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Providence, Rhode Island - The pre-season has finally come to a close and head coach Jesse Agel and the Brown men's basketball team will open its season on Friday, November 12, traveling to the Bronx to battle Fordham and first year head coach Tom Pecora. Game time is 8:00 p.m. at Rose Hill Gymnasium.
Agel has four of five starters returning to the lineup, but features one of the nation's youngest teams, with four seniors and eight underclassmen on the 12-man roster.
The Season Opener: Brown is opening its 105th season of intercollegiate basketball Friday evening against Fordham, facing the Rams for the sixth time. Head coach Jesse Agel is 1-1 lifetime in season opening games. Last year, the Bears defeated St. Francis, 68-64 in its season opening game. While the Rams hold a 4-1 series advantage over the Bears, Brown and Fordham last met in 1978-1979, with Brown coming out on top of a 57-54 decision in the Bronx.
Last Year's Record: Brown posted an 11-20 record last year, including a 5-9 Ivy League mark. The 31 games played were a new school record.
Team Composition: This year's men's basketball team features four seniors, no juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. Peter Sullivan, Adrian Williams, Garrett Leffelman and Chris Taylor are seniors; Tucker Halpern, Andrew McCarthy, Matt Sullivan and Tyler Ponticelli are sophomores; and Josh Biber, Sean McGonagill, Hakeem Harris and Dockery Walker are the Bears' freshmen.
Peter Sullivan – 1,000 Point Scorer: Senior All-Ivy forward Peter Sullivan (Wilmette, IL) is the fourth player in Brown basketball history to score 1,000 or more points prior to his senior year. He joins Earl Hunt '03 (2,041), Arnie Berman '72 (1,668) and Jason Forte '05 (1,597) as the only Brown players to have reached the 1,000 point milestone as juniors. Sullivan, who plays at both ends of the court, has scored 1,034 career points for the Bears, 21st best on Brown's all-time scoring list. He was the only Brown player to start all 31 games last season, setting a new Brown record for games started in a season, while averaging 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. An excellent long-range shooter, Sullivan's 125 career treys rank 10th in the Brown record book. Sullivan scored 20 or more points six times last season, including a career high 28 points against Holy Cross, connecting on 12 of 12 free throws against the Crusaders. He also registered double-doubles against Dartmouth (23 points, 11 rebounds) and American (19 points, 11 rebounds).
Brown's 1,000 Point Scorers
1. 2,041 Earl Hunt (1999-03)
2. 1,668 Arnie Berman (1969-72)
3. 1,597 Jason Forte (2001-05)
4. 1,344 Alai Nuualiitia (1999-03)
5. 1,331 Mike Cingiser (1959-62)
6. 1,328 Marcus Thompson (1985-89)
7. 1,319 Joe Tebo (1955-58)
8. 1,306 Damon Huffman (2004-08)
9. 1,294 Rick Lloyd (1988-92)
10. 1,288 Brian Saunders (1974-77)
11. 1,241 Phil Brown (1972-75)
1,241 Peter Moss (1977-80)
13. 1,190 Chuck Savage (1988-92)
14. 1,165 Mike Waitkus (1982-86)
15. 1,147 Lou Murgo (1951-55)
16. 1,134 Matt Mullery (2006-2010)
17. 1,133 Rusty Tyler (1968-1971)
18. 1,100 Mark McAndrew (2004-08)
19. 1,079 Ira James (1979-1982)
20. 1,046 Gerry Alaimo (1955-58)
21. 1,036 Peter Sullivan (2007-present)
22. 1,031 Eric Blackiston (1992-96)
23. 1,011 Brian Lloyd (1992-96)
24. 1,009 Woody Grimshaw (1944-47)
Leffelman One Of Ivy League's Top Marksmen: Senior guard Garrett Leffelman (Naperville, IL) came on strong at the end of the season, starting Brown's last 11 games, and scoring in double figures in seven of those games. He was the Ivy League's second leading marksman, shooting 55-percent from the field, while averaging 12.0 points per game in league games. He registered a career scoring high on four consecutive weekends late in the season, including a career high 20 points in Brown's last game of the year against Columbia.
Team Captains: Brown head basketball coach Jesse Agel has named seniors Peter Sullivan and Adrian Williams co-captains of this year's team.
Halpern Earns Starting Role: Sophomore forward Tucker Halpern (Brookline, MA) started 10 of 29 games year, and was Brown's third leading scorer with 8.1 points per game, while pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures nine times, and exploded for a career high 26 points against Quinnipiac where he connected on 6 of 13 treys. A two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, Halpern's 23 steals led the Bears, while he handed out 66 assists, second on the Brown team. His six treys vs. Quinnipiac rank eighth in the Brown record book for a single game.
McCarthy Blocks Shots: Sophomore forward Andrew McCarthy's (Sudbury, MA) 6.7 points per game were fifth on last year's squad, while his 4.7 rebounds a game ranked second. He blocked 33 shots, seventh best in Brown basketball history and the most ever for a first year player. McCarthy, who started 16 of 31 games, was twice named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. He scored in double figures eight times, including a career high 18 points against Siena, and grabbed double figure rebounds twice, pulling down a career best 12 rebounds against Army.
Williams Nears Top 10 In Treys: Senior guard Adrian Williams (Atlanta, GA) played in all 31 games a year ago and tossed-in a season high 17 points against Kean, hitting 5 of 7 treys. He also connected on 5 of 7 treys in scoring 15 points against Dartmouth. His 42 treys led last year's team after hitting a team high 58 treys two years ago. Williams, who has connected on 115 career three-point field goals, averaged 11.0 points per game as a sophomore. He needs 10 more treys to enter Brown's Top 10 for career treys.
Matt Sullivan Returns To Natural Position: Sophomore guard Matt Sullivan provided a major impact as a first-year player, starting 29 of 31 games. A natural two-guard for the Bears, he transitioned into Brown's starting point guard. He will return to the shooting-guard position this year. He scored in double figures six times, netting a season high 12 points against Providence and Bryant. Named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for his play against Siena and Bryant, Sullivan's 65 assists ranked third on the Brown team, handing out a career best seven assists against USP. He was also an 80-percent free throw shooter (37 of 46) for the Bears.
Bear Facts: Senior forward Chris Taylor (Plymouth, MN) played in 29 games, a year ago, earning five starts, and brings a wealth of experience to the Bears frontcourt. He pulled down a career high seven rebounds against Providence…The Bears' frontcourt will also be buoyed by the return of sophomore Tyler Ponticelli (Northbrook, IL), a power forward, who missed all of last season due to injury.
Head Coach Jesse Agel: Bears' head Coach Jesse Agel begins his third season at the helm of the Bears' basketball program with a goal of building the 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.
Brown's Class of 2014: Freshman guard/forward Josh Biber played at IMG Academy last year, and averaged 19.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Southview High School…Freshman guard Hakeem Harris is a combo guard from Blair Academy. He scored 17 points and handed out 8 assists per game his senior season…Freshman Sean McGonagill, an All-State point guard from Riverside Brookfield HS, averaged 20 points, six assists and 3 steals per game as a senior…Freshman Dockery Walker comes to Brown from Westtown (PA) High School, where the Dover, Delaware resident scored 11 points and grabbed 9.0 rebounds as a senior…Also joining the Bears is sophomore guard Stephen Albrecht, a transfer from Toledo, who averaged 11.2 points per game for the Rockets and scored 20 points vs. Michigan State and Cornell. Albrecht will sit out the 2010-11 season and will be eligible in 2011-2012.
Brothers: Last year, brothers Peter '11 and Matt '13 Sullivan were the first brother duo to start together at Brown since Don '65 and Dave '66 Tarr lettered together for two years, in 1964 and 1965, respectively.
Bears On The Air: Brown's entire schedule is being broadcast on WPRV-AM 790 with Scott Cordischi, the host of the popular Scott Cordischi on Sports, calling all the action. Former Brown basketball star Russ Tyler '71 (1,133 career points) provides the color analysis.
Home Opener: The Bears will debut at home on Saturday, November 20, against Sacred Heart. Game time is 7:00 pm at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Next Game: Brown travels to Kingston, Rhode Island for an intra-state match-up with the University of Rhode Island on Tuesday, November 16. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the Ryan Center.
Pictured: Tucker Halpern '13. photo by dspics.com