Today is a beautiful day.
Not weather-wise — it’s snowing and cold as hell here in New York. But it’s the first Saturday of conference play, meaning the schedule is loaded with great matchups from noon to midnight.
Here’s what you need to do: stay in your jammies, make yourself a drink, get that remote ready, and watch basketball all day. It’s gonna be great. If you need help making a good basketball-game-viewing drink, allow me to assist:
Now, what can you expect from this loaded day of games? First thing’s first: the Atlantic 10 tips off its conference schedule in a season that is loaded with intrigue. URI should be able to handle George Mason at home, but St. Bonaventure has a tough one against UMass. Saint Joe’s vs. George Washington and Saint Louis vs. La Salle are also two to keep an eye on.
The Atlantic 10 slate may be an appetizer, however. At 4 p.m. ET, attention will shift west where Saint Mary’s will take on BYU. We talked about BYU as a potential at-large team on our last podcast and the Gaels are getting No. 1 votes in our nationally famous power rankings.
Anyway, check in here throughout the day. We’ll have updates and nonsense.
UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.
One thing that’s becoming clear about this website? If you want to keep winning, don’t let us write about you.
Towson was rolling along with a 10-game winning streak and a ton of momentum. Then we wrote about the Tigers, and they’ve since fallen flat with a three-game losing streak over a difficult road swing.
This afternoon they dropped an unenviable CAA opener at College of Charleston, 73-62. Though it was a two-point game at halftime, the Cougars star trio shined, with big games from Joe Chealey (21 points, 7 rebounds), Grant Riller (16 points) and, in his third game after returning from a knee injury, Jarrell Brantley (24 points).
With the win, C of C reaffirmed that it is the team to beat in the CAA, especially with Brantley back and playing well. Towson, on the other hand, is far from a lost cause. They were still able to control the boards against the Cougars, as is their bread and butter, and got a career-best 20 points from senior forward Eddie Keith.
But the Tigers will need to regroup quickly. They play another tough road game at Elon on Jan. 2, before opening a three-game home stand that includes the Cougars (again) and Hofstra.
UPDATE: 6:06 p.m.
With 30 seconds left in Saturday’s game against Hofstra, William & Mary found itself on the short end of an 85-82 game. A win was still possible, but it would be an uphill battle.
A quick Justin Pierce steal and timeout gave them renewed life, and Tony Shaver drew up a great play to put the ball in Connor Burchfield’s hands. The senior knew exactly what to do:
Shortly thereafter, Hofstra followed up the three with a make of its own, allowing the Pride to go up 87-85. However, Burchfield had the hot hand, and he simply would not be denied a victory today:
Hofstra still had a chance though, and it managed to get in the paint with less than five seconds left. However, William & Mary’s Nathan Knight was there waiting:
Those back-to-back threes, which were followed by a monster block, helped to seal a 90-87 William & Mary win. The Tribe is now 8-4 and couldn’t have asked for a better start to CAA play.
UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.
Horrible news comes to Vermont today, as the school announced that standout forward Anthony Lamb is out indefinitely due to an injury.
Lamb was averaging nearly 17 points per game while snagging six rebounds in each outing thus far this season. However, the Catamounts—sitting currently at 8-5—have struggled in recent weeks, losing to teams like Bucknell and Northeastern.
It certainly has not been the season that John Becker has been expecting, and today’s awful news regarding Vermont’s leading scorer will only make it worse.
UPDATE: 4:07 p.m.
With so many really good matchups going on this Saturday, one could not be faulted for choosing to tune into other games besides Saint Louis-La Salle.
However, those who did seek out and watch this matchup were not treated to anything spectacular. In fact, the Explorers crushed Travis Ford’s squad by a score of 83-60, making this an altogether boring affair.
Although, during the game, a tweet from a Saint Louis Billikens beat writer caught my eye after appearing on my timeline:
Hasahn French with SLU's lone assist with less than 6 minutes to play.— stu durando (@studurando) December 30, 2017
Yes, it took Saint Louis that long to get a single assist. I’m not really sure how that’s even possible, but the Billikens sure did it.
Ultimately, La Salle held the Billikens to 4 assists in the game, but the lackluster assist totals (combined with the Explorers hitting over 50% of their shots) helped make the difference in this one.
Thanks to this performance, Saint Louis has fallen to 7-7 on the year, opening A10 play with a loss. Similarly, the Explorers are now 7-7, but they have a spotless 1-0 conference record to show off after today’s victory.
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.
LEXINGTON, VA — Furman clobbered VMI, 87-57 on Saturday in the SoCon opener for both teams. Sophomore guard Jordan Lyons led a balanced offensive effort for the Paladins with 17 points, including five triples.
Furman’s 16 three-pointers are tied for the third-most in school history. The Paladins went 16-for-31 from downtown for the afternoon.
VMI got out of the gates fast in the opening 10 minutes of the game, taking as much as a nine-point lead, however, Furman went on a 29-0 run that ended any intrigue the game may have had.
That run came despite leading scorer and preseason Southern Conference Player of the Year Devin Sibley being held to just one point in the opening half of play.
In the second half, the Paladins extended the lead to as many as 36 points. Point guard John Davis III left the game early in the second half with an apparent sprained ankle. Davis finished 18 minutes of game action with 15 points, two assists and two steals.
Furman’s Daniel Fowler finished the contest with 12 points and hit a milestone moment for his career, crossing the 1,000-point plateau. The Paladins claimed huge advantages in points off turnovers (29-12) and points in the paint (30-12).
The Paladins are now 26-11 in Southern Conference play since the start of the 2015-16 season.