With the exception of November and early-season tournaments, Mondays tend to be one of the quieter days of the week in the college basketball world. The first Monday of December was no different, as only a handful of games took place across the country.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any exciting games.
Conference play in the MAAC was underway, and the Siena Saints paid a visit to the Rider Broncs to cap off what was an exciting weekend for the conference as a whole. There was a big time showdown inside the infamous Madison Square Garden, where two teams were looking for a resume-boosting win early in the year.
There was a 42-point game in Bozeman, MT, and the night cap in Portland went to double overtime.
Here are Monday’s Headlines.
Rider Broncs Knock Off the Siena Saints, 71-69
Before the season began, many people picked the Siena Saints as the team in the MAAC who had the best chance of knocking off the Monmouth Hawks atop the conference standings. The season is still early, so it could very well happen yet, but it looks as though the conference is up for grabs.
A day after the Hawks had to fight down to the wire in their second conference game of the weekend, this time against the Canisius Golden Griffins, the Saints were in a fight with Rider on Monday.
Siena took a one-point lead into the break, but weren’t able to hold off the Broncs for long. Rider overtook the Saints in the second half, and the Broncs made enough free throws in the closing minutes to edge out the 71-69 win.
Xavier Lundy scored a game-high 20 points to lead the way for the Broncs, while Norville Carey recorded 14 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double of the young season. Lavon Long scored a team-high 19 points for the Saints.
The win is huge for Kevin Baggett’s crew, who improve to 4-3 on the year, and 1-1 in conference play, as it shows they can hang with the top teams in their conference. Siena falls to 3-6 overall on the year, and 1-1 in MAAC play.
If the first weekend of conference action is any indication, the rest of the 2016-17 season in the MAAC will undoubtedly cause some anxious moments for fans of every team in the conference.
Connecticut Huskies Push Record Back to .500 with 52-50 Win over Syracuse
The early portion of the 2016-17 season hasn’t been too kind to the Connecticut Huskies.
Despite their early-season struggles, the Huskies had the chance to score a resume-boosting win on Monday night, as the Syracuse Orange and Huskies squared off inside MSG as a part of the Tire Pro Classic. The Orange, sitting at 5-2 before the game, were looking to add another marquee win to their resume in non-conference play, and were looking for the big road win.
Syracuse led by as many as 9 points in the second half, but a scoring drought of over six minutes for the Orange allowed Connecticut to claw their way back. Christian Vital hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left on the clock, sending the Huskies to the much-needed 52-50 win over Syracuse.
The win pushed Connecticut’s record back to .500 for the year, at 4-4. Three of their four wins have been by three points or less. Syracuse falls to 5-3 so far in 2016-17.
One thing that you’re guaranteed to get from Kevin Ollie and the Huskies is resiliency, and that was on full display on Monday.
Milwaukee Panthers Spoil Tyler Hall’s Career Night
Sophomore guard Tyler Hall is one of the top scorers in the country, and he’s only in his second season with the Montana State Bobcats.
He came into Monday’s game having scored in double-figures in seven of the Bobcats’ first eight games of the year. He scored 22 points in each of the last two games, but had his best performance on Monday against the Panthers.
Hall scored a career-high 42 points, while going 15-of-25 from the floor and 6-of-12 from three point range on the night. Unfortunately for Hall and the Bobcats, the Panthers would spoil the night, scoring the 83-78 win on the road.
It was the first home loss for Montana State, and the first road win for Milwaukee this year.
Other Notes from Monday
- The Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks notched their first win of the 2016-17 season, knocking off Central Pennsylvania, 87-74. Ryan Andino continued his strong start to the year making six 3-pointers and recording 20 points, and Logan McIntosh chipped in with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
- In the night cap, the Portland Pilots and the UTRGV Vaqueros went to double-overtime, with the Pilots coming away with the hard-fought 90-89 victory. Guard Alec Wintering recorded 24 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals in the win.
- Down in College Station, the Texas A&M Aggies scored an 86-62 win over the Texas A&M-CC Islanders, giving their instate foes their second straight loss after starting the year a perfect 5-0. Forward Tyler Davis scored 25 points and pulled down 8 rebounds.
- Colorado Christian gave the Wyoming Cowboys everything they could handle in Laramie. The Cowboys trailed by 1 at the break, but came away with the 67-60 victory. The stress level in Laramie was higher than usual for a Monday.
- Several teams rolled past non-Division I opponents, as the UT-Arlington Mavericks, UNC Greensboro Spartans, and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers all won their games by at least 37 points.
– T. Bennett