A little belated write-up this time around; my daughter's birthday is this weekend and the festivities have kept me from being online much--I barely had time to gameplan, much less continue filling in for rednu. But anyway, here goes...
Game of the night recap 1
#4 Defiance 85, Westminster (PA) 70
Westminster kept it close for three quarters of a tough road matchup at Defiance...a four-point deficit at halftime had been cut to three with 9 and a half minutes to go. However, the visitors could never quite get over the hump to tie it up or take the lead, and Defiance pulled away over the final ten minutes to pick up a not-quite-as-comfortable-as-it-appears 15-point victory. Coach nm1brownsfan's squad has to hope that they meet up with Defiance again in the conference tourney to try to reverse the outcome. Frontcourt mates Ben Mitchell and Werner Baccus led the way for the victors with 20 and 18 points, respectively, and Defiance looks like it has a relatively smooth road to an undefeated regular season.
Game of the night recap 2
(going with spasticity's recommendation of a game to follow)
#5 Johnson & Wales 86, #9 Emerson 75
In the only matchup of ranked teams on the night, spasticity's Johnson & Wales squad stays in the ranks of the undefeated on the year by holding off a resilient Emerson squad. Coach nickjyd has done a great job in his first year at the helm of Emerson, with two wins over ranked teams so far and by keeping his Bostonians in the top 10. However, several mini-runs in the second half couldn't make up the deficit against a determined Johnson & Wales. The three guards in the starting lineup for the hosts--Allen Woods, Roy Black, and Travis Fuson--each scored between 14 and 16 points; combined with a double-figure night for top reserve guard Eric Pabst, this strong backcourt play was too much for an Emerson lineup whose top three scorers were also guards.
Johnson & Wales is now one of only eight unbeaten teams left in Division III; a matchup with jack_duck's top-ranked Rivier squad is on tap in two days, where that undefeated status will be greatly tested--assuming spasticity's boys don't overlook their road tilt at Norwich first.
Game of the night
#25 University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth at East Connecticut State University.
No games between ranked squads are on the docket tonight, and the only game with less than a 9-point spread is this "pick-em" matchup out of the Little East Conference between cjones4mvp's ECSU squad and that of docwooden's UMass, Darthmouth team. These two third-year coaches are each riding at least a ten-game winning streak, and docwooden's Massachusetts boys are in fact also one of the remaining undefeated squads at 16-0. Both teams are currently projected as bubble squads, however, and a marquee win or two will be crucial for both coaches, who will have to overcome a weak conference to merit NT at-large bid consideration. The return matchup in North Dartmouth will take place early next week, and with the overall Little East RPI ranked 30th out of 32 D3 conferences, a loser of one or both games between these two squads may have to rely on winning the conference tourney to ensure a national tournament bid.