Tournament time: America East

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Tournament time: America East

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

The 2010 America East Men's Basketball Championship tips off Saturday in Hartford. Here's a look at the quarterfinal match ups at Chase Family Arena. The winners will advance to Sunday night's semifinal round.

SATURDAY, MARCH 6

GAME 1 - NO. 1 STONY BROOK (21-8, 13-3) vs. NO. 8 ALBANY (7-24, 2-14), noon

Regular Season Results
Jan. 24 - at Stony Brook 67, Albany 61: Freshman Marcus Rouse lead SBU scorers with 17 points and sophomore Bryan Dougher's three-pointer broke a 58-all tie with barely a minute left to play. The Seawolves shot 46.3 percent for the game that housed 13 ties and 10 lead changes. Mike Black scored a team-best 15 points for Albany.
Feb. 19 - Stony Brook 68, at Albany 66: Senior Muhammad El-Amin scored the game-winning jumper for SBU with 1.8 seconds remaining. El-Amin scored 11 of his team-high 19 in the second half. Dougher hit three of five triples en route to 11 points. Will Harris led the Danes with 17 points and Scotty McRae scored 16.

Tourney Time
The Great Danes aren't just coming off one loss, but a streak of 11 losses in their last 12 road games. At least they generated some offense in Sunday's 85-79 overtime defeat to Hartford; Harris scored 26 points, Logan Aronhalt had 18, Black 14 and Fran Urli 12. Another positive: They managed to play Stony Brook tight twice already this season. This could be the perfect time Albany to finally exploit the Seawolves, as Stony Brook just had its 10-game winning streak snapped decisively by UNH on Sunday. Dougher and El-Amin scored 13 points each for SBU in the loss. The Seawolves can avoid the upset if they take advantage of their efficiency behind the arc and keep Albany off the glass.

GAME 2 - NO. 4 BOSTON UNIVERSITY (17-12, 11-5) vs. NO. 5 HARTFORD (8-21, 6-10) , 2:15 p.m.

Regular Season Results
Jan. 9 - Boston University 84, at Hartford 70: John Holland and Corey Lowe combined for 63 points to lead the Terriers. BU also held the America East's No. 3 scorer, Joe Zeglinski (16.4 ppg), to just one field goal. Morgan Sabia notched 11 points and 11 rebounds for Hartford, while Joel Barkers and Ryan Baker contributed 18 and 12 points, respectively.
Feb. 13 - at Boston University 58, Hartford 55: Sophomore Jake O'Brien nailed a 3-pointer with 5.6 left on the clock to earn the win for BU. O'Brien recorded 16 points and 14 rebounds. Holland posted 11 points, while senior Tyler Morris recorded nine points and five assists. BU shot a season-low 27.9 percent from the field as a team and also lost the rebound battle, 51-43. But the Terriers made 17-for-22 free throws to give themselves the edge. Barkers posted 19 points and 13 rebounds for Hartford, while Zeglinski contributed 10 points and 12 boards. UH shot a dismal 18-for-57 from the field and committed 15 turnovers to BU's nine.

Tourney Time
If BU is still riding the momentum that carried it through Saturday's 20-point demolition of Maine, then Hartford could be in trouble. John Holland, the league's most potent scoring threat (19.9 ppg) led a vicious BU attack with 23 points and seven rebounds. Seniors Tyler Morris, Corey Lowe and Carlos Strong combined for 34 points and 11 assists. The win was the fourth straight and sixth in their last seven games for the Terriers. Conversely, the Hawks' 85-79 victory over Albany on Sunday was only their first in six games. Milton Burton scored a career-high 24 points to lead Hartford. Zeglinski and Sabia added 19 points each. Hartford will need this kind of scoring to keep up with the Terriers. The Hawks already proved that they could compete with BU in February, as their upset bid was only buried by some last-second heroics by Jake O'Brien. Hartford will need to avoid sending Boston U to the charity stripe while elevating its own free throw efficiency, a la the Albany game (16-for-20 for 80 percent).

GAME 3 - NO. 2 VERMONT (22-9, 12-4) vs. NO. 7 MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY (4-25, 3-13), 6:05 p.m.

Regular Season Results
Jan. 2 - Vermont 73, at UMCB 58: Senior Marqus Blakely had 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to lead Vermont. Three other Cats reached double figures; Senior Maurice Joseph with 16 points, junior Evan Fjeld with 13 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore Garvey Young had 11. Fjeld also set a new career-high for blocks with four. Vermont shot 48.1 percent from the floor for the game, while limiting the Retrievers to 37.7 percent. The Cats also controlled the boards with a 42-31 edge. Just two Retriever's finished the game in double figures. Robbie Jackson and Chauncey Gilliam led UMBC with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Feb. 5 - at Vermont 79, UMBC 60: Young led UVM with 20 points, going 6-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-5 from three, and 10 rebounds. Blakely and Joseph each added 13 points and Fjeld chipped in with 11. Vermont never trailed in the game. Chris De La Rosa scored 18 for the Retrievers, while Gilliam chipped in with 15. UMBC shot just 33.3 percent in the second half.

Tourney Time
UVM holds a 13-4 edge in the all-time series which includes a sweep in each of the last two seasons. It's likely that Vermont will add to that win column this weekend. The Retrievers simply don't have an answer for Marqus Blakely, a versatile big man who sees UMBC as an opportunity to rack up stats in five columns. Blakely enters the tournament looking consistent and confident, having just punished Binghamton with 17 points, three blocked shots, and two steals in Vermont's 78-69 regular season finale on Sunday. In this year's meetings between these two teams UMBC did cut Vermonts lead at times and threaten within two possessions. It will be De La Rosa's job to spark the scoring by connecting with Gilliam and Jackson. Unfortunately, if those two aren't hitting De La Rosa is going to have to create his own offense because the options are quite limited.

GAME 4 - NO. 3 MAINE (19-10, 11-5) vs. NO. 6 NEW HAMPSHIRE (12-16, 6-10), 8:15 p.m.

Regular Season Results
Jan. 18 - Maine 56, at New Hampshire 42: Maine was led by Sean McNally's 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The Black Bears fought to gain a 45-35 edge on the glass. Though Maine shot just 35.4 percent, its defense held UNH to an even worse 27.8 percent. New Hampshire was led by Russell Graham who had six points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Feb. 17 - Maine 72, at UNH 53: Gerald McLemore posted a career-high 30 points to lead all scorers. McLemore totaled 17 points, three rebounds and two steals in the first half. Murphy Burnatowski added eight points, three rebounds and two blocks. The Black Bears shot a red hot 54.5 percent in the first half and also clamped down on defense, limiting the Wildcats to 33.3 percent. The rebounding tallies were even at 15-all.

Tourney Time
Maine is enjoying unforeseen success this season. Its No. 3 seeding for the America East Tournament is its highest in a decade. But if the Black Bears were reveling in their conference record, Saturday's defeat by BU might have been a wake-up call. Maine, which boasts the league's best defense (just 61.3 ppg), surrendered its third-highest point total of the season in the 76-56 loss. Gerald McLemore's 15 points marked the only double-digit tally for the Black Bears that day. Meanwhile, the up-and-down Wildcats bagged a huge win on Sunday. Ferg Myrick scored 21 points in the 77-55 victory over America East Conference regular-season champion Stony Brook. The Wildcats hit nine 3-pointers and shot 53.6 percent from the field in the second half to end SBU's 10-game winning streak. The ferocity of the win was tough to comprehend after UNH's 29-point loss to UMBC less than one week earlier. This Wildcat team has lost more games than it has won, yes, but it has also beaten top-tier America East teams and can do so in this tournament.

Mary Paoletti is on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Curran: Shula will be remembered in New England as an angry old man

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Curran: Shula will be remembered in New England as an angry old man

Don Shula landed in the hospital this week and, fortunately, the 86-year-old former Dolphins coach was treated and released

But the news served as a reminder of two things. One, Shula’s getting really old. Two, the time will come when it’s time to pay proper tribute to his coaching career and also point out that the petty potshots Shula’s lobbed at the Patriots since 2007 have colored New England’s opinion of him.

All politics are local,” the great Tip O’Neill once said. Sports, too. We view things through our parochial prism, asking, “What does this (person/event) mean to me?”

The first thing people think about in this six-state region when it comes to Shula isn’t his 36 years as an NFL head coach, record 347 career wins, two Super Bowl titles, six Coach of the Year awards and his team’s perfect season in 1972. The first thing they think about is the times he’s ripped and discredited Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Few people under 40 will remember watching Shula coach in the 1984 Super Bowl. Few under 30 will remember him coaching in the NFL, period (he retired after the 1995 season).

That’s reality. And it’s too bad, because Belichick has always spoken on Shula with reverence. And the respect, at least for a while, was reciprocated.

More than a decade ago, as the Patriots prepared for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 38, Belichick was asked about what he remembered about the 1972 Dolphins.

“They won all their games," Belichick deadpanned, before adding, “They had a pretty good coach. I tell you what, they had a pretty good coach (Shula). One of the coaches that I was fortunate, when I came into the league, he was coaching in the division I was in. I think Don is obviously one of the all-timers and should be."

While Belichick’s primary coaching idols were his father Steve, legendary Browns and Bengals coach Paul Brown, and Navy coach Wayne Hardin, Belichick closely followed Shula as well.

Growing up a Colts fan in Annapolis, Belichick said, “[Shula] was a guy I probably saw more of than anyone else. And who better to look at than Don Shula?"

Shula reciprocated.

"I just think he's done a tremendous job," Shula said back then. "One of the great coaching jobs of all-time was (in 2001). He brought them out of nowhere, with a young quarterback. The way they won, instead of sitting on the ball at the end like [announcer John] Madden wanted them to, they showed confidence in [quarterback Tom] Brady and the system, and they won in overtime. And then you look at what they did (in 2003) . . . They somehow find a way to win. Close games, they find a way to do it. And the other thing you admire is, they had so many injuries and you never heard a complaint. All they did was line up each week and win. The emphasis was on getting the next guy ready to play, and playing the next game.

"That starts at the top, Belichick, the coaching staff, the organization. Everybody is talking about parity, and they don't know what to expect, but (the Patriots) have gone to the Super Bowl two out of three years. That speaks volumes about their organization, their coaches and their players."

Shula’s tune changed, not surprisingly, in 2007 when the Patriots began to stalk the 1972 Dolphins perfect season.

In early November, Shula said the Patriots videotaping of opponent’s coaching hand signals in the first game of the season and in previous years “tainted” them. "The Spygate thing has diminished what they've accomplished," Shula said. "You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They've got it."

Shula tried to walk his comments back two days later. "If they run the table, and they win all the games, then they are doing it within the rules of the National Football League," Shula said. "And there shouldn't be any asterisk to it. That would be the accomplishment that they made. It would be the best in all of sports."

But less than a month after that, with the Patriots bidding to get to 12-0, Shula was a guest in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth when the Patriots played in Baltimore.

It was one of the most memorable games of the Bill Belichick Era and Shula rooted openly on national television for the Ravens. (This live blog recap is hysterical.) Bill Simmons described Shula’s appearance by writing, “Don Shula's interminable 'Monday Night Football' cameo during the Pats-Ravens game was the interminably long cameo by which all other interminably long cameos should be measured: I didn't find anything that he said to be interesting; he openly rooted for one of the two teams; he wouldn't even leave when Mike Tirico thanked him for stopping by 25 different times . . . ”

While the pride of ownership in being the lone team to have a perfect season is understandable, the annual champagne-popping and chest-puffing of those Dolphins had jumped from cute to obnoxious years before. Reactions among the ’72 Dolphins when the Patriots finished the regular season 16-0 were evenly split between genuine and grudging respect.

“My heart is dead set against it,” said ex-Dolphin Bob Kuechenberg. “The '72 team is uniquely immortal in American sports and I don't want us to lose that special place. We will forever be immortal, and if they win every game in front of them, then they will join us among those ranks.”

Belichick stayed consistent in his respect for Shula. He mentioned having had dinner with Shula in the offseason prior to 2007. He said in December of that year, "I was a big fan of Coach Shula from when he was at Baltimore and his association with my dad, going all the way back to when they were in Ohio . . . The team they had was an awesome team and they were fun to watch.”

The whole thing lay dormant for nearly seven years until a Florida columnist sat down with Shula in January 2015 on the occasion of his 85th birthday. During the conversation, Belichick’s name came up. 

“Beli-cheat?” Shula replied.

Two weeks later, league operations officials seized footballs they believed the team removed air from prior to the AFC Championship Game and Deflategate was born.

In May, at an event kicking off the Dolphins 50th season, Shula lobbed another grenade.

“We always tried to live by the rules and set an example that it was always done with a lot of class, a lot of dignity’’ Shula said. “Always done the right way. We didn’t deflate any balls.”

That cemented Shula’s place on the Patriots fans’ enemies list and sent them off dredging up the occasions when Shula or his team line-stepped in what was unarguably a time when getting the valued “edge” was a lot easier and accepted.

Which brings us to now, where Shula seems at odds with the only current coach who belongs in the pantheon of great coaches alongside him and the others. Shula, Belichick, Brown, Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Paul Brown and Bill Walsh. Rank them how you like but those are the best there’s been.

Does Shula really have that little respect for Belichick that, at the mention of his name, he seeks to discredit him? Or has he just been playing the hits for the Miami media when he’s had the chance?

At 86, I suppose the opinion of him in New England isn’t a daily concern of Shula’s. And it’s his prerogative to say whatever he likes. His coaching legacy is safe. But broadsides of Belichick make it hard for people up here to think first of his coaching acumen when Don Shula’s name is in the news.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 7, White Sox 3

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 7, White Sox 3

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the White Sox:

QUOTES

* "Where five days ago, he was able to harness things and command the baseball a little better, tonight that was not the case.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That was a momentum shift for us.'' - Farrell on the inning-ending double play that ended the fifth, with Mookie Betts throwing out Brett Lowrie at the plate.

* "They've done outstanding work, when our backs have been against the wall with some early exits by starters.'' Farrell on the bullpen contributions.

* "It's disappointing, (after) working hard on my mechanics the last five days.'' - Owens on his command struggles.

* "It's good to win a series, for sure, against this team.'' - Xander Bogaerts on the win.

NOTES

* Seven different Red Sox hitters produced an RBI.

* The Red Sox are 9-2 in their last 11 and 11-4 in their last 15.

* Hanley Ramirez, who homered for the second time in his last two games, has nine RBI in his last nine games.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games.

* The Sox became the first team to beat the White Sox two games in a row at home.

STARS

1) Matt Barnes

Barnes picked up the win in relief, contributing five big outs in the middle innings and stabilizing the game for the Red Sox bullpen.

2) Dustin Pedroia

After going hitless Wednesday night in the cleanup spot, Pedroia was back in the No. 2 hole and got the Sox off on the right foot with a solo homer in the top of the first. He later added two more hits.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Returning from a one-game absence, Ramirez belted his second homer in as many games and also worked two walks, a good sign for someone who not long ago was too often expanding the strike zone.