|Keith Brown scored 83 points this weekend, including 45 in Endicott's 90-80 win over defending champions Babson.
Endicott athletics photo
It was the ideal start for Endicott College sophomore Keith Brown.
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Facing Regis in his team’s first game of the season, the Pelham, New Hampshire native erupted for a career-high 38 points, while sinking 10 trifectas, a new single-game record at Endicott, which helped the Gulls begin their season 1-0 for the sixth consecutive year. The next day Brown did even better, scoring 45 points in a 90-80 win over Babson.
In addition to scoring half of his team’s points against the defending national champions, Brown drilled 10 of 15 three-pointers, while connecting on all five free throws.
Brown’s impressive play against the Beavers and Pride earned him numerous weekly accolades last week, including the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Division III Men’s Basketball National Player of the Week honor and a spot on the D3hoops.com Team of the Week.
So, what was the secret to Brown’s impressive play earlier this month? Simple: ball movement.
Said Brown, “It’s basically what we have been doing in practice (thus far). All the coaches have been getting us to move the ball as fast as possible, and we are always cutting and we are always moving. We don’t want anybody standing around or just waiting for the ball, so I started moving more without the ball (this year than last year), and the guys on the team just allowed me to get open and I hit the shots I took (in both games).”
Brown concluded his team’s initial two contests by converting 28 of 51 attempts, including 20 of 34 from beyond the arc, as well as all seven freebies. His point total through two games: 83 points
Yet, while ball movement maybe the key to Brown’s fast start – or perhaps the reason he erupted for 83 points in two days - he credits his improved play to the squad’s six seniors from last year, which led Endicott to a sectional semifinal appearance in last season's NCAA Division III Tournament.
“They were competitive and tried so hard on both offense and defense,” Brown said of last year’s senior class.
“They were never taking a possession off, and they were always just into the game and be as best as they could, while being as competitive as they could be.”
That competitive nature, which Brown witnessed as a first-year guard, really stuck with him throughout the offseason, and has inspired him to improve his game every day. “I need to try as hard as I can, and our team needs to try as hard as we can,” said Brown.
“If we connect throughout the game like those seniors connected in those tournament games, then we can be unstoppable and keep playing the way we played and see how good we can be throughout the remainder of the season.”
Endicott certainly has what it will take to be successful this winter, but two games don’t determine an entire season, which is something Brown and his teammates certainly know. They’ll need to continue their strong ball movement, rely on lessons taught from last year’s senior class, while keeping the focus on improving every day.
Additionally, one should expect Endicott to learn from their initial setback of the season – the Gulls fell to Middlebury on Sunday, 78-67 – but will look to bounce back this Wednesday, November 29 when they face Nichols in a rematch of last season's conference title game and the second round NCAA Tournament matchup.
Through three games, Brown and his teammates seem pretty content with their play, but know there is always room for improvement.
“I think right now we are all connecting, we’re all playing together and I think we’re playing pretty well as a team right now,” said Brown.
Extra, Extra from New England: We’re just a few games into a brand-new season of NCAA Division III basketball, but it almost feels as if some teams are catching their mid-season stride already.
The Eastern Connecticut men have won five straight, including this past weekend’s Colby College Classic Championship, and entered the Top 25 rankings at No. 24. Senior guard Tarchee Brown was tabbed the Colby College Classic Most Valuable Player after scoring 25 points in his team’s 83-77 win over the host Mules, while sophomore Carlos Gonzalez added 15 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Next-up for the Warriors: an early-season Little East Conference (LEC) clash with Rhode Island College on Saturday, December 2 before a trio of home games, including another date with Coach Chris Bartley’s WPI Engineers. Bartley’s crew has a tough start to the season. Along with the loss to Eastern Connecticut in the teams' first matchup, WPI suffered a disappointing setback to Albertus Magnus in overtime (77-73) last Saturday. The road doesn't get any easier with a game against Tufts on Tuesday night.
Speaking of WPI, senior Ama Biney made history this past weekend by becoming the 18th member of the women’s basketball program to eclipse the 1,000-point mark. Biney, who is a two-sport athlete at WPI, has now registered 1,011 points.
Biney and the Engineers are once again off to a fast start, and they have won four straight. WPI begins NEWMAC play this week when they head to Mount Holyoke on Wednesday before visiting Smith College on Saturday.
The Pride of Smith have been a good story thus far, defeating Pine Manor, Southern Maine, Bates and Salve Regina before falling on Sunday to Williams by a score of 71-60. Junior Kennedy Guest-Pritchett, who will certainly be a player to watch in New England this winter, concluded her team’s contest against the Ephs with 10 points and 13 boards. Smith travels to MIT on Wednesday, but has a big home game coming up in mid-December against Westfield State on December 13.
Bates College sophomore Jeff Spellman netted a career-high 38 points in his team’s 107-103 win on Sunday against University of New England. Spellman has enjoyed a solid start with the Beavers, netting 24 points against Maine Maritime and 14 points against Trinity College (Conn.).
Don’t overlook the Roger Williams basketball teams since oth squads are off to strong starts. The women’s team has four of five contests including wins over Brandies, MIT and previously ranked Mass-Dartmouth. They hop into conference play this week with contests against Western New England and University of New England.
As for the Roger Williams men’s basketball team, they have won five-straight, including a recent 79-60 win over Connecticut College this past weekend. They have a few enticing non-conference match-ups worth keeping an eye on, including a game in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts on Thursday, December 7 against UMass Dartmouth.