Freeman Powers Old Dominion Past Charlotte, 74-69

Charlotte guard Jon Davis drains a free throw in Saturday night's game.  (Brian Wilmer/CHD)
Brian Wilmer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Accentuate the positive.

Easier said than done, sure, but Charlotte coach Mark Price is gradually finding ways to do so.  Admittedly, Price’s team struggled to contain Old Dominion redshirt senior Trey Freeman – he hit the final shot of regulation to send the game to overtime, among many others – but Price is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

“I was proud of our guys.  We bounced out of it, snapped out of it,” said Price of his team’s struggles and their eventual bouncing back from a slow first half.  “We just didn’t have any answers for him (Freeman) tonight.  He was unbelievable.”

Freeman’s 38 points paced the visiting Monarchs, leading Old Dominion to a 74-69, overtime victory over Charlotte at Halton Arena on Saturday night.

#3 Terps Survive a Battle With #18 Purdue: Maryland Prevails 72-61

Robert Carter Jr. Had 19 Points vs. Purdue/washingtonpost.com

by Terry Cook

College Park, MD-- The Terps returned home to the friendly (and sold out) confines of the Xfinity Center after being on the road for 2 highly contested wins against Ohio State and Nebraska.  Awaiting them was the #18 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

Coach Mark Turgeon openly admitted that his team, which included him as well, was very tired after the stretch of games they've had.  

Odd that he said this, as the starting 5 accounted for 85% of the playing time tonight, and 93% of the offense.  Only Damonte Dodd and Jared Nickens played more than 10 minutes off the bench, and Nickens had the only 2 bench points.

All told, only 5 Terps scored from the floor.

Both teams started the first half rather sluggish, with each side letting their bigs do the scoring. 7 foot Center A.J. Hammond of the Boilermakers had 10 points, and Terps F Robert Carter Jr had 11, of which 9 were off of 3 pointers.  In fact, the Terps were 3/12 from 3 in the first half, with Carter accounting for all 3.  At one point in the first half, Maryland went nearly 6 minutes without scoring a point...a recurring theme.

Purdue took a 30-27 lead into the half in front of an uneasy crowd.

Uneasy as they were, Terps fans are used to their home team fighting tough battles on a nightly basis.  In a game that saw 3 ties and 11 lead changes, Purdue still held the lead with about 5 minutes to play.  It was at this point a sequence of events would turn the tide for Maryland for good. 

A couple of back to back misses by Purdue, coupled with a turnover and a foul, helped Maryland compile a 25-10 run to close the game in the final minutes, and eventually, pull away.

While the Terps offense wasn't stellar tonight, their game plan of pounding the ball inside to get to the free throw line, continues to work.

The Terps were able to get themselves into the bonus shots with about 8 minutes to play.  One thing an opposing team doesn't want to do is get into a free throw battle with Maryland.  Tonight they shot 24/27 from the charity stripe, while Purdue only ATTEMPTED 5 free throws.  Easily the deciding factor tonight, and any night in a close victory.

Senior G Rasheed Sulaimon continues to show up in #B1G games, however he's most needed.  Aside from his leadership, which I've written about countless times, tonight his defense was stellar, and he chipped in his first career double double with 21 points and 10 rebound performance.

Coach Turgeon had this to say about Sulaimon, "He's such a smart player, he helps me coach the team."

Melo Trimble finished the game with 14 points, albeit on 2/12 shooting from the floor, but again, he hit his free throws down the stretch to seal the game as he always does.

Freshman stud C Diamond Stone was inserted into the starting lineup tonight, and he produced 12 points with 6 rebounds and 2 steals.  His defense continues to improve every game, and he was praised by coaches and players after the game.

Jake Layman continues to disappear in big situations.  He plays great defense...but so does walk-on Varun Ram.  Layman was 0/3 from the floor, and clearly avoided contact or passed when in tight spots under the basket.  Fans continue to be frustrated with his play, though coaches and players praise his work ethic.  At some point, that's just not going to be enough.

On a night when the Terps relied heavily on their starters, didn't shoot the ball well (40%), were again abysmal from 3 (Robert Carter had all 4 of the Terps' 3 pointers, the rest of the team was 0/12), Maryland found a way to win another close conference game.  

Defense was praised all around by players and coaches after the win, but a poignant statement by Turgeon said it all about his team. 

"I have been doing this a long time.  I have had really good defensive teams, but right now we are playing at a level that I don't know if I have seen as a head coach."

That's a huge compliment to a team that has prided itself on defense all season.

Next up for the Terps is a bit of a breather at home on Tuesday vs Bowie State before finishing out their final 6 #B1G games.

Purdue will be at home on Tuesday vs Michigan State...talk about the teeth of your schedule!

St. Joe's Trounces Fordham 82-60; Bembry's Double/Double Paces Hawks

DeAndre' Bembry Had 16 Points vs. Fordham/sjuhawks.com

by Anthony Rushing

Fordham knew today's game  against Saint Joseph's, could be a long day at the office. Well for the Rams, it was exactly that -- and then some.

Shavar Newkirk scored a game high 17 points and DeAndre' Bembry added 16 points with 10 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's to a 82-60 win over an undermanned Fordham team today, at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx, NY.

Word got out shortly before the game that Fordham would be without Mandell Thomas for today's game. The senior point guard rolled his ankle in Fordham's last game, an overtime win at UMass. Thomas was seen walking gingerly around the court, before the game still dressed in his sweats, while his teammates were getting up shots in their home team white warmups. It was then clear the Rams were going to be without his services today.

Saint Joseph's (19-4, 8-2 Atlantic 10), missed their first five shots from the field and fell behind 7-0. The Hawks, however, would eventually get it going on offense. Saint Joseph's, trailing 9-3 with 14:28 left in the first half, would go on a 10-0 run to take the lead away from Fordham. With the score tied at 13, the Hawks then ripped off a 13-2 run, fueled by three consecutive three's from Lamarr Kimble, to go up 12 over the Rams. Saint Joseph's would go 8 for 13 from long range in the first half, this would prove to be the difference in the game. Newkirk would score 8 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, hitting on two from downtown. Kimble and Papa Ndao would provide the additional firepower from three that kept Fordham off-balance. 

The Rams, despite the impressive offensive explosion from Saint Joseph's, managed to battle back. Fordham (12-9, 3-7 Atlantic 10), sparked by Chris Sengfelder's 16  first half points, would go on a 12-6 run to cut the Hawks lead to 10 heading into halftime. Sengfelder, however, would go scoreless the rest of the way while Saint Joseph's methodically picked Fordham apart until there was nothing left. Isaiah Miles scored all 13 of his points in the second half for the Hawks.

Then there was DeAndre' Bembry. The 6'6 junior, from Charlotte, North Carolina, showed plenty of balance and maturity to his game in the first half. Bembry's halftime stat line (10 points, three rebounds, five assists) didn't jump off the page, however it's clear as to why NBA scouts have him high on their radar. Bembry is one of those players that comes along and it almost appears as if he's playing the game in slow motion, that's how smooth his game looks. He's flirted with securing a triple-double on multiple occasions this season, today would prove to be no different. Bembry, in 36 minutes, would finish with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. 

For Fordham, they just ran into a better team today. Not having Thomas was a crucial blow to the backcourt. Joseph Chartouny and Antwoine Anderson shot a combined 2 for 9 from the field tofinish with nine points. Jon Severe added 14 points on 5 for 12 shooting for Fordham. David Pekarek, starting for Thomas, went 1 for 8 from the field and finished with two points.

Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer spoke after the game on if his team may have been intimidated by going up against a tough road team like Saint Joseph's. 

The Hawks improved to 8-0 on the road this season, the best road record in the nation. They are arguably one of the better-balanced teams in the conferences, they move the basketball exceptionally well, and are well-coached under Phil Martelli. This team's going to be fun to watch in March at the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn.  

"I don't think it's either," said Neubauer.  "It's not intimidating, we didn't mention it to our team. What it shows, though, is they have a basketball style that will travel, and what that means is they don't foul, so when you play a defense that is as good and effective as their defense that doesn't foul, that means you can be successful on the road, and then again, the unselfish part, the fact that they don't rely on one or two guys. I do understand in the league play, they've got two guys averaging 18 (points) a game (Bembry and Miles), they don't rely on those two guys. They always have five offensive players on the court."