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Maryland tries to bounce back Wednesday against Miami

Posted on 28 January 2014 by WNST Staff

Miami (10-9, 2-5 ACC) at Maryland (11-9, 3-4 ACC)

Maryland looks to end a two-game skid Wednesday night at 9 p.m. in Comcast Center as it takes on the Miami Hurricanes for the final time in ACC regular season play as head coach Mark Turgeon coaches his 500th career game (303-196, .607).

Watch: ACC Network – Tim Brant (Play-by-Play), Eddie Fogler (Analyst)

Listen: Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (Play-by-Play), Chris Knoche (Analyst), Walt Williams (Sideline); Sirius/XM Channel 85

Storylines

• The Terps have defeated Miami in three consecutive games at home, and are 5-1 all-time at home (4-1 in Comcast Center) against the Hurricanes. Miami won the inaugural ACC meeting, 75-73, in an overtime thriller on Feb. 5, 2005 in Coral Gables, Fla.

• Junior Dez Wells had a strong performance in his debut against Miami last season, posting 18 points (12 in the second half) on 7-of-11 shooting in the Terps’ 54-47 loss at the Bank United Center.

• Sophomore Jake Layman continues to shoot well in Comcast Center after an 18-point (7-of-12) display Saturday against No. 20 Pitt. He currently leads the team at home with 14.9 points/g on 51 percent shooting (50-for-99).

• The Terps are getting more consistent play at the point guard position as sophomore Seth Allen continues his steady return from a fractured left foot. Allen posted a season-high six assists against No. 20 Pitt, and has dished 15 assists and committed only four turnovers (3.75 ratio) in his last three games.

• The Terrapins have won eight of their last 12 home ACC contests, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 11.8 points in the victories. Maryland handily defeated Georgia Tech by a 16-point margin on Jan. 4, 77-61, before overcoming a nine-point halftime deficit to beat Notre Dame, 74-66, on Jan. 15.

No. 20 Pitt Holds Off Surging Terps
The 20th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers relied on their inside game and the prowess of guard Lamar Patterson to squeeze out an 83-79 victory over Maryland Saturday at Comcast Center.
Patterson scored 28 points, and the Panthers used a 37-28 rebounding advantage and 32 free throws to earn the victory.
Dez Wells scored 19, Jake Layman had 18 and Nick Faust added 13 for the Terrapins. Maryland closed to 79-74 with 1:19 to go but couldn’t complete the comeback.
A 3-pointer by Faust and a three-point play by Layman cut it to 62-55 with 10:17 to go, but Patterson scored the game’s next three points and got an assist on a basket by Robinson to give the Panthers a 12-point lead with 8:39 remaining.

Scouting Miami
Miami rolls into College Park on a two-game slide after a pair of home losses to Duke and Syracuse. Sitting at 2-5 in the ACC (10-9 overall), the Hurricanes’ lone victories in conference play have come on the road (North Carolina and Georgia Tech).
The Hurricanes rank 10th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 59.3 points per game. George Washington is the only team to score more than 70 points on Miami in regulation, defeating the Hurricanes, 71-63, in Anaheim, Calif.
Graduate forward Donnavan Kirk presents a menacing shot-blocking force inside, ranking third in the ACC (64th nationally) in blocked shots/g. Kirk is second on the team in both points (9.6/g) and rebounds (6.1/g).
Rion Brown leads the ‘Canes in both scoring (13.4/g) and rebounds (6.3/g).

Statistically Speaking
Sophomore Jake Layman is averaging a team-high 14.9 points on 51 percent shooting in home games.
Junior Dez Wells is a strong second half performer, averaging nearly four more points per game in the second half (8.9/g) than the first (5.7/g). He is shooting 48 percent from the field in the second half and 82 percent from the line.
The Terps are outrebounding opponents by an average of 7.3 boards in home games.
Maryland is 11-0 when leading with 5:00 to play and 8-1 when leading at halftime.
Maryland is 9-1 when holding opponents below 70 points.

What to Watch For
The Terps have taken much better care of the ball since sophomore Seth Allen reprised his role at point guard eight games ago. Allen posted a season-high six assists Saturday against No. 20 Pitt, and has dished 15 assists and committed only four turnovers in his last three games.
Maryland is looking to “rebound” from it’s worst rebounding performance of the season against Pitt Saturday (granted, both teams shot over 48 percent). Pitt out-rebounded the Terps by a nine-board margin, 37-28.
The Terrapins continue to develop their big men as they look for a consistent center in the post. Head coach Mark Turgeon has played his centers based on matchups, although sophomore Charles Mitchell ranks third in the ACC in offensive rebounds (3.0/g).

Terps in the Community
Despite their loss to Pitt Saturday, a number of Terrapin athletes were active in the local community the following Sunday.
Maryland big men Jon Graham, Charles Mitchell and Damonte Dodd attended the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship in Bowie, Md., as they cheered on and signed autographs for the youth.
Meanwhile, junior Jacob Suskkind attended Family Sports Night in Bethesda, Md., to share experiences and stories from the perspective of a Maryland student-athlete.

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Loyola returns from holiday break Monday at Miami

Posted on 29 December 2013 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Miami Hurricanes

Saturday, December 30, 2013  |  7:00 p.m.

Coral Gables, Fla. | Bank United Center


 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola return to action for the first time after the Christmas holiday to play at the University of Miami at 7 o’clock on Monday, December 30.

The game is the final regular-season non-conference affair of the season before the Greyhounds embark in Patriot League play on the second day of the new year.

Loyola scored its most points in a half, 53, in the second 20 minutes against Saint Joseph’s, logging a point every 22.6 seconds as opposed to one every 50 seconds when it was outscored 60-24 in the first half of the game.

The Greyhounds lead the Patriot League in turnover margin, averaging 3.3 fewer than opponents in 10 games.

 

Last Time Out

Saint Joseph’s shot 64.5 percent, and held Loyola to 31.8 percent, in the first half, and the Hawks jumped out to a 60-24 halftime lead in Baltimore on December 21.

The Greyhounds flipped the script, however, and outscored Saint Joseph’s, 53-28, in the second half, but they lost, 88-77.

Saint Joseph’s made just 4-of-21 (19 percent) second-half shots, and Loyola forced 11 turnovers after the break.

Dylon Cormier scored 23 of his game-high 27 after the break, and he recorded his third career double-double (all this season) with 11 rebounds. Jarred Jones added 15 points for Loyola.

 

 

ESPN3 Broadcast

Monday’s game at Miami will be broadcast live, worldwide, on ESPN3.

Mike Levine will call the play-by-play, and Drew Nicholas, a member of the 2002 University of Maryland NCAA Championship team, will handle the color analysis.

 

Series History Versus Miami

Loyola and Miami will meet for the first time when the teams take the floor on Monday.

The Greyhounds are 11-35 all-time against current Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. Fifteen of their games, and all but three of the wins, have come against Maryland. The other wins came versus Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

None of Loyola’s 11 wins have come since the ACC was formed in 1953; the last was on December 16, 1949, when the Greyhounds beat Wake Forest, 66-51.

Loyola faced a Jim Larrañaga-coached team once, a 66-52 loss at George Mason on December 8, 2011.

 

Second Half Revivals

Loyola has outscored its last two opponents, Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s, 90-61, in the second half.

In those final 20 minutes, the Greyhounds have shot 45.5 percent from the field, but their defense has been the difference. The Seawolves and Hawks have been limited to just 11-of-40 (27.5 percent) from the floor during the second halves.

Loyola’s opponents have made just one 3-pointer (1-of-12, 8.3 percent), and they have committed 20 turnovers to Loyola’s four after the breaks.

In their last game, December 21 against Saint Joseph’s, the Greyhounds forced 11 second-half turnovers, and the Hawks made only 4-of-21 (19 percent) shots; none of their nine 3-point attempts found the mark.

Offensively, Dylon Cormier has averaged 20.5 points in the second halves of the last two games for Loyola, including a 23-point performance against the Hawks.

Against Stony Brook, the Greyhounds erased a 17-point first-half deficit to tie the score twice in the second half. Versus Saint Joseph’s, Loyola trailed, 60-24, at the half, but it made the contest a three-possession game and lost by 11.

In all 10 games this year, Loyola is outscoring opponents, 38.7-37.0, after halftime.

 

Slow Starts

The Greyhounds’ furious second half rallies have been necessitated by slow starts that have dug first-half holes against Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s.

In those games, Loyola has allowed its foes to shot 63.2 percent (36-of-57) from the field while shooting just 37 percent (17-of-46) itself. The Seawolves and Hawks made a combined 12-of-20 shots from behind the arc, as well.

Loyola has also lost the turnover differentials in the first halves of those games, coughing up the ball 21 times while forcing just 12 turnovers.

Loyola has led at the half just three times this year (Binghamton, Cornell and Fairfield), an all three of those games translated into victories.

Cumulatively, in the Greyhounds’ 10 games, Loyola has been outscored, 39.2-31.0, in the first half this season.

 

Non-Conference Comes To A Close

Monday’s game at Miami will be the Greyhounds’ final non-conference tile of the 2013-2014 regular-season.

They will start their inaugural year in the Patriot League with a pair of games later in the week against two service academies.

Loyola hosts the U.S. Naval Academy, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 2, before traveling to the U.S. Military Academy on Sunday, January 5, for a 2 o’clock tipoff.

 

Second Half Versus Saint Joseph’s

The aforementioned second half against Saint Joseph’s saw Loyola outscore the Hawks, 53-28. The 53 points were the most that the Greyhounds have scored in a half this season, besting the 48 second-half points they tallied versus Catholic University.

Loyola’s top three scorers in the game – Dylon Cormier (27), Jarred Jones (15) and Eric Laster (10) – combined for 41 of Loyola’s 53 points after the break.

Cormier was 9-of-13 from the field for 23 points, and Laster hit 4-of-6 shots for 10. Cormier’s 23 points were the most by a Loyola player in a half this season, as were his nine rebounds.

Loyola committed only two turnovers after the break, while its five steals contributed to 11 Saint Joseph’s miscues.

 

Cormier’s Start To The Season

Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 24.1 points per game through 10. Through games of Thursday, December 26, Cormier is fifth in the nation in scoring, trailing only Niagara University’s Antoine Mason (28.3), Creighton University’s Doug McDermott (24.6), North Carolina Central’s Jeremy Ingram (24.6) and Texas Southern’s Aaric Murray (24.5).

Cormier scored 20 or more points in the Greyhounds’ first five games, and he had three 30-plus point efforts during that stretch, as well. Overall, he has eight 20+ point games in 10 contests.

On November 20 at UMBC, Cormier had a career-high 12 field goals and went 9-of-13 from the line to match his career-best with 34 points (also set on November 10 at Cornell).

No Loyola player in the school’s Division I era (since 1981-1982) had started the season with five-straight 20-point games. Andre Collins, who set the school single-season scoring record at 26.1, started the 2005-2006 season with 20 or more points in five of six games, but he scored  just 16 in the Greyhounds’ third game of the season.

Collins had eight games with 30 or more points that season, the most by a Loyola player during the Division I era.

Cormier was the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.

He was the first Loyola player to score 30 or more in back-to-back outings since Collins went for 34, 36 and 39 in three-straight games (all on the road at VMI, Delaware and Providence) from December 29, 2005-January 3, 2006.

 

1,400 For Cormier

In the second half at Mount St. Mary’s, Dylon Cormier became the 12th player in school history to score 1,400 or more points in a career. Entering Monday’s  game against Miami with 1,454, Cormier is four points from overtaking B.J. Pendleton (1991-95) for 10th place on the Greyhounds’ all-time scoring list.

He is the eighth player at Loyola to reach 1,400 points at the Division I level.

 

Cormier To The Charity Stripe

Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on December 19 against Stony Brook, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.

His 21 free throw attempts were the second-most in school single-game history, one shy of tying the January 14, 2009, mark set by Jamal Barney against NJIT.

Cormier made 16 free throws, a career-best, good for a tie for fourth in single-game history. Barney holds that record, as well, with 18.

Through 10 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 99 times (tied for 15th in Division I through games of December 26). His average of 9.9 free throws per game are tied for fifth nationally.

Loyola is guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season, plus at least one Patriot League Tournament), and with that average, Cormier would 299 free throws in 2013-14. The school single-season record for free throws attempted is 255 set in 1997-98 by Mike Powell.

In his career, Cormier is 402-of-570 from the free-throw line. Against Saint Joseph’s, he moved into fourth-place at Loyola in attempts, and he is now 11 away from fifth-place in makes.

 

Sticky Fingers

Loyola has logged 13 steals in two of its last three games (at Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook) , raising its Patriot League leading average to 8.5 per game this season. It is also tied for 27th in the nation in steals per game.

The Greyhounds have had 11 or more steals in four games – 12 at UMBC, 11 at Connecticut and 13 at Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook – through 10 contests.

R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League, and it tied for 35th nationally, in steals per game (2.3), while Dylon Cormier is fourth (1.9). Cormier had a season-high four thefts against the Seawolves.

Cormier now has 158 in his career at Loyola, fifth-most in school history and two out of fourth place. With 83 in his career, Williams is 24th on the career chart.

 

Turnovers Trending Lower

Through 10 games this season, the Greyhounds have done a relatively good job of taking care of possessions, averaging 11.2 turnovers per game, second best amongst Patriot League teams.

Loyola is slightly ahead of last year’s average of 11.9 turnovers per game (12.1 in the first nine of the season).

Additionally, the Greyhounds lead the Patriot League in turnover margin, averaging 3.4 fewer than their opponents this season. Loyola has forced 14.6 turnovers per game this year, 8.8 per game by route of the steal, a stat that is also tops in the conference.

In all, the Greyhounds have committed 100 turnovers to their opponents 131.

 

Telling Stat

In Loyola’s five losses this season – at Connecticut, West Virginia, Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s – the Greyhounds are shooting a over eight percent worse from the floor than they are in their five victories.

Loyola has made 45.9 percent (134-of-292) shots in five wins versus 37.8 percent (111-of-294) in four losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 18  points less (81.4 versus 63.4) in the losses.

As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (47.1-42.4) in the games they’ve won.

 

Jones Returns To Scoring Form

Jarred Jones had his best scoring night since of the month of December against Saint Joseph’s, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-8 from the field. He hit two 3-pointers, his first two of the season, and also had two steals in the game. His 15 points were the second most of his career.

Jones is the team’s second leading scorer this season, averaging 10.7 points per game while shooting a team-best 55.9 percent from the field. He has also gone to the free-throw line 37 times, making 29 attempts for a 78.4 percentage.

The sophomore had a career night in the season-opener against Binghamton, recording personal bests in points (22), rebounds (7), field goals made (8), field goal attempts (11) and blocked shots (4).

While his offensive production was critical, his four blocked shots were just as important. Jones swatted two Binghamton layups with weak-side help in the final 2:10 of regulation. The first block came in transition, and the second was on a drive from the left side. Both shots would have given Binghamton the lead if not for the blocks.

He followed that game with a 13-point, 7-rebound effort against Cornell.

 

Getting To The Line

Hopefully, the ability Loyola showed in its last two games to get to the free-throw line (35 attempts against Stony Brook, 26 versus Saint Joseph’s) is a sign of things to come. When Loyola opened the season with a 4-0 record, it was going tot he free-throw line 32.5 times (129 total).

Since then, however, Loyola has gone to the line an average of just 21.6 times (127 total) in its last six games. Take out the last two games, and the Greyhounds were averaging just 16.5 free throws attempted over a four-game stretch.

 

Rassman Producing More

Franz Rassman has shown his best scoring form of the season in Loyola’s last four games, averaging 10.0 points in those contests.

After tallying a career-best 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Catholic University, Rassman finished with 12 points – 10 in the first half – at Mount St. Mary’s.

In Loyola’s first six games of the season, Rassman was making just 31.8 percent of shots (7-of-22), but he has hit 54.8 percent (17-of-31) in the last three contests.

 

Doing The Little Things

Eric Laster has done the stat-sheet filling things in the several games for the Greyhounds. The guard, who is in his first year as a starter, has pulled down at least four rebounds in each of the last six games.

On December 19 versus Stony Brook, he blocked a career-best three shots, and earlier this month, he posted a career-high five assists in a win over Catholic.

Laster has 17 assists this year against just six turnovers, and he is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game.

After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, he has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first five games on the wing.

Laster has averaged 8.9 points in Loyola’s first 10 contests, and he is shooting 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent overall from the field.

 

Williams To The Basket

R.J. Williams has been a true point guard throughout his career at Loyola, but he has taken more opportunities to score this season. He has scored 10 or more three times (the same number he had during his first two years), including tallying 11 versus Stony Brook to match his career-high.

Against the Seawolves, Williams showed his ability to get to the basket for layups or to draw fouls. He leads the team in free-throw percentage (82.9), making 29-of-35 from the charity stripe this season.

 

Outside Shooting Off The Bench

Tyler Hubbard’s role as an outside shooter off the bench has continued this year, with good success. The sophomore is hitting 40.0 percent (12-of-30) shots from behind the 3-point arc, while averaging 15.8 minutes per game.

He is also getting to the free-throw line at a good clip with the ability to draw contract when driving into traffic. He has taken the fourth most free throws on the team this season, making 13-of-17.

After averaging 2.8 points in 9.7 minutes per game last season, Hubbard has raised his scoring to 5.5 this year. He has played 24 minutes, season highs, in two of the Greyhounds’ last three games.

 

From Way Back

Loyola trailed UMBC by 17 points, 58-41, with 9:44 left in regulation on November 20, but the Greyhounds came all the way back to tie the score with 11 ticks left in regulation. They then went on to win, 89-83, in overtime.

An R.J. Williams layup with 8:37 left started a 10-0 run that would cut the deficit to seven on two Dylon Cormier free throws at 6:29, and Loyola would get within four on three occasions after that.

UMBC, however, pushed the lead back to double-digits, 73-63, on a Malik Garner free throw with 90 seconds remaining.

Eric Laster hit a pair of threes, wrapped around a 1-of-2 trip to the line for UMBC’s Joey Getz, and Loyola was down 74-69 with 1:14 left after Laster’s second triple. Quentin Jones hit a 20-foot jumper form the left corner with 58 seconds left, but Laster answered 11 ticks later to make it a four-point game.

Garner turned the ball over on a Cormier steal, and Later canned his fourth three in a span of 41 seconds to get the Greyhounds within a point, 76-75, with 42 seconds left. Loyola forced a missed layup by UMBC, and Cormier was fouled with 11 seconds left, and he hit 1-of-2 to tie the score. UMBC’s Rodney Elliott drew contact and a foul call with 3.1 seconds showing, but the freshman missed both foul shots, forcing overtime.

In the extra period, Loyola made 4-of-5 field goals and 5-of-8 free throws to pull away for the victory.

 

Start Of The Smith Era

G.G. Smith was named the 20th head coach in Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball history on April 12, 2013. Her garnered his first head coaching win on November 8, 2013, in the season-opener against Binghamton.

The 1999 graduate of the University of Georgia spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola for Jimmy Patsos who took the head coaching position at Siena College in March.

Loyola amassed a 106-87 record (.549) during Smith’s six years as an assistant. The 106 wins and the .549 winning percentage are the best of any six-year stretch during Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982-1983).

As a player, Smith was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1995-1999. Smith helped the Bulldogs advance to the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 and another tournament appearance in 1997. He left Georgia as the school’s career leader in games played (129), wins in a season (24) and 3-pointers in a game (nine).

Smith is the son of current Texas Tech University Head Coach Tubby Smith. The elder Smith led the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA Championship and is in his 23rd season as a head coach. G.G. Smith played for his father from 1995-1997 at Georgia.

 

Look Back At 2012-2013

Loyola finished the 2012-2013 season with a 23-12 record, marking the first time in the school’s Division I history (since 1982-1983) that the Greyhounds have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.

The Greyhounds finished their final season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 12-6 mark, tying for second place.

After falling in the first round of the MAAC Championships, Loyola its first-ever bid tot he CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Following the Greyhounds’ 2012 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, it was the first consecutive postseason bids in school Division I history and the first since 1953 in any division of competition.

Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier became the first set of Loyola teammates to be named to the All-MAAC First Team in the same year.

 

New Year, New Coach, New League

In addition to sporting a new coach, Loyola will also be a member of the Patriot League for the first time in 2013-2014. The school announced in August 2012 that it would make the move to the conference, and the move became official on July 1, 2013.

The Greyhounds will compete against American University, fellow Patriot League newcomer Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.

 

Preseason Patriot League Picks

As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth in the Patriot League Preseason poll, just six points out of third place. Boston University was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Navy.

 

 

Brito, Laster Spend Summer Overseas

Two Loyola players, – Denzel Brito and Eric Laster – gained valuable experience playing overseas during the summer of 2013.

Brito trained with the Cape Verdean National Team prior to their play in the FIBA African Championships. However, due to a FIBA exclusion, he was not able to participate in the event itself.

Laster played in five games on a tour that visited Belgium, England and The Netherlands. He was lauded for his wing play by writers who covered the events against professional teams in those countries.

 

Cormier On The Charts

Dylon Cormier enters his senior season at Loyola with a chance to climb many of the Greyhounds’ career statistical charts. Here is a look at where he stands:

 

Scoring
11th 1,454 points
Next B.J. Pendleton, 1,457
Field Goals Made
17th 480 field goals made
Next B.J. Pendleton, 490
3-Pointers Made
T-15th 92 3-Pt. Made
Next Charlie Bell & J’hared Hall, 93
Free Throws Made
6th 402 free throws made
Next Maurice Hicks, 412
Assists
21st 186 assists
Next Milt Williams, 190
Steals
5th 158 steals
Next Kevin Green, 159

 

 

 

Into The Fold

Loyola signed three high school seniors in the early signing period to comprise its Class of 2018.

Forward Cam Gregory (Waldorf, Md./St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes) and guards Chancellor Barnard (Columbia, Md./Glenelg Country School) and Colton Bishop (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth County Day School) will join the program in the fall.

For more on the trio, visit http://loyo.la/MBB-NLIs-13.

 

High Marks

The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2003-2006.

 

Up Next

Loyola will open Patriot League action with its first conference contest as a member of the group on Thursday, January 2, at 7:30 p.m. The Greyhounds host the U.S. Naval Academy that night in Reitz Arena.

The Greyhounds then travel to West Point, N.Y., for a Sunday, January 5, contest at the U.S. Military Academy.

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Goaltending the Difference In Caps Loss to Canes

Posted on 03 December 2013 by Ed Frankovic

In hockey, you often hear the saying, “Goaltending is the great equalizer.”

Well, you could use that term to describe the first 30 minutes of the Caps-Hurricanes game on Tuesday night. Washington dominated the play, in what Coach Adam Oates called his team’s “best first 30 minutes of the season,” but thanks to some super goaltending by Carolina goalie Justin Peters and two short side goals allowed by Braden Holtby to Jeff Skinner, the Caps trailed 2-0 with just under nine minutes to go in period two.

At that point Washington was still in the game, but Mikhail Grabovski made a major no-no, turning the puck over at his own blue line and then subsequently compounded a bad situation by taking a tripping penalty. The Canes scored on the man advantage on a screened point shot and the energy came right out of the Capitals. Carolina would make it 4-0 shortly thereafter. Mike Green notched a third period power play goal, his first of the season, as the Caps worked hard in the final frame but they could not solve Peters anymore.

Peters was very good on this night, his positioning was solid, but he was also fortunate, too. Jason Chimera had a wide open layup early in the game but somehow fanned on what would have given the Caps a 1-0 lead and perhaps changed the complexion of the game. Washington had numerous other chances that they either shot wide or Peters just happened to be in a spot where the puck hit him. He’s a streaky goalie and on Tuesday he was on (26 saves).

As for Holtby, this was not his night. Early on, an end over end puck that was shot from just inside the blue line hit the crossbar providing some foreshadowing for the tough night #70 would have. Holtby would be the first to tell you that he should have had both of Skinner’s goals. In the course of 82 games you are going to have bad outings and this just happened to be one of those for the young goaltender.

Despite the loss, the Caps improved play coming out of their zone since Dmitry Orlov joined the lineup on Saturday is encouraging. They are moving through the neutral zone with more speed and their puck possession in period one was excellent, as evidenced by their 23-14 advantage in attempted shots. Carolina was on their heels in the opening frame and Oates said the chances were 7-2 in his clubs favor.

The effort was there for the Caps in this contest and they skated well. This game was nothing like the Pittsburgh defeat where they were completely dominated by their opponent, so there is no need to go all “doom and gloom” after this loss.

The Capitals did a lot of good things in this game.

But goaltending, good at one end and subpar at the other end, can be the “great equalizer.”

That’s the way it went for the Capitals on Tuesday in their 4-1 loss to Carolina.

Notes: Holtby was yanked after 40 minutes and Philip Grubauer made nine saves on nine shots in the final period…John Carlson, who should make Team USA for the 2014 Olympics, was the Caps ice time leader at 22:58…Tom Wilson had a solid game and logged 10:44. #43 had 5 hits…the Caps were 1 for 5 on the power play while Carolina went 1 for 4… Washington is off until Saturday, when they host the Nashville Predators.

 

 

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The 15-7-0 is jealous of fans of good NFL teams. Like the Panthers. And the Jets.

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The 15-7-0 is jealous of fans of good NFL teams. Like the Panthers. And the Jets.

Posted on 04 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick.

Jake Peavy and I had similar weekends. He took a ride through Boston on a duck boat and then drove the thing to Foxborough the next day. I took a bath on the Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday after getting a terrible tip on Moreno. Wait. Did I say we had similar weekends? What I meant was that “F*ck Jave Peavy.”

15 Positive Observations…

1. The New York Jets are one of the best run offenses in football. Their backs are Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. I give up trying to understand this damn game.

Geno Smith did his best Davone Bess impression in this one…

It wasn’t all bad for the Saints…

2. Florida State got a real test* from Miami Saturday night. (*Oh. By “test” I meant they absolutely clobbered them like they have everyone this season. I’ve got to start doing a better job of differentiating these types of things.)

Jameis Winston is good at football, even more gooder at handshakes.

College Gameday was in Tallahassee, where we learned spelling isn’t really a thing at FSU.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Clemson somehow did this.

3. Geez Ohio State. We get it already. We were wrong. Let’s just move on. What’s that? You need to hear us say we’re sorry? Well I don’t think that’s appropriate. Hey…don’t leave. We can work this out. We’re all adults here. Okay! We’re sorry! We’re sorry! Now can we please settle down? We have to go to my parents’ house later.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Nebraska had kind of a neat finish against Northwestern…

And then there was the Iowa quarterback…doing…I have no freaking idea.

Michigan State got a big win over Michigan, so here’s Sparty doing some sort of chop. It was that kind of college football weekend.

Plus Travis Jackson celebrates and America rejoices.

And finally elsewhere, the Penn State punter flops EXACTLY the way you’d expect a man named Butterworth would.

4. Everyone wants to know what the best plays are in Andy Reid’s playbook. It’s actually not that complicated. It’s called “give the ball to the defense”.

Because when that happens…

Also, this girl Deadspin found had a better Halloween than you.

5. Nick Foles threw seven TD passes Sunday. I wasn’t able to catch his postgame press conference, but I’ll just assume he said the number seven was special because he wanted to honor Emilio Estefan Jr.-who was won seven Latin Grammy Awards in his career.

Riley Cooper had a big day in the win. This did not go over well with everyone.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ovechkin Is Still The Most Exciting Player in the NHL When On

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Ovechkin Is Still The Most Exciting Player in the NHL When On

Posted on 23 February 2013 by Ed Frankovic

Wow, that was one fun afternoon for the Washington Capitals and their fans.

In vintage 2008 form, Alexander Ovechkin took over Saturday’s matinee with the New Jersey Devils exploding for three goals and an assist in a 5-1 Caps victory. The Gr8 has been playing extremely hard over the last 13 games but until today’s tilt, he wasn’t getting the results on the scoresheet to correspond to that effort. That all changed in this one, perhaps having fiancee Maria Kirilenko in attendance for the first time all season brought him good luck?

Whatever the case, when Ovechkin is on, in my book he is still the most exciting and explosive player in the NHL. He may not be the MVP, like he was in 2008 and 2009, but when he is skating, shooting, and hitting he can still lift you right out of your seat. Or as the NHL Network’s Craig Button once said several years ago after attending a Caps game for free, “Where do I pay for the performance I just watched?!”

Certainly the fans in attendance got their money’s worth and more today, thanks to Ovechkin along with many of his teammates. It was easily the best game this struggling club has played all year and they finally knocked off a team in the top eight spots of the conference (now 1-8-1, h/t @SkyKerstein).

The Caps stayed out of the box yielding only three Devils power plays and a penalty shot. Two of those infractions were of the delay of game variety, something that Coach Adam Oates has to address going forward. But Washington scored shorthanded on Eric Fehr’s tally in the third period and the Caps power play clicked two of the three times it was on the ice. Anytime you go +3 in the special teams department, chances are pretty good you will win via a lopsided margin.

It was pretty much a complete performance and Braden Holtby had another superb game in the cage, including thwarting a Steve Bernier penalty shot in the middle frame. #70 is now 4-2 and has a .9255 save percentage in his last six games. As I said a week ago Friday on the air on WNST 1570 AM Baltimore in my session with Thyrl Nelson, host of the MobTown Sports Beat, I am a big believer in Holtby and his abilities.

Other standout performances on Saturday came from Matt Hendricks, whose pass to Ovechkin on his second goal was a thing of beauty and started the third period onslaught; Karl Alzner, who was superb at both ends of the rink; and Mike Ribeiro and Nicklas Backstrom for the outstanding passes and center ice play.

Still, this one was all about Ovechkin and his explosive performance. The Gr8 took over this contest like he did so many times from 2008 to 2010 when Washington was dominating the Eastern Conference. The Caps, who don’t have nearly the talent on their roster now as they did during that period, will need a lot more of these type of outputs to turn this 6-10-1 season into a “2008-like” magical run.

But that is a topic for another day. So for the rest of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday just enjoy the victory and rewatch the highlights of the Gr8 show, because games and individual performances like the one Ovechkin displayed today are what makes watching sports a special experience.

Notes: Mike Green missed his 3rd straight game due to a groin injury. Tom Poti took his place in the lineup…Washington won the faceoff battle 36-25, the 6th straight game the Caps have done that. Coach Adam Oates was arguably the best faceoff man ever so his influence appears to be rubbing off on the center ice men…the Caps next play on Tuesday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes before visiting the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

 

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Maryland tries to bounce back Sunday at Miami

Posted on 12 January 2013 by WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland hits the road for the first time in ACC play and just the second time this season when it takes on Miami Sunday at 8 p.m. The Terps will be looking for their first road win over the Hurricanes since they joined the ACC; Miami has won all six of its home games over the Terrapins since joining the league in 2004. Maryland and Miami split a pair of games last season, with each team holding home court.

Storyline

• On Wednesday against Florida State, the Terps had the second-longest winning streak in school history snapped at 13 games as the Seminoles survived a furious last-minute comeback to win, 65-62. It was Maryland’s first loss in exactly two months – the only other setback came in the season-opener vs. Kentucky on Nov. 9.

• Depth, rebounding, and hot shooting helped carry the Terrapins to their 13-game winning streak. Against FSU, though, Maryland shot under 40 percent (.367) for just the third time in 15 games, and held just a plus-3 advantage on the boards. Still, despite also committing 18 turnovers, the Terps had a chance to win or tie after scoring 11 points in the final minute, butSeth Allen had a go-ahead 3-pointer blocked with 0:02 left.

• Allen has led Maryland in scoring in the two ACC games by averaging 17.0 points, and the freshman has reached double figures in four straight games after doing it just once in the first 11 games. He’s one of seven underclassmen who are providing the bulk of the scoring in Maryland’s 10-man rotation. Of the 76.7 points per game Maryland is averaging, 62.2 (81%) are coming from freshmen or sophomores.

• Alex Len has led the Terps in scoring throughout the season, with his 13.6 points per game ranking 13th in the ACC, and his 8.2 rebounds per game ranking fifth. The sophomore recorded his fourth double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Florida State.


Maryland-Miami Series

• Maryland trails the all-time series, which dates back to 1949, 8-12. The Hurricanes also hold a 9-4 advantage and have won seven straight at home.

• Last year the teams split the series, with each winning at home. In the game at Miami, the Hurricanes prevailed 90-86 in two overtimes. In College Park, Maryland won 75-70.


Quick Hitters
• The 13-game winning streak Maryland went on this season is tied for the second longest in school history, trailing just the 14-game streak the Terps went on in 1931-32. Maryland also went on a 13-game win streak in 2001-02, the year they went on to win the national title.

• It was also the 11th time in school history Maryland has put together a 10-game winning streak. In the past 30 years, Maryland has gone on a 10-game winning streak on six occasions, and in each of the previous instances it has gone on to play in the NCAA Tournament.

• Logan Aronhalt is averaging one 3-point field goal made for every 6.6 minutes on the floor. By comparison, the ACC leader in 3PT FGs made, Scott Wood of NC State, makes one every 12.4 minutes on the floor.

• Charles Mitchell earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors on Dec. 31 for his play against Delaware State on Dec. 29. Mitchell came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 14 rebounds, both career highs. Mitchell is the second Terp to earn weekly ACC honors; Alex Len was Player of the Week on Nov. 12.

• Seven of the 10 players in Maryland’s regular rotation are underclassmen and 81 percent of Maryland’s scoring (62.2 of 76.7 points per game) is coming from underclassmen. In the win over Virginia Tech, 81 of Maryland’s 94 points came from freshmen or sophomores.

• When Seth Allen, Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare drew starts against UMES, it marked the first time Maryland started three true freshmen since Dec. 28, 1993, when Keith Booth, Matt Kovarik and Joe Smith did vs. Hofstra.

• Maryland has assisted on 65.3 percent (217 of 415) field goals this season. The Terps have recorded at least 13 assists in every game (season-low 13 vs. Florida State).

• The Terps have made more free throws than the opponent has attempted this season (232 to 216).

• At least eight players have scored in 14 of Maryland’s 15 games this year. The exception is vs. George Mason, when just seven players scored.


Hot Shooting

• Maryland entered this week ranked second in the ACC and ninth nationally in field goal percentage at 50.4 percent. That percentage dipped to 49.5 on the year after the Terps shot 36.7 percent against Florida State. Despite the poor shooting night against the `Noles, Maryland has shot above 40 percent in 12 of 15 games this year and above 50 percent in nine games.

• The last time a Maryland team shot better than 48 percent on the season was 2001-02, when the Terps connected at a .482 mark. Since the 1990-91 season, just four teams have done it: (also 1994-95, .498; 1998-99, .495; and 2001-01, .484).


Rare Performance

• When freshmen Seth Allen and Jake Layman both reached the 20-point plateau against Virginia Tech, it marked a rare performance. Prior to Allen and Layman’s performances, a freshman had scored 20 or more points in a game just 10 times since 1994-95 – with none of those occurring in the same game. In fact, the last time two different freshmen scored 20 or more points in a game in the same season was 1992-93 when Exree Hipp and Johnny Rhodes did it.


Field-goal Percentage Defense

• Maryland entered this week ranked fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense at .352. The Terps have held nine of the last 11 opponents under 40 percent shooting, with Stony Brook and IUPUI being the exceptions.

• Since 2000, five Terrapin teams have held the opponent under 40 percent shooting. Of those five, four went on to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament.


 

 

Super Subs

• Maryland’s bench has been an asset all season, as the Terps’ non-starters have outscored the opponents non-starters in 13 of 15 games (exceptions are Kentucky & George Mason).

• On the year, Maryland’s bench has a 434-181 (28.9 to 12.1 per game) advantage over the opponent. The biggest advantage Maryland has had this season was against UMES on Dec. 5 (55-7).

• With his 8.5 points per game, Seth Allen has been the biggest contributor. He has reached double figures in each of the past four games while coming off the bench.

• Logan Aronhalt has also been a consistent contributor as a long-range specialist. He is three 3-point field goals made shy of qualifying for the ACC lead, but his .529 mark from beyond the arc would lead the league. He has made at least one 3-pointer in 13 of 15 games this season.


 

 

Force on the Boards

• Though the rebounding advantage over the last two opponents was just plus-3, Maryland leads the ACC and is tied for third nationally in rebounding margin at plus-12.1 per game. Just Colorado State (plus-13.9) and Missouri (plus-13.0) rank above that. Maryland is the only ACC school with a double-figure advantage in rebounding margin; North Carolina is second at plus-5.5.

• The Terps have built advantages on the boards in all 15 games this season.

• Alex Len and Charles Mitchell are the biggest factors in that; Len averages 8.2 rpg and Mitchell averages 6.7. Len ranks fifth in the conference and Mitchell ranks 11th, including first among freshmen.

• Len ranks third in the conference with 3.1 offensive rebounds per game, and the Terps are averaging 13.6 offensive rebounds per game as a team, second in the league behind North Carolina (15.5).

• Mitchell made an impressive debut by grabbing 10 rebounds in his first career game, against No. 3 Kentucky. That’s the most rebounds by a Maryland freshman in his debut since Buck Williams had 13 against Bucknell in 1978. Williams went on to lead the ACC in rebounding that year (10.8 pg) en route to capturing ACC Rookie of the Year honors.

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

Posted on 17 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

I honestly still can’t believe some of the things I read/heard/saw last week about Baltimore Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie.

If you missed it, McKinnie was not on the fall last week in Owings Mills during mandatory minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. When asked why McKinnie was not practicing, head coach John Harbaugh said “Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out just for conditioning purposes. We’re going to probably continue to do that and continue to try and get him in good shape. I think practice-wise, he’s just as well doing the conditioning part of it.”

Let me start this post by saying I fully understand a few things. One is that Harbaugh has never felt the need to share more information than necessary about any of his players. Another is that the information was new to reporters, so asking follow up questions might not have seemed pertinent. I wasn’t present at minicamp (media availability was scheduled during my radio show “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net each day) and was unable to fully grasp exactly what was going on.

With no media availability scheduled before the start of Training Camp, reporters felt it necessary to question Harbaugh later in the week for more information about McKinnie’s status. Unfortunately the coach was again vague, offering “we will leave that between us. That’s something that is an in-house type of thing right now. Bryant has done a good job, he’s worked hard. It’s not as simple as some of you guys want to make it. It’s just a situation where we are going to do what is best for the team, what is best for Bryant. We want him here; there’s no reason he wouldn’t be here. He has worked hard, so you try to do what’s most beneficial for every guy in every situation, and it’s always individualized.”

Now’s the part where I offer some examples of various stories I’ve read about Bryant McKinnie.

Here’s this from SI.com…

“Cut last season by the Vikings, Bryant McKinnie, who sat out Thursday’s practice, may be on the verge of extending an ignominious streak. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season. He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

And this from SB Nation…

“The Baltimore Ravens gave veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie a $500,000 roster bonus earlier this spring, but now might be regretting the outlay of cash. McKinnie came to Baltimore after the Minnesota Vikings cut him last summer for reporting to camp overweight. The Ravens rounded him into shape and he had a pretty solid year, allowing the team to shift Michael Oher over to right tackle and solidify that side of the offensive line.

McKinnie reportedly was on his way to getting in good shape earlier this year, but the most recent news was that the team held him out of the mini-camp this past week for “conditioning reasons.” This does not bode well for either the Ravens nor McKinnie.

Bryant is on the short end of a legal case where he defaulted on a $4 million loan he took out during the NFL Lockout last year and seriously needs a full season paycheck to pay it back. If he does not report to the Ravens Training Camp in six weeks in excellent shape, there is a very good chance that the team may decide to cut ties with him and let him go.”

Allow me to be fair again for a second. The SI.com blurb was a clear re-write with no author attached. While SB Nation does have a handful of experienced journalists and columnists, their sites are still largely made up of part-time writers/editors with no actual experience truly covering a team.

So perhaps CSNBaltimore.com’s veteran writer Ray Frager would be a better source.

“Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning issues have been a big part of the Ravens chatter over this week. There is speculation he is around that 400-pound summit that caused him to lose his job in Minnesota.”

Maybe even the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston would be a better option.

“The entire McKinnie episode is strange and you wonder if he is going to be around when training camp opens. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season.

He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

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Ravens RB Berry happy to be back together with former Miami teammate Streeter

Posted on 16 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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New Ravens wide receiver Streeter long on confidence despite lacking polish

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New Ravens wide receiver Streeter long on confidence despite lacking polish

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Luke Jones

Doubts about his route-running ability caused University of Miami wide receiver Tommy Streeter to fall to the sixth round before the Ravens finally took a chance on the 6-foot-5 specimen with the 198th overall pick.

But what he lacks in refinement he makes up for with confidence, showing the same swagger made famous by countless former Hurricanes over the last 25 years. Running the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.40 seconds in addition to his impressive height, the raw Streeter views himself as a dynamic playmaker instead of a sixth-round pick without a guarantee of a roster spot in the fall.

“I feel like I’m one of those guys who can create a mismatch anywhere on the field with my size and speed,” Streeter told AM 1570 WNST on Saturday. “I consider myself to be a deep-threat receiver, a guy that can take the lid off of the defense.”

Streeter caught 46 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns in his redshirt-junior season after recording just six receptions for 156 yards in his first two seasons at Miami. The improvement prompted him to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, where he initially expected to be taken in the second or third round.

His measurables suggest a receiver with immense potential, but his limited body of work at Miami and lack of quickness getting out of breaks caused teams to pass on Streeter in search of more polished products. Averaging 17.6 yards per catch to lead the ACC among players with at least 45 receptions, Streeter vows not to forget the feeling of falling down the board as he tries to make an immediate impact for the Ravens.

“Over the course of just watching the draft, there were many teams that passed up on me and I thank God that the Baltimore Ravens saw something in me,” Streeter said. “They gave me the opportunity. Everything that I can do to make plays and help this organization, that’s what I’m going to do and I’m just ready to go out there and prove myself.”

General manager Ozzie Newsome made it no secret the organization was looking to add depth at the receiver position, but the Ravens elected to pass on such prospects as Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and LSU’s Rueben Randle in the early rounds.

Baltimore wide receivers not named Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith combined for just eight receptions and 110 yards in 2011, with former No. 3 target Lee Evans making only four catches in an injury-plagued season before being released in March. The Ravens hope Streeter can eventually emerge as the tall target to which quarterback Joe Flacco can look inside the 20-yard line.

With Boldin and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta working the short and intermediate parts of the field, the Ravens have dreamed about a 6-foot-5 target being able to stretch the field for years. Streeter thinks he can be that guy for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

“Having Torrey Smith, it’s going to be a scary [having] two guys that present that big play, [an] ability to take the top off the defense,” Streeter said. “At the same time, I feel like in the red zone, I just create a mismatch all day down there.”

While the Ravens’ history of drafting defensive players from Miami is known around the NFL, they have rarely counted on offensive standouts from the Florida school, with former running back Willis McGahee the only Hurricane of note contributing on the opposite side of the ball. McGahee was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and spent four seasons in Baltimore.

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Miami WR Streeter Offers Size Potential In Later Rounds of NFL Draft

Posted on 24 April 2012 by WNST Audio

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