Looking back on college basketball action among B-W Corridor teams on Monday …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
American. That’s more like it. Not that American was supposed to go to Minnesota in its opener and win, but 72-36 losses are not the sorts of things to be encouraged by.
Monday’s 61-55 triumph at Quinnipiac? That’s something to draw some optimism from.
The three guys the Eagles might guess would be the most likely to reach double figures (Stephen Lumpkins, Tony Wroblicky and Daniel Munoz) did just that. The Eagles shot smart (52.5 percent from the floor, 54.5 percent from 3-point range) and made free throws (13 of 16).
And so despite 20 turnovers —- a pretty good reflection of November basketball at its not-so-finest —- the Eagles defeated a team that’s averaged 21 victories over the last three years. It might not be an eye-popping triumph, but it’s a good victory for Jeff Jones‘ team. [American U. Athletics]
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Shaquille Cleare, Maryland. After an eminently lackluster exhibition game and a quiet debut against Kentucky, the freshman pieced together a solid night for the Terrapins. Cleare had eight points, five rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes, including an emphatic swat that brought on a television timeout in the second half.
Cleare is far from a finished product at the offensive end (he took just two shots from the floor), but he can rebound and clearly possesses a bit of the timing necessary to become a proficient shot-blocker in time.
Coach Mark Turgeon is still sorting out his rotation, and chances are tinkering will continue throughout nonconference play. Cleare will have his chances, and Monday will only lead to more of them.
None. There wasn’t anyone in the corridor who lost what might have been considered a coinflip game. A little further afield, though, Radford avoided what would have been an unsightly loss when it fended off NAIA school Cincinnati Christian 76-71 in overtime.
Announced crowd at Comcast Center for Maryland’s 67-45 defeat of Morehead State, the fifth-smallest gathering in the arena’s 10-year history. It was enough to prompt Turgeon to plead for more fan support when the Terps face Long Island on Friday. [TWT]
Congrats to UMBC interim coach Aki Thomas, who earned his first career victory with a 70-52 defeat of Division III Eastern (Pa.) … Troy Franklin had eight steals in Coppin State’s 69-46 loss at Texas.
BEYOND THE CORRIDOR
Virginia Tech improved to 2-0, upending Rhode Island 69-50 behind 25 points from Erick Green. One guy who struggled for the second straight game is C.J. Barksdale, who has two points and four rebounds in 29 minutes. It might be too early to be alarmed, but remember the Hokies are shorthanded and Barksdale was a needed breakout candidate this season. … Joe Harris had 15 points and seven rebounds as Virginia slipped past Fairfield 54-45. … Look who’s 2-0: William & Mary, which handled Liberty 71-59 last night in Lynchburg.
George Mason (1-0) visits Bucknell (1-0) in a meeting of two possible top-100 (and maybe better) RPI teams. … Upset alert? Delaware and Virginia tangle in Charlottesville, with the winner moving along to the NIT semifinals in New York. Devon Saddler against the Cavaliers’ defense should be a fun matchup.
Interesting game down the road in Richmond, where Wichita State visits Virginia Commonwealth in a rematch of their round of 64 NCAA tournament game in March (which the 12th-seeded Rams won). … Ex-VCU assistant Jamion Christian coaches his first home game at Mount St. Mary’s as the Mountaineers meet Hartford in Emmitsburg.
—- Patrick Stevens