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Not So Big Monday Recap: Northeast Continues Struggle

The schedule might not have provided a lot of excitement, but there were some interesting side notes from Monday night's action on the mid-major level.

Jason Szenes

Big Monday: sometimes it isn't so big.

There was little to learn from Monday night's games. There was no collapse as UCLA accomplished Sunday night. Monday could pass into the history books without much to mark it.

Except that wouldn't be doing Monday night justice.

For one thing, Monday marked the return of Colt Ryan. The Evansville star came off the bench for the Aces as he continues to recover from a hip pointer suffered within the first 10 minutes of a game against Buffalo on Nov. 15.

In 22 minutes, Ryan scored 13 points to lead the team. Thankfully he returned against Alabama A&M, and the team didn't need him to perform at a higher level. His shooting left much to be desired, going 4-for-12 from the floor, although he did dish out seven assists in the win. Perhaps it will just take time for his shooting stroke to return.

The Aces are hoping that happens soon.

More? How about Morehead State?

Milton Chavis had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Eagles defeated Norfolk State 73-67. Morehead State (4-2) was playing without head coach Sean Woods who was suspended for pushing and berating Devon Atkinson during a game against Kentucky.

Atkinson had seven assists in the win, and Woods will return to the bench Wednesday against Marshall.

More? How about how the best teams -- or at least who we thought were the best teams -- continue to struggle. Long Island's issues have been well documented. But we have ignored the pains of Wagner so far.

And things are so bad right now that this has nothing to do with just a change in head coach. Bashir Mason couldn't have sunk the Seahawks this much by himself.

More pressing right now is the absence of Latif Rivers, who continues to recover from bone spurs removed from his knee in August. Rivers was supposed to be the leader for this team. Without him, the team has struggled to find an identity, and the weapons on the court are fewer.

Jonathon Williams had quite a night Monday (10-for-11 FG, 6-for-6 FT, 26 points, 7 rebounds), but even that wasn't enough to overcome Albany (Side Note: Albany -- Wow! The loss of Gerardo Suero should have crushed this team. Instead the Great Danes are 5-2 this season and No. 131 in our initial computer rankings).

Do we need more on how down the Northeast is? After all, they were the No. 23-ranked conference in the initial MRI rankings.

But how about Robert Morris dropping another game? This time to Savannah State of the MEAC? Sure the Tigers are supposed to be one of the top teams in one of the lesser conferences. But that is not a good enough reason for Velton Jones to walk away with seven points on 1 of 8 shooting. Even seven assists don't make up for that.

Jones and the Colonials have been a constant disappointment this year. And this is a Savannah State team that didn't get its best games from its two best players: Rashad Hassan and Arnold Louis.

Instead Preston Blackman torched the Colonials for 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field.

Meanwhile, Robert Morris was just ugly on the floor. The Colonials shot 28.6 percent overall, and 5-for-21 from 3-point range. Ouch.

Something has to change for this team and soon if they are at all going to live up to the preseason expectations that were laid on them.

And if you want dreadful shooting, you need look no further than Towson and Loyola (Md.). Neither team shot better than 35 percent from the floor.

Together the two teams were 8-for-32 from 3-point range. Together, the teams shot 66.7 percent at the free throw line.

Are we sure the baskets were set at the right height Monday?

Loyola pulled out the 12-point win, and Dylon Cormier scored 19, but ... well, that is about all you can say on that one.