Brown and Manhattan Battle In NIT Season Tip-Off

Syracuse, New York -  Brown will look to earn a split in the opening "pod" of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, facing Manhattan College this afternoon, November 15, at the Syracuse Carrier Dome.  All the action tips-off at 4:00 p.m.  If you can't make it to the game, listen to Scott Cordischi and Russ Tyler call the game live on WPRV AM-790, or via the internet on brownbears.com.

NIT Season Tip-Off:  Brown (1-1) dropped its NIT Season Tip-Off opening round match-up to Albany last night, 77-68, at the Carrier Dome.  Junior guard Matt Sullivan scored a career high 26 points on 8 of 18 shooting from the field to lead the Bears, while sophomore guard Sean McGonagill scored 17 points, handed out seven assists and pulled down five rebounds. Manhattan (1-1) also lost its first game of the NIT Season Tip-off, falling to #5 Syracuse, 92-56.  Syracuse will play Albany in the second round tonight at 7:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden, November 23-25.

 

The Last Time In The Dome:  Prior to last night's game, Brown hadn't played in the Syracuse Carrier Dome since 1986 when the Ivy League Champion Bears' fell to the Orangemen, 101-52, in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs.

 

Brown vs. Manhattan – The Series Record:. Brown and Manhattan have met eight times before with the Jaspers leading the series, 5-3. The Bears captured the last meeting, 87-57, in 1985-1986.

 

Next Game:  Brown hosts Hartford on Saturday, November 19 at the Pizzitola Sports Center.  Game time is 5:00 p.m.

Head Coach Jesse Agel: Bears' head Coach Jesse Agel begins his fourth season at the helm of the basketball program with a goal of building the Brown basketball program into an annual contender for the Ivy League Championship. Before taking over the reins of the program, the 48-year-old Agel (pronounced A-gull) was an assistant at Brown for two years, helping the Bears register a school-record 19 victories in 2007-2008, while gaining a berth in the post-season College Basketball Invitational. During his 17-year stint at Vermont, Agel was the architect of the Catamount's recent success on the basketball court. A 1984 graduate of Vermont, Agel was the associate head coach at Vermont for eight years under head coach Tom Brennan.

 

All-Ivy Halpern: Brown's experienced front court is led by the 6-8 co-captain Tucker Halpern (Brookline, MA), an All-Ivy player who averaged 12.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Bears. He has missed Brown's first two games due to illness. Halpern scored in double figures 19 times a year ago, including a career high 29 points against Harvard, where he connected on 10 of 15 field goals, including 6 of 9 from behind the three-point arc, 10th best in Brown basketball history. A marvelous passer, Halpern dished out 66 assists, including seven in the Bears' victory over Princeton. He grabbed a career best 12 rebounds against Quinnipiac and completed the double-double with 26 points against the Bobcats. Halpern ranked sixth in the Ivy League in scoring with 14.3 ppg in league games.

 

McGonagill Leads Bears' Backcourt: Sophomore Sean McGonagill (Brookfield, IL), the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, picked up where he left off a year ago, registering a double-double in Brown's season opener vs. Johnson & Wales, scoring 20 points and handing out 10 assists. McGonagill came back vs. Albany in the NIT Season Tip-Off with 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He was Brown's top Ivy League scorer in 2011, averaging 14.6 points per game, fourth best in the Ivy League.  He ranked third in the league in assists with 5.7 per game and seventh in the Ivies overall in free throw percentage (.819). The fourth Brown player to earn Ivy Rookie of the Year honors, McGonagill set a Brown freshman record with 147 assists, third best in the Brown record book. He was the only Brown player to start all 28 games, and logged more minutes than any other Brown player, averaging 33.3 minutes per game.  The game that set McGonagill apart from the rest of the league was his 39-point performance in a win over Columbia, where he tied the Pizzitola Sports Center and Brown freshman scoring record with 39 points against the Lions. His phenomenal performance against the Lions took place less than 48-hours after a facial injury in practice that required 20 stitches from a plastic surgeon, major dental work and necessitated a protective mask to be worn.  His 39 points rank 6th all-time at Brown, and are the most points scored by an Ivy League player in eight years (2003). McGonagill also connected on 15 of 19 field goals against Columbia, shattering the Pizzitola record for field goals in a game, seventh best in the Brown record book.

 

Team Chemistry: This year's men's basketball team features one senior, four juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. Jean Harris is the lone senior; Tucker Halpern, Andrew McCarthy, Matt Sullivan and Tyler Ponticelli are juniors; Stephen Albrecht, Josh Biber, Sean McGonagill and Dockery Walker are the Bears' sophomores; and Christian Gore, Rafael Maia, Jon Schmidt, Joe Sharkey and Longji Yiljep are the freshmen.

 

Bear Facts: The Bears are scheduled to play 31 games in 2011-2012, tying the school record for games played…Brown posted an 11-17 record last year, including a 4-10 Ivy League mark.

 

McCarthy Among Top Shot Blockers: Junior forward Andrew McCarthy (Sudbury, MA) scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in Brown's opener vs. Johnson & Wales.  He is a prodigious shot blocker, swatting-away 67 career shots, sixth best in Brown basketball history. He averaged 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds a game last season, but saved the best for last, exploding for a career high 21 points against Columbia, while pulling down 10 rebounds in Brown's final game of the season.  He's comfortable around the basket and shot 56-percent from the field.

 

Brown Career Blocked Shots

1.        163, Matt Mullery (2006-2010)

2.        119, Alai Nuualiitia (1999-2003)

3.        93, Stark Langs (1981-1985)

4.        89, Jamie Kilburn (2000-2004)

5.        77, Anthony Katsaros (1984-1988)

6.        67, Andrew McCarthy (2009-2011)

7.        65, Kirk Lowry (1988-1992)

8.        64, Jim Turner (1982-1986)

9.        61, Joel Koplik (1991-1995)

  61, Peter Moss (1977-1980)

What's Up Doc? Sophomore forward Dockery Walker (Dover, DE) made an immediate impact in his rookie campaign and registered three double-doubles for the Bears. He opened the season with six points and four rebounds vs. Johnson & Wales. With a penchant for the spectacular dunk, Walker scored 10 points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds in his first significant playing time against American. He also had a double-double against Lyndon State (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Columbia (13 points, 12 rebounds), where he connected on all six of his field goal attempts.

Matt Sullivan Scores 26 vs. Albany: Junior co-captain Matt Sullivan (Wilmette, IL) scored 19 of his career high 26 points in the second half vs. Albany in the NIT Season Tip-Off, connecting on 8 of 18 field goals, including 5 of 9 from behind the three-point arc.  Sullivan scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds in Brown's season opener vs. Johnson & Wales. He is a hard-nosed player and team leader, who saw action in 27 of Brown's 28 games in 2010-2011, and has started 35 games in his first two years. He averaged 5.7 points per game last year as he transitioned from point guard to shooting guard. Sullivan scored in double figures five times last year, netting a career high 22 points at Princeton on 7 of 11 shooting from the field.  He also turned in a strong performance against Hartford, connecting on 5 of 6 treys in scoring 19 points.

 

Harris Earns Start: The only senior on the Brown squad, Jean Harris (Los Angeles, CA) returns to the Brown squad after a year-and-a half hiatus.  Harris earned a start in Brown's opener vs. Johnson & Wales and responded with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. A strong defensive player, he scored eight points vs. Albany in the NIT Season Tip-Off.  He scored 18 points against St. Francis on 7 of 7 shooting from the field, in Brown's 2009 season opening game.

 

Ponticelli Steps Up:  Junior forward Tyler Ponticelli (Northbrook, IL) stepped up his game in the Bears' season opener against Johnson & Wales with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, all career highs.  He connected on 6 of 7 field goals in 31 minutes of play.  He came back with five assists and three steals vs. Albany.

Abrecht Make Impact: Junior Steven Albrecht (Crown Point, IN) practiced with the Bears last year after transferring to College Hill from Toledo.  A long-range shooter, Albrecht hit his first trey of the Johnson & Wales game and finished with nine points and four rebounds. He started 11 of 12 games for Toledo, while averaging 11.2 points and 2.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.  While with the Rockets, Albrecht scored 20 points against Michigan State and Cornell, and 19 points vs. Cincinnati, and netted 15 or more points five times. A strong long-range shooter, Albrecht shot 41-percent (28 of 68) from behind the three-point arc.

 

Brown's Class of 2015: Head coach Jesse Agel welcomes three players to the Brown backcourt – Christian Gore, Joe Sharkey, and Longi Yiljep– and two first year players – Rafael Maia and Jon Schmidt – to the front court. Gore is a 6-2 guard from El Paso, TX, who averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game at Franklin High School.  Sharkey, the MVP of the 2011 National Prep School Championship, is a 6-2 combo guard from Norwood, MA, who averaged 15 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds per game as a senior at Northfield Mount Hermon.  A native of Samari-Zaria, Nigeria, Yiljep averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds a game as a senior at Westtown (PA) High School. Maia is a 6-9 center from Santa Cruz, Brazil, who led MCI to the Prep School Championship, while averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior. Schmidt, a 6-7 forward from Baltimore, MD, scored 1,202 career points and grabbed 1,079 rebounds at Friends School of Baltimore.

 

Bears On The Air:  Brown's entire 31-game schedule is being broadcast on WPRV-AM 790 with Scott Cordischi, the voice of Brown basketball and football, calling all the action. Former Brown basketball star Russ Tyler '71 (1,133 career points) provides the color analysis. Brown fans can also listen to the broadcast on brownbears.com.