Saturday, March 22, 2008

Xavier, Wisconsin look sweet

I expected one game to be a blow-out and the other to be a struggle. Turns out I was right, but about the wrong games. Wisconsin looks mighty fine, as the Badgers down Michael Beasley and Kansas State, 72-55. 25 points and four assists from Trevon Hughes. 31 wins on the season for Wisconsin. 31! This team could give Georgetown (assuming they get there) a run.

Xavier is up six with a little over 10 to play, but the score doesn't tell the story. Purdue looked strong early, but the Muskateers have shot the lights out in the second half.

Purdue making moves

While Michael Beasley can Kansas State are just trying to tread water (50-39 Badgers with 13:30 to play), the Boilermakers are making noise in the other second-round game. As we speak, Purdue is only down one point to Xavier with 3:30 remaining in the first half. No specific player stands out for Purdue, but it's been a nice all around effort on D and from the field.

11 bench points and five players with 5 points or more for the Boilers. Nice well-rounded attack. How will Xavier respond?

WVU moves on, Beasley next to take the stage

All it took to take down Duke was a pair of not-so-average Joes, as in Joe Alexander and Joe Mazzulla. Fantastic job from West Virginia not only adjusting to the Blue Devils' defense, but also shooting the ball much better. Rough shooting from behind the arc from Duke - the team's Achilles' Heel all year long. Better luck next year.

Up next: a battle between three-seed Wisconsin and upstart Kansas State. Can Beasley continue the trend set by Alexander?

Getting Nervous

WVU has an eight-point advantage with 6:34 to play in regulation. As a Duke fan, I am starting to get worried. Duke's shooting has gone cold, Singler is in serious foul trouble, and Joe Alexander has that look in his eyes. This kid is something else. Hopefully we can find that spark that WVU found about a half hour ago.

Mountaineers make a run

Joe Alexander's domination, some timely three-point shooting, and a 10-2 run in the past 3:50 means what was a five-point deficit for WVU is now a seven-point lead with 10:06 to play. Such a great turnaround in a matter of moments - definitely a tale of two halves here. The D.C. crowd is certainly pulling for West Virginia.

Stay tuned, as this one is just starting to get good.

Blue Devils lead 34-29 at Half

It was a topsy-turvy half, with the end result being a five-point advantage for Duke at half. Greg Paulus leads the Blue Devils with 8 points. On the other side, Joe Alexander (with both of his tandem forwards in foul trouble) has been a monster in the paint - he has 11 and 5 boards at the break.

Early on, great two quick three's and plenty of WVU fouls gave Duke a double-digit lead. However, Alexander's play and a bench spark from backup point guard Joe Mazzulla pulled the Mountaineers back into the game.

DUKIES, baby!

Can this day start any better? We kick off the second-round with a 2/7 game in the Western Region between the Duke Blue Devils and the West Virginia Mountaineers - a big time match-up. An ACC/Big East battle, both teams are looking to punch a ticket to Arizona to the Sweet 16.

When last we saw these teams:
  • Duke - Gerald Henderson bailed the Blue Devils out of a late deficit against fifteenth-seed Belmonth with a coast-to-coast drive and lay-up. Kyle Singler needs to assert himself early and often.
  • WVU - Bob Huggins and Co. took down tenth-seed Arizona in a duel of a game. The Mountaineers are looking to build off a great Big East tournament run
Match-up to watch: Duke's Greg Paulus versus WVU's Darris Nichols. Two of the best at point guard.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fairfield Men's Lax drops third straight game

Second quarter. That was the difference on Alumni Field on Friday night, as the Stags lost its third consecutive game to the the Penn State Nittany Lions, 7-2. It it Fairfield's first loss in the ECAC.

After a scoreless first quarter, Penn State exploded for five second quarter goals to take a commanding 5-1 lead into the half. While the remainder of the game was competitive (in the first quarter and second half, PSU only held a 2-1 advantage), Fairfield fell in a deep hole and could not recover.

Fairfield is now 3-3 on the season.

Miss St. and 9 o'clocks

Another bad pick for yours truly, as the Oregon Ducks blow a double-digit half time lead and miss 15 consecutive three-point shots. Mississippi State advances in a solid 8/9 game in the South Region. Charles Rhodes was a beast in the post and totaled 33 points. Next up: Memphis (probably).

Here's my outlook on the night games:
  • Villanova/Clemson (5 v. 12, Midwest) - Probably the best game of the night. Bonus points for being the first of many ACC vs. Big East games we'll see in this tournament (Duke tomorrow is another). I think this one goes down to the wire. It's in St. Pete's - already two OT games there today.
  • Louisville/Boise State (3 v. 14, East) - More Boise State magic? Unlikely. Still two of the three 3/14 games this year have been intriguing.
  • Memphis/UT-Arlington (1 v. 16, South) - Ouch.
  • Arkansas/Indiana (8 v. 9, East) - Solid, solid game. Both teams are in interesting positions: Indiana is looking to ease the pain of a crazy second half of the season (on and off the court). Arkansas is looking to build off of a solid SEC tourney.

MAAC Pride

I think that most people who have seen Siena play this year know that they possess tremendous talent, and that most people who have followed the MAAC thought the Saints had a chance tonight against Vanderbuilt.

No one, though, probably thought that the Kenny Hasbrouck and Co. would do this. Siena is moving on after dismantling Vandy, 83-62. Wow. A very impressive win for McCaffrey and the boys. Not only did Hasbrouck explode to the tune of a season-high 33 points, but the Saints had three other players finish with double-digit scoring (Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, and Ronald Moore).

Congrats, and go crazy in Albany.

Sooners advance, Siena inches closer

St. Joseph's has a late lane violation, then struggle to get an intentional foul on Oklahoma. With only 31.8 seconds on the clock, it seems like this is one is all but decided. UNC is moving on, as well.

Meanwhile, the Saints are up 11 with 3:46 remaining in regulation. Hasbrouck has been fantastic tonight for Siena, and coach Fran McCaffrey should be proud that the team did not blink to a seasoned SEC squad. What a game this would be for the MAAC and mid-majors. We'll keep you posted.

The MAAC Watch is on

So far tonight:

  • North Carolina do exactly what's expected of them to do in a 1/16 game. They're up 27 in the second half. Hansborough has 21 points.
  • Oklahoma is shooting the ball extremely well and taking care of mid-major darling St. Joseph's. Many people had this PA team winning. 18 points for Godbold, and the Boomer Sooners hold a comfortable 51-33 lead with 13:57 to play.
  • Oregon leads Mississippi State by ten at the half, a battle of two at-large bids.
But, the real news is that the Siena Saints - the postseason MAAC champions - are doing the MAAC proud tonight. As I write this, Kenny Hasbrouck has 15 points and the Saints hold a 12-point advantage over Vanderbuilt early in the second half. Obviously, a lot can still happen - but it's exciting to see them do well. Definitely the game to watch of the 7 o'clocks.

San Diego Stuns Storrs

  • UConn breaks timeout, and now a young, up-and-coming team is in desperate need of a miracle moment.
  • A deep inbound for the Huskies never gets there, as De'Jon Jackson tips it and the clock expires. Game over, and San Diego takes it down. Yet another upset in Tampa today.
  • It's too bad that A.J. Price was not available in this game. Anyone who has watched UConn this season knows that this is a different team with him in the game, and this would have been a much different game. Still, tip your cap to San Diego.
  • San Diego versus Western Kentucky in Round Two in the West Region. Think about that..
  • Final: 70-69 San Diego Toreros.

And, now, over to Tom Cleary. Evening game preview is on the way.

70-69 San Diego; :1.2 in OT

  • I'm not sure about you, but this game seems eerily similar to the Duke/Belmont game last night - right up to the final timeout to draw up a play for the underdog.
  • San Diego will inbound at half court. Here we go.
  • WOW! With 5.2 left to play, a hurt De'Jon Jackson receives the inbound, takes the dribble, and drains a mid rangers. 1.2 to play. Unreal shot. 1.2 remaining and San Diego is up one, 70-69.
  • Phew. March Madness at its finest right here, ladies and gentlemen.

69-68 UConn; :5.0 in OT

  • San Diego takes a timeout to talk things over. Given Thabeet's presence in the middle, a look in the paint and/or an offensive board are unlikely. I'd think this is going to be a pick-and-pop, but what do I know?
  • San Diego breaks huddle and will inbound at half court with :38 to play.
  • Here we go: WOW! Rob Jones pump fakes, then takes Thabeet to the hoop and somehow gets a half hook/half lay-up to go in - and gets the foul! Yet another insane shot from Rob Jones. Now he has a chance to extend the lead to two points from the line. 68-67 San Diego.
  • Jones misses the FT. Uh oh. Huskies can win with a bucket here.
  • Bad news for San Diego: Jerome Dyson takes as much time off the clock as he can, then drives the lane. The Toreros are called for a block. UConn can win it with two shots here. Brandon Johnson has fouled out. Two guys out and Huskies on the line - has the magic run out here?
  • Dyson to shoot a pair with 9 seconds to go. The first of two goes - and that ties it. This next one is for the lead. Dyson nails it, and UConn is up one. Big time shot for Dyson! 69-68 UConn
  • Jones crosses midcourt and San Diego takes a timeout to draw up a play. Good call from the bench.

67-66 UConn; :38.0 in OT

  • Strange tidbit for our viewers: the only two games glog'd today on Mirror Sports Blog were both in Tampa. Both were overtime games. Both had funny mascots (Hilltopers for WKU). Both involved WCC teams. Weird, wild stuff.
  • Thabeet wins the tip, but UConn cannot capitalize.
  • On the other end, San Diego misses a pair thanks to the insanely large arms of Hasheem Thabeet - awkward shots for Brandon Johnson and Rob Jones. They grab the offensive board, though.
  • The Thabeet Factor works against UConn this time, as he is charged for goaltending. 62-60 San Diego.
  • Pomare Thabeet's Craig Austrie, and the Toreros have the ball up tow.
  • Pomare's three hits every which way of the rim and finally goes in. Nice screen roll play for San Diego. 64-60 San Diego.
  • Thabeet answers with inside penetration - and the foul! 64-62 San Diego.
  • Very important basket for UConn not only to answer San Diego's hot start, but that foul means that Gyno Pomare has now fouled out of the game. Big impact on San Diego's offense.
  • Thabeet adds the "and one" free throw. 64-63 San Diego.
  • If you haven't tried Gatorade's new 'Tiger' drink, do yourself a favor and go to your local grocer/convenience store now.
  • Brandon Johnson hits an important shot for the Toreros. Then again, every shot from here on in is big. 66-63 San Diego.
  • Jeff Adrien gets inside and lays it in. 18 for him. 66-65 San Diego.
  • Traveling violation called on Jackson, and now the Huskies have a shot to take the lead.
  • Back door cut from Dyson - and an equally as sweet look from Jeff Adrien - goes in. Just like that, it's UConn in the lead. 67-66 UConn.

60-60; End of Regulation (UConn/SDU)

  • I'm guessing another quick foul from UConn. First look is obviously steal, but I wouldn't trust San Diego on the line right now. Here we go.
  • UConn doubles the ball and traps. San Diego - in kind - uses a timeout. What else can you do what Thabeet is in your face?
  • Strange, strange play: With an inbound right in front of the Huskies' bench, a block is called on Jerome Dyson as Ginty was attempting to cut. Odd, but at the same time, no time off the clock for Uconn.
  • Ginty hits the first, and again misses the second. Here comes UConn.
  • Again, without hesitation, the Huskies fly down the court and go right to the hoop. San Diego is charged with a shooting foul, so Jerome Dyson can tie this game up with a pair from the charity strip.
  • The mood is tense. It all comes down to this. Dyson: Shot one - Good. Shot two - GOOD! UConn has tied it up! Tampa may be getting its second overtime game of the day.
  • Two attempts by San Diego are no-go's and Thabeet holds the ball to end regulation.

59-58 San Diego; :20.0 in the 2nd

  • I wonder what life is like in West Hartford right now...
  • In all seriousness, this tournament has had more than it's fair share of either: low, mid-major seeds doing well, or favored mid majors struggling to at-large big teams. Very odd.
  • Quick foul from UConn, and we'll do it again.
  • After two (two!) near steals on a cross court pass that just missed Stanley Robinson, the Huskies foul. They'll need to do it one more time. The shot clock is off.
  • This Kettle corn popcorn tastes so good right now.
  • Finally, this foul (on Wiggins) sends the Toreros to the line. It'll be Devin Ginty with a one-and-one.
  • The first is good, and the second: A miss! UConn is alive with :28 to go.
  • Cross court, no hesitation offense from the Huskies end in an easy lay-in. Score two for Jeff Adrien. This one is far from over. Nicely done by UConn, a pure veteran move.
  • Timeout on the floor as both teams regroup. Hold on to your butts.

58-56 San Diego; :37.0 left in the 2nd

  • This game is brought to you by Disney and George Mason.
  • Calhoun breaks the huddle and the Huskies hit the court. CBS' Fact: UConn is 14-0 under Jim Calhoun in the first round.
  • Fast, quick bucket for Thabeet on dribble penetration, which pulls UConn within two. 58-56 San Diego.
  • No luck on the inbound, and the Toreros take a timeout. UConn looks to foul immediately on the inbound.

58-54 San Diego; :50.4 in the 2nd

  • Big time shots on both ends. Doug Wiggins hits a three in the corner - shades of Mamadou Diakhate. That's UConn's first lead of the evening. San Diego's big man Gyno Pomare answers with a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 54.
  • Brandon Johnson has to force up a three and misses long. San Diego retains, though, as Thabeet's block knocks the ball out of bounds.
  • WOW! A sweet reversal for Rob Jones around Hasheem Thabeet. What a shot. Maybe the most athletic shot all tournament.
  • After an illadvised turnover on Craig Austrie, Rob Jones does it again - this time a sweet leaner on a drive. Nice job from the kid.
  • Calhoun wants to draw something up and take a T.O.

Here comes the Huskies

We all knew that a UConn run was inevitable. Even the most sincere Torero (yes, I used it again) knew this was coming. Hasheem "Doofy" Thabeet gets that elusive field goal that he has been searching for all game, and it's a big one. The Huskies now trail by one, 44-43, with 10:25 remaining in regulation. Much better poise on the offensive end in this half after paltry shooting in the first.

An offensive foul on San Diego gives UConn the ball right back. Has the tide turned?

Ten Reasons NOT to root for San Diego

To ease my pain as Calhoun explodes (if I was a UConn player I would be hiding in the corner of the huddle right now), here are ten reasons why you should root for the Huskies to pull it out:

  1. The WCC obviously is overrated. Just look at Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. Why root for a conference that couldn't beat Miami and Davidson. Failures. San Diego shouldn't even be here. A much better team, Virginia Tech for example, should be.
  2. Toreros are bull handlers, and bull fighting is bad. What would PETA say? Plus what part of the bulls are they handling exactly? Hmm? HMM?
  3. A.J. Price came back from near-death. Don't judge him for stealing computers, just remember how he almost died. He can definitely come back from a knee injury. Plus, San Diego's Rob Jones' grandfather was the infamous Jim Jones. Take that how you will.
  4. Hasheem Thabeet's nickname is Doofy. Awesome.
  5. San Diego started as a women's only college and didn't have men until 1972. Somehow that means that the Toreros are basically a bunch of girls.
  6. Bill Grier is a traitor. How could you leave Gonzaga and stay in the same conference? I understand taking a better job, but at least get outside the conference where the coach that made you still rules.
  7. UConn has a better history.
  8. Calhoun is a genius.
  9. When in Rome.
  10. There are no Cinderellas.
Let's go Huskies.
-Tom Cleary

Top ten reasons to root for San Diego

  1. Mid-major Pride!
  2. No other game at the 2 o'clock hour is worth watching at this point (GU leads UMBC 48-29, Butler is making a statement against South Alabama 70-45 with only 8:14 to play, and Texas is having its way with Austin Peay 53-32 right now)
  3. Why should some other team in CT get extra cred?
  4. Now Tom knows how I felt last night during the Duke/Belmont game.
  5. San Diego's nickname: the Toreros. I love it. I don't even know what/who/where/why it is, but I'm a HUGE fan. Almost as good as the Hilltoppers.
  6. I've never been a Jim Calhoun fan. Fantastic coach who has done a ton for Connecticut- don't get me wrong. He just rubs me the wrong way. It might be because he treats sports writers poorly, or that he beat Duke in the Final Four way back when. But I stand by it.
  7. The Toreros(I pulled it out again) have some nice uni's.
  8. Gyno Pomare. 16 points already for San Diego. Great kid, and he's working hard against UConn's big time forwards.
  9. San Diego. Drink it in, and it always goes down smooth. We all know what it means in German, right Ron Burgundy?
  10. Everyone loves a Cinderella!

Tom and I will be back to give plenty of thoughts in this one! Let's hope this game keeps it up.


To interrupt the Keith Connors March Madness Spectacular for a second, UConn is driving me crazy. Watching the game with other rabid Huskies fans and we are all distraught right now. A.J. Price is down and San Diego is playing real well. This is not looking good and seems to be a repeat of two years ago when George Mason upset my beloved Huskies.

Still a long way to go and the Toreros should wear down with all of the Huskies depth.

I'll keep popping in with some of my own thoughts, but for now, back to Keith Connors, who is doing a great job.

-Tom Cleary

2 o'clock Madness

Texas is rolling and will likely wipe the floor with Austin Peay (that may be a pun, but I'm not even sure). The other two games look a bit intriguing.

Butler and Southern Alabama very well may be the sequel to the fantastic 7/10 game we saw earlier in the day between Gonzaga and Davidson. S'bama has the early lead, 23-22 with 7:15 to play. Player to Watch: Butler's A.J. Graves

As for the Hoyas, they have had a little resistance early on from UMBC. This reminds me a little of a scene from one of my favorite movies, "Major League":

  • Dorn: I got you an outfielder. He used to play for the Giants!
  • Lou Brown: Jackson?
  • Dorn: Not those Giants. (Cut to scene of Japanese guy - back then it seemed funny)
  • Cleary: Wow, sick game between Maryland and Georgetown
  • Simmons: The Terps?
  • Cleary: Not that Maryland.
I'll give credit to my roomie for predicting this one would be tight and a possible trap game for the Hoyas. Hibbert really need to reassert himself on offense after a lackluster Big East tourney. As we speak, it's 21-17 GU with 7:12 to play.

WKU Shocker! 101-99 at the buzzer

  • Deep inbound with :21 to go. Here goes nothing.
  • Tip after tip after tip after tip! Oh, my! And Drake somehow grabs an offensive board and draws a foul after they attack the rim right away. Unreal.
  • Looks like someone will go to the line for the fifth seed.
  • Jon Cox to the line for two shots. The first is GOOD. Tie game here. WKU takes a timeout to ice the shooter. Hopefully he is no Laurence Tynes.
  • Cox hits the back end of the two shots, and Drake is once again in control. Only a few ticks left here. Second goes down and is good.
  • WKU takes a timeout. I'm guessing Brazelton will be involved somehow in this.
  • WOW. WOW. WOW, again. Brazelton does a great job drawing a double, kicks it out to Ty Rogers, and then nails a deep, deep, miracle three at the buzzer!. Unreal!
  • Best finish of the tourney so far.
  • I tip my cap to WKU; Drake seemed to have that look all through O.T. So much for my UConn pick... Onto the 2 o'clock games!

98-97 WKU; :21 in O.T.

  • Question of the Night: What are the odds Tom and I will ever see a Fairfield game in overtime have a score like 93-92 and an insane crowd like this one? Text to MIRROR your answers.
  • 20 on the shot clock for Drake as they inbound.
  • BIG time shot and make for Young from three. Redick like trigger from that young man. 96-92 Drake.
  • First shot is off from Western, but an offensive rebound draws a foul and they stay alive. Ty Rogers goes to the line.
  • Rogers hits the back end of the one-and-one. 96-93 Drake with 1:45 to play.
  • NBA range three misses for Drake. They had to with the clock winding down.
  • Tyrone Brazelton hits a big time three. WOW! This guy is out of his mind right now. 33 for Brazelton (12 of the teams last 13). Drake steals after their own miss to keep their chances alive. :35 to go and we are tied at 96.
  • Leonard Huston is fouled? Beats me, and it looks like the Western Kentucky bench is stumped too. In any event, Huston gets a chance to put Drake on top.
  • With :30 left, (get ready for this one) Huston hits the first, misses the second, Brazelton grabs it and goes all the way, tries a lay-up, WKU misses a tip back, and again, then a fight for the board ends in a Klayton Korver foul. He is out of the game now.
  • Boris Siakham goes to the line for a pair. HUGE shots here.
  • First is good. We are tied at 97. Oh, boy.
  • Second is GOOD. Hilltoppers take a one-point lead. 98-97 WKU with :21 to go.
  • Drake takes a T.O. to talk things over.

93-92 Drake; 2:24 in O.T.

  • Inbound goes in favor of Drake. First place is knocked out of bounds, but Drake retains possession.
  • My laptop has no K key, and it is really starting to get on my nerves. Especially with a name like mine or a team like Drake playing.
  • Leaning lay-up for Leonard Huston. Warren Edney-like right there. Maybe I should say Edney could be Huston-like.
  • Brazelton answers. Again.
  • Josh Young drills another three. This one is getting very close to straight-up duel status here. 93-90 Drake.
  • Brazelton has his three bounce off back rim. Drake is up three with the ball.
  • Korver misses a three. I am going to guess that with a name like Korver he probably makes that more often than not.
  • Brazelton shoots (big shocker) and gets the roll. 30 points for Mr. Western Kentucky. 93-92 Drake.
  • Korver misses a a three. Brazelton misses. This game is going way too fast for me. Certainly not Fairfield playing with this quick offense.
  • Timeout Drake as they inbound did not look good from the start. Stay tuned here on CBS.

88-88 at End of Regulation (WKU v. Drake)

  • It just went from "wow" to "WOW!" in about three tenths of a second. Western Kentucky, left with no timeouts, draws up a play, inbound, and then gets called for an offensive foul! How?!!? I think Ed Cooley and or Jimmy Patsos would be wanted for murder if that happened.
  • Now, all of a sudden, a Drake team that was down by upwards of 15 with only 6 minutes to play has a shot to win with :21 to go. Hold onto your butts.
  • No go, as the shot does not get off for Drake as they drive the lane. A desperation heave from midcourt is way off for Brazelton.
  • Overtime? I say, yes.
  • In case you cannot tell by this live glog and my enthusiasm. I am into this game... just a little. I would love to tell you it is pure love of the game and mid-major basketball, but I would like to admit right now for the sake of my conscience that I have Drake going to the Sweet 16 (over Tom and his Huskies)

88-88 :29; in the 2nd

  • Tom Cleary is beginning to get mad as his Gmail inbox is flodded with my live updates. Sorry, Mr. Editor.
  • Inbound was shaky, but it gets in to Brazelton. Western ball. They milk the clock and Brazelton gets a leaner to go. 88-85 Western.
  • I would love to see Fairfield schedule a game between mid majors like this. I mean, if American can play with Tennessee, why not us?
  • Cox! He gets a three from the corner and we are tired! Hilltoppers take a timeout. What a clutch shot from Jonathan Cox (17 points in 10 minutes!). Drake seems to have finally arrived and we are in for a sick finish here.
  • Timeout Western Kentucky. T.O., baby!

86-85 Hilltoppers; 1:11 in the 2nd

  • Two free throws for Brazelton to extend the lead to eight. 86-78 Kentucka (yes, I said it).
  • HUGE, fast dunk from Houston on a pretty play. Nicely done, sir. Now, Western Kentucky fumbles the ball and travels to give it right back to Drake. Here we go.
  • Missed three-pointer bounces away, but a fast miss from Western Kentucky gives the ball right back.
  • Has there ever been a more awkward match-up of mascots then a Hilltopper versus a Bulldog. OK, its just Hilltopper that sounds odd. But I digress
  • J Young grabs the offensive board and goes coast-to-coast. Hes hacked on the way and almost gets an "and one" call. He goes to the line for a pair. 86-82 Western.
  • Another turnover from the Hilltoppers! And a three from Young! Oh, baby! Are you serious! One point game here.
  • Hilltopper take a timeout. And the live glog is back! YES!

Tale of Two Mid Majors

23 straight wins for Davidson and a remarkable comeback. That's a world of momentum heading into a likely second-round game against Georgetown. For another small school (St. Mary's of California), a 25-win season is over at the hands of ACC at-large Miami. The 'Canes are far from a mediocre team, but I was hopefully St. Mary's would have given Miami more of a challenge.

Drake is within six. Hopefully this game gets interesting.

Tenessee, Davidson Roll On

O.K., one we pretty much expected. The Vols got all they could handle from the Eagles, but it's all about survive and advance come March. As for Davidson, an unreal comeback and a fantastic game, as they take down Gonzaga 82-76. Stephen Curry's three-pointer with about :40 to go and the game tied might have been the biggest shot of the tourney so far. 39 points for Curry today.

Looks like Miami and Western Kentucky will roll on, but there's still time left.

Two up, two down

Seems like my upset mid-major predictions of St. Mary's over Miami and Drake over Western Kentucky are duds, but at least there are two close games here down the stretch:

Davidson just took a three-point lead over Gonzaga with 6:40 to go. They went right into the post coming off of a timeout. JUST as a type that, Stephen Gray drains a three to tie it. Wow! On the other side, American is only down five to second seed Tennessee with 3:40 to go.

K-Rock's March Bracket Brawl

For those of you who are either Rock fans and/or live in the NY area, K-rock radio (NY's number one rock station) is holding a March Madness-esque bracket matching up the greatest bands in rock history. The regions are: '70's, 80s, '90s, Modern Rock. Really, really tough. Some of my favorites:

Here's some thoughts:
  • My Final Four: Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Metallica, and Chili Peppers. Kind of a no brainer.
  • Some good match-ups in the '70s: Sweet 16 saw Hendrix vs. Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd vs. Led Zeppelin. Does it get much better?
  • '80s: I love U2, probably one of my favorites, but Guns n' Roses had to get the nod to go to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately, they saw Metallica.
  • '90s Sweet Sixteen: Pearl Jam vs. Chili Peppers and Sublime vs. Nirvana. Love it.
  • Modern Day had some good match-ups from the outset, probably since big time bands are still establishing themselves. For me, it came down to Foo Fighters and Green Day (Linkin Park gave a run, though)
Head on over to to try one yourself. Any thoughts?

When it rains, it pours

American continues to stay with the Vols (37-34 with 13:20 to go). The 'Belmont effect' may kick in and get the crowd into it and the team's spirits up. Gonzaga's hot shooting has not skipped a beat since the half (51-42 'Zags with 16:15 to go). Plenty of time, but the Bulldogs have not trailed all game. I'm still pulling for Davidson.

Surprises Abound in Noon Games

I'm a little shocked to say the least at a few of these games. It's currently halftime all around, so let's do a quick run down:

  • Tennessee leads American, 29-22 - That's it? I'm a little surprised with the Vols. This is the same team that our Stags defeated handily a few months ago. I'd expect a big half from Bruce Pearl and Co. coming out of the half.
  • Gonzaga leads Davidson, 41-36 - Disclaimer: I'm one of the few that picked Davidson as a sexy sleeper in my bracket. That being said, I'm expecting better from Davidson in the second. The 'Zags have been out of their mind shooting in the first half. Almost too good. Gray has 15 on 5-of-5 from three alone! I expect a drop off. At least I hope.
  • St. Mary's leads Miami, 32-27 - Not too shocked by this one. Miami seemed like the big conference school that had a few big wins to sneak in (cough, Duke). St. Mary's is a legitimate team from the WCC, an extremely underrated conference that has produced three (count 'em, three) NCAA teams. Mary's should win.
  • SHOCKER OF THE DAY: Western Kentucky leads Drake, 47-38 - It's come to this. Now it's a shock when a little darling school like Drake is losing. Personally, I liked Drake so much that I had them taking down UConn (don't tell Cleary) in the second round. What's the story here? The Hilltoppers are shooting the lights out. 60% from the field and seven threes to boot. The Gonzaga effect may kick in here too.
Much more to come. Stay tuned

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Halftime on Day One

Purdue is in control over Baylor (80-63 with 3:55 to go). UNLV took care of Kent State in impressive fashion (71-58 win). Pitt is dominated Oral Roberts from start to finish (82-63). Pretty standard across the board.

Here's my look ahead at the evening:
  • USC/Kansas State (6 v. 11 Midwest) - Mayo versus Beasley. Enough said.
  • Duke/Belmont (2 v. 15 West) - Dukies can ease the pain of last season's first round exit.
  • Stanford/Cornell (3 v. 14 South) - I'm somehow intrigued by this one. Cornell had a 22-5 season, went undefeated in the Ivy League, and are many experts' sleeper team for a Day One shocker. The Cardinal looked good in the Pac-10 tournament, but I think this one could be competitive.
  • Washington St./Winthrop (3 v. 14 East) - It must be something about those 3/14 games this season. First, we saw Georgia and Xavier duke it out earlier today in a fantastic game. Then, I had a gut feeling about the Stanford/Cornell game. Now, it's darling mid-major Winthrop taking a talented 22-11 squad against at-large Washington State. Who knows? If it goes down, I'm asking for a recall in the 12/5 theory.
  • Texas A&M/Brigham Young (8 v. 9 West) - This would probably be a better football game, but both teams had decent seasons. The battle to see who bows out to UCLA.
  • Arizona/West Virginia (7 v. 10 West) - Arguably the best match-up - on paper - of the evening.
  • UCLA/Mississippi Valley State (1 v. 16 West) - Ouch.
  • Notre Dame/George Mason (5 v. 12 East) - As much as George Masons' name is synonymous with Cinderella and miracles, I think this is a tall task for the CAA Champs. ND finished the season awfully strong. I'm a big Harangody fan.
  • Wiscons/Cal State Fullerton (3 v. 14 Midwest) - About the only 3/14 game I'm not thrilled with. OK, it's only because I have the Badgers going to the Elite Eight.
See you later on tonight.

Merry March Madness!

It's that time of the year again, and the Mirror Sports Blog is thrilled to bring coverage and some commentary on all of the day's action.

Today and tomorrow in particular are two of my favorite days of the tournament, with non-stop games from noon to midnight. What else can a college basketball fan ask for? There's plenty of intriguing games along the way, beginning with an interesting game between Georgia and Xavier going on as we speak.

Check my blog for updates and thoughts. Tom's got his tournament predictions ready to go. We'll be updating all day.

- K.C.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stags fall to Greyhounds 64-59

The Stags made a valiant come-back against the Saints, but in the end Loyola closed out the win.

Junior Jonathan Han finished the game as the Stags leading scorer with 14 points and also dished out 8 assists. Freshman Warren Edney added 11 points and senior Mamadou Diakhate closed out his career with eight points and three steals.

Gerald Brown finished with 18 points as the game's leading scorer, while Brett Harvey added 16 and Michael Tuck 14.

For the game story go to

-Tom Cleary

Halftime Update: Stags trail Loyola 34-21

Fairfield has struggled throughout this game and at the end of the half struggled badly, letting the game start to get away from themselves.

The Stags will need a strong start to the half to bounce back.

Fairfield is shooting just 38 percent from the floor, but Loyola is a tad worse with a 37.5 percentage, despite the lead. Fairfield is also doing better from beyond the three point arc with a 40 percentage compared to 36.4 for the Greyhounds.

-Tom Cleary

Follow LIVE as Stags take on Loyola

Click here for Tom Cleary's LIVE GLOG of Fairfield/Loyola and the MAAC tournament!

Aloha from Albany: Loyola vs. Fairfield

O.K., so it's not Hawaii, but it is spring break and MAAC tournament basketball. Does it get any better?

As we speak, the TimesUnion Center here in Albany, N.Y. is being cleared out and prepared for the audience to re-enter. On the court, the Greyhounds and Stags are already warming up and stretching. As we all know, these two teams are no strangers: they met last season in Bridgeport in the MAAC tournament in a thriller won by Loyola.

Tonight, the teams will play the rubber match of a three-game set. Although this time, the stakes are even higher.

Tom will have your play-by-play game log. For now, here's some notes:

  • Fairfield is 0-3 all-time against Loyola in the MAAC tournament. Also, the Stags have only one win in the tournament since 2003 - an opening round win over Manhattan in 2005. A win today would go along way towards easing the pain of past failures, not to mention get the gorilla off of the new staff's back.
  • Just a reminder: Loyola defeated Fairfield in last season's MAAC quarterfinals, 76-72. The game was play at Harbor Yard. For argument's sake, the Women's Basketball team avenged a 2007 loss to Siena in the quarters by taking them down this year in the tournament.
  • Fairfield is 11-15 in the program's history in opening round games.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Siena and Manhattan.
Keys to the game:
  • What will Brown do against you? - Loyola is at its best when its best player is at its best. Brown is an athletic, slasher type - perhaps a more polished version of freshman Warren Edney. Fairfield can go a long way towards assuring themselves of a Sunday game by shutting down the All-MAAC first team star.
  • Bench vs. Bench - Part of what makes the Greyhounds such a fantastic team is team depth. Loyola's deep pool of talent is exemplified by Marquis Sullivan, the MAAC's Sixth Man of the Year. Sullivan, in limited time, is pushing a 12ppg average. On any other team, Sullivan would be a starter and a person who take up well over half of the team's offense. In Patsos' offense, he is more than capable of filling a need off the bench and fitting a role.
  • Perimeter Problems - The Rider game meant one of two things: 1) the Stags lack a go-to shooter, or 2) the entire roster had a terrible afternoon. Even if the latter is true, Jon Han, Mike Evanovich, and Herbie Allen must develop continuity on offense early and often. The Stags must also guard the perimeter better.
Here's Tommy!

- K.C.

Final Score Iona 74, FU 69

Fairfield falls short. More to come.

The Ballad of Jimmy Patsos

Loyola (Md.) enters tonight's game against Fairfield with a young core of athletes who, despite a slow start, found a way to connect. The reason for that connection? Most would point to Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos, the man behind the operation.

We've all heard the stories by now - an eleven-year veteran under Maryland coach Gary Williams, a tireless worker who turned around a one-win program, a Maryland native who desired to build a program on his own accord.

For better or for worse, the legend of Jimmy Patsos has spread like wildfire throughout Baltimore and the MAAC alike due to his unique, loud style of coaching. Loyola loves him. Fans clad in green at last season's MAAC tournament wore 'We love Patsos' t-shirts and embraced him after the game.

Patsos explained his approach in his own word's after a win over Canisius in 2005 (at the time, Loyola was a paltry 3-11 in the MAAC): ""You aren't getting anywhere in life -- forget basketball -- in life without emotion." (Credit: Washington Post)

While he is most certainly brash, confident, enthusiastic, his style bodes ill of relations with coaches and screams of controversy.

Take for instance last year's MAAC Tournament opener against Fairfield - a game ultimately won by the Greyhounds. Aside from his Gary Williams-eque screams throughout the contest, Patsos proceeded to scream in the face of Fairfield point guard Jonathan Han as he attempted to break a press. Ed Cooley took offense.

Patsos' post-game group hug with fans after the Greyhounds' win, in the midst of Fairfield Country at Harbor Yard, illustrated how much one's view of Patsos is all a matter of perspective. The Loyola faithful viewed him as the ultimate people person, taking a personal moment to bask in a victory with a few loyal fans. Some in the Red Sea may have seen a coach whose exhumed arrogance.

Regardless of one's opinion on the man (or Ed Cooley's for that matter), his success cannot be discredited. And, as a famous motto goes, "controversy creates cash". According to many close to the man, he has already started his attempt to take it down a notch. This much is sure: As long as he's behind the bench for Loyola, Patsos will continue to wear his emotions on his sleeve.

For better or for worse.

- K.C.

2nd 54.2 Iona 71, FU 63

  • Foul on Shireyll Moore. Iona goes to the line for a one-and-one. She hits both.
  • After a Fairfield turnover from an ill-advised pass from Caskin, Iona goes to the line again for a one-and-one. Again they hit both.
  • A miss and another one-and-one. Again they hit both.
  • Baendu hits a jumper. Timeout Frager.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 1:46 Iona 65, FU 61

  • Meka hits both ends of a one-and-one.
  • McLean goes up underneath, makes the basket and draws the foul from Geehan. She hits the free throw.
  • Baendu hits a short jumper.
  • Iona answers with a long two-point jumper.
  • Shireyll Moore checks in for Sabra.
  • Fairfield pressures the ball and traps Iona, forcing the turnover. 
  • Caskin hits a layup from a feed from Werts.
  • Fairfield pressure cause DeFalco to call a timeout.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 3:44 Iona 60, FU 55

  • Iona is now in a zone defense. After a long miss by Wrice with the shotclock winding down, Baendu grabs the board and later scores.
  • But again, Iona answers right back.
  • Baendu drives and is fouled. She misses the first and Groom takes the place of Sabra on the floor. Baendu hits the second.
  • Iona hits a jumper in the lane.
  • Sabra checks back in for Groom.
  • Sabra hits a three from the corner.
  • Caskin picks up her third.
  • Iona hits another jumper in the lane.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 7:35 Iona 54, FU 49

  • Baendu is back in the game, playing with three fouls.
  • Werts hits a shot of an inbounds.
  • But Iona answers right back.
  • Wrice hits a long two-point jumper.
  • But again Iona answers on the next possession. Fairfield needs to get stops after their baskets.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 9:05 Iona 50, FU 45

  • Moore is fouled and looks upset. She was saying something but she cooled off quickly.
  • Fairfield has done a good job defensively, but they haven't scored in it seems like a long while.
  • Geehan is fouled underneath the basket.
  • Frager takes a timeout. Hopefully he can draw up something to get the Stags going on offense.
  • Maybe not. Caskin can't inbound and Frager has to burn a timeout.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 11:44 Iona 50, FU 45

  • Meka with a jumper off an inbounds pass.
  • Iona answers with a three.
  • Geehan picks up her second foul going for a rebound.
  • Fairfield can't afford to let Iona get too far ahead.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 14:12 Iona 45, FU 43

  • Groom for three. But Iona answers to keep the lead.
  • Shot clock violation Fairfield.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 15:42 Iona 41, FU 40

  • Geehan hits a jumper to open the half.
  • Iona hits a three-pointer.
  • Caskin hits a jumper.
  • Caskin for three.
  • Lowenthal called for the block, then the foul underneath the basketball on the inbounds. Those two fouls have Baendu quickly to three fouls. Moore checks in for her.
  • Geehan with a layup for two.
  • Moore draws the charge.
  • Wrice for three.
  • I'm trying not to jinx their success, but the Stags are on a run.
-Chris Simmons

Fairfield vs. Iona Halftime Report

Fairfield is down by seven at the half after squandering an early lead. 
  • Fairfield limited Iona's starting guards to 2 of 12 shooting, but Iona outscored Fairfield 18-8 in the paint. Anna McLean has eight points and Tiara Headen has nine points to lead the Gaels.
  • Sabra Wrice has a game-high 10 points and Lauren Groom has seven. But often the Stags have struggled to get open looks on offense. Plus when they do, the shots aren't falling like yesterday. 
  • Iona is perfect from the line, hitting seven of seven.
  • Megan Caskin picked up two fouls and played only nine minutes in the first half. Wrice brought the ball up. While Wrice has the handles, she is more of a shooting guard.
  • Iona and Fairfield are even in rebounds with both teams gathering in 19. Baendu Lowenthal leads the Stags with six.
  • Fairfield is going to have to start getting better looks offensively and hope that their shots start to fall. Also, they need to try to do a better job defending in the post. They have been able to for the most part shut down the perimeter game.
-Chris Simmons

Halftime Iona 35, Fairfield 28

  • Fairfield is now pressuring the ball in the backcourt.
  • Again, Iona scores in the post.
  • Fairfield turnover
  • Meka with a driving layup. She took DeFalco off the dribble.
  • Joelle Nawrocki checks in, a surprising move.
  • Baendu gets the offensive board, misses, gets her own rebound, puts it back up for two.
  • 1.5 second differential from the shot clock and game clock.
  • Iona charge, Stags ball with 7.8 seconds.
  • Nawrocki gets a good look, but airballs the three.
  • Halftime observations coming up.
-Chris Simmons

1st 3:39 Iona 29, FU 24

  • After an Iona three-pointer Wrice is slow to get up. Meka checks in for her. Not sure what happened, but someone said it was an elbow to the face.
  • Off the inbounds pass, Groom hits a jumper.
  • McLean again in the post for two.
  • Cziria is about to check in.
  • Another Stag turnover.
  • Baendu misses the fastbreak shot, gets her own rebound, puts it back up for two.
  • Wrice and Cziria check in for Geehan and Caskin. Maybe Cziria will have some success against McLean.
  • Groom for three to cut Iona's lead to three.
  • Baendu called for the block, Moore checks in for her. The foul is Lowenthal's first.
-Chris Simmons

1st 7:30 Iona 22, FU 17

  • The Stags are struggling to get good looks right now and McLean is playing extremely well for Iona.
  • Caskin and Geehan check back in for the Stags. Hopefully Geehan can have some success in the post. The Stags need it.
-Chris Simmons

1st 9:03 Iona 20, FU 17

  • The Stags are hurting inside right now. Fairfield doesn't seem to have any to matchup with Anna McLean, who is 6'2".
  • Frager must have sensed this as Tara Flaherty checks in for Moore.
  • Frager timeout after a Fairfield turnover and Iona three-pointer.
-Chris Simmons
Fairfield's lineup right now: all guards and forwards who are more guard-hybrids: Meka, Sabra, Groom, Baendu and Moore.

1st 11:08 FU 17, Iona 13

  • Wrice for three.
  • Iona with a bunch of offensive rebounds. They keep putting it up and eventually it falls.
  • Meka checks in for Groom. Cziria is in for Geehan.
  • Meka immediately hits a three.
  • Iona is now pressuring Fairfield. They trap Caskin and tie her up for a jump ball. Iona possession.
  • Wrice on the break with a jumper.
  • Caskin picks up her second foul. She goes to the bench. The guards are now Sabra and Meka.
  • Iona's senior PG Lauren DeFalco hits a jumper and gets fouled for the old-fashioned three-point play. She cuts Fairfield's lead to four.
  • Frager is on the sidelines telling Fairfield to calm down after another bad offensive possession. Moore checks in for Cziria.
  • With Caskin out, Wrice is now bringing the ball upcourt.
-Chris Simmons

1st 16:48 FU 9, Iona 2

  • Groom hits two foul shots.
  • Wrice with a shot in traffic, sandwiched between two players, somehow it falls.
  • Sabra and Baendu on the fast break, the ball bounces off Lowenthal's feet, Iona possession.
  • Caskin with a driving layup.
  • Wrice for three. Fairfield is now up 9-2.
  • After Groom tips the ball on an Iona pass, Iona is called for traveling. Iona takes a timeout.
-Chris Simmons

Women's basketball pregame thoughts

Bright and early here at the Times Union Center. Tip off is at 9:30. Iona swept the regular season series, winning 64-57 in Fairfield and then 87-78 in triple overtime at Iona.
  • Iona is a very balanced team. Four starters average double-digits in points, but none over 11.8 per game. Fairfield will need to play well on defense if they hope to beat Iona.
  • Fairfield will also need a big game on the boards. Iona ranks 37th nationally in rebounding margin and junior center Anna McLean averages 9.9 per game.
  • Iona is a very good offensive team, but defensively they struggle. When Iona scores more than 70 points, they are 15-1. When Iona scores less than 60, they are 0-8. Fairfield needs to contain Iona's offense, although the same could be said for any game.
  • As Fairfield showed yesterday, they can win games without getting points from Sabra Wrice '08. Other players stepped up big last game, but it would help to get more from Wrice this game. Another boost would be if Baendu Lowenthal stays out of foul trouble and can play more than 20+ minutes.
More from Albany as the game goes on.

-Chris Simmons

Friday, March 7, 2008

At the half, Canisius still in front

The Golden Griffs withstood a Marist charge and battled back to retake the lead, 26-24 heading into the break. Should be an entertaining second half.


Canisius leads Marist with 3:12 left first half

In a surprisingly close game, the undefeated Marist Red Foxes are trailing Canisius 21-20 with 3:12 left in the half and have been trailing most of the game.

If Marist falls early, that opens the door for both Iona and Fairfield to make a run at the title from the other side of the bracket. The Stags and their coaching staff are still in the building and should be rooting for the top dogs to fall early.

-Tom Cleary

Final Score: FU 67, Siena 52

Siena keeps fouling, leading to a higher score. Fairfield will face No. 2 Iona tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. for the right to play in the conference championship game.

Post-game observations and comments to come. Check back here and for constant updates.

-Chris Simmons

2nd 3:26 FU 59, Siena 42

  • Baendu checks in, brings the ball up and makes a layup.
  • Caskin is trapped off the inbounds, but is fouled before she travels. Fairfield is now in the bonus and Caskin hits both ends of the 1-and-1. She now has nine points.
  • Caskin is fouled again. She hits the front end this time, but misses the second.
  • Menty picks up her fourth foul on a driving Baendu.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 5:58 FU 52, Siena 37

  • Geehan hits a short jumper.
  • Menty hits a turnaround jumper despite being doubled down low. She now has 10 to led Siena.
  • After saving the ball from going out of bounds, Groom flips it to Caskin, who finds Geehan. Geehan now has six.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 7:56 FU 48, Siena 30

  • Fairfield has had the ball for it seems like forever. They've been getting fouled repeatedly and grabbing some rebounds.
  • Nothing too much to report. Just that the clock is slowly ticking away, giving Siena less time to try to mount a comeback. Frager is slowing the pace of the game setting the Stags up in their halfcourt offense and running through their plays.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 10:50 FU 48, Siena 28

  • Baendu with a third jumper from the top of the key.
  • Cziria checks in for Baendu.
  • Groom hits a jumper off an inbounds pass from Caskin.
  • Geehan hits a jumper after Fairfield beats the pressure.
  • Groom with another, she now has four.
  • Siena continues to pressure the Stags; Caskin beats the pressure and finds Flaherty for an easy layup.
  • Caskin drives and shoots the ball over to Moore for a layup.
  • Siena traps Caskin, but Frager is able to call a timeout a second before she travels.
  • Werts with another three from the corner. She now has 14 points.
  • For the second time, first by Caskin, then by Wrice, Fairfield strips the ball after a Siena rebound.
  • Fairfield now leads by 20.
-Chris Simmons

2nd 17:41 FU 33, Siena 20

  • Baendu hits a jumper at the top of the key to open the half then pulls down a defensive rebound on the other end.
  • Geehan stuffs Menty and simply takes the ball away.
  • Baendu with another jumper just inside the arc.
  • Siena timeout.
-Chris Simmons

Halftime Observations

Fairfield leads 29-20 at the half, but the game has been close throughout with Siena holding an early lead.

Siena has thrown several different looks at the Stags, first playing man defense then switching to a 2-3 zone. They have also pressure Caskin as she brings the ball upcourt. Fairfield is able to beat pressure by having Lowenthal bring the ball up since she has pretty good handles for a post player. However, she picked up her second foul late in the half and played 13 minutes.

Werts has provided a spark off the bench for the Stags scoring a game-high 11 points, including nine off three-pointers.

Wrice  has come back from her slow start to tie for second on the team with 7 points. That's no surprise, but the player she is tied with is. Caskin has 7 points as well, only three short of her career high. She has scored in double-digits only once in her career, which came earlier this year. She also has four assists.

That Stags have done a good job containing Menty, holding her to seven points. They also haven't allowed the other Saints to hurt them. Siena is shooting 25.9 percent for the game.

However, the Stags need to improve their rebounding. Siena outrebounded the Stags 23-15. The Stags grabbed only one offensive rebound while the Saints came down with 16 defensive rebounds.

The action is about to start again. More to come.

-Chris Simmons

Halftime FU 29, Siena 20

Siena has switched to a 2-3 zone, but Wrice hits a three from the corner. Sabra now has seven points.
Werts with another three, she now has 11 to lead the Stags.
Three Stags surround Menty, but she somehow goes up and draws the foul. Werts swats the ball away in frustration, but she quickly cools off.
Frager screams at Caskin "Easy!" when she begins to push the ball in transition. It seems he wants the Stags to settle down and run their halfcourt offense. The Stags will hold the ball for the final shot. Meka misses a jumper with three seconds left.
Halftime observations to come.

-Chris Simmons

1st 3:27 FU 23, Siena 15

Caskin hits another jumper, she now has seven.
Baendu picks up her second, Tara Flaherty '10 enters in her place.
Wrice enters for Meka, who has eight points.
Sabra hits her first basket of the afternoon.
Sabra hits a turnaround jumper with the shot clock winding down for Fairfield's largest lead of the night.

-Chris Simmons

1st 6:13 FU 17, Siena 15

After another bad Fairfield possession, Geehan stays back and Siena travels from the pressure.
Baendu checks in for Steph Cziria, she is more successful at bringing the ball up when the Stags face full court pressure.
Meka Werts with another three, Fairfield leads again.

-Chris Simmons

1st 7:48 Siena 15, FU 14

Sabra draws a charge on Menty.
Fairfield is having troubling getting good looks on offense, luckily their defense is playing decent and getting rebounds.
Meka with a long three for the Fairfield lead.
Baendu looks to be a little slow to come off the court after landing on the floor. Geehan has reentered.

-Chris Simmons

1st 11:58 Siena 13, FU 11

After a late start to the game...

Geehan '10 starts off strong with a block and then a rebound. However, she still looks like she is getting her legs back.
Megan Caskin '09 hits a three for Fairfield's first points of the game.
Sabra Wrice '08 misses two free throws following a fast break.
Meka Werts '08 comes in and immediately hits a shot off an inbounds pass.
Baendu has hit two in a row.
Caskin with another, she now has five, halfway to her career high.

-Chris Simmons

Women's basketball keys to the game

  • Contain Laura Menty: Menty has scored 31 and 28 points in two games against Fairfield this season. She is the leading scorer in the MAAC averaging 19.4 points per game.
  • Stay out of foul trouble: Too often this season Baendu Lowenthal '09 has had to sit on the bench for the majority of the first half after picking up early fouls. Losing post players early will hurt even more against Menty.
  • Integrate Steph Geehan '10 back into the game: Geehan is returning after a long illness during which she missed both games against Siena. She started her first game against Loyola. Her defense and rebounding will be needed in the tournament.
How the matchups went during the regular season:

Feb. 16: at Fairfield W 60-57
Feb. 24: at Siena L 62-56

The past three seasons have seen the Stags and Saints face off in the MAAC Tournament.  Each game has been decided by one point with Fairfield winning the first two and Siena hitting a last second three last season.

-Chris Simmons

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Men's Lacrosse Movin' On Up

Last weekend, the 'underdog' Fairfield Stags took down Dartmouth, 14-9, in the team's season opener. In the preseason, Dartmouth was ranked 2nd overall in the New England Lacrosse Coaches' Poll. The Stags were fifth.

Apparently now people are starting to take notice.

In the recent USILA National Men's Lacrosse Rankings, the Stags are now ranked 20th overall in the nation. This marks the first time this season that the Stags have been featured in this poll. A season ago, the men were ranked as high as 13th overall in the country. Also, the Stags are ranked 13th in the recent D-I LaxPower poll (a similar concept to basketball's RPI).

Ironically, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights - the Stags' next opponent and the team's first ECAC game - are ranked 19th.

More to come!

Monday, March 3, 2008

MAAC: The Schedule Emerges

Finally! After a weekend of chaos and tiebreakers, we finally get a little clarity on how this weekend will shake out in terms of games and times. Moments after 'The Mirror' learned the Fairfield point guard Jon Han was named to the second-team All MAAC - the MAAC tourney schedule was released.

Here's how things shape up for the Times-Union Center this weekend:

P.I.G. games - Friday, March 7th:
#9 St. Peter's vs. #8 Manhattan - 7:30p.m.
#10 Canisius vs. #7 Iona - 1op.m.
(FYI - the third-seeded Fairfield Women play earlier against sixth-seeded Siena at 11:30a.m. - in case you have time to check it out before brunch.)

Saturday, March 8th:
#5 Fairfield vs. #4 Loyola (Md.) - 2:30p.m.
(Winner of Manhattan/St. Peters) vs. #1 Siena - 4:30p.m.
(Winner of Iona/Canisius) vs. #2 Rider - 7:30p.m.
#6 Marist vs. #3 Niagara - 10p.m.
(For the Ladies, a win over Siena in the opening round would mean a bright and early start and a 9:30a.m. game on Saturday against the winner of Iona/(Loyola/Rider)

Sunday, March 9th:
(Winner of Fairfield/Loyola) vs. (Winner of Siena/(Manhattan/St. Peter's)) - 6:00p.m.
(Winner of Niagara/Marist) vs. (Winner of Rider/(Iona/Canisius) - 8:00p.m.
The Women's Championship game will be played on Sunday at 11:00a.m.

Monday, March 10th:
MAAC Tournament Men's Finals - 7:00p.m. (ESPN2 - TV)

Tie Break/Seeding Mania in the MAAC

Just after the Stags' loss yesterday, an S.I.D. from Rider was kind enough to hand the beat writers a copy of the the MAAC seedings and the tiebreaker explanations. It seemed so complicated heading into Sunday, so it's amazing how a few hours can make all the difference in the season.

Here's a quick look at the seeds:

"Based on Marist's win over Loyola:

1. Siena 13-5
2. Rider 13-5
3. Niagara 12-6
4. Loyola 12-6
5. Fairfield 11-7
6. Marist 11-7
7. Iona 8-10
8. Manhattan 5-13
9. St. Peter's 3-15.
10. Canisius 2-16

  • Breaking the tie for first: Siena and Rider split head-to-head; Siena and Rider both went 2-2 vs. Niagara/Loyola; Siena went 3-1 vs. Fairfield/Marist, Rider went 2-2.
  • Breaking the tie for third: Niagara swept Loyola head-to-head
  • Breaking the tie for fifth: Fairfield and Marist split head-to-head; Fairfied (again, in a "mini-conference) went 2-2 vs. Siena/Rider. Marist went 1-3."

And there you have it. It's unreal that the conference was so tight this season that it came down to comparing records against the fifth and sixth seeds to finally settle this thing. It speaks to the level of parity and competitiveness in the MAAC.

(Another) Quote of the Day: Part Tres

"Everybody talked about Fairfield being the hottest team in the MAAC. But after today's win, we've won 13 of 16 games here. We're the only team going into the tournament who has beaten everybody in this league. And that gives us a good sense of confidence that there's nobody next weekend we'll play that we haven't already beaten. "

- Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey on the team's recent streak and the team's mindset going into the MAAC tournament.

But... any Stag fan can tell you that Tommy may need to re-check his stats; Fairfield is the only other team in the MAAC that has defeated every team in the conference. By Dempsey's logic, that bodes well for Fairfield's confidence heading into the tournament.

Quote of the Day: Part Two

"I don't think I've ever heard a sold-out crowd this quiet"

- Ben Doody ('The Trentonian' and former 'Mirror' EIC) on the Broncs' Zoo lackluster effort in the noise department. On Senior Day. With a MAAC title on the line. I've heard a lot about this famed crew, but I honestly expected my seat to be shaking the whole game.

It may not have come across well on T.V., but anyone that was there will attest that - even when the Stags were in the game - the fans were a little passive to say the least.


Quote of the Day

"I'm pretty sure I could have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder shooting with me and they could do the same thing"

- Ed Cooley on Fairfield's 4-for-25 effort from three-point range. Ouch.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Post-game quotes: Cooley after Rider loss

On the team’s overall effort Sunday against Rider:

“Let’s face it we weren’t very good today. I think Rider played a very good game – they did their job and did their homework. When you shoot 4-for-25 you’re not going to win many games.”

On the team’s poor offensive approach:

“I thought we settled for way too many three (point shots). I thought we bailed them out by taking too many, what I call ‘Christ’ers’, when you hope to Christ they go in. Credit them, they played well. It will be great to play them in the semifinal game. Our goal is to try to face them again.”

On his reasoning behind the poor effort:

“Our lack of execution offensively was absolutely pathetic. And that’s something we really got better in as the season went on, and today we picked a really bad day to be poor offensively. They got their transition game going – they’re a transition team and a high volume team. The game was played to their tempo. They shoot the ball extremely well at home. They were 10-of-18 from three; that’s game.”

On how today’s effort will effect the state of the team:

“Offensively, we were shooting the ball much better lately. I’m not sure exactly what we’ve shot over the past ten games but it’s something in the 40% range. When you go for 4-for-25… I think I could put blinders on and shoot 4-for-25. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could be right next to me and they would do the same thing. We were awful today. We were outplayed; its that simple. The better team won today.”

On the upcoming MAAC tournament:

“Now the regular season is over. Everyone is looking at the same record, and everyone is here with the same goal. This is a one-bid league, and the (tournament) is really winner-take-all. We are going to position our kids to try to be that team. Tonight just wasn’t our night.”-

For more on the game, see

-Keith Connors

Men's Lax Downs Dartmouth in Home-Opener

They're young. That's the message head coach Ted Spencer sent to me during our conversation this week concerning his Stags and their prospects in the 2008 campaign. An opening win against Providence was great for morale, great for confidence - but don't be quick to label this team of talented freshmen and experienced vets as the lacrosse's "next big team" just yet.

Whether they live up to the standards of the Stags of the past remains to be seen, but they're certainly off to a heck of a start.

In front of a big crowd at Alumni Field, the Fairfield Stags defeated Dartmouth, 14-9. Chris Ajemian led the way with two goals; captain midfielder Dan Boudreau added one, as well. Redshirt goalkeeper Joe Marra looked fantastic in net, totaling 14 saves en route to the win.

This is the second-consecutive season Fairfield has started the season 2-0, and its second straight win over the Big Green. FYI - Dartmouth was ranked second in the Preseason Men's Lax New England poll; the Stags were ranked fifth.

Next week, it's the ECAC opener as Fairifeld travels down the Jersey Turnpike to take on Rutgers.

As for me, I'll be taking that trip myself tomorrow - but for the HUGE season-finale between Men's Basketball and Rider. You know what that means - live coverage TOMORROW

- K.C.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Stags win seventh straight; Cooley and Han deserve recognition

After the Stags defeated Manhattan 83-71, Head Coach Ed Cooley quickly passed all the credit onto his players, explaining how much they have overcome on and off the court to turn it around and play so well over the past month. But while the players deserve a good deal of credit, Cooley should not have been so quick to pass all the success on to them.

In the pre-season, the coaches selected Fairfield to tie with Manhattan, who the Stags defeated for the second time this year on Friday night, for sixth place in the MAAC. With one game to go, Fairfield will finish in at least fifth place, with a chance to finish as high as first in the league.

Cooley has helped bring together a team that struggled early on in the season and it is his leadership and energy, as well as guidance, both on and off the court that has helped them turn around a season that was headed in the wrong direction.

When the coaches again sit down and look at the rest of their league, this time to hand out post-season awards, Cooley should get a long consideration for the coach of the year award. With a 14-14 record overall and an 11-6 record in the MAAC, the Stags are playing far and above what was expected. Over the past month the Stags have been the hottest team in the MAAC and have been nearly unbeatable, while knocking off the league's top teams.

Fairfield has not been swept by any team in the conference and swept both St. Peter's and Manhattan. With a win against Rider, the Stags will finish at least third and if the cards fall the right way, could easily finish second. First place would be a lot tougher, as Siena would have to lose to the lowly St. Peter's, but it would be possible.

Even if the Stags lose on Sunday, Cooley is still the best coach in the league. While every other coach watched his team go in a tail-spin headed down the stretch, Cooley's team surged to the top. Rider's Tommy Dempsey and Siena's Fran McCaffery could both lead their teams to first place finishes, but they both had chances to lock up first place earlier this season. Loyola has struggled and Niagara could not lock up a key win over Siena and should finish worse than expected, essentially knocking Jimmy Patsos and Joe Mihalich out of contention.

Meanwhile, Cooley emphatically stated that his star point guard, junior Jonathan Han, should receive consideration for the player of the year award. While the performances of Jason Thompson for Rider and Charron Fisher at Niagara (the nation's leading scorer), should prevent him from getting that award, but he certainly deserves a look at the All-MAAC First Team.

Han has scored when needed and passed when needed. He leads the league in assists (6.2 per game), while also scoring in double figures (11.6 per game). He plays virtually the entire game every time out and has come up huge in big game situations, including almost single handily leading the Stags to victory against Marist last week.

But in the end, the Stags entire regular season comes down to Sunday. Rider defeated St. Peter's on Friday night to remain in a first place tie with Siena and Loyola at 12-5, meaning the Stags can tie the Broncs with a 12-6 record with a win. With a sweep of the season series, Fairfield would move ahead of the Broncs and into fourth place in the league.

That as much of their destiny the Stags can control. If Niagara wins, Marist defeats Loyola and Siena loses to St. Peter's, the Stags will claim first place. If Niagara wins and Marist beats Loyola, the Stags will take second place.

No matter what happens, Sunday will certainly be a fun day.

-Tom Cleary