Thoughts from the Connecticut 6 Classic

Got to see a little college basketball on Saturday, watching Sacred Heart rally from a 24-point second half deficit to beat Yale in overtime, 85-82 and then seeing Fairfield somehow win despite itself, hanging to nip Central Connecticut 64-63 in overtime, while making 19 turnovers.
Some quick thoughts:
Shane Gibson is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season for the Pioneers. The senior had 29 points against the Bulldogs, shooting 11 of 21 from the floor. He hit from the outside (three 3-pointers) and constantly attacked the basket, driving the lane to score. For fun, he threw in a block and six rebounds in 38 minutes. I don’t know how good SHU’s going to be this season, but Gibson is going to be worth the price of admission every night.
I don’t know why he didn’t start, but center Justin Swidowski came off the bench to score 17 points, grab four rebounds and make two steals in 23 minutes. Also, Louis Montes added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes. PG Phil Gaetano (6 assists) looks like a scrapper and Nick Greenbacker did some things (he has to do a lot more, through) in his 17 minutes.
Thay Yale win was head coach Dave Bike’s 1,000th game as head coach. I started covering Bike and the Pioneers in November of 1982 when I started working at the Fairfield Citizen-News, so that means I’ve probably been around for 600, 700 of those games.
Man, I’m old.
SHU plays tonight at Rutgers

As for Fairfield …
You would think after three seasons that Derek Needham would be a little more careful with the ball, especially now that Desmond Wade is running the point. Nope. Needham committed seven turnovers, making one mistake after the other. Hello, Derek! You can’t drive into traffic, get surrounded by three defenders and expect to make a pass. Take it all the way to the basket!! That being said, Needham fought through leg cramps (again, Gatorade and bananas before the game) and managed 18 points.
I though the new center, Josip Mikulic (say that three times real fast) did some good things with 12 points and eight rebounds. If he could give the Stags those kids of numbers on a nightly basis … wow. Yes, the kid needs to get used to the speed and the athleticism of the Division I college game but there’s potential there. Lots of potential. I saw it and Stags coach Sydney Johnson’s eyes were lighting up as we talked about it after the game. “There’s something there,” Johnson said.
I know Wade is the point guard now but that’s no excuse not to shoot the ball. Wade only took two shots and didn’t score (4 turnovers, 4 assists) battling foul trouble all night. (he fouled out after playing just 22 minutes). Not a very good first game at all.
And why is Colin Nickerson only taking four shots. I have never in my life seen a player pass up as many shots as Nickerson does. There are times when he’s WIDE OPEN and he passes the ball away. I tweeted during the game that Nickerson should be taking at least 10 shots a game – he’s probably the best pure shooter on the team – and if he doesn’t, Johnson should either bench him, or spank him. Against CCSU, he took four shots – four – and made two. He did make all four of his free throws and score 10 points but the kid could be a 15- or 17-point scorer every night. It’s you senior year, Colin, wake up and smell the basket.
It was nice to see Keith Matthews attack the basket. He took 14 shots (holy cow!) making six and finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds. Whatever you drinking, Keith, make sure you give some of it to Maurice Barrow, who only took seven shots and scored seven points in 35 minutes. He also had seven rebounds but this guy should be a double-double machine.
Fairfield plays tonight at Virginia in the Preseason NIT.

Finally, I wrote about the Connecticut 6 tournament for today. For some reason, I simply could not find the attendance for the 2011 event at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Thanks to Fairfield SID Jack Jones, who looked it up (I don’t know where) and found that 3,477 showed up that day.
So, for the four CT 6 Classics, attendances were:
2009 – Arena at Harbor Yard – 3,106
2010 – Mohegan Sun Arena – 3,829
2011 – Mohegan Sun Arena – 3,477
2012 – Chase Family Arena, Univ. of Hartford – 3,186