Northeast Conference Campus Tour (Mar. 30, 2012) – A quick trip across the campuses of the NEC’s 12 member institutions

Bryant – On Saturday, April 21, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) will be hosting the fourth-annual Kids’ Day Out. The program, which is an interactive day camp for children ages seven and up, will unfold on April 21.  Read more.

Central Connecticut – The Blue Devils endured a long, 17-game road trip in the sport of softball, and now that it has finally come to an end, head coach Jeff Franquet sat down to talk about it. Read more.

Fairleigh Dickinson – FDU received its eighth ticket to the NCAA Bowling Championships in the last nine years this week, and now the men’s tennis team hopes to eventually join the party.  FDU men’s tennis, which last qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2008, has been heating up of late.  The Knights recently defeated A-10 member Fordham in dual match play. Read more.

LIU Brooklyn – It was a busy week for LIU men’s hoops.  Blackbirds’ star forward Julian Boyd was received an Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention and the sports information department released the final installment of the team’s NCAA Tournament photo blog. Read more.

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Monmouth – Coming off its third consecutive trip to the NEC Tournament, Monmouth announced its men’s soccer schedule for the upcoming fall season.  The Hawks will begin their quest for the College Cup on August 27 on the Great Lawn in West Long Branch.  Monmouth will welcome Big East member Providence to the Jersey Shore to kick off the 2012 fall slate.  Like the Hawks, the Friars advanced into the NCAA Second Round in 2011.  Read more.

Mount St. Mary’s – The Mountaineers, who will be hosting the NEC Outdoor Championship come May, are welcoming seven other teams to Emmitsburg this weekend for the Eric Kloiber Track & Field Invitational.  LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris, and Saint Francis (PA) are the other three NEC programs in the eight-team field.  Read more.

Quinnipiac – Perennial NEC title contender Quinnipiac will host two Northeast Conference foes in Hamden this weekend.  The Bobcats, who were tabbed first in the coaches’ preseason predicted order-of-finish, will welcome Mount to town on Friday and Monmouth on Sunday. Read more.

Robert Morris – The Colonials closed out a memorable non-conference men’s lacrosse slate in style.  In the first lacrosse night game in the history of Joe Walton Stadium, Robert Morris toppled Canisius, 15-11, to end a non-league schedule that included a win over nationally-ranked Ohio State.  RMU owns a 6-3 record heading into its NEC opener. Read more.

Sacred Heart – The Pioneers are the No. 14 mid-major women’s basketball team in the nation according to the season’s final edition of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.  Sacred Heart won its third NEC Tournament title earlier this month and went onto represent the NEC in the NCAA Tournament. The Pios, who earned a No. 13 seed, fell to No. 4 Georgia Tech in the NCAA First Round. Read more.

St. Francis (NY) – The Terriers officially ushered in John Thurston as the school’s new women’s basketball coach.  Thurston, who was the associate head coach of Brenda Milano’s staff for the past two seasons, was complimentary of his predecessor.  Read more.

 

Saint Francis (PA) – While the nation has been enthralled with March Madness, the Chris’ Villarrial’s Red Flash have been hard at work on the gridiron.  Saint Francis will host its annual Spring Football Game on March 30.  Read more.

Wagner – Walt Hameline made a huge hire earlier this week when he tabbed Bashir Mason to take over the reins of Wagner’s men’s hoops program, but that wasn’t the lone transaction to unfold on Staten Island this past week.  Hameline, who is both the school’s AD and head football coach, added a wide receivers coach to his coaching staff.  Custavious Patterson will join the Seahawks after spending the last six seasons at Fordham with current Wagner associate head coach Tom Massella. Read more.

 

 

 

Sacred Heart and Fairleigh Dickinson All Smiles During NCAA Bowling Selection Show

Northeast Conference Bowling fans who were hoping to see a rematch of the Sunday’s memorable NEC Bowling Championship final may get their wish in two weeks.

NEC finalists Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacred Heart received at-large berths into the NCAA Championship field when the eight-team bracket was uncovered on Wednesday afternoon.

FDU has only once missed out on qualifying for bowling’s version of the “Big Dance” and will look to make its eighth ever trip to the Final Four come April 12-14 in the Cleveland suburb of Wickliffe, OH.

Meanwhile, Sacred Heart is making its long-awaited return to the national title tournament. The Pioneers last contested the championship field in 2008.

If all goes right, NEC bowling enthusiasts could be staring at their dream NCAA final matchup on Saturday, April 14.  If so, they’ll get to see it on live TV along with the rest of America.  The NCAA Championship final will air on Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 pm on ESPNU and will re-air on ESPN the following day.

 2012 NCAA Championship Field

Arkansas State Central Missouri
Fairleigh Dickinson Maryland-Eastern Shore
Nebraska Sacred Heart
Valparaiso Vanderbilt

 

Take a look back at FDU’s shining moment at the 2010 NCAA Tournament…

NEC Keglers Make for Good Times in Reading, PA

It was a huge weekend of bowling in the Northeast Conference, and if you missed it, you have A LOT of catching up to do.

Six of America’s top-20 teams contested the eight-team field at the fourth annual NEC Championships.  The No. 18 team in the nation, Saint Francis (PA), wasn’t even permitted to take part in the festivities since they finished ninth in the NEC regular season standings. 

It’s not a surprise that such a high-quality team would have such a low finish in the NEC.  After all, there are no cupcakes on the conference schedule.  In 2010, Fairleigh Dickinson won the NCAA national championship after finishing fifth in the NEC regular season standings with a 7-7 league record.

Speaking of FDU, Michael LoPresti’s team carried the No .1 seed along with the National No. 1 ranking, into NEC Tournament play, but it was Sacred Heart, which left Bowl-O-Rama a winner.

Sacred Heart, which held the No. 2 ranking in the nation before slipping to the No. 8 spot in the latest edition of the NTCA Top 20 Coaches’ Poll, was firing on all cylinders this past weekend in Reading, PA.  The Pioneers went a perfect 4-0, including 2-0 vs. FDU, to claim their second NEC Tournament crown.

SHU’s fourth, and final, victory, however, did not come easy as the Pioneers and FDU Knights battled in another epic NEC Tournament title tilt.  NEC Bowling fans may remember, it was these two teams who met in the 2010 final and needed a modified baker roll-off tiebreaker to decide a champion.

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In the end, Sacred Heart recovered from squandering a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven baker series and took the deciding Game 7 to achieve NEC supremacy and pad their NCAA Selection resume in the process.

Here’s how that final match unfolded…

 

In addition to crowning a champion, the NEC also unveiled its postseason award winners and All-NEC Teams this past weekend at Bowl-O-Rama.

FDU came away the big winner in Saturday’s midday awards presentation.  FDU anchor Danielle McEwan made it back-to-back NEC Bowler of the Year honors, while Michael LoPresti snagged the Coach of the Year award for the second year in a row.

Thanks to freshman Christina Leid, Saint Francis (PA) did have a presence of sorts at Bowl-O-Rama on Saturday.  The NEC named the Keystone State product its 2012 Rookie of the Year.

 

Here’s the complete list of 2012 All-NEC honors…

 

Mark Your Calendars Bowling Fans!

NCAA Bowling Selection Show on Wed., March 28 at 4:00 pm EST

NEC All-Tournament Team due out on Thursday, March 29

Click here to watch the NCAA Bowling Selection Show LIVE.

– Mar. 28, 2012 –

More on the NEC Men’s Hoops Hirings: Wagner and Mount Riding the Youth Movement

Young and hungry. The phrase applies to both Bashir Mason and Jamion Christian.

Those two men, both of whom have yet to see their 30th birthday, were handed the keys to NEC men’s basketball programs yesterday.

Mason, a St. Benedict’s (NJ) product, took over former his former boss Danny Hurley at Wagner.  Christian, a Mount alumnus who played for NEC Hall of Fame coach Jim Phelan, returned to Emmitsburg to become the 21st head coach in the history of the program.

(If you think like we do here at Overtime!, you may find it unlikely the Mount has had 21 basketball coaches in its history being that Phelan was the head man for over half a century.)

In these two young men, Wagner and Mount hired familiar faces who understand the mission of both program and institution as a whole.

On Grymes Hill, Wagner enjoys continuity from the short-lived Hurley Era.  Mason followed Hurley from St. Bendict’s to Staten Island and was one of the men who recruited a number of the student-athletes on the Seahawks’ present-day roster.

On the Mount, President Powell introduced someone who embodies the school’s spirit. In addition to bringing back a “man of great character” as Powell called him at yesterday’s presser, Mount St. Mary’s will also benefit from the great experience that Christian picked up on Shaka Smart’s staff at Virginia Commonwealth.

Bashir Mason came home to the Mount.

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Overtime!’s Take
Both men may be young, but youth has by no means been a deterrent to head coaching success at the Division I level.  In fact, Robert Morris fans have seen that right here in the Northeast Conference with Andy Toole.  In his two seasons at Robert Morris, Toole, who was the youngest head coach in DI at the time of his hiring, the team has won 44 games and made two NEC Championship Game appearances.  Oh, and that young guy over at Butler has done quite well for himself, too.

Youth usually translates into energy as well, and energy, at all levels, is what programs need to succeed.

Christian will use his Mount roots and VCU experience to mine into the deep talent pool that is Maryland and Virginia high school hoops for capable young men, who are looking to play the aggressive style he will employ.

If Mason’s team does one thing, it will be playing DEFENSE.  The former standout at Drexel has been about that seven-letter word since his playing days.  He was a four-time member of the CAA’s All-Defensive Team and was the first man in league history to win the Defensive Player of the Year awards as a freshman.

 

Both the Mount and Wagner did an admirable job in using Twitter to disseminate information on their press conferences and give fans an inside look at the happenings.  Here’s some of what their Twitter feeds had to say…

@MountStMarysU – Jamion Christian – Mount St. Mary’s University new head coach men’s basketball http://pic.twitter.com/7fcsJxBv

@MountStMarysU – Legendary Coach Jim Phelan at Mount press conference announcing new men’s basketball coach #nec #gomount http://pic.twitter.com/f1lRVUwy

@MountStMarysU – “Jamion Christian a man of great character…thrilled to welcome him back to his mountain home.” Thomas Powell

@WagnerAthletics – Mason: “That job isn’t done yet. @WagnerHoops is here to stay. It is on the rise for many years to come.”

@WagnerAthletics – Mason: “We’ve started something here for the past two years, with this team. raising young men, building them to be good student-athletes.”

@WagnerAthletics – MBB: President Richard Guarasci, Head Basketball Coach Bashir Mason & Athletic Director Walt Hameline … @WagnerHoops http://pic.twitter.com/NXjH769H

‏@WagnerAthletics – MBB: Another great photo of Bashir Mason and his family … @WagnerHoops #FAMILY http://pic.twitter.com/a8aKmSyT

 

Here’s What Other Twitterers Had to Say about the two NEC men’s hoops hires…

@NECcommish – Welcome @NECsports newest MBB coaches @WagnerAthletics elevates asst Bashir Mason and @MountAthletics tabs VCU’s @JamionChristian. #NECMBB

@dhurley15 – So excited for my former @StBenedictsPrep man Bashir Mason. Officially named Head Coach @WagnerCollege today at presser. Great day! Proud!

@Eric_WorldPeace – Watchin the press conference live @WagnerAthletics to see my man Coach Bash get introduced as the new coach! … http://tmi.me/nw96o

@MattLeonKYW – Good day for @DrexelDragons MBB – well deserved extension for Bruiser Flint and former Dragon Bashir Mason gets head coach gig at Wagner

@adamamin – Bashir Mason, 28, taking over at Wagner. Youngest HC in NCAA. Played for Bruiser Flint at Drexel so he’ll be tough defensively.

@AnandaRochita – Congrats on being the new Mount Basketball head coach @jamionchristian. Hope you’ll enjoy the move from Richmond to Emmitsburg

@NescitOccasum – @MountAthletics Great week in Mount Athletics – Coach G and his men win @ Michigan and Mount alum Coach C takes charge of MBB! Go MOUNT!

 

Related Stories
Christian returns to alma mater as head coachHanover Evening Sun (Daniel Paulling)

For new Wagner basketball coach Bashir Mason, age is a just a numberStaten Island Advance (Cormac Gordon)

Wagner tabs Jersey City native Bashir Mason as men’s basketball head coach, to succeed Dan HurleyThe Star Ledger (Brendan Prunty)

Bashir Mason taking over as coach at WagnerUSA Today (Jim Halley)

 

Wagner/Bashir Mason Press Conference

 

Mount St. Mary’s/Jamion Christian Press Conference

 

 

– Mar. 28, 2012 –

 

Big Day for Future of NEC Men’s Hoops; Two New Coaches Will Meet the Media

Wagner athletic director Walt Hameline and Mount St. Mary’s executive Lynne Robinson both fielded calls from coaches and references from all around America in their searches for a new head men’s basketball coach. 

As it turned out, however, both programs chose to fill the open positions by looking from within.

Wagner decided to slide Bashir Mason a few seats up the bench, while Mount St. Mary’s dipped into its rich alumni base and found the up and coming Jamion Christian

While the Seahawks promoted Dan Hurley’s former assistant, the Mount chose Christian, who most recently an assistant coach for Shaka Smart at VCU and formerly a player for the legendary Jim Phelan.

Both men will be introduced in official press conferences on Tuesday, March 27.

Watch Wagner’s LIVE Presser (12:00 pm)

Watch Mount’s LIVE Presser (3:00 pm) 

The new head men’s hoop coach on Grymes Hill

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Statements from the Parties Involved
Wagner AD Walt Hameline on his latest hire

“We’re very excited that Bashir Mason will be the next head men’s basketball coach here at Wagner College. There was a great deal of interest in this position and we spent the past few days fielding calls from a host of coaches from all parts of the country. In elevating Bashir, we are getting a young, hungry, aggressive coach who I believe will build on the foundation that we now have in place. He also gives us continuity and a bridge to the success we’ve had and will provide our program and student-athletes with great leadership.”

Wagner’s new coach, and Jersey City, NJ native Bashir Mason

“I am really excited and thankful for the opportunity that Dr. Guarasci, Walt Hameline and the rest of the Wagner administration has presented me with.  I am looking forward to the challenge of leading the program while continuing to move Wagner Basketball in the direction it has been going the last two years.”

 

Mount Athletic Director, and daughter of Jim Phelan, Lynne Robsinson

“We are excited to welcome Jamion Christian back to his alma mater as the next head men’s basketball coach.  Jamion’s successful Division I playing and coaching experience perfectly positions him to guide our program. We are thrilled that Jamion has returned to the Mount and we look forward to his leadership in the years to come.”

Jamion Christian on his Mount Homecoming

“I am both thrilled and humbled to be returning to the Mount. I look forward to bringing energy and enthusiasm back to our historic program one passionate day at a time. I am so excited to work with our players currently here and with our incoming freshmen.  I truly believe they are not only talented, but have proven to have tremendous character by how they respond to adversity.  I believe in our leadership, our campus, and our community to help us return our program to prominence in the NEC.”

 

Overtime Tweet of the Day
@MUHawksWBB – We hope everyone is enjoying March Madness! We are working hard to make sure we get the chance to be apart of it next season! #hawks

Early Week Top Tweets
@TheRock – Good morning! Own your week. #StartFast

@coachpace – Sweet day in Brooklyn! http://lockerz.com/s/195938962

@PONYexpress59 – History class then off to a lift

@ESPNLunardi – Average margin of victory in NCAA women’s tourney Sweet 16: 19.4 ppg. Men’s average for same round was 8.4 ppg. Discuss…

@SleepyBeast42 – Gotta get back in the gym today. If hooping overseas is gonna be a reality, then I gotta get back in it

 

Related Stories
Christian named Mount men’s basketball head coachHanover Evening Sun (Staff Report)

Wagner College’s hiring of Bashir Mason keeps basketball job in the familyStaten Island Advance (Cormac Gordon)

Dan Hurley’s tough goodbye to Wagner CollegeStaten Island Advance (Cormac Gordon)

 

– Mar. 27, 2012 –

 

Monmouth Righty Has Near-Perfect Start to Second NEC Baseball Weekend

There’s only one way to accurately describe the performance of Monmouth’s ace during his first two NEC starts of the season – LIGHTS OUT!

Pat Light struck out 13 batters and allowed no runs over the final eight innings of the Hawks’ NEC opener against Garden State rival FDU last Friday, March 16.

Although there wasn’t a tremendous amount of room for improvement, Light’s second start was even better.

The 6-foot-6 Colts Neck, NJ product sat down the first 21 men he faced in Monmouth’s series opener against Wagner.

He fanned Wagner’s Eddie Brown to end the seventh for his ninth K of the day.

Only six outs away from a perfect game, Light took the ball in the eighth with Wagner catcher Hayden Hunter leading off.

The Seahawks’ cleanup hitter, who had been retired via groundout and flyout in each of his first two at-bats, worked the count to 1-1 before sending a single back up the middle.

Although he spoiled Light’s bid at history, Hayden did not shake the tall right-hander. Light bounced back by getting ahead of the ensuing batter, Tommy Higgins, on a 1-2 count and inducing a 4-6-3 double play ball.

Light surrendered a two-out single to Jayson Keel, but that was it.  A Nick Dini groundout ended the eighth and Light retired the side in order during the ninth to lock up his second straight complete-game victory.

Wagner would take the second half of Friday’s double dip, a seven-inning affair, but the story of the day in NEC baseball was clearly the power arm of a young Pat Light.

Here’s the Box Score from the Lights-Out Pitching Performance…

 

Here’s Pat Light following his win over FDU on Mar. 16…

 

Gavin Nevill talks baseball with FDU skipper Gary Puccio… 

 

 

– Mar. 24, 2012 –

Sacred Heart WBB Hopes to Score Landmark Win by Stinging Higher-Seeded Yellow Jackets

The last time Sacred Heart was here, the Pioneers gave No. 3 seed Ohio State a scare.

The NEC champs were down just two with a little more than 12:00 remaining in the game and wound up falling by 14 points.

SHU will make its return to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, March 18 and hopes to do more than just make No. 4 Georgia Tech sweat. 

Ed Swanson’s team has the chance to become the first NEC team to post a NCAA Tournament victory since the league first received automatic access to the championship back in 1994.

Callan Taylor leads a SHU senior class that’s been here before.  The 2012 NEC Player of the Year put up 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists against Ohio State as a freshman.  The 6-foot-1 small forward makes her second trip into the NCAA Tournament as the NEC’s career leader in double-doubles (53).

Taylor’s classmates, Kris Iovino and Alexis Campbell, both saw some floor time, albeit minimal, in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The senior class has played a significant role throughout the Pioneers’ third NEC title run, but the key to an upset on Sunday could lie in the team’s young, but seasoned backcourt. 

Although underclassmen Gabrielle Washington (NEC Rookie of the Year) and Ericka Norman (NEC Tournament MVP) will both be making their NCAA debuts on Sunday, they’ve thrived in the spotlight thus far this season.  Washington seamlessly stepped into the role of secondary scorer behind Taylor and led all rookies in points per game while doing so.  Norman continued her development in what was the Californian second season as the team’s starting point guard.  The sparkplug leads the league, and ranks 12th nationally, in assists (6.03 apg).

No. 13 SACRED HEART vs. No. 4 GEORGIA TECH
Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 pm EST
Watch LIVE on ESPN3

Quick Scout on Georgia Tech
Record: 24-8
Last 10: 8-2
Scoring Offense: 70.7 ppg
Scoring Defense: 59.0 ppg
RPI Rank (wbbstate.com):  14

Georgia Tech, a top-20 RPI team, is coming off a loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament.  Senior Sasha Goodlett (14.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and sophomore Tyaunna Marshall (15.3 ppg,6.4 rpg) are the Yellow Jackets two main scoring options.  It will be interesting to see how SHU head coach Ed Swanson plans on defending Goodlett, a 6-foot-5 skilled center who may pose matchup problems for a Pioneers team that lacks the big interior presence. (SHU did have the top-tier post player during its 2009 visit to the Big Dance form of NEC Tournament MVP Kaitlin Sowinski).  The Yellow Jackets defend the three-point shot well, allowing opponents to convert at just 25.8 percent.  Ga Tech’s overall field goal percentage defense is under 39 percent, not a generous number by any means.

 

Ed Swanson Show (Pre-NCAA Tournament Edition)

 

NEC in The NCAA Tournament
The NEC has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game in 16 tries thus far.  The league’s best showing came in 2009 when Sacred Heart battled Ohio State to a 77-63 decision in Columbus.  Prior to the Pioneers’ effort in Ohio, Saint Francis (PA) was responsible for the smallest margin of defeat a NEC team incurred in the NCAA Tournament.  The Red Flash jumped out to a 21-8 lead before falling to Villanova by 15, 51-36, in 2003.

1994    #3 Iowa defeated #14 Mount St. Mary’s, 70-47                    

1995    #4 Alabama defeated #13 Mount St. Mary’s, 82-55

1996    #2 Georgia defeated #15 St. Francis (PA), 98-66

1997    #2 Alabama defeated #15 St. Francis (PA), 94-50

1998    #1 Old Dominion defeated #16 St. Francis (PA), 92-39

1999    #1 Connecticut defeated #16 St. Francis (PA), 97-46

2000    #3 Iowa State defeated #14 St. Francis (PA), 92-63

2001    #1 Connecticut defeated #16 Long Island, 101-29

2002    #1 Connecticut defeated #16 St. Francis (PA), 86-37

2003    #2 Villanova defeated #15 St. Francis (PA), 51-36

2004    #2 Purdue defeated #15 St. Francis (PA), 78-59

2005    #3 Minnesota defeated #14 St. Francis (PA), 64-33

2006    #2 Maryland defeated #15 Sacred Heart, 95-54

2007    #4 N.C. State defeated #13 Robert Morris, 84-52

2008    #2 Rutgers defeated #15 Robert Morris, 85-42

2009    #3 Ohio State defeated #14 Sacred Heart, 77-63

2010    #2 Ohio State defeated #15 Saint Francis (PA), 93-59

2011    #4 Maryland 70, #13 Saint Francis (PA) 48