In a change of pace from earlier in the season, the middle of the America East conference showed some bite this past week, with a number of teams winning all of their games. Some were easier than others, but it’s a positive step. Unfortunately, the close losses for the top of the league, including two by Stony Brook, prevented it from being a banner week for the conference. Continue reading
Yale freshman Paul Atkinson picked up his second foul five minutes into Friday night’s game in Albany, and as per James Jones’ custom, Atkinson was immediately banished to the bench for the rest of the half.
Except who to replace him with? What would have been the starting center – sophomore Jordan Bruner – is out for the year with a knee injury. Fellow sophomore Austin Williams, who played sparingly last season but is it at least 6-foot-8, 235 pounds, is out as well. Replacing the likes of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod is obviously darn near impossible, but recent history has shown that last year’s No. 5 Sam Downey was also extremely underappreciated.
ALBANY, N.Y. – From his seat on the Yale bench, Justin Sears was constantly looking up the SEFCU Arena overhead scoreboard Sunday afternoon. Maybe he didn’t believe what he saw. Maybe he thought if he stared at long enough it would change. Or perhaps he just couldn’t watch what was actually happening on the court.
What was abundantly clear Sunday afternoon was that Yale is lost without him. Sears sat out with an ear and sinus infection, and Yale – who led SMU by eight at the half and hung with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium last week – was absolutely dismantled by the reigning America East champs, 88-54.
It marks the most points Yale (3-3) has allowed in regulation since New Year’s Eve 2011 at Florida, and times when the Bulldog defense (ranked 55th in defensive efficiency last season) gave up 1.29 points per possession the last couple of seasons have been few and far between (if there are any).
A step forward on defense is the only thing standing between Boston University and a run at the Patriot League title. The Terriers were picked third in the preseason poll, thanks to their deep well of returning talent — but that talent ranked 317th nationally in defensive efficiency last year. In that light, it was notable not just that they beat Albany on Monday night, but how they did it: BU held the Great Danes scoreless over the final 3:40, sneaking out a come-from-behind, 69-64 victory at Case Gym. Continue reading