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Powell scores 27, leads No. 12 Seton Hall past Wagner 105-71

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Seton Hall cruised to victory in the absence of coach Kevin Willard. Star guard Myles Powell is looking forward to getting his mentor back.

Powell scored 27 points to lead No. 12 Seton Hall to a 105-71 win over Wagner on Tuesday night, without Willard on the sidelines.

“You guys see how good we can be at the end of the year last year and we’re just trying to keep that train rolling so it starts with me and coach Willard as the head guys of coach being head coach and me being a leader,” Powell said. “So like I said, we’re going to come back watch film and see how we can get better. Seventy-one points, I mean, that’s a lot of points and I know coach, the first thing coach is going to notice.”

Seton Hall announced a week ago that the NCAA is investigating the program and Willard would be sitting out two games in what has to be considered a suspension. The school didn’t say what the NCAA enforcement staff was investigating, but said it was working with the ruling body for college sports.

The Asbury Park Press reported the investigation involved transfer tampering, and the New York Post said it involved the transfer of Taurean Thompson from Syracuse in the fall of 2017.

After sitting out a year, Thompson played in 27 games last season.

Quincy McKnight added 10 points and seven assists for Seton Hall.

Patrick Szpir led Wagner with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Alex Morales finished with 13 points.

Seton Hall said Willard would miss the team’s Oct. 29 exhibition and the Wagner game. Assistant coach Grant Billmeier ran the team in Willard’s absence.

“The only way to become a head coach and actually learn what you do well and what you don’t do well is to become a head coach,” Billmeier said. “It was an unbelievable experience for me. I’m glad I got to go through it. I thought our staff was really connecting and I thought the players did a great job today in not having any drop-off.”

Wagner kept the game competitive for much of the first half. Then, Sandro Mamukelashvili, who finished with 11 points, scored on a feed from Anthony Nelson, and Shavor Reynolds followed a steal with a dunk to give Seton Hall a 46-35 lead with 1:41 remaining.

Seton Hall extended its lead to 52-37 and pushed its advantage to as many as 37 points with less than a minute remaining.

“Coach Willard is the one who got it all started — I mean, he’s the head honcho,” Powell said. “Once you get your guy back — I mean, we will definitely be a different team on Saturday.”

BIG PICTURE

Wagner: The Seawolves have been built into a solid program under seventh-year coach Bashir Mason. The two-time NEC Coach of the Year has won the NEC regular season title two of the last four seasons, resulting in NIT bids. Wagner lost in the NEC title game in 2016 and 2018.

Seton Hall: The Pirates are looking to reach the postseason for the fifth straight year behind the Big East Preseason Player of the Year in Powell. With 88 percent of their scoring returning from last season, the Pirates are ranked the highest in the AP poll since being No. 11 on Jan. 2, 2001, making this one of the most anticipated seasons in program history.

BLOCK PARTY

Big man Ike Obiagu had three blocks in his Seton Hall debut. The 7-foot-2 sophomore sat out last year after transferring from Florida State, where he averaged 2.1 blocks per game. He also had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting and four rebounds.

UP NEXT

Wagner: At Penn State on Saturday.

Seton Hall: Hosts Stony Brook on Saturday.

VIDEO: Wagner’s Dwaun Anderson wins game on tip dunk

AP Photo/Frank Victores
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Wagner moved to 5-2 on the season on Tuesday night as they picked up a 65-64 win over Rider on the road.

The Seahawks were able to win thanks to the heroics of senior guard Dwaun Anderson, who made one of the best game-winning plays we’ll see all season.

Already noted as one of college basketball’s better dunkers, the 6-foot-4 Anderson had the game-winning tip slam with two seconds left off of a miss from teammate Corey Henson.

Anderson finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win:

The dunk itself is awesome.

But … LOOK AT WHERE DWAUN ANDERSON IS WHEN THE SHOT IS TAKEN!!!

 

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Central Connecticut State beats Wagner on Brandon Peel’s buzzer-beating three (VIDEO)

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It’s been a tough season for Howie Dickenman’s Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, as they entered Saturday night’s home game against Wagner with a 2-18 record. CCSU appeared to be headed to overtime, with Wagner’s Marcus Burton hitting a three-pointer to tie the game up at 50. Luckily for the Blue Devils there was still a second left on the clock and they took full advantage of the opportunity.

Faronte Drakeford hit teammate Brandon Peel with an accurate 65-foot inbounds pass, which Peel caught and released a turnaround three-pointer that fell after time expired. Peel finished the game with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots as CCSU picked up its first conference win of the season.

This is how Wagner tied the game:

Video credit: Northeast Conference

Andrew Toole hoping Robert Morris can ‘get over the hump’ and back into NCAA Tournament in 2015

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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

For 18 weeks last season Mount St. Mary’s carried a losing record. However, the Mountaineers picked up momentum beginning in March with four straight wins, three of which came in the Northeast Conference Tournament.

On March 11, Mount St. Mary’s ran away with an 88-71 win against top-seeded Robert Morris, dashing the Colonials NCAA tournament hopes for the second consecutive season.

A week later, one day after St. Patrick’s Day, the Mountaineers’ luck ran out, as Albany ended their season with a 71-64 victory in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. On the same night, Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole had a postseason game of his own, as the Colonials went into Carnesecca Arena and defeated St. John’s, 89-79, in the first round of the NIT.

For Toole it was his fourth postseason win in as many seasons since taking over the program in 2010, the biggest of which came in March 2013 when the Colonials upset reigning national champion Kentucky in the first round of the NIT.

Despite the postseason success and a 72-37 (42-11 NEC) record over the past three seasons, Robert Morris hasn’t appeared in an NCAA tournament since 2010 when it nearly upset No. 2 seeded Villanova.

source:
Lucky Jones shoots over Archie Goodwin (AP)

Toole has maintained the success of the program, never finishing lower than third in the conference during his tenure as head coach. There’s an established tradition at Robert Morris with 11 regular season conference titles, but bittersweet success is what is driving Robert Morris during the first few weeks of practice.

“It’s something that pushes us and motivates us,” Toole told NBCSports.com. “We keep saying that if we continually get back to that spot you’ll eventually get over the hump. It’s not easy to get back into those tournament championship games.” 

This year more than others there is uncertainty around the league. Many of the top players have graduated, including Robert Morris guard Karvel Anderson, who was named NEC Player of the Year in 2013-2014. Mount St. Mary’s graduated three 1,000 career scorers. Wagner is without the conference’s three-time defensive player of the year, Kenneth Ortiz and Bryant forward Alex Francis, a two-time first team selection, is also gone.

“There is a lot of unknowns,” Toole added. “You look at that teams that return the most, a lot of people are choosing those teams toward the top of the league because they have more proven entities than some of the other groups.”

Central Connecticut State has four starters back, including a healthy Kyle Vinales. St. Francis (NY) returns six of its top nine scorers, including first-team all-conference forward Jalen Cannon. However, both those teams committed the most turnovers in the league last season. St. Francis (PA) has the same starting five as last year, but is this the year for the Red Flash to end a 23-year tournament drought?

Robert Morris, like Bryant, Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s has its personnel losses to overcome, however, each of those teams have the pieces to be in the conversation come March.

MORE: Northeast Conference Preview

By the end of the season, the Colonials were down to just eight scholarship players. Two of those players — Anderson and starting point guard Anthony Myers-Pate — exhausted their eligibility. Fortunately for Toole, all six of those returning players logged 15 or more minutes, headlined by wing Lucky Jones, who averaged 13.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in an all-NEC second team junior season.

The 6-foot-6 Jones has been a stapel in the Colonials lineup, starting 66 of 70 games in the past two seasons. He’s also a reliable big-game player, going for 25 points, nine boards and five assists in a NIT win over the Johnnies in March. The previous year, he scored a team-high 15 points in the monumental win over Kentucky.

“It’s huge [having Lucky],” Toole said. “He’s a guy that is so versatile and can do so many things on the floor, whether it’s rebounding, scoring or defending. He can give us a little bit of confidence as we go into games because we know what we can get from Lucky and we can build from there. Having him on the roster and him as a senior is invaluable to us.”

Will arguably the conference’s top player, six key contributors and a competitive non-conference schedule (North Carolina, Georgetown, Toledo) be enough to push the Colonials over that hump and into the field of 68? In a conference as unpredictable as the Northeast has been over the last few seasons it’s too early to tell. But one thing is for certain, Toole will have his guys ready.

“There are so many teams that can compete for a championship,” Toole said. “If you aren’t prepared or playing with the urgency you need to play with, I think that can beat you. That goes across the board, from top to bottom, in the conference. Like I said, there’s a lot of unknowns. Each and every game is going to be a challenge, as it has been every other year we’ve been in the NEC.

“It’s a long, long process and we can’t take any shortcuts as we build toward conference play because everyone is going to be at their best, everyone is going to try to win those league games and I think everyone believes they have chance.”

2014-2015 Northeast Conference Preview: Is it time for Robert Morris to dance again?

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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole has guided his program to back-to-back 20-win seasons, although his Colonials have no NCAA tournament appearances to show for it. For two straight seasons, Robert Morris has been relegated to the NIT following an upset in its conference tournament at the hands of Mount St. Mary’s.

Despite having one of the best young coaches in the nation and arguably the conference’s top player again this season, the Colonials have had trouble navigating through the NEC field, and this season the conference could resemble a minefield.

The Colonials lose the back court of Karvel Anderson and Anthony Myers-Pate, but six returning players, led by all-NEC second teamer Lucky Jones, logged 15 or more during the 2013-2014 season. Toole also brings in a six-man recruiting class (two JuCo transfers), which should help add size up front and depth on the perimeter.

While Robert Morris looks to get back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2010, St. Francis (NY) is looking to qualify for the tournament for the first time in school history. The Terriers bring back six key contributors from a season ago, including all-NEC first team selection Jalen Cannon, who averaged 14.9 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior. Bryant may be without Alex Francis and his 2,000-plus career points, but Dyami Starks gives Tim O’Shea a go-to scoring option for a team coming off a third-place finish.

One of the conference’s others top scorers, Kyle Vinales, was sidelined with a finger injury for Central Connecticut State last season. The 6-foot-1 Vinales is one of four returners for the Blue Devils, a team looking to jump from the middle of the pack to conference contenders. St. Francis (PA) also returns the bulk of its lineup, led by second-team selection Earl Brown.

Mount St. Mary’s, which reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008, has to account for the loss of three 1,000 point scorers. Wagner will be without the conference’s three-time defensive player of the year, Kenneth Ortiz and second-leading scorer, Latif Rivers. But both the Mountaineers and Seahawks have quality pieces that could continue to make this low-major conference and interesting one to track as the season shifts into March.

PRESEASON NEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lucky Jones, Robert Morris

As a junior, playing alongside NEC Player of the Year Karvel Anderson, Jones averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, earning all-NEC second team honors. The 6-foot-6 wing will carry a heavy load for Robert Morris this season: on offense, on defense and on the glass. He’s been a stable part of the program’s success from its two regular season conference titles to his 15-point performance in the Colonials’ NIT upset win over Kentucky in 2013.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON NEC TEAM:

  • Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State: Scoring averaged dipped to 17.3 points per game this past season. Missed nine games with broken finger.
  • Dyami Starks, Bryant: The top returning scorer in the conference at 18.9 points per game in his junior season.
  • Jalen Cannon, St. Francis (NY): Only returning first-team all-conference selection from 2013-2014.
  • Earl Brown, St. Francis (PA): Nine double-doubles last season. Averaged 14.4 points and 8.0 boards per game

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @pioneer_pride

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Robert Morris
2. St. Francis (NY)
3. Bryant
4. Central Connecticut State
5. Mount St. Mary’s
6. St. Francis (PA)
7. Wagner
8. Sacred Heart
9. Fairleigh Dickinson
10. LIU-Brooklyn

Former Wagner forward Mario Moody transfers to Bethune-Cookman

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Bethune-Cookman has reportedly adding a big man with one year of eligibility remaining for the 2015-2016 season.

Wagner junior forward Mario Moody, along with another teammate, received their releases from the program five weeks ago. According to a report from Cormac Gordon of SILive.com, Moody will play the last year of his collegiate career at Bethune-Cookman.

“At the end of the day, the decision became mutual,” Wagner head coach Bashir Mason told Gordon. “Mario is a great kid, and there aren’t any hard feelings. This is just something he wanted to do, and maybe he’ll benefit from sitting out a year in terms of gaining maturity and working on his game.”

The 6-foot-7 Moody averaged 8.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for the Seahawks, who finished second in the Northeast Conference before being upset in the conference tournament semifinals.

Wagner graduates four seniors in addition to Moody and Langston Burnett transferring. The Wildcats finished second from the bottom of the MEAC last season, but the program could see a resurgence in the coming years. Leading scorer Clemmye Owens and top assist man Tony Kynard just completed their freshmen seasons. If Moody can bring consistency to his game, the Wildcats will have an inside piece to go along with the back court.