jaspers

Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Bitter rivals meet in New Rochelle

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Manhattan at Iona, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Whether or not Canisius has company atop the MAAC standings after Friday’s action will depend upon the result of this contest between schools separated by just over ten miles. Both teams can score, with Manhattan scoring just over 78 points per game and Iona averaging a shade over 83. The difference: defense, with Steve Masiello’s Jaspers using their depth and quickness to force opponents into rushed decisions.

As for the Gaels they can be downright indifferent on that end of the floor at times, and it’s an area Tim Cluess’ group has to improve in if they’re to return to the NCAA tournament. The scoring battle between Manhattan’s George Beamon and Iona’s Sean Armand will be fun to watch, and each team has multiple players capable of stealing the spotlight.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Princeton at Harvard, 7:00 p.m.

This is the first of two meetings between the prohibitive favorite to win the Ivy League (Harvard) and one of the teams most capable of knocking the Crimson off. This is an incredibly important game for the visiting Tigers, who have already lost to Penn and can ill-afford to fall two games behind Harvard in the loss column at this early juncture in the “14-game tournament.”

If they’re to win in Cambridge, Princeton’s likely going to need a big night from senior guard T.J. Bray, who’s averaging 17.2 points per game. And they’ll also need to slow down Harvard forward Wesley Saunders, who’s accounting for 15.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1) Murray State looks to move to 8-1 in OVC play as they visit Austin Peay, a team they beat by 22 less than three weeks ago. Dexter Fields led six Racers in double figures with 20 points in that meeting.

2) Rider needs a win at Saint Peter’s in order to remain within striking distance of the leaders in the MAAC, as they’re currently two games out of first place.

3) Mercer is also on the road, visiting ETSU in need of a win to guarantee that they retain sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun. Langston Hall scored 19 points to lead Mercer to a ten-point win in the first meeting, a game the Bears won despite allowing the Bucs to grab 14 offensive rebounds.

4) FGCU’s in hot pursuit of Mercer, and they look to continue that with a win over Stetson. The Hatters have struggled defensively, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 46% from the field.

5) Oakland hosts Youngstown State and the focus will be on senior guard Travis Bader, who enters the game eight three-pointers away from the NCAA’s career record.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Columbia at Yale, 7:00 p.m.
  • Penn at Dartmouth, 7:00 p.m.
  • Cleveland State at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.