Friday, December 10, 2010

Lightning Men’s Basketball Looks to Strike Down Griffins on Saturday

PIKE CREEK, Del. – Fresh off its 89-60 walloping of Wilmington on Tues. night, head coach Chuck Hammond and the Goldey-Beacom College men’s basketball team will look to get a second straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference win as it hosts South Division foe Chestnut Hill at the Jones Center on Sat. at 1 p.m.

Play-by-play personality Chris DiGiacomo will have the call as the game is webcasted via PennAtlantic. Fans can view the webcast for free by visiting the link on the athletics home page calendar.

Goldey-Beacom (2-5, 1-1 CACC) and Chestnut Hill (2-6, 0-1 CACC) came into the season ranked second and third, respectively, behind conference south division favorite Philadelphia University in the CACC pre-season coaches’ poll.

The Lightning opened conference play with a loss at Phila U. but bounced back in a big way against Wilmington to even their record at 1-1. The Griffins only conference game thus far resulted in a 74-71 loss at home to Phila U this past Tues. Most recently, they suffered a 82-74 loss at West Chester on Thurs. night.

The matchup between these two schools has become quite the rivalry, as Coach Hammond and CHC head coach Jesse Balcer have engaged in some superb coaching duels in this six-game series.

Hammond and Balcer go way back, as the two young, up-and-coming coaches both attended Philadelphia Textile (now Philadelphia U.) and both later served as assistant coaches under legendary coach Herb Magee. Hammond owns a 4-2 series advantage, but the two teams are deadlocked at 2-2 over the last two seasons.

Last season saw both teams fall on their home floors as GBC took game one on Dec. 12 at the Sorgenti Arena, 82-66, but CHC came back to earn its first-ever win at the Jones Center on Feb. 2, 82-70.

Key components of that Chestnut Hill team, which qualified for last year’s CACC Tournament, are now gone, including 1,000-point scorer Julian McFadden, two-year captain Larz Jeter, and starting guard Ryan Cook. McFadden returns on the sideline, serving as an assistant coach for Balcer.

However, Balcer returns eight players from last year’s team, including sophomore guard Mark DiRugeris and junior forward Dan Comas. DiRugeris, who burned the Lightning for 14 points last February, enters Saturday’s game averaging 10.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per-contest. Comas, who pitched in seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds back in Feb., comes in averaging 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Lightning are powered offensively by two star seniors, swingman Sam McDuffie (CACC 2nd leading scorer, 20.0 ppg) and forward Terrence Parkes (sixth leading scorer, 17.3 ppg, third leading rebounder, 8.7 rpg).

But Hammond saw outstanding production from his supporting players in the Lightning’s last time out, particularly from senior guards Azeez Ellegood and Jon Crawford, who scored 18 points apiece and combined for 11 assists.

Three-point shooting could be a pivotal statistic in this game, as the Lightning are tops in the league in average three-point field goals made per-game (7.67) and second in three-point field goal shooting percentage (.371), but the Griffins are third in average three-point field goals (7.0) and second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.299).

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