NCAA Spotlight on the Aussie Men: The big catch-up! (30-Dec-13)

Damian Arsenis is catching up on lost time following the birth of his second child. He took on the monumental task of trawling through all the NCAA Division I hoops action from 11 December onwards and calls out all the notable performances.

Just briefly...

There is nothing brief about this week's recap as I look to catch up since my last update. Given the time lapse, there will be no weekly awards this time around, just all the noteworthy performances by the Australian contingent as the non-conference schedules come to a conclusion. So let's get underway as there is a lot to get through and I'll start by focussing on some of the teams with a number of Aussie standout performances . . .

New Mexico Lobos (9-3)

  • The New Mexico Lobos took on #13 ranked Kansas and came up short 63-80 despite another monster game by power forward Cameron Bairstow, this time in front of a national audience. Bairstow had 24 points on 7/15 shooting and 10/12 from the line, whilst also collecting 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block in playing 37 minutes. Hugh Greenwood continued to battle through a niggling wrist injury and whilst scoreless, contributed 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

  • The Lobos slumped to their second straight loss in going down at home to New Mexico State 61-67. Missing Greenwood who was out with his wrist injury, the Lobos were unable to find any scoring beyond their ‘big three’ of Bairstow, Kirk and Williams. Bairstow was once again unstoppable, scoring a game-high 25 points on 9/14 shooting and 7/9 from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks in 33 minutes.

  • At the MGM Grand in Lad Vegas, the Lobos were back to their winning ways after beating Marquette 75-68. With Greenwood out of action until the New Year, Bairstow was once again at his consistent best. The 6’9” power forward had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to go with 5 assists and no turnovers in 30 minutes on court.

  • Bairstow had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks as New Mexico easily dispatched Grand Canyon 80-68.

Boise State Broncos (10-3)

  • The Boise State Broncos ran into a red-hot Saint Mary’s Gael’s who won their 8th straight in recording an 82-74 win. Anthony Drmic was well held by the Gael’s, scoring just 7 points on 2/7 shooting with 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 37 minutes. Igor Hadziomerovic had just 2 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

  • Playing at the Diamond Head Classic, Drmic lifted his team to a first round 62-61 win over hosts Hawaii. Drmic was outstanding, scoring a game-high 21 points on 7/12 shooting including 3/4 on triples to go with 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block.

  • The Broncos continued to improve as they put a complete team performance together in dismantling South Carolina 80-54 in the Diamond Head Classic. Drmic was supreme in going 10/17 from the field on his way to a game-high 30 points in a clinic that included 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals with just 1 turnover in 35 minutes. Hadziomerovic had just 2 points but contributed 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in the big win.

  • Despite a number of chances to account for #14 ranked Iowa State, the Broncos were unable to land the killer blows in going down 66-70 in the final of the Diamond Head Classic. Drmic contributed 16 points including 4/9 from beyond the arc along with 4 rebounds and 1 steal before fouling out in 34 minutes. Drmic led the tournament in scoring with 67 points across the three games, and was duly named to the all-tournament team.

Oregon State Beavers (8-4)

  • Angus Brandt had 9 points on 3/3 shooting (3/4 FT) to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in just 25 minutes as the Oregon State Beavers defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77-63

  • Oregon State easily overcame Maryland-Eastern Shore 98-66, and it was Brandt leading the way with 17 points on 6/9 shooting with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks in just 22 minutes on court.

  • In his best effort since returning from his ACL, Brandt poured in a game and new career-high 27 points on a hot 10/15 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 33 minutes as the Beavers accounted for Towson 76-67.

  • Brandt sent a scare to Beavers fans as he injured the same right knee that he had surgically repaired last year in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. Whilst Oregon State ended up losing 71-83 to Akron, the good news later followed that Brandt had only hyper-extended his knee and would soon be back in action although he missed the rest of this tournament.

  • After missing two games, Brandt returned and was immediately straight back to his best. He scored a game-high 21 points on 8/11 shooting to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in 29 minutes. You can catch the highlights of his great comeback performance below.

Albany Great Danes (6-5)

  • The Albany Great Danes came up 60-69 short against Colgate; however it was not through the lack of effort from Sam Rowley. 6’6” forward Rowley collected his second double-double of the season in racking up 21 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. He did have some support from guard Peter Hooley who chimed in with 8 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists with no turnovers in 38 minutes on court.

  • Albany bounced back nicely to defeat Yale 70-62. Hooley had 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, while Luke Devlin contributed 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal with no turnovers in his best outing of the season. Sam Rowley was restricted to 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in a foul plagued 27 minutes.

  • Despite the best efforts of the Aussies on their roster, Albany lost to Drake 63-71. Sam Rowley compiled 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks and Hooley collected 13 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss. Mike Rowley also chipped in with 3 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes.

California-Riverside Highlanders (4-8)

  • California-Riverside Highlanders lost 52-62 to Air Force; with power forward Chris Patton compiling 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks in 27 minutes.

  • Despite a team-high 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 4 block performance from Patton, the Highlanders lost to Northern Colorado 60-63.

  • The Highlander’s luck changed for the better as they scored on the buzzer to overcome Illinois-Chicago 57-56. Patton was once again leading the way with a team-high 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in 27 minutes.

  • By his standards, Patton had a relatively quiet 10 point and 3 rebound outing as the Highlanders lost to Northern Illinois 64-71.

  • Patton had 11 points and 7 rebounds but the Highlanders lost again in a tight one, going down 67-69 to Sacramento.

Bryant Bulldogs (7-7)

  • Bryant took on #3 Ohio State and got smashed 48-86 as star senior point guard Corey Maynard looked on the from the sidelines due to a minor wrist injury sustained in the loss to Notre Dame.

  • With Maynard back at the helm, the Bryant Bulldogs bounced back to account for Navy 90-80. Maynard racked up a season-high 22 points that included 12/14 from the charity stripe alongside 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steal in his return from injury.

  • Playing at the famed Madison Square Garden, the Bulldogs lost 107-108 in an overtime thriller to Delaware. Maynard was at his best in racking up 14 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 1 steal in 42 minutes but it was not enough to earn the win.

  • Maynard was in fine form again in racking up 10 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 1 block but it was not enough to prevent Bryant from falling victim to Binghampton 62-67 on the road.

Eastern Washington (5-6)

  • Despite a solid 7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 block all-round performance by forward Venky Jois, Eastern Washington Eagles fell 61-70 to California-Irvine.

  • Eastern Washington then came across a Seton Hall roadblock in falling short 70-92 despite Jois racking up an 11 point and 11 rebound double-double to go with 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Felix Van Hofe came off the bench and provided some instance offence in scoring 8 points including 2/3 from the three-point line.

  • Taking on #15 University of Connecticut was always going to be a tough as, and whilst the Eagles had their moments, they ended up on the wrong side of a 65-82 loss. Jois was restricted to a season low of 2 points with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks.

Louisville Cardinals (11-2)

  • #6 ranked Louisville Cardinals dispatched Western Kentucky 79-63 with Australian 6’10” freshman Mangok Mathiang scoring a new career-high 13 points a perfect 5/5 from the field (3/4 FT) to go with 5 rebounds and 1 block in 23 minutes.

  • Mathiang back up with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks with no turnovers in 20 minutes as the Cardinals easily accounted for Missouri State 90-60.

  • The Cardinals won their 6th in a row as they accounted for Florida International 85-56. Mathiang was a little quieter with just 6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 23 minutes.

Miami (OH) RedHawks (4-6)

  • Freshman Joshua Oswald had 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 blocks as Miami (OH) RedHawks lost to Missouri-Kansas City 55-69. Fellow Aussie freshman Jaryd Eustace chimed in with 7 points and 1 rebound in coming off the bench.

  • The RedHawks accounted for Tennessee State 79-64 and once again Oswald played a leading role. The Aussie 6’7” forward had his first double-double in compiling career-highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds to go with 2 assists and 1 block. Eustace also continued to impress with a new career-high of his own with 13 points alongside 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

  • Eustace had 10 points and 1 assist in 21 minutes and Oswald 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in 29 minutes as the RedHawks nudged Southern Illinois 67-65.

California-Davis Aggies (4-9)

  • California-Davis lost a triple overtime thriller 85-89 to San Jose State despite the best efforts of Igor Nujic. The 6’8” forward had 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in 30 minutes.

  • Nujic followed up with 12 points on 5/9 shooting to go with 3 rebounds and 1 steal as California-Davis defeated Air Force 80-74 to break a 7-game losing streak.

Nicholls State Colonels (3-6)

  • Sam McBeath had 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block, whilst freshman Liam Thomas had 5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assist and 2 blocks as Nicholls State defeated IUPUI 62-56.

  • Indiana proved too much for the Nicholls State Colonels as the fell 66-79. McBeath was once again prominent with 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal with no turnovers in 17 minutes. Thomas again chimed in with a 4 point, 3 rebounds, 2 assist, 1 steal and 4 block cameo performance in a foul plagued 14 minutes.

The best of the rest

  • Forward Majok Majok had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks as Ball State fell to Southern Illinois 58-66.

  • Dexter Kernich-Drew had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 1 block as Washington State blew out San Francisco State 80-50.

  • Australian NBL legend Darryl McDonald’s son Durrell McDonald scored 10 points on 4/7 shooting including 2/3 from long-range to go with 1 rebound and 1 assist as DePaul lost to Illinois State 64-69.

  • Christian Salecich was good for 10 points on 4/5 shooting including 2/3 on triples to go with 2 rebounds and 1 assist as SIU-Edwardsville spanked Robert Morris (IL-Spr) 102-78.

  • Taylor Dyson came off the bench and provided 11 points that included 3/5 from beyond the arc to go with 1 assist and 1 steal as Hartford defeated St. Peter’s 66-56.

  • Senior Nathan Sobey had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists with no turnovers as the Wyoming Cowboys lost to Denver 61-64.

  • Forward Chudier Pal had 11 points on 5/6 shooting with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 18 minutes as UNC-Asheville thrashed Bluefield College 92-56.

  • Jordan Vandenberg broke out to record a new career-high of 18 points on an amazing 9/10 shooting that included seven dunks as North Carolina State defeated East Carolina 90-79. The Aussie 7'1" center also collected 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks as the Wolfpack earned their 7th straight win since Vandenberg returned from an injury sustained pre-season. Check out his 7 dunk highlight reel below!

There were many other solid performances that could have also been mentioned, but given the size of the task in catching up, we will leave it at that!

Check back soon to see who Damian ranks his top 15 Aussie men in Division I hoops after the conclusion of the non-conference schedule.