NEC News of the Day: Moon Will Be Mid-Major Hoops Mecca Thursday Night Plus Exclusive Audio Reaction from CCSU’s Beryl Piper & Top Tweets

There’s only one game on the Northeast Conference men’s basketball docket tonight, but if you follow Velton Jones on Twitter, you know it’s a big one.

You see, the Colonials’ point guard started his morning with a simple message for his 720 followers – “Pack The Chuck.”

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Jones is hoping that all 720 of those tweeps and some will join the “Colonials Crazies” and flood the Sewall Center for a Thursday night tussle with 8-1 Cleveland State.  Finishing the 2010-11 season at 27-9 overall, the Horizon League member was a NCAA Tournament “bubble team” that went onto defeat Vermont in the Postseason NIT First Round.

Coached by former Rutgers and Kent State front man Gary Waters, the Vikings have already posted wins over Vanderbilt, Rhode Island, Saint Bonaventure, and Kent State this season.  Cleveland State currently sits fifth in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.  The Vikings are also receiving votes in both major National Top 25 Poll.

Meanwhile, Robert Morris, which has posted notable non-conference wins over Duquesne, James Madison, and LaSalle, can be found in the “receiving votes” category of the Mid-Major Poll, two spots away from cracking the Top 25.

Cleveland State will bring a pair of senior guards, who started all 36 games last season, (Trey Harmon and Jeremy Montgomery) into the Sewall Center.  The Vikings’ leading scorer is a senior forward who missed all of last year with an injury.  D’Aundray Brown is averaging 13.4 ppg and is known for his defensive prowess as well.

Meanwhile, the host Colonials employ a deep nine-man rotation led by the veteran Jones who averages a team-high 16.6 points over 29.7 minutes per game.  Guard Coron Williams (12.7) and small forward Russell Johnson (10.1) also average more than 10.0 ppg.

So the stage is set for a major matchup between a pair of mid-major who both hope to be playing into late March.

In the words of Velton Jones’ Tweet from Thursday morning:

#PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck #PackTheChuck tonight at 7

 

Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters on the pending matchup…

 

In WBB action, the NEC went 2-0 on Wednesday night with Bryant topping Dartmouth and Central Connecticut prevailing at home against Rhode Island.

Beryl Piper’s Blue Devils defeated Rhody to run the NEC’s record against Atlantic-10 members to 6-3 this season, a significant improvement over last season’s showing when NEC team were just 1-for-8 against the A-10.

Central will next face Siena before visiting James Madison and the Hofstra Holiday Tournament.  A Jan. 2 date at Boston College also looms large.

“We have a tough haul [ahead], but it’s OK,” said Piper.  “We know what we have to do.  We’re just trying to get better so we can win conference games.”

Listen to more of what Piper had to say in an exclusive interview Thursday morning.


Beryl_Piper2.wav

 

Overtime! Tweet of the Day
@rmucoop44 – Happy Birthday to my mother Theresa Cooper. one great woman.

Other Top-rated Tweets
@LoMoMarlins – The real winner is the gov. In the Pujols signing. Cali is taking 25m and Feds are taking 80m. We might be getting out of the deficit sooner

@MUHawksWBB – “Practice is where a championship is won.” #johnwoodenquotes #hawks

 

Articles of Interest
NEC-specific News
Maryland basketball holds on to beat Mount St. Mary’sWashington Post (Liz Clarke)

Mount St. Mary’s men throw scare at MarylandHanover Evening Sun

Central men can’t keep up with high-powered Michigan St.New Britain Herald (Matt Straub)

Babe sisters, Thomas lead Central women over Rhode IslandNew Britain Herald (Matt Straub)

Also, here are two more clippings from Robert Morris’ win over Duquesne in the MBB Steel City Rivalry on Dec. 6.  The story in the Duquesne Duke student newspaper is one of our favorites in recent days here at Overtime!

No longer little old Robert MorrisThe Duquesne Duke

Colonials ratchet up intensity, stun DukesPittsburgh Post-Gazette

General News
Bowlsby: Plus-one ‘inevitable’ in college footballYahoo! Sports (AP)

 

– Dec. 8, 2011 –

 

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