Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Big East Bonanza: Turnover rates, stat leaders, power rankings

Big East Bonanza returns today after a special Tuesday edition last week, offering a closer look at the action within the Big East Conference, and after a deeper profile of St. John's opened the recap a week ago, we will return to an advanced stat lens in the opening segment before reprising stat leaders and power rankings. In today's first act, turnover rates will be the featured spotlight, offering additional insight on which programs care more for the basketball, as well as highlighting those who force more takeaways on the defensive end. For this closeup, all numbers here will only take conference games into account, as each team has played at least five conference games; enough of a sample size to be considered, and the statistics were gleaned from a combination of both Ken Pomeroy's rankings and the most recent set of game notes for each school.

Offensive turnover rates, from lowest to highest: (Big East-only)
1) Butler (11.9 percent)
2) Villanova (12.2)
3) St. John's (15.2)
4) Marquette (16.1)
5) Providence (16.7)
6) Xavier (16.9)
7) Creighton (16.9)
8) Seton Hall (18.2)
9) DePaul (22.0)
10) Georgetown (24.5)

The Butler Did It: The Butler Way has always predicated itself on tremendous discipline on both sides of the basketball, dating back even before the program's greatest height of back-to-back national championship game appearances under Brad Stevens. While the coaches and players have changed in Indianapolis over the years, the same commitment to team-first and fundamentally sound basketball, however, has not. In fact, aside from the 21-turnover performance in their Big East opener against Georgetown that has become more of an anomaly with each passing day, the Bulldogs' value for the ball has been nothing short of exemplary. On three occasions already in the conference season, Butler has posted a single-digit turnover count, and two of those have come in arguably the toughest tests to date for head coach LaVall Jordan's team, committing only four miscues in their 101-93 upset of top-ranked Villanova before an equally impressive seven giveaways in one of the Big East's most hostile road environments at Creighton, supplementing their ball handling with 23 assists on 33 made field goals in an 11-point loss that appears closer than the final score may indicate. The arrival of George Washington transfer Paul Jorgensen has provided a second positive effect aside from that of moving Kamar Baldwin further off the ball and allowing the sophomore to become a more polished scorer, as Jorgensen has committed only five turnovers across the seven Big East games Butler has played to date.

Defensive turnover rates, from highest to lowest: (Big East-only)
1) St. John's (22.2 percent)
2) Villanova (17.9)
3) Marquette (17.9)
4) Georgetown (17.1)
5) Xavier (16.6)
6) Seton Hall (16.5)
7) Providence (16.5)
8) DePaul (16.2)
9) Creighton (15.2)
10) Butler (15.0)

Seeing Red: St. John's led the Big East in defensive turnover rate last season by a wide margin, and is doing the same again this season, a testament to the emphasis Chris Mullin has placed on the Red Storm defending the basketball in direct correlation to their uptempo, transition-heavy attack on offense. While the takeaways have yet to translate to wins, there is a positive to St. John's leading the pack in this category for a second straight year, as the loss of Marcus LoVett has done little to offset the Red Storm's greatest strength. Rather, the addition of Justin Simon (18 steals in six Big East games) and the evolution of Shamorie Ponds into arguably the conference's best two-way player have spearheaded the charge for a team who took a trio of Top 25 teams to the wire with their stifling style, averaging nearly 16 forced turnovers per contest in the process.

Scoring Leaders
1) Markus Howard, Marquette (21.5 PPG)
2) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (20.8)
3) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (20.1)
4) Kelan Martin, Butler (19.5)
5) Trevon Bluiett, Xavier (19.2)
6) Marcus Foster, Creighton (18.8)
7) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (18.8)
8) Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall (18.2)
9) Max Strus, DePaul (17.7)
10) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (17.6)

Rebounding Leaders
1) Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (11.7 RPG)
2) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (11.4)

3) Martin Krampelj, Creighton (8.3)
4) Omari Spellman, Villanova (7.6)
5) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (7.5)
6) Justin Simon, St. John's (7.2)
7) Ronnie Harrell, Jr., Creighton (7.0)
8) Rodney Bullock, Providence (6.8)
9) Kelan Martin, Butler (6.7)
10) Marin Maric, DePaul (6.3)

Assist Leaders
1) Kyron Cartwright, Providence (6.4 APG)
2) Quentin Goodin, Xavier (5.5)

3) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (5.2)
4) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (4.8)
5) Justin Simon, St. John's (4.6)
6) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (4.3)
7) Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall (4.2)
T-8) Eli Cain, DePaul (4.0)
T-8) Jonathan Mulmore, Georgetown (4.0)
10) Aaron Thompson, Butler (3.6)

Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Tyler Wideman, Butler (.698)
2) Martin Krampelj, Creighton (.674)
3) Tyrique Jones, Xavier (.670)
4) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (.575)
5) Kaleb Johnson, Georgetown (.567)
6) Kerem Kanter, Xavier (.554)
7) Marin Maric, DePaul (.547)
8) Toby Hegner, Creighton (.539)
9) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (.536)
10) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (.519)

Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) Markus Howard, Marquette (1.000)
2) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (.908)
3) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (.907)
4) Marin Maric, DePaul (.889)
5) Kelan Martin, Butler (.868)
6) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (.857)
7) J.P. Macura, Xavier (.855)
8) Eric Paschall, Villanova (.846)
9) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (.831)
10) Quentin Goodin, Xavier (.830)

Three-Point Field Goal Leaders
1) Sam Hauser, Marquette (.496)
2) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (.481)
3) Jalen Lindsey, Providence (.480)
4) Kyron Cartwright, Providence (.462)
5) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (.442)
6) Marvin Clark II, St. John's (.438)
T-7) Phil Booth, Villanova (.438)
T-7) Omari Spellman, Villanova (.438)

9) Marcus Foster, Creighton (.436)
10) Kaiser Gates, Xavier (.432)

Steal Leaders
1) Justin Simon, St. John's (2.6 SPG)
2) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (2.5)
3) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (1.8)
4) Kamar Baldwin, Butler (1.8)
5) J.P. Macura, Xavier (1.6)

Blocked Shot Leaders
1) Tariq Owens, St. John's (3.6 BPG)
2) Omari Spellman, Villanova (1.5)

3) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (1.4)
4) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (1.4)
5) Matt Heldt, Marquette (1.2)

Power Rankings
1) Villanova (16-1, 4-1 Big East)
Last Week: 2
Last Game: Saturday 1/13 at St. John's (W 78-71)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m.

2) Seton Hall (15-3, 4-1 Big East)
Last Week: 1
Last Game: Saturday 1/13 vs. Georgetown (W 74-61)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 at Creighton, 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. CT)

3) Xavier (16-3, 4-2 Big East)
Last Week: 3
Last Game: 1/13 vs. Creighton (W 92-70)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 vs. St. John's, 8:30 p.m.

4) Creighton (14-4, 4-2 Big East)
Last Week: 4
Last Game: Saturday 1/13 at Xavier (L 92-70)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 vs. Seton Hall, 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET)

5) Marquette (13-6, 4-3 Big East)
Last Week: 7
Last Game: Monday 1/15 vs. DePaul (W 70-52)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/24 at Xavier, 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET)

6) Providence (13-6, 4-2 Big East)
Last Week: 6
Last Game: Monday 1/15 vs. Butler (W 70-60)
Next Game: Saturday 1/20 vs. Creighton, 3 p.m. (2 p.m. CT)

7) Butler (13-7, 3-4 Big East)
Last Week: 5
Last Game: Monday 1/15 at Providence (L 70-60)
Next Game: Saturday 1/20 at DePaul, 2 p.m. (1 p.m. CT)

8) Georgetown (12-5, 2-4 Big East)
Last Week: 8
Last Game: Saturday 1/13 at Seton Hall (L 74-61)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 vs. Villanova, 6:30 p.m.

9) DePaul (8-10, 1-5 Big East)
Last Week: 9
Last Game: Monday 1/15 at Marquette (L 70-52)
Next Game: Saturday 1/20 vs. Butler, 1 p.m. (2 p.m. CT)

10) St. John's (10-8, 0-6 Big East)
Last Week: 10
Last Game: Saturday 1/13 vs. Villanova (L 78-71)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/17 at Xavier, 8:30 p.m.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Seton Hall vs. Georgetown Photo Gallery

Photos from Seton Hall's 74-61 victory over Georgetown on January 13, 2018:

(All photos by Bob Dea/Daly Dose of Hoops)

MAAC Monday: Siena soldiers on without Clareth, stat leaders, power rankings

MAAC Monday returns today, and after breaking away from advanced stats in last week's first segment to a rather favorable reaction, we will do so once again before reprising stat leaders and power rankings as the first third of the 18-game conference season is largely in the books, save for two teams that have yet to play a sixth game. As always, any and all statistics reflected within MAAC Monday were gleaned from either the individual stat pages of each school's website, or from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference website.

This past Wednesday, Siena made official the much-publicized news that Nico Clareth would be leaving the program at the conclusion of the spring semester, leaving the enigmatic and mercurial junior guard with one season of eligibility remaining. Clareth's departure came just 24 hours before the Saints' road trip to Iona and Manhattan; the two teams picked to finish first and second in the MAAC preseason poll, and has left a young roster in need of not only an emotional leader, but one searching for a momentum boost for their current 5-14 record.

"It's a work in progress," head coach Jimmy Patsos assessed after Siena's 72-61 loss to Manhattan Saturday night, two days after a hard-fought 71-69 setback against Iona. "We have seven or eight guys, but we continually have one or two guys that aren't into the fight. I don't know if it's emotionally not into the fight, physically not into the fight, or whether they're just not playing well that night. We just haven't had everybody on board, into the fight for 40 minutes the whole year. We need everybody on board for the fight. In other words, we're short a guy every night."

A scoreless evening from junior Ahsante Shivers, who committed six turnovers against Manhattan's pressure defense, compounded the Saints' woes, but in his stead, freshman Jordan Horn picked up the slack with 19 points against the Jaspers after scoring 12 in the loss to Iona. When asked if the inspired basketball from the youth in his program was attributed to the need to step up to fill the void left by Clareth, Patsos dismissed the notion that his expatriate all-MAAC talent had an effect on the emergence of the freshman core, instead highlighting the bond his new wave of role players has begun to fortify.

"I don't think it's without Nico; Nico was an inspirational, emotional leader, too," he said. "I told you, he's a family member. I'm not turning my back, I'm not blaming him for anything. They're getting more minutes, but they are getting together as a group. We're moving forward. We're just trying to get better, and we need everybody to come out against Marist (Thursday night). We just have to play a little harder for 40 minutes."

Siena gets a rematch with the Red Foxes, hoping to avenge a conference-opening loss suffered at McCann Arena on December 29, before traveling to Quinnipiac and Monmouth in the Saints' first set of opportunities to gain ground in the standings. Although just 1-5 in league play and the No. 10 seed for the MAAC Tournament if the season ended today, there is optimism that the one-time flag-bearer in the MAAC can right the ship, with a former championship-winning head coach offering a positive endorsement.

"I think Siena's a terrific team," Manhattan's Steve Masiello shared, steadfast in his belief that the Saints are not as dead in the water that some fans and skeptics believe them to be. "I think Jimmy does one of the best jobs. His teams, over the years, he's one of those guys that's always gotten more with less. He's very good with his team. Last year, they were in the conference championship, but he always gets so much out of what he has, and this group he has is a tremendous group of young, talented kids who are bought in, playing hard, doing the things he asks. They defend, they change defenses, and Jimmy doesn't get nearly enough credit for those things."

Scoring Leaders
1) Matt Scott, Niagara (21.8 PPG)
2) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (20.8)

3) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (20.6)
4) Brian Parker, Marist (18.3)
5) Cameron Young, Quinnipiac (17.9)
6) Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius (16.0)
7) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (15.9)
8) Nico Clareth, Siena (15.1)
9) Nick Griffin, Saint Peter's (14.5)
10) Frederick Scott, Rider (14.4)
11) Rich Williams, Manhattan (14.3)

Rebounding Leaders
1) Marvin Prochet, Niagara (8.4 RPG)
2) Matt Scott, Niagara (7.8)
3) Frederick Scott, Rider (7.8)
4) TK Edogi, Iona (7.3)
5) Tyere Marshall, Rider (6.8)
6) Cameron Young, Quinnipiac (6.3)
7) Zane Waterman, Manhattan (6.2)
8) Abdulai Bundu, Quinnipiac (6.0)
9) Quinn Taylor, Saint Peter's (5.9)
10) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (5.9)

Assist Leaders
1) Stevie Jordan, Rider (6.5 APG)
2) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (5.6)

3) Rickey McGill, Iona (5.1)
4) Austin Tilghman, Monmouth (5.0)
5) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (4.6)
6) Malik Johnson, Canisius (4.5)
7) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (3.6)
8) Zavier Turner, Manhattan (3.6)
9) Zach Lewis, Iona (3.2)
10) Roman Penn, Siena (3.1)

Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (.598)
2) TK Edogi, Iona (.557)
3) Tyere Marshall, Rider (.541)
4) Frederick Scott, Rider (.517)
5) Chaise Daniels, Quinnipiac (.513)
6) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (.493)
7) Prince Oduro, Siena (.483)
8) E.J. Crawford, Iona (.482)
9) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (.481)
10) Brian Parker, Marist (.481)

Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (.930)
2) David Knudsen, Marist (.914)
3) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (.896)
4) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (.892)
5) Nico Clareth, Siena (.867)
6) Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius (.836)
7) Roman Penn, Siena (.831)
8) E.J. Crawford, Iona (.814)
9) Zavier Turner, Manhattan (.791)
10) James Towns, Niagara (.783)
11) Isaiah Lamb, Marist (.780)

Three-Point Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Jacob Rigoni, Quinnipiac (.500)
2) Jan Svandrlik, Iona (.491)
3) Louie Pillari, Monmouth (.490)
4) Schadrac Casimir, Iona (.476)
5) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (.439)
6) Rich Williams, Manhattan (.409)
7) Spencer Foley, Canisius (.406)
8) Ryan Funk, Marist (.405)
9) Deyshonee Much, Iona (.404)
10) Malik Johnson, Canisius (.396)

Steal Leaders
1) Stevie Jordan, Rider (2.1 SPG)
2) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (2.1)

3) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (1.6)
4) Jesus Cruz, Fairfield (1.6)
5) Aaron Walker, Jr., Manhattan (1.6)

Blocked Shot Leaders
1) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (2.3 BPG)
2) Chaise Daniels, Quinnipiac (1.4)

3) Dominic Robb, Niagara (1.3)
T-4) Selvedin Planincic, Canisius (1.1)
T-4) Marvin Prochet, Niagara (1.1)

Power Rankings
1) Iona (11-7, 5-1 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Sunday 1/14 vs. Rider (W 91-64)
Next Game: Friday 1/19 at Monmouth, 7 p.m.

2) Canisius (11-8, 5-1 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Sunday 1/14 vs. Monmouth (W 94-79)
Next Game: Friday 1/19 at Manhattan, 9 p.m.

3) Rider (11-7, 4-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 2
Last Game: Sunday 1/14 at Iona (L 91-64)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 at Saint Peter's, 7:30 p.m.

4) Manhattan (9-9, 4-2 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Saturday 1/13 vs. Siena (W 72-61)
Next Game: Friday 1/19 vs. Canisius, 9 p.m.

5) Niagara (11-8, 4-2 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Sunday 1/14 vs. Saint Peter's (W 73-70)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.

6) Saint Peter's (8-9, 2-4 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Sunday 1/14 at Niagara (L 73-70)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 vs. Rider, 7:30 p.m.

7) Quinnipiac (6-12, 3-3 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Friday 1/12 at Rider (L 78-60)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 vs. Niagara, 7 p.m.

8) Monmouth (5-12, 1-4 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Sunday 1/14 at Canisius (L 94-79)
Next Game: Friday 1/19 vs. Iona, 7 p.m.

9) Marist (4-13, 2-4 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Saturday 1/13 vs. Fairfield (W 95-89)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 at Siena, 7 p.m.

10) Siena (5-14, 1-5 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Saturday 1/13 at Manhattan (L 72-61)
Next Game: Thursday 1/18 vs. Marist, 7 p.m.

11) Fairfield (6-11, 1-5 MAAC)
Last Week:

Last Game: Saturday 1/13 at Marist (L 95-89)
Next Game: Saturday 1/20 vs. Niagara, 1 p.m.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

LIU Brooklyn vs. Wagner Photo Gallery

Photos from LIU Brooklyn's 69-67 win over Wagner on January 13, 2018:

(All photos by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

Casimir rediscovering freshman groove as Iona surges to top of MAAC

Schadrac Casimir has opened 2018 in emphatic fashion, with four straight games of double-figure points and at least 28 minutes played, helping guide Iona back to top of MAAC standings. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Schadrac Casimir burst onto the scene in his freshman season, the diminutive guard with a lethal shot capable of knocking any opponent for a loop.

His 40-point game against Delaware State late in November was merely the beginning of a career that earned him plaudits for potentially being Iona's best shooter out of all the players to don the Gaels' maroon and gold under Tim Cluess, no easy feat considering the likes of Scott Machado, Momo Jones, and Sean Armand having come before him. Generously listed at 5-foot-10, the Stamford native who received only a handful of scholarship offers before signing with Iona in the 2013 offseason. From there, he built an impressive resume in just one season, garnering unanimous Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's second team at the end of the regular season, helping the Gaels defend their league crown.

Then fate, as it always has a knack for doing when one least expects, intervened.

Three hip surgeries limited Casimir to just four games his sophomore year and forced him to take a medical redshirt. He would eventually play in all but one of Iona's games last season, primarily off the bench, but was still nowhere near the explosive player he was as a rookie.

"I'm hoping to see him, over the next couple of games and into the early part of the year, start to put his game into a little bit of another gear," head coach Tim Cluess said after Iona's exhibition game against Army in October, "and get back some of that freshman year confidence."

As the calendar has turned from 2017 to 2018, so too has Casimir's game, enjoying perhaps his best stretch of basketball since his freshman campaign ended.

His 18 points against Saint Peter's one week ago Friday, including five three-point field goals, helped the Gaels erase multiple double-digit deficits to down the scrappy Peacocks. Rewarded with a start two days later against Fairfield, his 11 points were one of five double-figure point totals as Iona dominated the Stags. Then, last Thursday, Casimir led all scorers with 17 points as Iona wiped out a 12-point deficit against Siena to upend the Saints in a rematch of last year's MAAC championship game.

"That's huge for us," said Cluess after the Siena game. "Now that he's done it three games in a row for us -- that's the first time since his freshman year that he's done that -- I'm hoping he can be a solid player for us the rest of the way, and that will help our team a lot."

Casimir took center stage again Sunday, leading all scorers with 15 points as Iona survived a first-half shootout against Rider before thoroughly dominating the Broncs in the second half of a 91-64 victory, albeit as the complexion of the game changed when Stevie Jordan sprained his ankle just before the intermission. For Casimir, it was the fourth straight contest in which he scored 10 or more points, and played at least 28 minutes.

"I feel good every game," he said when asked for an update on his condition. "When my jersey's called in the game, I play. I do whatever I can to help my team win. Some games, it's offense, some games, it's defense. Whatever it is, I try to go out there and try to live up to the expectations."

"There's no doubt about it," Cluess added. "This is the first time that you could ever sit there and say he's played not only one or two games in a row (like this), but four games in a row. He's a player again out in the court, and you can see the confidence coming out in him, even more and more, every game he plays."

No. 1 Villanova outlasts spirited St. John's despite Ponds' career-best 37

(Photo by Jason Schott/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

By Jason Schott (@JESchott19)

NEW YORK -- The Villanova Wildcats, the number-one ranked team in the country outlasted St. John's, 78-71, Saturday night in front of 17,123 at Madison Square Garden. Villanova has been the top-ranked team in the country for four weeks this season, and they improve to 16-1 overall, 4-1 in Big East play.

For St. John's, the story is quite different, as they dropped to 0-6 in Big East play (10-8 overall), but played with a lot of pride in their first game since it was announced sophomore guard Marcus LoVett would not return for the remainder of the season this past Wednesday. The Red Storm were led by Shamorie Ponds, who had a career-high 37 points on 15-of-28 shooting from the field, also recording seven rebounds and two assists.

Villanova has now won 13 straight over St. John's, with the Red Storm's last win in the series coming in Philadelphia on February 26, 2011, Steve Lavin's first year as head coach of a team that made the NCAA Tournament.

St. John's came out strong on defense in this one, as Villanova did not get their first point until the 16:51 mark of the first half, on a free throw by Omari Spellman. Their first basket came on a three from Eric Paschall just over a minute later, at 15:46. The Red Storm led for most of the first half, powered by 10 points from Ponds. However, the turning point in the opening stanza was a stretch of eight straight points from Donte DiVincenzo off the bench that keyed a 12-3 Villanova run to give the Wildcats a 34-25 lead before they would go into halftime with a 34-27 edge.

Villanova began to take over in the second half, as Jalen Brunson drained a three to make it 43-33 at the 16:43 mark. They maintained that lead throughout, and a DiVincenzo three gave them an 11-point edge, 61-50, with seven minutes left. St. John's would make a late run, though, as they went on a 7-0 spurt capped by Ponds' free throws to pull within four, at 69-65, with 1:18 remaining.

Villanova made seven free throws in the final minute, five of which came from Mikal Bridges, and it was a Bridges dunk with 15 seconds left that made it 77-69 and iced the victory.

DiVincenzo led the Wildcats with 25 points off the bench on 7-of-11 shooting, and a superb 6-of-9 from behind the arc, with seven rebounds and three assists. Bridges had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, adding three blocks and two assists to offset five turnovers. Brunson had 12 points with five assists and five rebounds. Spellman had 10 points, seven rebounds, and one assist. Incredibly, Ponds was the only St. John's player to score in double figures on his career night, as Justin Simon and Bashir Ahmed had just seven points apiece. The Red Storm shot 43 percent of the field (28-for-64). When you take out Ponds (15-for-28), they were 13-36. They were 1-for-12 on threes, with the lone make coming from Bryan Trimble, Jr. in the first half.

St. John's head coach Chris Mullin said of the game, “I think this effort, which I’ve said a few times and it hasn’t happened yet, but this effort will get us wins. We played the No. 1 team in the country to a tie in the second half. I think we were down four when whatever play that was [happened]. You probably got a better look at it than me, but that’s great effort. That’s winning basketball. They’re No. 1, best in the country, and I’m proud of my guys. I told them after the game, the effort is there, it really is. It’s been there for the most part, no question about that, we just have to do a little more and make winning plays. We will get there, there’s no question in my mind.”

Mullin was asked about the defensive possession after St. John’s cut it to four, and he turned it into a chance to talk positively about his team.

“We’re not going to talk about it," he said. "You can look at it just like we can. We were down four with whatever time was left against the No. 1 team. That’s the point. That’s pretty good. We were down 10 and hung in there. We made some plays, got stops, some of those loose-balls rebounds, some tip-ins, and things like that. To me, that’s what I’ve been preaching, and I believe it. It’s not a cliché to me. If we keep doing that, we will knock the door down and get wins. We just really got to keep that positive mindset, and the worker’s mentality. It’s not supposed to be easy. Any path that’s easy isn’t worth it, so this is going to be really worth it for us.”

Mullin said of Villanova, “They move the ball, attack the paint, they come to classic two-foot stops, they use crisp passes, and they end it with made shots. They are just a well-oiled machine. They play old-fashioned basketball with the three mixed in. It’s nothing fancy, come with triple threats, get low, and try to get to the paint. They’ll post-up, they don’t always shoot from the post-up, but they’re very disciplined. Nothing but respect for them.”

Ponds said of his personal performance, “I just tried to do what was possible to get my team a win, if it wasn’t scoring it was defending, rebounding, and just trying to do what my team needed.”

On the team's effort, he said, “I think we were doing a good job defending. We had little mental errors where we messed up, and they converted on them.”

Marvin Clark II said of Ponds' night, “I have the utmost respect for him. He is one of the best players in the country and one of the better players in our conference. I am happy that he got to see the ball go in. He is a player that we need to play at a very high level for us to win. I think it just speaks to his worth ethic. He is from here, he is made for this, he never backs down from any opportunity or any challenge that is put in front of him, and I am proud and happy for him.”

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Williams joins 1,000-point club as Jaspers handle Siena to win second straight

Rich Williams' 21 points led all players as fifth-year senior became Manhattan's latest 1,000-point scorer in Jaspers' win over Siena. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

RIVERDALE, NY -- After letting a win get away this past Sunday, Steve Masiello stressed his team's inability to defend as the prime reason behind Rider negating a double-digit deficit to come away with a road victory.

After placing a greater emphasis on defense against Fairfield Thursday night, citing the two days leading up to the contest as "not fun," Manhattan rewarded its coach with his first-ever win in Bridgeport, and replicated a similar effort two days later.

Playing with a renewed vigor on the defensive end of the basketball and pressuring Siena's young guards into frequent miscues, the Jaspers held their visitors without a field goal for over ten minutes in the first half and forced 25 turnovers overall, ending the game on a 13-4 run to score a 72-61 decision over the Saints for their second consecutive triumph in a span of 48 hours.

"I thought we were coming out and defending with the right mindset," a vindicated Masiello assessed as Manhattan (9-9, 4-2 MAAC) got 21 points from Rich Williams to lead all scorers as the fifth-year senior led four Jaspers in double figures on the scoreboard. "We were creating pace, turning people over. Those are the things we do. We were plus-16 in field goal attempts. That's what we want. So in all those areas, it was very good."

Williams, who became the school's 39th 1,000-point scorer on a jumper less than four minutes into the second half, set the tone early and often, playing one of his better games of the season. However, the veteran deflected any individual credit, doubling down on the commitment to team defense as the deciding factor.

"After the Rider game, we had two hard days of practice and we got back to our principles of guarding," he said. "Once we did that, everything else took care of itself. In the first half, we knew we had more in the tank, so in the second half, we were all about communication to make sure we could get good stuff to happen on offense."

Manhattan's pressure, the same formula that Masiello rode to two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships, manifested itself through the majority of the opening stanza, not conceding a field goal between Jordan Horn's basket with 14:36 to play in the half and an Evan Fisher layup with 4:19 on the clock. The Saints (5-14, 1-5 MAAC) actually did not even get to attempt a shot for over five minutes in that stretch, succumbing to the Jasper defense rising to the occasion in a spirited performance.

"That's too many," head coach Jimmy Patsos said of Siena's 25 miscues. "I thought we had five in the last four minutes. We're working on it, it's a work in progress, but we came down here and we battled the top two teams in the league as hard as we could."

A 7-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half gave the Saints a 39-36 lead, and the margin stayed within one possession until the final four minutes, when the visitors' carelessness with the basketball came back to burn them again. Four giveaways in just over two minutes started a 9-2 Manhattan run that effectively iced the game, with a steal-and-layup combination by Williams serving as the exclamation point as the Jaspers finished the first third of their conference schedule with four wins in six attempts.

"When we do what we're capable of doing, I think we're a good team," said Masiello. "When we don't do those things, we can be beaten by anyone. We're not going to come in and out-offensive you, so to speak. Our game isn't 28-3, our game isn't coming down jacking. That's not who we are, that's not who this program has ever been. It's all about our identity."

5 Thoughts: Past, present and future converge as Seton Hall bounces back with win over Georgetown

Myles Powell's 19 points led all scorers in Seton Hall's win over Georgetown, one in which Kevin Willard raved about his sophomore guard's enthusiasm. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

NEWARK, NJ -- Seton Hall honored a beacon of its past Saturday afternoon, and the recognition spurred its current roster to play an inspired brand of basketball that served as an even more appropriate tribute to those that came before them.

On a day where members of the Pirates' 1992-93 squad, the only one in program history to win both the Big East Conference regular season and tournament championships, Seton Hall recovered from a 20-point road loss at Marquette Tuesday night, holding serve at home with a 74-61 victory over Georgetown at the Prudential Center.

As they have done in several other recent games, the Pirates (15-3, 4-1 Big East) were slow out of the gate, allowing the visiting Hoyas (12-5, 2-4 Big East) to build a 10-point lead with just under seven minutes gone by before Seton Hall clamped down defensively, holding Georgetown without a field goal for the final 5:31 of the first half, turning the stout defense into a 33-10 offensive run that flipped the game on its head and set the tone for a second half that was more a methodical approach to handling business than anything else.

With a trip to Creighton awaiting the Pirates in their next endeavor Wednesday night, we offer a handful of observations from their weekend resurgence, staying near the top of the league standings as past met present, with the future being observed at its latest peak in the process:

1) An enduring legacy.
Prior to the opening tip, several members of Seton Hall's 1992-93 team, including head coach P.J. Carlesimo, were made available to the media in a session that took place in one of the Prudential Center suites, where the former Pirates were able to wax poetic and nostalgic on their exploits, while also offering thoughts on how far this year's group can go, solidifying the staying power South Orange continues to hold on the national landscape.

"Seton Hall has always been about the New York metropolitan area," said Carlesimo, who used his time with the Pirates to springboard an NBA career that saw him coach four different franchises and players the likes of Clyde Drexler, Latrell Sprewell, and Kevin Durant, among others. "Any great Seton Hall team had Jersey kids and New York City kids. That's always been what this program is about."

"They're going to sustain it," he said of the program and its ability to stay relevant. "It's not easy to sustain in a conference like the Big East nowadays, but as long as Kevin's here, they're going to do that."

"They're legends," Angel Delgado added. "That's what we're trying to be too. Seeing these guys come here and support us is great, and I was really happy for that."

2) Myles more to go on the road to superstardom.
Myles Powell's game-high 19 points were also marked by the first time the sophomore led the Pirates in shots taken for a game, as his 16 attempts were three clear of his next closest teammate, Delgado. After Kevin Willard praised Powell's play as "infectious," calling Seton Hall a much better basketball team when his enthusiasm takes center stage, his young talent doubled down on his intent to remedy a self-admitted rough patch.

"I was just getting over my sickness," said Powell, whose flu-like symptoms in recent games had an adverse effect on his performance at Marquette. "My four seniors came to me and they've been telling me to shoot the ball. They said I haven't been bringing the same energy, so today, that's what I did. I tried to bring the energy on the offensive and defensive floor, and it worked. I'm the fuel to the fire, so they need me to keep going."

"He's the type of guy that he listens all the time," Delgado said of Powell, someone he has frequently regarded as a younger brother figure, taking him under his wing the past two years. "I give advice every day to him, and he takes it. That's why he's playing so good right now. He knows I love him with all my heart."

3) When I'm Sixty-Four.
Delgado's latest double-double, which he amassed with 11 points and 13 rebounds, was the 64th of his career and 14th of the season. It did not come easy, however, as he was held to just two points in the first half as Georgetown limited his impact for most of the opening stanza, using the combination of Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson to neutralize the All-America candidate.

"The first half, our defense was really bad," said Delgado, deflecting from his individual accolades, per usual. "In the second half, we just picked it up and we got the win. I just always think I'm the best post defender in the country. I'm not going to let anybody outplay me. That's my mentality."

Delgado made more of an impact on the game over the final 20 minutes, proving Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing prophetic when he said earlier in the week that Delgado reminded him of Moses Malone, the Hall of Fame center to whom St. John's head coach Chris Mullin also compared the 6-foot-10 Dominican to last season.

"You don't even know," a proud Delgado admitted when asked what it was like to hear a luminary such as Ewing praise him so effusively. "I read that thing, like, 20 times. He's one of the players I look to, how he played. I want to be like him, so to hear that from him, it's unbelievable. That got me going a little more, seeing him out there."

4) Ish infusing offense?
In Tuesday's loss to Marquette, one of the high points was Sanogo attempting, and making, a pair of three-point field goals as the Pirates attempted to come back against the Golden Eagles. Four days after just the second and third triples of his career, the versatile forward chipped in with a more understated eight points and six rebounds, continuing a surge in his play since returning from a one-game suspension on December 28 against Creighton.

"He's helping me a lot," said Delgado of Sanogo's contributions on the scoreboard. "Him, Mike (Nzei) -- he's making a lot of jump shots right now, and he's working on it. We've got confidence in him. He didn't take it (jumpers) before, but he takes it in practice, so why not? We've got a lot of confidence in him, and for me, I could give it to him and he can shoot it all day."

"When he's stopping people on the other end and he's helping us on the offensive end, there's nothing really you can say to Ish," Powell gushed. "He does everything."

5) The next Delgado?
Jessie Govan, whose go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute Tuesday night proved to be the decisive shot that lifted Georgetown to victory over St. John's, took a big step toward becoming the heir apparent among Big East big men next season, when Delgado will have graduated. Although held to just two points after halftime, the junior from Queens Village still posted a respectable 11 points on the day, and more than held his own against Delgado through the majority of the afternoon before foul trouble in the second half compromised his final line.

"I thought he battled him, bumped him, made him work for everything," Ewing said of Govan, the former standout for Billy Turnage at Wings Academy in the Bronx. "Unfortunately, we just didn't get it done."

"He's great," Delgado said of his counterpart. "I've played against Jessie for a long time, and every time I play against him, he gets better."

Kevin Willard quote book: Georgetown

On the 1992-93 Seton Hall team and head coach P.J. Carlesimo being honored:
"It's awesome. I think anytime P.J. comes back, he brings such a great energy, great passion. He loves this school so much, and to have him around for both practices yesterday was great. I got to have dinner with him last night, and just to pick his brain and listen to stories he was telling -- I'm still waiting for us to put a statue of him up somewhere, because no one's going to do what he did, ever. What he did here was monumental."

On Seton Hall's performance:
"I was -- to be perfectly honest with you, I was really impressed with the way we played today. We had an absolute horror traveling Tuesday night into Wednesday, we didn't get back from Milwaukee until Wednesday night. We practiced Thursday great and then yesterday, our practice court got flooded, so we couldn't practice yesterday. We've had one practice in five days, and so for the guys to come out -- we walked through in our room and just -- the guys really paid attention to the scouting report. I thought defensively, we picked up our energy, I thought the second group was great early in the mid-first half, and I was impressed with the way they came back after really just -- we've had a really sluggish week."

On being outrebounded for the second game in a row, and whether it is a concern:
"Yeah, we're gonna fix it some way, somehow. We have to. We were always worried about (Marcus) Derrickson, because he does such a good job on the weak side, wedging when Jessie (Govan) goes to his jump hook, and he's gotten -- he gets low and he really wedges out the four man hard, so we knew he was going to get a couple. Really, he's the one that kind of dominated us. He had seven."

On any emotional concerns after Tuesday's loss at Marquette:
"We practiced really good on Thursday and the guys were emotionally into it. We watched the game on Thursday night -- our Marquette game -- and we played hard. We just didn't have it emotionally, and when we got to 42-41 and we turned it over, and then Rowsey got the three free throws, it took a lot of wind out of our sails, and we'd been battling back. We had an emotional win at Butler, but we still played hard, so I wasn't worried. As long as we played hard the whole way, I knew we'd come out today and play hard, and I was really proud of the way the guys played."

On getting more from Myles Powell:
"I'm trying to get Myles -- when Myles plays with this enthusiasm, it's infectious, and he played with great energy. He really ran the floor much better than he had on the road the last two games, and when he plays -- that's the way he's been playing all year -- and when he plays this way, we're just a much better basketball team."

On a connection between the 1992-93 team being honored and Seton Hall taking the game over, and also on Friday's All-Access game on FS1 between Providence and DePaul:
"I missed it. No one gives me a heads-up around here! I think we had cameras in the huddle, so when you have cameras in the huddle, your huddle changes dramatically from one person to -- you'd be very nice the whole time, kind of like last night's game."

On whether he would ever participate in an all-access game:
"Never gonna happen with me."

On Ismael Sanogo:
"I think Ish has gotten back to being -- again, his last nine games last year, he battled a really bad ankle injury -- and I think he is back, extremely focused on trying to be the defensive player that made him so good his sophomore year. And when I watch him play now, it's amazing the impact he has on the game defensively. It's night and day. It really reminds me of what he was doing the whole sophomore year."

On P.J. Carlesimo's message to the team and its effect:
"P.J.'s message was, 'If you want to be good in March, you have to be good now, and you can't wait until you get into late February and say, okay, now we're gonna start fine-tuning for March.' His whole thing was, his 1988-89 team and his 1990-91 team were really good in January and February, and they got really good in January and February, and that was his message. It was a really good message for my guys, especially the younger guys who have been kind of going through some the freshman stuff that freshmen go through this time of year."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Kevin Willard quote book: Big East conference call

*All quotes courtesy of Andrew Goldstein, Marquette Wire*

On Tuesday's loss to Marquette and Saturday's upcoming matchup against Georgetown:
"Yeah, I thought -- obviously, the second game on the road -- I thought we battled really well for a good 30 minutes and then Marquette had a great run, they really passed the ball terrific the other night and we didn't have a whole lot left in the tank to try to make a second comeback. But I was proud of the way my guys really battled for most of the game and the way they approached the road trip, and now we're back home and we're facing a very, very good Georgetown team that plays extremely hard, really works the ball inside out extremely well, and I think, are defending at a very high level."

On P.J. Carlesimo and his accomplishments at Seton Hall:
"I think it's amazing. I just look at what he did to build the program, and then once he got it to a level where he took it, I think is something that's -- obviously, what we're trying to do -- but it's one of those things where you look back and probably, one of the best building jobs and the maintaining of a program any coach has ever done. His legacy, no one's ever going to surpass him and what he's done here, no coach, just because he's the one who put Seton Hall on the map, and not only did he put them on the map, but he kept them there. I think everyone that followed him has been thankful for the job that he's done."

On Seton Hall's 1993 NCAA Tournament game against Western Kentucky, a team Willard played on as a freshman:
"I remember an unbelievable battle, two really good, athletic teams going back and forth against each other, and I just remember -- obviously, I have better memories from the Western Kentucky side, but just -- that Western Kentucky team had an unbelievable toughness to it, they just weren't going to lose, and just watching a terrific basketball game."

On Marquette's defense against Angel Delgado and how to counteract opposing teams' strategies:
"I actually thought Angel played extremely well. A couple of his turnovers were -- he threw two good passes out that were just mishandled -- one on a double-team, one on just a simple kickout. I thought they did a good job of really being physical with him, and I thought Angel did a great job of being physical back, but I think a lot of post guys aren't, for some reason, getting foul calls on post moves, and I just thought they were extremely physical with him. But I still thought he played a very good game."

On what makes Marquette's Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey difficult to defend:
"Sam Hauser. The fact that Hauser doesn't get talked about a lot -- he really complements those two guards extremely well. He moves without the ball, you can help off him a little bit, those two guys find him. He's such a great shooter and he's got a great basketball sense. Obviously they run a ton of pick-and-rolls and they roll harder, but when Hauser's on the court, he just makes everybody so much better and that's so impressive, the development that he's had since last year from being; really, just a shooter, to now, he'll ball fake, he goes into the post a little bit. I think when Hauser's on the floor, it just puts so much pressure to defend them, and those two little guys do a great job of understanding where he is."

On Desi Rodriguez and what areas he is different in compared to last year:
"I think the biggest thing with Des is I think he's become a much better passer. He's got the ball in his hands a lot, I think he's really become a little bit more of an unselfish player. He is our, technically, our leading scorer, he takes the most shots on the team. He really has done a much better job this year of getting guys involved, reading double-teams, and when he comes off screens, having his head up and finding guys, and I think that's really kind of made him so much better."

On Delgado's passing skills:
"I think the fact that he's accepted the fact that, at times, teams are really going to try to take away his post-ups -- when they're doubling him as Creighton does, as St. John's does -- those are hard games. Butler did it, Marquette handled the ball fake, doubled him, came up the dribble with him. So I think he's really understanding that 90 percent of the time, he's got Khadeen, Desi and Myles Powell around him, and if he kicks it out -- off the double-team, he's got a good chance to get an offensive rebound, or he's got a good chance to get an assist, so I think he feeds it to everybody. When he's playing unselfish, everybody plays unselfish."