Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Goldey-Beacom Men's Basketball Visits CACC South Favorite, Philadelphia in CACC Opener
Last year the Lightning were just one win shy of the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament bid, falling just short of their first CACC championship with an 84-79 loss to Felician in the title game. Their quest for the 2010-11 CACC title begins on Wed. night as the Lightning wipe the slate clean and start anew after a rough non-conference stretch that has GBC at 1-4 to start the season.
The two teams, which split games last year (both winning on their respective home floors), were picked to finish 1st and 2nd in the South Division in this year’s pre-season Coaches’ Poll. The Lightning, coming off their best season in school history last year with 19 wins and an appearance in the CACC Finals, earned 65 points and one first-place nod in a vote of the league’s 13 head coaches.
Phila U., last year’s regular season conference champion with a 16-1 record in league play, was picked to repeat this year as they earned 77 points and 12 first-place votes.
GBC, who was the only CACC team to beat Philadelphia during the regular season last year, features returnees such as All-CACC second team selection Terrence Parkes and All-CACC honorable mention guard/forward Sam McDuffie. Those two have led the Lightning in the early-going this season.
McDuffie, who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for his career back on Nov. 20 against Cheyney, ranks second in the league in scoring average with 20.4 ppg. Parkes ranks fourth in scoring (18.0 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.6 rpg).
Head Coach Chuck Hammond is also getting good production from senior guards Darnell Cephas and Azeez Ellegood. Cephas has come on strong of late, scoring a career-high to lead the Lightning with 16 points in a losing effort to West Chester this past Sun. Ellegood, who comes into Wed. night’s game tied with Nate Lewis (’06) for the most three-point field goals made in school history with 122, is averaging 8.0 points and 4.0 assists per-game.
The Lightning feature the third highest scoring offense in the CACC with an average scoring mark of of 74.8 ppg, and they are tops in the league in three-point field goal shooting percentage, making 38.7 percent of their attempts.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia (3-3) has the second-best scoring defense in the league, allowing opponents a mere 61.7 ppg. The Rams are also tops in the league in scoring margin (-.2).
Phila U. is led by sophomore guard Jim Connolly who averages 16.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per-game. He recently scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help the Rams slip past Millersville with a 67-64 win this past Sunday. Connolly earned CACC weekly honorable mention for his efforts last week.
Connolly is the only remaining player on this year’s roster from the Rams’ starting lineup when Phila U. and GBC last met in a historic 76-65 Rams win on Feb. 23 that gave Philadelphia head coach Herb Magee his 903rd career coaching victory and made him the most winningest NCAA coach of all-time.
Hammond, a 1999 graduate of Philadelphia Textile (now Philadelphia University), was once an assistant under Magee. He has won two of the last three meetings in the 11-game series.
These two met in what was both teams’ conference opener last year in the Jones Center as the Lightning came away with a decisive 68-55 victory. They would go on to win their first six conference games of the season.
All three wins against Phila U. under Hammond and in the all-time series, have come at home in the Jones Center for the Lightning as GBC is 0-6 all-time at the Gallagher Center.