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Healy, Vasiljevic lead long list of red hot Aussies in US college basketball
Cameron Healy's sophomore year has started off just where he left off with the Great Danes last season, while Dejan Vasiljevic's senior year continues to go from strength to strength for the Hurricanes as the past week saw a long list of Aussies scorching the net in US College.
After delivering consecutive 20 point games in wins against Sacred Heart (72-65) and Presbyterian (65-60), Cameron Healy continued to be the main focal point of Albany's offense in their split games against American and Yale, averaging 18 points per game on the season.
Trailing by 8 at half time against American, Albany worked their way into the lead in the second before pulling away. Healy put up 18 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the win, helping power the Great Danes to their fifth win of the season.
While Healy would again come up with an equal game-high 17 points for the Great Danes against Yale, only one other team mate scored in double figures as Albany struggled from the field to fall short 52-61. Healy drained 3 of 7 from long distance while also registering 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in another excellent individual performance. Fellow Aussie Brent Hank added 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 21 minutes, as the Great Danes lost just their third game of the season.
Miami withstood a late rally from Illinois to hold on for a thrilling 81-79 win. The Hurricanes, who at one point in the first half led by as many as 27 points, almost threw away the win, with Illinois unable to hit a potential buzzer-beater for what would have been a miracle win. One of the architects behind Miami's win was once again Dejan Vasiljevic.
The senior guard from Melbourne was on target, shooting a solid 7 of 11 from the field that included a scintillating 6 of 9 from three-point territory on his way to 20 points. It was the second 20-point game for Vasiljevic this season, with the Victorian logging a career-high 25 points last month against Missouri State. He tied his career-high with 6 triples made, moving up to fifth place all-time at Miami for made three-pointers. He also now boasts a 14.8 points per game average while shooting a blistering 48% from downtown this season.
Myles Cherry is enjoying a big year with Lafayette, with the 6'8 forward from Newcastle firmly entrenched in the rotation and delivering on a consistent basis. In their most recent outing against Saint Joseph's, Cherry added 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting including a three-pointer, while also coming up with 2 rebounds and 4 assists in logging 27 minutes. Cherry's influence ensured the Leopards pulled away in the second half to deliver a convincing 94-71 win, their third in a row.
Cherry is also proving to be somewhat of a barometer to the Leopard's success this season, with the senior's double-digit scoring output coinciding with all 5 of their wins so far this season. Arguably his biggest performance of the season came against Fairleigh Dickinson their previous game, with Cherry amassing a 15 point and 10 rebound double-double with 4 assists in 25 minutes. Such has been Cherry's consistency in 2019 to date, he has scored 13 points or more in every game except one, where he only added 6 points and with 8 rebounds and 5 assists in an 8 point loss to Delaware.
Also experiencing a career year is Hunter Marks who is stepping out for a Hartford side that unfortunately have lost their last three games despite his best efforts. In the Hawks last start 55-69 loss to Texas State, Marks bettered his career-high that he collected in the opening game of the season.
The 6'9 forward from Phillip Island was at his efficient best, shooting 4 of 7 from the field including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc alongside 9 of 10 from the free throw line for a new career and game-high 20 points. He also pulled down 8 rebounds with 1 assist and 1 steal, coughing up the ball just the once in an impressive individual display that saw him named Xfinity Hartford Hawks Athlete of the Week.
Illinois-Chicago entered their game against San Diego on a 3 game losing streak, however junior guard Jamie Ahale put an end to that with a career night to conclude the Boca Raton Beach Classic. Ahale poured in a new career-high 23 points on 5 of 7 shooting and a perfect 11 of 11 from the charity stripe to propel the Flames to an 89-83 win of the Toreros. While he also added 4 rebounds in his 29 minutes, it was the first time Ahale had scored in double figures this season, eclipsing his previous best of 12 points from last season, ensuring he was named UIC Flames Athlete of the Week.
After two straight losses to number 1 ranked Duke and then Texas at the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden, California bounced back to account for UC Davis 72-66. One of the drivers behind the return to the winners list was 6'8 junior forward Grant Anticevich who came up with the first double-double of his career and a clutch triple to seal the win. The New South Welshman gathered 13 points which included 3 of 3 from beyond the arc to go with 11 rebounds in 34 minutes as Cal blew an 18 point second half lead to hold off the Aggies late challenge for their fifth win of the season.
Saint Mary's have a host of Australians on their roster this season, but none has performed better than senior guard Tanner Krebs. The Tasmanian has been leading from the front for a Gaels team that won its seventh straight when they swept aside Omaha 75-66. Krebs led all scorers with 19 points and was one of five Gaels to score in double figures. He scorched the net from distance in hitting 5 of 6 from deep as a starter in playing 29 minutes. Freshmen Aussies Alex Ducas and Kyle Bowen saw little playing time, as the Gaels look to build on their resume ahead of conference play.
Led by Australian head coach David Patrick, UC Riverside have strung together 4 straight wins with Daniel Mading and Dragan Elkaz both playing important roles for the Highlanders. In a commanding 71-58 victory over Longwood, Elkaz provided a scoring spark off the bench. The 6'6 sophomore exploded by draining 5 of 9 three-pointers for a team best 15 points in just 18 minutes, with his three straight triples down the stretch putting the Highlanders ahead for good.
Elkaz would once again provide three-point shooting off the bench, connecting of 3 of 6 from long range on his way to logging 11 points and 2 rebounds in a 69-51 win over SIU-Edwardsville. With that performance, Elkaz lifted his season scoring average to 8.3 points per game, while shooting a lofty 43.8% from downtown on the season for the 6-2 Highlanders.