College Basketball Nation: Sean Armand
Winless Tulsa gave Creighton a scare. But overall, it certainly wasn’t the game’s sexiest Saturday. But there were a variety of under-the-radar and mid-major programs that offered some impressive individual efforts.
These are some of the players who usually go unnoticed for the majority of the year until March approaches and we’re all scrambling to find the next Butler or VCU. Well, remember these names. These athletes might be more relevant in the coming months.
2. Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount) -- The 2012-13 All-WCC first-teamer scored 25 points in a 76-70 win over Marist in the Paradise Jam. The senior also recorded 6 assists and 3 steals. And he made 10 of 11 free throws.
3. Jameel Warney (Stony Brook) -- The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward was in Beast Mode during Stony Brook’s 67-61 win over Florida Atlantic. He finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds in that game. He was crucial for the Seawolves, who were locked in a tied game early in the second half.
4. Langston Hall (Mercer) -- The 6-4 senior led Mercer to an 81-54 win over Yale. He connected on four of his seven 3-point attempts. He also registered 18 points, 10 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal.
5. Anthony Stitt (Charleston) -- The junior finished the Cougars’ lopsided 89-55 win over Furman with 4 steals. He also made 4 of 8 3-point attempts on his way to 21 points.
6. Chris Horton (Austin Peay) -- The sophomore big man is averaging 3.8 BPG. And he maintained that pace when he finished with four blocks in a 78-72 victory over Montana State. He also finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds.
7. Sean Armand (Iona) -- The 6-5 guard powered the Gaels in their 89-73 victory over Paul Hewitt’s program. Armand was 10-for-16 from the field in a 30-point performance. It was his season high in George Mason’s first blemish of the season.
8. Ray Lee (Eastern Michigan) -- What a performance by the freshman in his team’s fifth consecutive win. He scored 38 points, went 12-for-15 from the field and made all five 3-point attempts in Eastern Michigan’s 74-69 victory over Texas-Arlington. Another interesting note? His real name is Raven.
9. Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette) -- Check out this stat line by the 6-9, 245-pounder: He finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks in the Ragin' Cajuns' 84-75 victory over Oakland. He also hit a 3-pointer.
10. Mark Henniger (Kent State) -- The 6-9 senior led the Golden Flashes to a 102-97 win over Niagara. He was perfect. He went 6-for-6 from the field (20 points) and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Kent State should bronze his shoes.
It's college basketball preview season, and you know what that means: tons of preseason info to get you primed for 2013-14. But what do you really need to know? Each day for the next month, we'll highlight the most important, interesting or just plain amusing thing each conference has to offer this season -- from great teams to thrilling players to wild fans and anything in between. Up next: Iona's transfers keep moving forward.
The 2011-12 preseason was one of the most exciting in Iona basketball history. Star point guard Scott Machado and NBA-prospect forward Mike Glover were both back, and sophomore Sean Armand would provide perimeter shooting from the wing. By any mid-major's standards, that would have been exciting enough. But there was more.
Just a few months after leading Arizona over No. 1-seeded Duke in the 2011 Sweet 16, Lamont "MoMo" Jones transferred out of Tucson and home to Iona, where he could, because of an ill grandmother, play right away. One of the best point guards in the nation, a bouncy forward, lights-out shooting and a volume-scoring backcourt star fresh off an Elite Eight? What more could a MAAC team ask for?
That Iona team was disappointing. The Gaels still won the MAAC, but lost to Purdue, Hofstra and Marshall in the nonconference, and fell to Fairfield in the MAAC tournament. They ended up needing a somewhat surprising nod from the selection committee to sneak in to the First Four in Dayton, where they lost to BYU. In 2012-13, with Machado and Glover gone, Jones and Armand ran Iona's combination of efficient offense and soft defense. It was good enough for a MAAC title and a No. 15 seed, but not enough to keep things close in the tournament against Ohio State. The Gaels finished 20-15.
In that context, the transition to 2013-14 could carry the stench of missed opportunity. Machado, who was the NCAA assists leader in his senior season, was a once-in-a-decade player in the MAAC. Glover was unnaturally athletic. Jones was a rare "down-transfer" in a world of players moving the opposite direction, and he was around for two years. When is Iona going to have talent like that again?
Not so long, it turns out. Iona coach Tim Cluess has done as well as any mid-major coach in the country at finding transfers -- specifically those from high-major schools -- in time to keep his program near the top of the MAAC, and this season will be no exception. Rutgers transfer Mike Poole will start immediately and should be an impact player, and former Iowa State point guard Tavon Sledge -- who received offers from St. John's, West Virginia and UTEP as a prep prospect -- will push the pace.
Will that be enough? The MAAC always offers solid basketball made more attractive by its entertainment value, and that's what the Gaels have done best in recent seasons. If they guard even marginally better than last season, and Armand and former juco transfer David Laury repeat last season's output, Iona is a favorite to attend three straight NCAA tournaments for the first time in school history. Who could be disappointed in that?
Iona 105, Canisius 86 and Weber State 92, Portland State 79
Iona’s Lamont Jones poured in 43 points and Weber State’s Damian Lillard scored 40 in the their teams’ victories. Lillard became the first player this season to record two 40+ point games, and Thursday marked the first time this season two players eclipsed the 40-point plateau on the same day.
Western Carolina 82, Chattanooga 76
Western Carolina’s Keaton Cole attempted 19 3-pointers in the win, tying him with Iona’s Sean Armand for the most in a regulation game this season. Cole is the only player to have three games with at least 15 3-pointers attempted; he scored 18 points in all three games. Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin attempted 20 3-pointers in the Terrapins’ 90-86 double-overtime loss to Miami (FL) on Wednesday.
Pacific 60, UC Riverside 52
Pacific’s Ross Rivera made 15 free throws in 21 minutes off the bench, the most made free throws by a substitute this season.
Trillion of the Night: Eric Strangis of Southern Cal played 10 minutes without accumulating a stat in the Trojans’ 60-53 loss at Washington State.
Missouri walked all over Oklahoma in an 87-49 win. The 38-point margin of victory is the Tigers’ largest over Oklahoma since a 66-22 win back in 1922. It stands as Oklahoma’s worst Big 12 loss ever, and the Sooners largest margin of defeat since a 45-point loss to UCLA in January 1975.
Ohio State with another Big Ten blowout
In their first meeting as conference foes, Ohio State dominated Nebraska, 71-40. Together with a 33-point win over Northwestern, both of Ohio State’s conference wins have been by 30 or more points. Those make up two of Ohio State’s four largest margins of victory in Big Ten games over the past 15 years. The last time the Buckeyes had 30-point Big Ten wins in the same season was 1960-61.
Armand on fire off the bench
Iona’s Sean Armand came off the bench to score 32 points on 10-19 shooting from three-point range. That set a school record for threes in a game, as well as a MAAC record for threes in a conference game. He’s the first player with double-digit threes off the bench against a D-I opponent since Portland’s Jared Stohl had 10 in December 2009. Armand’s 32 points are the third most off the bench this season. Coming off an eight-game road trip, the Gaels beat Siena, 95-59.
Oral Roberts can’t miss
Oral Roberts shot 66.7 percent (including 68.8 percent from three-point range) in an 89-80 win over Oakland. In the second half, the Golden Eagles couldn’t miss, shooting 77.8 percent and hitting eight of nine three-pointers. Oakland’s loss snapped a 31-game conference home win streak.
2. The home loss to Iowa on Dec. 31 may go down as the most significant result for Wisconsin during the regular season. The Badgers were stunned Tuesday night when an overtime, game-tying 3-pointer wasn’t counted. Now the 1-2 Badgers have to go to Michigan and Purdue. A 1-4 start may be too hard to overcome to stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title. A 2-2 mark would have been more palatable. But the Iowa loss and the 3-for-28 mark on 3s will haunt the Badgers in the Big Ten.
3. Tim who? That might have been the initial reaction when Tim Cluess was hired from C.W. Post to take over at Iona. But there has been a complete flip in the MAAC. Once-dominant Siena got smacked 95-59 by Cluess’ Gaels Tuesday night at MSG as yet another player not named Scott Machado stepped up with a star performance: Sean Armand scored a career-high 32 points.