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January 14, 2007

Exciting finishes at the Hoophall Classic

Springfield, Mass.-The last three games of Super Sunday at the Hoophall Classic were down to the wire slugfests. But the cleanly played St. Benedict's vs. Towson Catholic was the gem of the bunch. St. Benedict's pulled out the victory despite the dead eye shooting of Malcolm Delaney.

St. Benedict's 79, Towson Catholic 76

Down 14 points at the half, Towson battled back into the game behind the red hot three-point shooting of Malcolm Delaney. In fact, Delaney connected on 7-9 three-points and one of those misses came on the last possession of the game against the outstretched arm of Samardo Samuels. It was a cleanly played game, with both teams combining for 36 assists and only 14 turnovers. Both teams also shot a combined 20-36 from three.

Corey Stokes team high 24 points on 8-15 shooting, 4-6 from three, 4-4 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 29 minutes

Stokes will give Villanova an ever present deep, deep shooting threat and physical defender on the wing. He's not going to overwhelm you with his creativity with the ball, but he knows how to shot fake and create some space with a couple dribbles.

Samardo Samuels 22 points on 8-15 shooting, 6-8 from the line, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 1 turnover in 27 minutes

Samuels muscled his way around the basket to get pretty much whatever he wanted when he had the ball. Aware of his limitations offensively, Samuels consistently plays to his strengths. Defensively, he showed his athleticism with some impressive blocks.

After the game, Samuels gave Rivals.com a list of his top four schools, which includes North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgetown and Louisville and all have offered.

Greg Echenique 9 points on 3-3 shooting, 3-3 from the line, 11 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover in 28 minutes

Echenique plays a secondary role for St. Benedict's, but he plays it exceptionally well. Although he is not an overwhelming athlete, Echenique uses his size and smarts to efficiently produce.

Malcolm Delaney game high 32 points on 10-17 shooting, 7-9 from three, 5-7 from the line, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 turnovers in 30 minutes

St. Benedict's physical pressure defense gave Delaney some trouble early in the game, but as the pressure cooled down, Delaney heated up. He simply hit big shot after big shot to bring Towson back into the game. He is capable of running some point for Virginia Tech, but his gift is knocking down threes.

Donte Green 23 points on 8-14 shooting, 5-9 from three, 2-5 from the line, 13 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 4 assists in 32 minutes

Just as Samuels had his way around the basket, Green had his way on the perimeter. Most of Green's three came off the dribble against Samuels. Despite his finesse style, Green also came up with some big plays around the basket down the stretch.

Notre Dame Prep 72, The Patterson School 71

In dramatic fashion both teams traded multiple baskets in the last 30 seconds of the game with Deonte Roberts squeezing in a power shot just as the buzzer sounded to give Notre Dame Prep the victory. In what was less than a well played game both teams combined for 36 turnovers.

Michael Beasley 12 points on 5-12 shooting, 1-3 from three, 1-2 from the line, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 27 minutes

Beasley didn't necessarily have a bad game, but he just never got in the flow offensively. He had some tough misses in the first half, but came out strong in second half scoring on a strong post move and then stepping out to hit a three in the first two possessions of the half. After those two possessions, he didn't get many touches against the Patterson School's zone defense. Part of the problem was that the Notre Dame Prep guards didn't look for Beasley, and the other part was that Beasley floated too much against the zone and never really asserted himself.

Jamine Peterson game high 19 points on 7-12 shooting, 5-9 from the line, game high 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers in 25 minutes

It was the same story for "Greedy." He attacked the glass, got out on the break and finished around the basket. An undersized power forward, Peterson is oversized in heart and athleticism.

Cameron Tatum team high 15 points on 6-11 shooting, 3-7 from three, 0-2 from the line, team high 7 rebounds, 1 block, 3 assists, 3 turnovers in 20 minutes

Custom built for Tennessee's style of play, Tatum is a long and bouncy athlete who is progressively disciplining his game. He far and away had the best game for The Patterson squad.

Jeremy Hazell 13 points on 4-9 shooting, 3-7 from three, 2-2 from the line, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover in 22 minutes

Hazell, who is headed to Seton Hall, hit some big threes, including one to beat the shot clock from 30 plus feet during The Patterson Schools stretch run.

Neumann-Goretti 81, DeMatha 71

After a nail biting end to regulation, Neumann-Goretti ran away with the game in overtime. Nuemann-Goretti came big on the defensive end with 11 blocks and 11 steals while holding DeMatha to 16 percent shooting from behind the arc.

Antonio Jardine game high 36 points on 14-33 shooting, 3-7 from three, 5-8 from the line, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 6 assists, 5 turnovers in 34 minutes

Jardine put Neumann-Goretti on his back and carried them to the win. He hit threes, got to the rim, hit pull ups in transition and most impressively dropped in one tough floater after another. Bottom line is that Jardine played with the poise of a player who knew he could secure a win for his team.

Rick Jackson 4 points on 2-10 shooting, 0-2 from the line, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 9 blocks, 3 assists, 1 turnover in 36 minutes

Jackson couldn't finish on offense, but he gave DeMatha fits around the rim, blocking nine shots in total.

Tony Chenault 13 points on 5-15 shooting, 1-2 from three, 2-2 from the line, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 2 turnovers

Chenault played with a maturity beyond his freshman status. He was physical, he competed and he hit a big three and two big free throws down the stretch despite a poor shooting night overall. Chenault had his freshman mistakes in the game, but to his credit, they were all of an aggressive nature.

Austin Freeman team high 25 points on 10-20 shooting, 2-4 from three, 3-5 from the line, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 assists, 2 turnovers in 33 minutes

It was a frustrating night for Freeman despite his 25 points and 9 rebounds. Neumann-Goretti played a zone the majority of the game and Freeman's two backcourt teammates went a combined 6-31 from the field. He just didn't get the touches that he should have gotten while Jardine got all the touches he wanted. Nonetheless, Freeman did have a free throw attempt and then a jumper in the last seconds of the game to take the lead but couldn't convert.

Chris Braswell 8 points on 4-16 shooting, game high 17 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 27 minutes

Braswell has been out of the line up a good deal this year, and the rust showed with his inability to finish on offense. Jackson had a lot to do with Braswell's misses, but Braswell did battle for a game high 17 rebounds.

Jerai Grant 17 points on 7-12 shooting, 3-8 from the line, 12 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover in 25 minutes

Grant succeeds by playing with an ever-running motor and an understanding of his limitations.

St. John's College 85, St. Andrew's 81

St. John's withstood a barrage of threes from Rakim Sanders early in the game and came back from a 7 point half time deficit to win the game. Chris Wright led the way for St. John's scoring 39 points to Sander's 36 points.

Chris Wright game high 39 points on 14-24 shooting, 3-5 from three, 8-11 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 5 assists in 32 minutes

Wright opened the game with a Chris Lofton impression as he beat the shot clock with a 35-footer on the first possession. After that shot he did his best work posting up and scoring when guarded by a smaller defender and hitting some tough pull up jumpers in the lane in transition. Most of his misses came on challenged attempts at the basket. Wright also did the best job of any defender guarding Sanders. He will certainly be a shot in the arm for Georgetown in the backcourt. Although he is more of a pull up scorer off the dribble than a break you down and create for others type guard, Wright certainly has the skill set to run the point in Georgetown's Princeton style attack.

Vlad Moldoveanu 18 points on 7-16 shooting, 2-7 from three, 2-4 from the line, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover in 32 minutes

Moldoveanu didn't light it up from behind the arc, but he did handle the ball we and come up with some timely buckets in support of Wright's scoring. Playing a bit too much of a finesse style, Moldoveanu could have provided more toughness on the boards for St. John's.

Rakim Sanders team high 36 points on 13-26 shooting, 7-15 from three, 3-5 from the line, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 31 minutes

Dubbed both a "flame thrower" and an "assassin" by the public address announcer, Sanders brought the energy to the gym with his early three-point shooting. The Boston College signee spent most of his time outside the three-point line on offense, but he did come up with seven defensive rebounds.

Harmony Community 66, Winchendon School 43

This game was over pretty much a soon as it started as Harmony jumped out to a 15-0 lead to start the game.

Harmony out rebounded Winchendon 57-40, and Winchendon only shot 26.5 percent from the field.

Josh Miller game high 12 points on 3-9 shooting, 1-2 from three, 5-6 from the line, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 assists, 6 turnovers in 25 minutes.

"Cookie" was the best player on the court from start to finish. He controlled the game on both ends with his quickness. His ability to get into the lane with the ball and also his ability to defend the ball against the high ball screen will translate to the Big 12.

Jason Henry 8 points on 3-10 shooting, 0-3 from three, 2-2 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1turnover in 16 minutes

Showed flashes of brilliance, but the recent Cincinnati commitment is still working his way into a rhythm with his new team. Having just transferred to Harmony, Henry only played 16 minutes of the 40 minute game.

Brian Williams 8 points on 3-8 shooting, 0-1 from three, 2-2 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 19 minutes

Williams impressed with his soft touch at the free throw line, his spin move into a jump hook and his ability to run despite the extra weight he is carrying. He's never going to be a vertical athlete, but he has enough game to play in the SEC. The issue, however, is that he will be playing in Tennessee's fast and furious system. He is going to have to reshape his body and drastically improve his conditioning in order to keep the pace with his future teammates.

Malcolm Grant 7 points on 3-14 shooting, 0-5 from three, 1-2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 9 turnovers in 24 minutes

Its tough to put it any other way, but the future Villanova point guard simply didn't play well. Grant settled for too many contested three-pointers early in the game, and when he would press the issue, turnovers were typically the result.

Jamal Coombs team high 10 points on 4-8 shooting, 0-2 from three, 2-4 from the line, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers in 17 minutes

Coombs made an impact on the offensive boards and by cutting to the basket in the second half after only playing six minutes in the first half. He looked comfortable with the ball for a developing small forward and hit some tough jumpers on the baseline. He was named his team's Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

Alex Oriakhi 4 points on 2-7 shooting, 7 rebounds in 15 minutes

Oriakhi couldn't finish around the basket, but he did hit the two jumpers that he took from the free throw line area. A promising prospect, Oriakhi has some work to do before he is ready to play for Connecticut. Improving his overall feel for the game is an important issue for Oriakhi.

Hargrave Military Academy 99, Northfield Mount Herman 82

Coach Seth Greenberg celebrated his Virginia Tech's win over No. 1 ranked North Carolina by watching two of his recruits play well in Hargrave's runaway victory over Northfield Mount Hermon. Hargrave shot 55 percent from the field.

Jeff Allen game high18 points on 8-12 shooting, 2-6 from the line, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 28 minutes

Allen simply physically dominated the thin frontline of NMH. Whenever Hargrave needed a big bucket to answer a NMH run, Allen came up with the bucket.

Dorenzo Hudson 17 points on 6-14 shooting, 1-7 from three, 4-4 from the line, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 assists in 28 minutes

Hudson played a solid game on both ends of the court. He had some tough in and out misses in the second half against NMH's zone.

Mike Scott game high 18 points on 5-6 shooting, 8-8 from the line, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers in 30 minutes

Scott, a Virginia signee, stayed active throughout the game and made the most of his opportunities. He should help Virginia early on in his career and could develop into a standout for the Cavaliers if he improves his strength.

Jordan Crawford 15 points on 6-13 shooting, 1-3 from three, 2-3 from the line, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 8 assists, 5 turnovers in 32 minutes

Crawford made some tough shots in open court situations and passed the ball well. His future at Indiana, however, is more than likely at the shooting guard position than the point guard position that he plays for Hargrave. He just doesn't have the quickness to consistently break his man down on the dribble at the high-major level.

Jeremy Jacob 7 points on 3-5 shooting, 1-1 from the line, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover in 17 minutes

Jacob had a sub par outing, but Hargrave head coach Kevin Keatts said that Jacob, a Georgia signee, has been his squads leading performer up until this game.

Tyrone Nash 14 points on 7-12 shooting, 0-3 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 4 assists, 1 turnover in 35 minutes

Nash demonstrated a versatile skill set against Hargrave. Most of his points came off slashing drives to the basket. He also showed some toughness on the glass and defensively.

Andrew Van Nest 5 points on 2-5 shooting, 1-3 from three, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 14 minutes

Van Nest learned the importance of physical strength playing against Allen, who eventually followed out Van Nest in 14 minutes of play. Nonetheless, Van Nest is a high-major prospect with his ability to stroke the deep ball at 6-foot-10.

According to NHM's assistant coach John Carroll Van Nest is rapidly improving since transferring to NMH and has also made strides in his athleticism.

Van Nest presently claims offers from Penn State, Northwestern and UMass. Oregon, Stanford, Georgetown, Boston College and Iowa State are also recruiting the academically oriented forward.

Head coaches in attendance:

Jay Wright, Bob Huggins, Seth Greenberg, Bruce Weber, Travis Ford

Schools with assistant coaches in attendance:

Kentucky, Virginia, Syracuse, St. John's, Georgetown, George Mason, VCU, Vermont, Northeastern, St. Peter's

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