. Mason is now 12-18 and will face No. 1 seed George Washington on Friday.
IT'S TOURNEY TIME
March 1, 2016
BALTIMORE - The conference tourney season begins today and Loyola of Baltimore is hosting Holy Cross in a rematch of last year's tourney event. Last season it was No. 9 Loyola at No. 8 Holy Cross. This year Loyola is the No. 8 seed - the hosts won both regular-season games against HC. Holy Cross won and then upset No. 1 seed Bucknell on Thursday.
IS LONGWOOD BETTER THAN VILLANOVA?
Feb. 27, 2016
WASHINGTON - It has been another crazy year in college hoops. Consider: Longwood entered day with an RPI of 334 out of 351 Division I schools. But the Lancers won today over Radford 92-81 to improve to 9-22 overall. Earlier this season Radford beat Georgetown, and Georgetown beat Xavier and Xavier beat Villanova. The Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 and were second in the RPI rankings before games began today. For good measure Maryland-Baltimore County began today at 337 on the RPI rankings and the Retrievers beat Longwood earlier this season. So does that mean Longwood and UMBC are better than Villanova?
GW: WHAT HOMECOURT EDGE?
Feb. 27, 2016
WASHINGTON - George Washington entered this week with a record of 39-5 at home since the start of the 2013-14 season, the best mark in the Atlantic 10. But the Colonials lost for the third time in five home games here Saturday as VCU prevailed 69-65 thanks to a 3-pointer with just under a minute left by Jordan Burgess that gave the Rams the lead. The loss could keep GW out of the post-season NCAA tourney if it does not win the conference tourney in New York next month. GW has now lost to Richmond, Saint Joe's and VCU at home in less than a month. "This really hurts" our NCAA hopes, said GW head coach Mike Lonergan. GW will play its regular season home finale on Tuesday against George Mason, which beat VCU on Wednesday.
MORGAN STATE PLAYS SPOILER
Feb. 24, 2016
BALTIMORE - Visiting Norfolk State entered the game tonight at Morgan State in third place in the MEAC standings. But the host Bears led 42-28 at halftime as Andre Horne has 13 points, and won 89-72 as Horne ended up with 18. Morgan State had lost five games in a row before winning Monday. Kyle Thomas of Owings Mills, Md. had 16 points off the bench for Morgan State. It was the third game in five days for Norfolk State, but guard D'Shon Taylor (20 points, 10 rebounds) said after the game that was no excuse. The Spartans made just two of 18 shots from 3-point range and coach Robert Jones said "selfish shooting" was part of the downfall. Jones spoke to his team for nearly one hour after the game in the basement of Hill Field House before taking the bus back to Norfolk.
HOWARD HOSTS S.C. STATE
Feb. 22, 2016
WASHINGTON - I'm in northwest DC tonight for a doubleheader - hoops that is. Howard hosts South Carolina State, with the women's game slated to tip off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men's game. The men of S.C. State are near the top of the MEAC standings at 10-3 while the Howard men are 5-7 in conference play. Howard features guard James Daniel III, a product of Hampton, Va., who is the top scorer in Division I men's at 27.7 points per contest. The Howard women are having a tough season under first-year head coach Ty Grace, with an overall mark of 6-19 and a record of 3-9 in the MEAC. The Howard coaching staff has a local look, with head coach and D.C. native Kevin Nickelberry, associate head coach Keith Coutreyer of Laurel, Md., and assistant coach Travis Lyons, a former standout at DeMatha Catholic and Manhattan.
TERPS BOUNCE BACK WITH WIN
Feb. 21, 2016
COLLEGE PARK - No. 6 Maryland made 18 turnovers, seven by point guard Melo Trimble, but still won 86-82 here on Sunday against Michigan. The Terps led by 16 in the first half before the Wolverines came back and took the lead late in the second half. "I think it just started with our defense," Michigan reserve Kameron Chatman said of the comeback. "We just blocked out on defense and got out in transition. At the end of the day they were just focused. There were a couple of plays that didn't go our way."
HOYAS' NCAA HOPES TAKE HIT
Feb. 20, 2016
WASHINGTON - Xavier freshman Edmond Sumner made just two of 12 shots in a loss at home last month to Georgetown. But here on Saturday he had a career-high 22 points and the No. 8 visitors won 88-70 as the Hoyas fell to 14-14 overall and 7-8 in Big East play. "He was very hard to defend in the second half," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of Sumner, who made all 9 of his free throws. Xavier will host No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday while fading Georgetown hosts Butler on Feb. 27.
PEAK FINE WITH BENCH ROLE
Feb. 16, 2016
WASHINGTON - Georgetown sophomore L.J. Peak said today before practice he is comfortable coming off the bench. And why not - he has scored in double figures in eight games in a row heading into the Wednesday home game with Seton Hall. Peak, who played for the U-19 national team last summer, is now second on the team in scoring. He had 17 points and 8 rebounds at Seton Hall on Feb. 6.
PAULSEN HOPES TO HAVE MOORE
Feb. 15, 2016
WASHINGTON - George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen told me today that he hopes to have junior guard Marquise Moore back on the floor for a home game against St. Louis this week. "We hope to have him back by Wednesday," Paulsen said on the weekly conference call for coaches of the Atlantic 10. Moore has missed the last three games with an ankle sprain, but the Patriots won at home without him on Saturday against Davidson. Moore has started all of the 22 games he has played and leads Mason in points per game at 12.3 per contest. The Patriots are 9-16 overall and 3-9 in the Atlantic 10 in the first season under Paulsen.
George Washington, which lost Saturday at St. Bonaventure, plays Wednesday at Duquesne and will try to snap a two-game losing streak after winning at VCU Feb. 6. Coach Mike Lonergan said on the GW radio network Saturday that the team's flight to New York was cancelled on Friday and the Colonials had to endure a long bus ride to upstate New York. That has been the least of their problems. "We have to improve our team defense," Lonergan said Monday.
BADGERS UPSET NO. 2 TERPS
Feb. 13, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Wisconsin was unranked but the Badgers beat No. 2 Maryland to most loose balls and shot well enough from 3-point range to beat the Terps here Saturday, 70-57. Maryland had won 27 home games in a row and it was first home loss in Big Ten play since the Terps joined the conference.
STONY BROOK WINS AT UMBC
Feb. 11, 2016
BALTIMORE - Stony Brook won its 17th game in a row - the longest streak in the nation - with an easy 75-52 victory over UMBC on Wednesday night. The Seawolves led by 20 at halftime and by 34 points with a few minutes to go. Stony Brook is now three games ahead of Albany with four games to play in America East Conference action. "We know how to win on the road," said Stony Brook senior Jameel Warney, the two-time AEC player of the year who had 22 points. The school from New York is now 10-4 on the road this season. Jairus Lyles, the DeMatha High grad who transferred from VCU, had 13 points to lead UMBC but he made just three of 17 shots from the field. Baltimore native Rodney Elliott also starts for UMBC and he had two points. Here is my story from Newsday in New York:
ST. JOE'S WINS AT GW
Feb. 10, 2016
WASHINGTON - GW entered the game 12-1 at home. Saint Joseph's came to Foggy Bottom 8-0 on the road. So it was the road warrior theme that prevailed as the Hawks led nearly the entire way in a matchup of possible bubble teams. The Hawks will play every regular-season game on East Coast time and have now won true road games in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and D.C. Hawks head coach Phil Martelli, walking back to the lockerroom, called it the best road win of the year. "Something special," he said of just five turnovers in the 84-66 win.
MARYLAND TAKES CARE OF BOWIE STATE
Feb. 9, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, MD - It is only about 13 miles from College Park to the campus of Bowie State University. The Bulldogs made the trip this afternoon to face the Terps, who are ranked No. 2 in the country. It was the the first regular-season meeting between the two schools, and the Terps prevailed 93-62 after a sluggish start.
Maryland, Oklahoma and Kansas are the only schools to be ranked in the top 10 all-season long. "They play the same way and that is what championship teams do. They play hard, they play smart, they play through any adversity at all. And they play together. I think that is a team that could be in the Final Four," said Bowie State head coach Darrell Brooks, a former assistant at American, George Mason and George Washington.
MARYLAND DOWNS PURDUE
Feb. 6, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, MD - The No. 4 Terps beat No. 18 Purdue today in a Big Ten contest as Rasheed Sulaimon had 21 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Robert Carter, Jr. had 19 points.
GW GETS BIG WIN OVER DAVIDSON
Feb. 3, 2016
WASHINGTON - George Washington got a big victory at home Wednesday as the Colonials got to the foul line 17 times in the second half to win 79-69. GW improved to 17-5 overall and 6-3 in the Atlantic 10 and will play at VCU on Saturday. GW stayed tied for fourth in the conference after St. Bonaventure upset third-place Saint Joseph's on Wednesday.
AMERICAN HOLDS OFF HOLY CROSS
Feb. 1, 2016
WASHINGTON - With 8:30 left in the first half Holy Cross had, of course, five players on the court against American. And none of them had scored a point in the game at Bender Arena. The score was 11-6 American about a minute later in a very ugly first half. The Eagles went on to win 58-45 as Jesse Reed had 16 points. It was the fourth win in a row for American, which improved to 6-15 overall and 4-6 in the Patriot League.
GW WINS RIVALRY GAME OVER MASON
Jan. 31, 2016
FAIRFAX, VA - George Washington, already on the NCAA tourney bubble, will face VCU and Davidson twice before regular-season plays ends - not to mention Saint Joseph's. So the Colonials couldn't afford a slipup here Sunday against George Mason. GW led by 10 with 9:37 left and held on for a 76-70 win over the Patriots before an energetic crowd of 5,168. GW improved to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic 10 while Mason fell to 7-14, 1-7 before a national TV audience and the conference commissioner. "Thank God we are experienced," said GW coach Mike Lonergan, who saw senior guard Joe McDonald foul out in just 14 minutes of playing time. GW hosts Davidson on Wednesday. "We will be ready for a good Davidson team," said Lonergan, who grew up in Bowie, Md.
DUNN AND PROVIDENCE COME CALLING
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016
WASHINGTON - It has been a good week for top teams to visit the DMV. After No. 3 Iowa was here Thursday to face No. 8 Maryland, No. 10 Providence and guard Kris Dunn visited the nation's capital tonight to play at Georgetown. Dunn is picked as the No. 4 selection in the NBA draft, according to www.draftexpress.com, and he showed his worth with 26 points. Dunn spent part of his youth in Alexandria, Va.
TERPS GET A BIG WIN
COLLEGE PARK, Md. No. 8 Maryland had four players score in double figures and the Terps hit just enough free throws down the stretch to beat Iowa here on Thursday. The Terps play Sunday at Ohio State.
A GOOD WEEK FOR HOOPS
Monday, Jan. 25, 2016
WASHINGTON - While the plows get rid of the snow - we had about 20 inches here less than a mile from the nation's capital - this is shaping up to be a very good week of college hoops in the DMV. No. 3 Iowa, with its highest ranking in 29 years, plays Thursday at No. 8 Maryland. The same night GW hosts Richmond as both teams play for their post-season lives. Then on Saturday, Georgetown will host No. 10 Providence. For good measure West Virginia is No. 9 this week and Virginia is No. 11.
And for those Division III fans, Susquehanna is ranked No. 12 this week and plays Wednesday at Catholic University.
A SNOWY DAY IN FOGGY BOTTOM
Friday, Jan. 22, 2016
WASHINGTON - The snow began to fall during the George Mason at GW women's game that began at noon here. By the time the Rhode Island at GW men's game began at 3:05 p.m. in Foggy Bottom, the intersection of 22nd and F streets just outside of the Smith Center was covered. GW fell behind by 18 points in the first half but came back to win 62-58 to keep its NCAA hopes alive. URI coach Dan Hurley was not a happy camper, as GW shot 30 free throws while his team took just 11. “They punched us in the mouth first,” said GW forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who had 13 points and 10 boards. “We just made the right decisions down the stretch.” Then there was the challenge of getting back to Rhode Island - the team took the train from Union Station and arrived about 8 a.m. on Saturday in Rhode Island, according to a team spokesman.
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, MD - The No. 7 Terps remained perfect at home in Big 10 play with an overtime win against Northwestern.
Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, MD - With Maryland governor Larry Hogan on hand, the Terps improved to 10-0 at home Saturday afternoon against Ohio State. Maryland, ranked No. 3 in the country, was coming off a loss Tuesday at Michigan.
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016
FAIRFAX, VA - There were several NBA scouts at George Mason tonight, including Oakland-based LaMont Peterson of the Golden State Warriors. They were on hand to see DeAndre Bembry of Saint Josephs, who is listed at No. 41 on the mock draft by www.draftexpress.com. But the Hawks have another good one in Baltimore County product Isaiah Miles, a senior forward who had 26 points and 10 rebounds in an 87-73 win over Mason. Bembry finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but Miles leads the team in scoring, rebounds and three-pointers after he lost 20 pounds since last year. "I can play longer minutes. I feel more explosive when I jump. It was a great addition to my game to lose all of that weight," he said in the Hawks lockerroom after they improved to 3-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016
TOWSON, MARYLAND - UNCW men's basketball coach Kevin Keatts is no stranger to the DMV. He is a native of Lynchburg, Va., played four years at Division III Ferrum in southwest Virginia and has his degree from Marshall. He was the coach of the year in the CAA last season after serving as an assistant at Louisville, and his team lost tonight at Towson.
Wed, Jan. 6, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Former Wizards head coach and District native Eddie Jordan returns to the area tonight as his Rutgers team plays at No. 3 Maryland. Jordan joked on Monday that guard Melo Trimble and freshman center Diamond Stone of Maryland should turn pro after this season as to help his Rutgers squad. Then again Jordan may not have been joking too much after the Terps led by as much as 40 points and easily beat Rutgers.
Wednesday, Dec. 30
A FIVE-STAR DIAMOND
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Freshman center Diamond Stone of Maryland had his coming out party here against Penn State, as he scored an amazing 32 points in the second half and 39 overall to set a freshman record for Terps. Oh, and he came off the bench and was the only Maryland reserve to score.
Tuesday, Dec. 22
A NEW STAR FOR GEORGE MASON
FAIRFAX, VA. - Before hosting Longwood here on Dec. 19, Mason freshman DeAndre Abram of Texas had scored 46 points in 11 games this season. But after a win over Longwood and then here against Wagner on Tuesday, the 6-foot-7 guard had accumulated 51 points in those two wins for first-year head coach Dave Paulsen. Abram has certainly taken advantage of his opportunity, as post player Shevon Thompson has been bothered by a foot injury and did not play against Longwood and was limited to 18 minutes against Wagner.
Saturday, Dec. 12
WASHINGTON - George Washington whipped Rutgers here in Foggy Bottom and with two straight wins against the Big 10 the Colonials have moved into the top 25 of the AP poll for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Tuesday, Dec. 8
THE JIMMY V CLASSIC
NEW YORK - It has been 31 years since No. 10 Virginia has faced No. 14 West Virginia in mens hoops. They are doing so tonight, not in Charlottesville or Morgantown but at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And something has to give: the Cavaliers lead the nation in the lowest amount of turnovers per game (less than eight) while WVU forces the most turnovers. The Cavaliers had 11 turnovers in the first half and trailed 36-30 before coming back to win. Maryland beat UConn in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic and I saw a familiar face while leaving MSG at 1 a.m. - UConn assistant Karl Hobbs, the former head coach at George Washington.
Wednesday, Dec. 2
FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE
TOWSON, MARYLAND - About five or 10 years ago a game between George Mason and Towson would have been a great matchup in the CAA. But this is the third season in the Atlantic 10 for Mason, which is picked to finish near the bottom. And Towson is now a middle of the pack team in the CAA a few years removed from contender status. Towson won 75-54 after trailing by nine points in the first half. Tigers head coach Pat Skerry called the second half the best half of the season by his team as the Tigers outscored Mason 45-26.
Among the fans at the game is Jai Lewis, a member of the Mason starting lineup during the 2006 Final Four run. Lewis told me during the first half that he played overseas for six years and now lives in the Rosedale area near Baltimore.
Friday, Nov. 27
MARYLAND STAYS UNBEATEN
COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - The Terps remained unbeaten as Jared Nickens came off the bench to score 16 points in a win over Cleveland State.
Tuesday, Nov. 24
JMU HOSTS CROSSTOWN FOE EMU
HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA - Division I James Madison beat Division III Eastern Mennonite 106-74 tonight in the first meeting between the schools since Dec. 9, 1975. The Dukes won that game, 95-67, and featured Sherman Dillard, who would be a sixth-round draft pick of the Indiana Pacers in 1978.
EMU head coach Kirby Dean is no stranger to the Division I level, as a long-time assistant coach down I-81 at VMI in Lexington. EMU has won two of 10 games against JMU in the series. The first win came in 1973 at EMU under head coach Roland Landes, who was in attendance at the game at JMU on Tuesday. The Dukes coach in that 1973 game was Lou Campanelli, who later became the head coach at California and a scout in the NBA with New Jersey and Cleveland. He has just come out with a book about taking JMU to the Division I level in the 1970s.
The JMU-EMU game featured one Harrisonburg native (Khalil Davis of EMU, who had 11 points) while JMU has two players from Serbia and one each from Lithuania, Haiti and New Zealand. Serbian Dimitrije Cabarkapa had 27 points for JMU. "It was the right time, it was the right place," JMU coach Matt Brady said of playing EMU.
GW BEATS OTHER GW, NOW 5-0
Tuesday, Nov. 24
WASHINGTON - Maryland (3-0), a few miles to the north, is ranked No. 2 in the country. Georgetown (1-3), a few miles to the west, beat Wisconsin and played tough against Duke and Maryland. But it is George Washington at 5-0 that has the best record in the area after a blowout 94-65 win in a day game against another GW - Gardner-Webb of the Big South. The Colonials, who beat Virginia last week, received votes in the AP poll this week after beating Army at home on Sunday night as coach Mike Lonergan got his 450th career win. Lonergan won a national title at Division III Catholic. The Colonials won Tuesday as Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh had 20 points. “I felt it was a good fit for me. It has been a good transition,” said Cavanaugh, who was recruited by Vermont when Lonergan was the head coach there.
Tuesday, Nov. 17
A LONG-AWAITED REMATCH
COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - The place was rocking on Tuesday night as No. 3 Maryland hosted Georgetown. It was the first game between the two schools in College Park since 1973 and the first game in the DMV between the teams since 1993, when the Terps won in overtime in Landover, Maryland on a last-second shot by guard Duane Simpkins. "There was not a lot of time left on the clock. In a perfect world you would get the ball to Joe Smith," said former DeMatha High star Simpkins, now in his first season as an assistant coach at George Mason University of the Atlantic 10. Smith, the former Maryland star from Virginia, was in attendance as the Terps beat the Hoyas.
GW UPSETS WILLING FOE UVA
Monday, Nov. 16
WASHINGTON - George Washington head coach Mike Lonergan praised the coaching on Tony Bennett, the head mentor at Virginia. Lonergan also praised the fact that Bennett was even willing to schedule this game in Foggy Bottom, where the Colonials pulled off an upset over the No. 6 team in the country.
UNC COMES TO THE DMV
Friday, Nov. 13
ANNAPOLIS - The No. 1 team in the country played here on the first night of the season but it was not against Navy, the host for the Veterans Classic. The Tar Heels of North Carolina got past Temple in the first game before Florida knocked off Navy in the second game of the one-day event. But perhaps the best performance of the night came at halftime by uniformed Navy Midshipmen, whose precision with their guns (not loaded, I hope) was an impressive and not a sound came from the fans who watched.
David Driver is a native of Harrisonburg, Virginia and played baseball at Turner Ashby High and Eastern Mennonite College (now University). He graduated from EMC in 1985 with a degree in English and a minor in journalism. He has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for nearly 25 years and was the first sports editor of the daily Baltimore Examiner and for nearly 10 years was also the sports editor of Laurel (Md.) Leader, now part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He is now a full-time free-lance writer and is the main correspondent for The Sports Xchange, a national content provider for UPI/Reuters, in the coverage of the Washington Nationals. He also covers major college basketball in the Baltimore-Washington region for The Sports Xchange and in the past covered college and pro sports for The Associated Press as a free-lancer. Read more
By David Driver
For the Baltimore Sun Media Group
Used with permission
BOWIE, MARYLAND - Bowie Baysox infielder Jeff Kemp grew up in Bowie and started going to Baysox games when he was about 5 years old.
A few years later, he went to a game in 1998 with his youth team and he and his teammates were able to go on the field before the first pitch.
Kemp, then 8 years old, found himself standing beside Baysox third baseman Ryan Minor and Kemp's father took a photo of the two of them.
So you can imagine what a thrill it was for Archbishop Spalding grad Kemp when he was drafted by the parent Baltimore Orioles in 2013, and the next season played for manager Minor with the low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury.
The excitement has increased this season as Kemp had advanced to Double-A Bowie for the first time. But Kemp has had to adjust to a new role as a utility infielder after he was used mostly an everyday player the past two seasons at the Single-A level.
"I kind of knew going into that was probably going to happen," Kemp said. "Most of the guys were here last year; that was a team that won the (Eastern League) title" for the first time. Read more
July 28, 2015
By David Driver
Used with permission
For the Times-Union
BALTIMORE - The UAlbany football team didn't get a lot of respect here Tuesday, as the Great Danes were picked in the preseason poll to finish 10th out of 12 teams this year in the Colonial Athletic Association.
"It gives us a chance to prove everyone wrong," said sophomore wide receiver Josh Gontarek, speaking at the annual CAA media day at M&T Bank Stadium.
"None of that stuff matters. We obviously think we are better than that," redshirt junior linebacker Michael Nicastro said.
"Predictions go by reputation in the league," said Greg Gattuso, ready to start his second year as head coach. "It is kind of where we were picked last year. We have work to do to crack the top four or five."
The Great Danes were ninth last year in the CAA at 3-5; they were 7-5 overall.