My Thanksgiving college basketball Feast Week started with a matchup between Rutgers and Temple at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on Friday November 18th. I watched the game with an NBA Scout. He was there to watch Khalif Battle, a redshirt sophomore from NJ who transferred to Temple after beginning his college career at Butler in 2019. Battle fractured his 5th metatarsal ending his 2021-22 season at Temple. The scout was wondering why Battle wasn’t a starter for Temple in the 1st and 2nd halves. Battle led Temple to a 72-66 win with 24 points on 8 for 17 shooting with three 3 pointers. In the post game press conference I asked Battle about not starting both halves. He answered, “I played 31 minutes (officially 31:41). Those are starters minutes.” My takeaway was he cared about winning not starting. In the nightcap of the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase Iona handled Vermont winning 71-50.
The next day was the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun. It opened with St. Louis playing Maryland at 1pm Saturday November 19th. Maryland over powered the Billikens leading 51-27 at half. The NBA scout liked Maryland’s Donta Scott a Senior from Philadelphia. Scott had 25 points and 5 rebounds as MD beat St.Louis 95-67. Miami handled Providence College and their home court advantage in the second Tip-Off Tourney Semifinal. The local College brought their band, dance team, cheerleaders and loads of fans to the 4pm game. Miami won the first half 38-26 and held on to win 74-64.
Sunday November 20th started with the Tournament Final between Miami and Maryland at 1pm. Once again MD started fast with a 47-34 first half. They finished off the game with a 41-36 second half to win the Basketball HOF Tip-Off Championship 88-70. NBA prospect Donta Scott again led MD with 24 points and 8 rebounds. The consolation game between Providence and St. Louis followed Maryland’s championship. It turned out to be the most competitive game of three days at Mohegan Sun. St. Louis overcame a 13 point second half deficit to beat Providence 76-73. St. Louis was led by Yuri Collins a Junior from St. Louis. He scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting with 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
My Thanksgiving Hoop Feast Week ended on Friday November 25th at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY with the Gotham Classic. St. Bonaventure came into the game with a 3-2 record while their opponent Notre Dame was 5-0. The Bonnies jumped out to a 31-20 lead at halftime and held on to win 63-51 at the billion dollar Arena at Belmont Park. In the postgame press conference I asked the Bonnies sophomore guard Kyrell Luc how it felt to hit two big 3 point shots down the stretch. He had 16 points shooting 4 for 6 from the 3 point land. To Kyrell’s right sat 6 foot 10 inch Chad Venning, a redshirt sophomore from Brooklyn. Chad had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Kyrell gave the perfect answer. “I didn’t get too excited. I hope it inspired our team. It was kick outs from Chad that got me open. Just playing off each other.” Kyrell gets it. There’s no “l” in “team.”