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UMass eyes at-large NCAA berth after falling in A-10 quarterfinals

03.15.14 at 10:31 am ET
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UMass forward Maxie Esho came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points, but the Minutemen were ousted by George Washington in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament, 85-77, on Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

UMass (24-8), which rallied to beat Rhode Island, 65-61, in Thursday’s second round despite shooting a season-low 31 percent from the field, will await Sunday’s NCAA tournament announcement to determine its fate.

“I feel tremendously confident about it,” guard Chaz Williams told reporters of UMass’ tourney hopes.

Williams had 19 points (16 in the second half) and seven assists for the sixth-seeded Minutemen, who fell behind by nine points at the break. The margin was 16 midway through the second period when UMass embarked on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to get within 56-48. However, GW used an 8-0 run to regain control.

Patrico Garino scored 15 points for the third-seeded Colonials (24-7), who play 23rd-ranked VCU, the tourney’s second seed, in Saturday’s semifinals.

Notre Dame blows out BC in Game 1; Lowell, Providence, UNH also pick up wins

03.14.14 at 10:34 pm ET
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From the start of December through the end of February, Boston College didn’t lose a single game. Now the Eagles have lost two in a row, both at home against Notre Dame.

After watching Notre Dame snap their 19-game unbeaten streak in the regular-season finale two weekends ago, the Eagles got run out of the building on Friday night, suffering a 7-2 loss in Game 1 of the rivals’ best-of-3 Hockey East quarterfinal series. The Eagles will try to stave off elimination in Game 2 on Saturday (4 p.m., 850 AM).

“We just got beat soundly by a better hockey team tonight,” said BC coach Jerry York. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, and we understand that. Our only objective now is to get the series to Sunday.”

BC opened the scoring with 2:23 left in the first when Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald buried his own rebound on the power play, but Notre Dame answered on a goal from defenseman Stephen Johns with 9.4 seconds left in the period.

Johns, a Blackhawks draft pick, scored again 2:50 into the second to put the Fighting Irish up 2-1. Mario Lucia made it 3-1 before the end of the second, and then the rout was on in the third.

The Irish scored four times in the first 15 minutes of the period, with Peter Schneider netting two of those goals, to turn the game into a laugher. BC scored with 2:18 to go, which was notable only because Johnny Gaudreau picked up the primary assist to extend his point streak to 30 games. He is now one game away from tying Paul Kariya‘s Hockey East record.

“I think it’s our depth. I think we match up really well against them,” Johns said when asked why his team gives BC problems. “When we’re playing all four lines and all six D, we’re a tough team to play against. I think when our forwards are backchecking as hard as they were tonight, allowing the D to have good gaps like we did tonight, it’s almost impossible for a team to come in and gain speed on us and get us off our game.”

- UMass-Lowell scored twice in the final nine minutes of regulation to pick up a 3-2 win over Vermont in Game 1. Evan Campbell tied the game with 8:43 remaining, and Adam Chapie scored the winner with 1:17 to go after a Michael Paliotta penalty gave the River Hawks a late power play. Campbell and Scott Wilson each had a goal and an assist for Lowell, while Brady Shaw scored both goals for Vermont.

- Casey DeSmith stopped all 27 shots he faced and Tyler Kelleher scored the game’s lone goal to lead New Hampshire to a 1-0 Game 1 victory over Northeastern. Clay Witt made 34 saves in a losing effort and the Huskies went 0-for-6 on the power play.

- Jon Gillies stopped 34 of 35 shots to lead Providence to a 3-1 win over Maine in Game 1. Mark Jankowski registered a goal and an assist for the Friars, while Trevor Mingoia and Derek Army also scored goals. Providence has now beaten the Black Bears three times in the last 15 days, as it closed the regular season with a sweep in Orono.

- As of 10:30 p.m., here is where all these teams rank in the Pairwise (the rankings system used to select the 16-team NCAA tournament field):

2. BC
8. Lowell
9. Notre Dame
10. Providence
14. Vermont
18. Northeastern
20. UNH
23. Maine

BC is locked into a one-seed. Lowell and Notre Dame are virtual locks for the tournament. Providence is pretty close, but could use another win just to make sure. Vermont most likely needs to win at least one more to get in. Northeastern definitely needs to win one more — probably two. UNH and Maine most likely need to win this weekend and then reach the conference championship game.

Report: Steve Donahue will return as Boston College coach

03.14.14 at 8:28 am ET
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Steve Donahue was informed by Boston College athletic director Brad Bates on Thursday that he will return as coach of the Eagles, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.

Donahue, who will be entering the final year of a five-year contract, is coming off a disappointing season. The Eagles, 16-17 a year ago, were expected to contend for an NCAA tournament berth but instead struggled to an 8-24 record, capped by an overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the opening round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday.

The highlight was an overtime win at then-No. 1-ranked Syracuse on Feb. 19.

BC will have seven seniors next season (assuming there are no transfers), and would get a boost with the return of center Dennis Clifford, who missed the large majority of the season. Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan, who has said he would consider the NBA draft, appears likely to return as he is not viewed as a lock to be drafted in the first round.

Read More: Steve Donahue,

Boston College’s season ends with OT loss to Georgia Tech

03.12.14 at 10:50 pm ET
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Trae Golden converted a three-point play with 35 seconds left in overtime to help Georgia Tech to a 73-70 overtime victory over Boston College on Wednesday night in a first-round game of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Robert Carter Jr. led the 11th-seeded Yellow Jackets (16-16) with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Patrick Heckman scored 21 points for the 14th-seeded Eagles (8-24), and Ryan Anderson had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

BC trailed by 13 points with just over eight minutes left in the second half and by 11 with 5:28 left before rallying, closing regulation on a 12-1 run. Olivier Hanlan (16 points) had a chance to put BC ahead with five seconds left, but he could only make 1-of-2 free throws, forcing the extra session.

George Tech went almost 10 minutes between field goals at the end of regulation and into the final minute of overtime until Golden’s basket while being fouled ended the drought and gave Tech a 69-67 lead.

On BC’s ensuing possession, Anderson missed a hook shot in an attempt to tie the score.

Kammeon Holsey went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 14 seconds to put Tech up by six. Joe Rahon hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for BC.

Georgia Tech advances to play sixth-seeded Clemson in Thursday’s second round.

Boston University falls in Patriot championship game

03.12.14 at 10:35 pm ET
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Boston University’s dominance in its first season in the Patriot League ended Wednesday, as American stifled the Terriers en route to a 55-36 victory Wednesday night in the conference tournament championship game at Agganis Arena.

Darius Gardner scored 18 points for second-seeded American (20-12), which grabbed the league’s automatic NCAA berth. Tony Wroblicky added 15 points and eight rebounds.

Maurice Watson Jr. had 11 points and five assists but also seven turnovers for top-seeded BU (24-10), which will have to settle for an NIT bid. Dom Morris finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

BU won the league’s regular-season title and cruised into the title game, but American frustrated the hosts with an aggressive 2-3 defense. The Terriers were unable to find the range from long distance — shooting an abysmal 1-for-17 from behind the arc — and finished at 30 percent overall from the field.

American, meanwhile, had no such troubles, shooting 55 percent, including 4-of-9 3-pointers.

The Eagles, who never trailed, led 24-16 after a first half in which BU hit just 6-of-25 shots. Gardner hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the period. The second half was more of the same, with the Terriers unable to put together a run. The Eagles closed the game on an 11-2 run and then celebrated with their fans, who stormed the court.

T.J. Warren (42 points), N.C. State too much for BC; UMass, Northeastern lose

03.09.14 at 10:33 pm ET
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T.J. Warren exploded for 42 points to lead N.C. State to a 78-68 victory over Boston College on Sunday in Raleigh, N.C.

Warren, who scored 41 points in his previous game, is the first ACC player with back-to-back 40-point games since Georgia Tech’s Kenny Anderson in 1990, and he’s the first to do it in consecutive league games since 1957.

Warren, the league’s leading scorer at 24 points per game, also had 13 rebounds for the Wolfpack (19-12, 9-9 ACC).

Olivier Hanlan scored 29 points for BC (8-23, 4-14), which is seeded 14th in the ACC tournament and will open with 11th-seeded Georgia Tech in Wednesday’s opening round.

The Eagles trailed by 14 points early in the second half but then ran off 15 straight, taking the lead on a Ryan Anderson jumper with 13:14 left. The game stayed tight until Warren went on a personal 7-0 run starting with a three-point play with just under six minutes remaining and ending with two free throws that made it 63-58 with 4:42 left.

After an Anderson jumper got BC within three, Warren assisted on a Desmond Lee 3-pinter then hit 3-of-4 free throws to stretch the lead to nine. BC never seriously threatened thereafter.

– In Amherst, Jordair Jett hit a driving layup with three seconds left to give No. 17 Saint Louis a 64-62 victory over UMass and clinch the Atlantic-10 regular-season title for the Billikens.

Saint Louis (26-5, 13-3), which had lost three straight following a school-record 19-game winning streak, got possession after a jump ball call with 36 seconds left. Jett, who scored 17 points, including his team’s final six points of the day, ran down the clock before scoring the winner.

Chaz Williams , who finished with 20 points and nine assists for the Minutemen (23-7, 10-6), took the ensuing inbounds pass down the court and launched a long 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim.

UMass had an eight-lead with 5:48 left after two Derrick Gordon free throws made it 57-49. Saint Louis drew even with just over three minutes remaining, setting up the dramatic finish.

UMass is the sixth seed for the A-10 tournament and will play 11th-seeded Rhode Island on Thursday.

– In Baltimore, Davon Usher scored 21 points to lead top-seeded Delaware to an 87-74 victory over Northeastern in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Jarvis Threatt had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Delaware (24-9), which will play William & Mary in Monday’s title game.

Scott Eatherton had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Reggie Spencer scored 18 points for the Huskies (11-21).

The Blue Hens scored the game’s first 10 points, but NU took a 42-39 lead early in the second half. However, Delaware, which shot 59 percent for the game, hit 19-of-25 shots in the second half to pull away.

BU women beat BC to win third straight Hockey East title

03.09.14 at 4:20 pm ET
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Boston University scored twice in the third and Kerrin Sperry made 18 saves in the period as the Terriers beat Boston College, 3-2, to win their third straight Hockey East title Sunday afternoon in Hyannis.

BU entered the third trailing 2-1, but team captain Louise Warren tied the game 2:50 into the period when she buried Kaleigh Fratkin‘s slap pass from the point.

A little more than five minutes later, the Terriers took the lead. Rebecca Russo, who scored BU’s first goal, threw the puck to the net off a faceoff, and Maddie Elia grabbed the rebound, wrapped around to the other side of the goal and slid the puck inside the post before Corinne Boyles (31 saves) could get across the crease.

The Eagles pressured BU throughout the final 11 minutes of the game, but Sperry — who finished the game with 40 saves and earned tournament MVP honors — stood tall. Her best save came with 2:34 to go when BC’s leading scorer, Haley Skarupa, got behind the defense and tried to slide a backhander five-hole.

The Eagles outshot BU 19-7 in the first period and took a 2-1 lead into the break thanks to goals from Dana Trivigno and Taylor Wasylk. The Terriers turned the tables in the second, outshooting BC 14-5 in the period, but it took them until the third to tie the game.

With the win, the Terriers earned their fifth straight NCAA tournament berth. They would not have qualified had they lost, as they entered the day outside the top eight in the Pairwise Rankings used to determine the eight-team NCAA field. BU also became the third team to three-peat in Hockey East, joining Providence (2003-05) and New Hampshire (2006-09).

The Eagles will still make NCAAs despite the loss, as they finished sixth in the Pairwise. Had they won, though, they likely would’ve hosted their first-round game.

BU and BC will find out their first-round opponents Sunday night. Those games will take place next weekend at the home of the higher seed. The semifinals and national championship will be March 21 and 23, respectively, at Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sports Center. All rounds are single elimination.

The Terriers and Eagles both reached the Frozen Four last year, but both were bested by Minnesota — BC in the semifinals and BU in the championship.

BU, Merrimack, Harvard, Brown all suffer season-ending losses; Dartmouth forces Game 3

03.08.14 at 10:10 pm ET
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Boston University saw its disappointing season come to an end Saturday night with a 3-2 loss at Notre Dame in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament. This marks the first time the Terriers have failed to qualify for the Hockey East quarterfinals.

Notre Dame went up 3-1 early in the third, but the Terriers fought back and controlled play for most of the period. They finally broke through on Robbie Baillargeon‘s power-play goal with 5:38 to go, but that was as close as they would get. T.J. Tynan registered two assists for the Fighting Irish in the win.

In Saturday’s other Hockey East game, Maine knocked off Merrimack with a 2-0 victory. Martin Ouellette, who struggled during the stretch run of the regular season, stopped all 29 shots he faced. Mark Anthoine provided all the offense the Black Bears would need with his goal 2:01 into the game, and Devin Shore sealed the win with an empty-netter late.

That sets up the following best-of-3 quarterfinal series next weekend:

8. Notre Dame at 1. Boston College
7. Vermont at 2. UMass-Lowell
6. Maine at 3. Providence
5. Northeastern at 4. New Hampshire

- In the ECAC, Harvard saw its season come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Yale in Game 2 of the rivals’ opening-round series. Brian Hart opened the scoring at the 16:42 mark of the first, and the Crimson clung to that 1-0 lead into the third period before Stu Wilson and Kenny Agostino scored 38 seconds apart to swing the lead in Yale’s favor. Raphael Girard made 37 saves as Harvard was outshot, 39-19, on the night.

Brown was also eliminated, as St. Lawrence capped off a two-game sweep with a 3-2 win. After Garnet Hathaway tied the game at 1-1 early in the third, St. Lawrence answered with two goals in the next 1:42 to go up 3-1. Ryan Jacobson cut the lead to 3-2 with 9:50 to go, but that was as close as Brown would get.

Dartmouth, meanwhile, forced a decisive Game 3 with a 3-2 win over Rensselaer. Eric Neiley netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 6:14 left in regulation. Jesse Beamish scored the Big Green’s other goal — his second in as many nights. Game 3 will be Sunday night at 7 p.m.

BU advances to Patriot title game vs. American; Northeastern advances in CAA tourney

03.08.14 at 9:28 pm ET
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Maurice Watson Jr. had 10 points and a school-record 17 assists as Boston University pulled away for a 91-70 victory over Army on Saturday in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament at Agganis Arena.

The top-seeded Terriers (24-9) will host Wednesday’s league championship game (7:30) against second-seeded American.

D.J. Irving scored 20 points for BU, which led 39-35 at the half. The Terriers took control with a 13-2 run — including a pair of 3-pointers from John Papale — that made it 68-52 with just under eight minutes remaining.

Kyle Wilson scored 22 points for Army (15-16).

– In Washington, Jesse Reed scored 18 points and American closed the game on a 28-7 run for a 57-46 victory over Holy Cross.

Dave Dudzinski scored 22 points for the third-seeded Crusaders (19-13), who led 28-22 at the break and by 10 points early in the second half. However, Holy Cross shot just 28 percent in the second 20 minutes, missing 17 of its final 20 shots. The Crusaders also turned over the ball nine times in the period.

Darius Gardner added 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for American (19-12).

– In Baltimore, Scott Eatherton amassed 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead Northeastern to a 90-81 victory over Drexel in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Zach Stahl had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Huskies (11-20), who advance to play top-seeded Delaware in Sunday’s semifinals.

Chris Fouch scored 30 points for fourth-seeded Drexel, which trailed 35-21 at halftime and was unable to mount a serious threat in the second period.

– In Providence, Steve Moundou-Missi had 21 points and 11 rebounds as Harvard closed out the regular season with a 98-93 overtime victory over Brown.

Kyle Casey had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for the Crimson (26-4, 13-1 Ivy), who clinched the league title with Friday’s victory over Yale. Wesley Saunders scored 19 points and Laurent Rivard netted 18.

Leland King had 27 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots for Brown (15-13, 7-7). Sean McGonagill scored 26 points, and Cedric Kuakumensah had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Siyani Chambers hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left in regulation to give Harvard a two-point lead, but King answered with a game-tying jumper with 32 seconds remaining. Chambers missed a jumper with a second left.

The game was tied at 89 with 1:31 left in OT when Saunders hit two free throws and, after a Brown turnover, Rivard hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds remaining for a five-point cushion. After the teams traded single free throws, McGonagill hit a trey with 16 seconds left to make it a two-point game. But Chambers hit a layup at the other end, and Saunders capped the scoring with a late free throw.

Harvard punches NCAA tourney ticket with win over Yale

03.07.14 at 10:01 pm ET
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Siyani Chambers had 17 points and six assists as Harvard avenged its only Ivy League loss with a 70-58 victory over Yale on Friday night in New Haven, Conn., clinching the league title and a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Steve Moundou-Missi added 16 points and six rebounds for the Crimson (25-4, 12-1), while Brandyn Curry came off the bench to contribute 14 points. Harvard shot 56 percent from the field.

Justin Sears hit 11-of-16 shots and finished with 28 points for the Bulldogs (15-12, 9-4). However, the rest of the team made just 7-of-44 shots as Yale finished at 36 percent.

Harvard never trailed, scoring the game’s first nine points (five from Moundou-Missi) and jumping out to a 16-2 lead. The margin was 13 at the break, 36-23, and it peaked at 18 in the second half. Yale made a run to cut the deficit to eight with just under five minutes remaining, but that was as close as the hosts would get.

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