Looking at Thursday’s limited schedule in the corridor. …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
American. The Eagles, like more than a few other teams over the last week, looked very much like they were stuck in a November basketball game in their 62-57 victory at Bender Arena.
Mount St. Mary’s didn’t make matters much easier, forcing 23 turnovers with its pressure-oriented approach.
Yet the Eagles didn’t allow the Mountaineers to do as much damage as they could have off those miscues, surrendering only 23 points off turnovers. Moreover, there were few easy baskets for anyone; the Mount had only six fast-break points.
In the end, the Eagles had a senior point guard (Daniel Munoz) who could overcome a rough start and an efficient big man for whom the Mountaineers had no answer (Stephen Lumpkins). Up next is an intriguing matchup Monday with San Francisco, which is coming off a 20-win season. [TWT]
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Cadarian Raines, Virginia Tech. The Hokies forward impressed as last season unfolded, and a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) in 21 minutes of a 95-80 triumph over VMI simply builds on a solid opening week.
Raines is averaging 11.0 points and 8.7 rebounds through three games. The competition – East Tennessee State, Rhode Island and VMI – admittedly wasn’t the finest, so a little skepticism for the numbers is warranted. But if the short-handed Hokies are going to make something of this season, they’ll need a few more nights like this from Raines.
None. Take Howard to task for shooting 26.9 percent in a 66-36 loss at Iowa if you so choose, though the overall result was in the ballpark of what was to be expected. One nit to pick for Virginia Tech: The Hokies had to put their starters back in with 2:28 left after VMI sliced a 31-point deficit down to 16.
Points for American’s Mike Bersch, all from 3-point range, in the 62-57 defeat of Mount St. Mary’s. Bersch has 115 points for his career, 90 on 3-pointers. In 32 career games, Bersch is shooting 30-for-100 from 3-point range … and 10-for-23 on 2-pointers.
Count American coach Jeff Jones among the folks impressed with Mount St. Mary’s. “They’re going to be a tough out for a lot of teams this year simply because they play so hard and that’s not a fun style to play against,” he said.
That the Mountaineers get after it so much reflects quite well on first-year coach Jamion Christian. The Mount has some limitations, but guards Julian Norfleet and Rashad Whack will create defensive headaches for opposing backcourts all season.
“We want to win that point guard matchup,” Christian said. “That’s huge for us. It’s all about harassing the point guard.”
BEYOND THE CORRIDOR
Virginia Tech guard Erick Green turned in another box score masterpiece: 23 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals. … Here’s one you might have heard before. James Madison had some teensy defensive issues as UCLA dropped 63 points in the first half en route to a 100-70 triumph. Rayshawn Goins had 24 points for Dukes. … Richmond turned back Hampton 68-58 and heads to Minnesota for a fairly curious game this weekend.
George Mason plays its last game without the suspended Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray when it opens play in the Paradise Jam against a solid Mercer team. … Maryland looks to wins its second straight when Long Island visits Comcast Center at 7. …
Towson opens a four-games-in-four-days tournament against Radford. … Morgan State (at South Carolina) and Maryland-Eastern Shore (at South Florida) play road games against power-conference opponents.