North Florida 78, St. Francis Brooklyn 65 : Three Thoughts

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The last time reigning Atlantic Sun champions North Florida saw a team from the NEC, it was on a neutral court, just as it was Saturday at Hartford’s Chase Family Arena.

Of course, there were quite a few more people in attendance back in March when Robert Morris upended North Florida in an NCAA Tournament play-in game. It could have been St. Francis Brooklyn with a break here or there in the NEC finals, remember.

But a season later, North Florida – with most of its core group returning – appears ready to make a return NCAA run, while the Terriers – like most of the NEC – are still trying to find their way, as the Ospreys scored a whopping 1.63 points per possession in the first half to build a huge lead and coasted to a 78-65 win in front of about 100 diehards on a neutral floor.

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Tyler Nelson (photo courtesy: Fairfield Athletics)

Fairfield 82, Columbia 81 (OT) : Break Up The Runnin’ Stags

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Kevin Degnan – at 6’8” and mostly a post player – had only seven career three-pointers, but there he was on the wing in front of a Fairfield fast break, picking a low pass off his ankles and drilling a three-pointer anyway. As the intimate crowd roared, Degnan gave a clapping Sydney Johnson a high-five on the way back down the court.

Welcome to the new world order that is Fairfield basketball in the last two weeks. And it claimed another victim Friday afternoon, this time Columbia, 82-81 in overtime, in what has to be considered a mild upset even if it were in the friendly confines of Alumni Gym.

If it were up to Johnson, Fairfield (3-3) would play much more in ancient Alumni Gym, where a holiday crowd of 1,886 made their presence known, with Johnson exhorting them on, almost to midcourt on a couple of big Columbia (3-3) possessions at the end of regulation and the extra session. The Stags will play two more times at Alumni this season, including a MAAC game against Saint Peter’s, but there are no current plans to expand that number.

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Harvard 80, Bryant 45 : Three Thoughts

BOSTON – Sportswriters (and the world at large, to be honest) tend to make way too big a deal out of singular events, but if there was ever a statement as to the current (and future) power of the Ivy League, it was Harvard’s complete demolition of Bryant Wednesday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

Having unfortunately borne witness to many of them over the years, it had all the look of a “guarantee game”. Of course, if Bryant wanted that, it could have gone down the street to Boston College or down I-95 to Providence.

But from the opening tip, Zena Edosomwan was just bigger and stronger than anyone the Bulldogs could throw at him, young guards Tommy McCarthy and Corey Johnson were bordering on arrogance because they could score whenever they pleased. Physically, athletically, skill-wise, whatever way you sliced it, it didn’t take a basketball expert to figure out who was the better team. It was a 20-point game by halftime and it was time to clear the benches and cheer for the walk-ons by the midway point of the second half.

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