Welcome to our third college basketball week in review. Each week we will recap the games and important updates for the six Division 1 teams in Massachusetts (Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Holy Cross, Northeastern, UMass) and the University of Connecticut. At the end of each post will be our player of the week and rookie of the week for the past seven days. Without further ado:
Boston College (2-4 Overall, 1-2 76 Classic in Anaheim: 61-52 L to Saint Louis Thu., 66-62 OT W over UC Riverside Fri., 75-57 L to New Mexico Sun.)
Boston College continues to be among the worst BCS teams in the country but Patrick Heckmann at least has the ability to make the Eagles competitive. In the Eagles lone win on the weekend, the German product scored 32 points in 35 minutes to lead Boston College over UC-Irvine. The problem is when Heckmann is off his game Boston College struggles to compete, much less come away with victories. Thursday's loss was encouraging against a Billikens squad that entered the national rankings after winning the 76 Classic, but Sunday Boston College took a step backwards. The Eagles allowed New Mexico to shoot 56 percent from the field and dominate the boards. Steve Donahue and company will have one of their best chances to win a game against a fellow BCS opponent Wednesday, when they host Penn State as part of the BIG10/ACC Challenge.
Boston University (2-4 Overall, 2-1 TicketCity Legend Classic in Rhode Island: 63-62 L to Cleveland State Fri., 70-64 W over Rhode Island Sat., 68-61 W over Hofstra Sun.)
Boston University could look back at week three of their season and see it as a major turning point in their development as a team and a contender in America East. The Terriers limped into Rhode Island as the runt of the four mid-majors occupying Kingston for the weekend; but when they left Sunday, the Terriers biggest regret was only coming away with two wins, after they were within six seconds of a perfect weekend. Friday, the young group showed once again that they're still struggling to learn how to close games but they proved resilient Saturday and Sunday. The "cardiac kids" carried out second-half comebacks against Rhode Island and Hofstra and then held on in the closing seconds for their first winning streak of the season. A three-headed monster is leading the Terriers with Darryl Partin, D.J. Irving and Patrick Hazel all working together to replace John Holland's production.
Harvard (6-0 Overall, 3-0 Battle 4 Atlantis in Bahamas: 75-47 W over Utah Thu., 46-41 W over Florida State Fri., 59-49 W over Central Florida Sat.)
The Crimson made a statement this weekend that the rest of the Battle 4 Atlantis participants won't soon forget. Three games, three wins, a tournament title and a defense that proved it can stand up against some of the best in the country, not too shabby for a trip to the Bahamas. In the team's three games, Harvard held their opponents to 49 points and below 37 percent from the field in each game. Tommy Amaker received balanced scoring with a different leading scorer each game and every player contributed including several of the team's new faces. Freshmen Corbin Miller led the team Thursday with 13 points and fellow freshmen Steve Mondou-Missi and Wesley Saunders played big minutes Friday and Saturday. Harvard could be challenged Thursday against a dangerous Vermont squad before they get their shot against UConn December 8.
Holy Cross (2-4 Overall, 1-1: 80-66 W Over Hartford Wed., 72-60 L @ Maine Sun.)
It was a slow week for Holy Cross who split a pair of games against America East foes over Thanksgiving break. Devin Brown and Jordan Stevens had big games with 17 points apiece against a winless Hartford squad that is one of 18 teams still winless as of last night. For Stevens it was a career-day with a career-high 17 points, three assists and four rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski followed Stevens' performance up with a career-high 20 points Sunday against a Maine team that's still hard to figure out. Holy Cross held a 12-point first half lead before Maine went on a run to tie it at the break and put the game away with a 17-6 run to close the game. It was only the second double-digit loss of the season for Holy Cross, but unless Maine far exceeds expectations, it's likely the Crusaders worst loss of the season thus far.
Northeastern University (3-1 Overall, 1-0: 78-64 W @ St. John's Sat.)
Bill Coen's team hasn't played a lot of games, but they've quietly put together a very nice turnaround on Huntington Avenue thus far. The Huskies completely dominated St. John's on the road Friday, leading for all but 37 seconds after jumping out to an 11-2 lead. Junior Joel Smith continued to be the team's best player, earning the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week Award, after recording a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds against the Red Storm. Smith has taken big steps forward as a junior, leading the team in scoring and rebounding and is second in assists. Not bad for a kid from Texas who averaged 1.9 points per game and earned just two starts his freshmen year. Northeastern will get to test how far they've actually come Saturday, when they host Old Dominion in their CAA opener; the Huskies were predicted to finish ninth out of 12 teams in the league.
UMass Minutemen (5-2 Overall, 2-1 Battle 4 Atlantis in Bahamas: L 73-53 to Florida State Thu., 89-75 W over Utah Fri., 85-61 L to College of Charleston Sat.)
UMass wasn't expected to win the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament but coach Derek Kellogg sure would've liked a little more from his talented roster. The Minutemen battled Florida State into the second half but couldn't keep up with a ranked Seminoles squad that was too long, athletic and talented. Friday, the team had no problems dispatching a putrid Utah group behind 15 3-pointers but fell well short against the College of Charleston because of that same reliance on the three. In the team's two losses, UMass was ice cold from behind the 3-point line, failed to get the same brilliance out of point guard Chaz Williams and went away from their focus of attacking the basket. Kellogg knew there would be setbacks along the way but the team still has a month to work out the kinks in their system before conference play starts Saturday.
UConn Huskies (6-1 Overall, 2-1 Battle 4 Atlantis in Bahamas: 73-63 W over UNC-Asheville Thu., 68-63 L to Central Florida Fri., 78-76 OT W over Florida State Sat.)
Their sixteen-game winning streak is over and the team failed to come away with the Battle 4 Atlantis Title but that doesn't mean the weekend was a complete failure. After five middling performances in wins to open the season, Saturday's loss could come as a wake-up call to UConn that they need to play at a higher-level and play a full 40 minutes every time out. Freshmen Andre Drummond took big strides over the weekend and Ryan Boatright made quite the collegiate debut Sunday against Florida State. UConn is still struggling to find the killer instinct that Kemba Walker instilled in the team last year and need to mature quickly if they hope to repeat as national champions. The good news, they return home for the next month with four winnable games before they start their Big East slate.
Player of the Week-Tie
Darryl Partin has had to carry a lot of the weight on his shoulders as the leading returning scorer for the Terriers and broke out in a big way this weekend. Partin averaged 23 points and five rebounds in Rhode Island to earn player of the week honors for the America East conference. His 22.7 points per game average is eight-best in the nation and he's slowly making a case for a member of the All-Region team if he can cut down on his turnoves.
Joel Smith earns his first award of the season after a career-game in Queens. Smith hit 10-of-20 shots, knocked down seven 3-pointers and hit both of his free throw attempts to post a career-high 29 points. His 10 rebounds gave him his second career double-double and the Huskies their first win against a team from the Big East since November of 2008.
Rookie of the Week
Andre Drummond was among the top high-school seniors in the country and showed that talent for the first time in the Bahamas. The reigning Big East Conference Rookie of the Week averaged 11.3 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in three games. He saved the best for last, with his second career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) and seven blocks in a win over #24 Florida State.