Brown Basketball Hosts Bryant In Home Opener

Providence, R.I. -  After playing its opening three games on the road, head coach Mike Martin and the Brown men's basketball team will play at home for the first time, hosting cross-state rival Bryant on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 21, at the Pizzitola Sports Center.  All the action tips-off at 7:00 p.m.

Brown's Record: Playing its third straight game on the road, Brown extended its record to 2-1 overall with a 70-68 win over Maine at Alfond Arena.  Sophomore Rafael Maia scored 21 points and junior Sean McGonagill added 16 points to lead the Bears.

 

The Brown – Bryant Series Record – 12th Meeting: Brown and Bryant have met 11 times, dating back to 1985-86, with the Bears holding an 11-0 series advantage over the Bulldogs. Last year, Brown earned a 67-60 victory over the Bulldogs at the Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, R.I.

 

Maia Named Ivy Rookie of the Week:  Sophomore center Rafael Maia (Sao Paulo, Brazil) burst onto the scene with a dominant week and was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week for scoring career highs in consecutive road games against Central Connecticut and Maine. Maia opened the week with 14 points at CCSU, shooting 6 of 8 from the field, while grabbing six rebounds. He then netted 21 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in Brown's 70-68 win at Maine. For the week, Maia shot 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the field and was solid on the backboards, averaging seven per game. He also had a season-high three steals vs. Maine.

 

Did You Know?: Brown will be playing its first home game of the young season on Wednesday against Bryant…When junior Tucker Halpern stepped onto the court against CCSU, he had not donned the Brown uniform in a game since March 5, 2011 against Columbia in New York City. He finished the game with 15 points…Four Brown players are scoring in double figures: senior Matt Sullivan (16.0), junior Tucker Halpern (11.5), junior Sean McGonagill (14.3) and sophomore Rafael Maia (14.0)… Three Brown players made their collegiate debut against Binghamton – sophomore forward Rafael Maia, sophomore guard Joe Sharkey and freshman forward Cedric Kuakumensah.

 

Sullivan Takes Charge of Backcourt:  Senior tri-captain Matt Sullivan (Wilmette, IL) has led the Bears in scoring in two of three games, netting a game high 18 points, while grabbing six rebounds, against Binghamton, and coming back with a team high 18 points and five rebounds vs. Central Connecticut. He played in all 31 games last season, starting 29 times, and has started 67 of 92 career games played. Last year, he averaged 9.8 points per game and scored in double figures 17 times. He netted a career high 26 points against Albany, hitting 5-of-9 treys against the Great Danes.  He later nailed 5-of-8 treys in scoring 21 points against Columbia. Sullivan, who has scored 648 career points, is also a CoSIDA Academic All-American.

 

Head Coach Mike Martin: Former Brown basketball standout Mike Martin '04 has returned to his alma mater as the 31st head men's basketball coach in the program's 106-year history. A four-year starter at Brown, Martin was part of the winningest class in Bears' basketball history, posting a 63-45 four-year record from 2000-2004. He also helped the Class of 2004 to a school-record 39-17 Ivy League mark during that period -- the best by an Ivy League team, other than Penn and Princeton, since 1970. An Agawam, Mass., native, Martin launched his coaching career at Brown as an assistant coach in 2005-2006 and was an assistant coach at Penn for the last six years. Martin is the fourth Brown alumnus to coach the team. W.W. Reynolds '1907, Mike Cingiser '62 and Gerry Alaimo '72 have also coached at Brown, with Cingiser guiding the Bears to their only Ivy League Championship in 1986. He recently became the first Brown coach to capture his debut game since William H. Dye in 1941.

All-Ivy Sean McGonagill Headlines Backcourt:  Brown's backcourt is led by junior point guard Sean McGonagill (Brookfield, IL), a second team All-Ivy selection, who opened the 2012-13 season with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists against Binghamton. McGonagill added 16 points against Maine on Saturday. He was the Ivy League's fifth leading scorer a year ago, averaging 13.5 points per game for the Bears. The 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year handed out 157 assists to set a new Brown record, breaking the previous mark of 155 assists by Jason Forte in 2002-2003. McGonagill, who has 721 career points, scored a season high 30 points against Longwood by connecting on 6-of -10 treys. He also scored 28 points in Brown's win over Columbia, connecting on 8-of-11 field goals, and just missing a triple-double by adding eight rebounds and eight assists. Last year, McGonagill led the Ivy League in assists with 5.4 per game, which ranked 34th nationally.

Yiljep Earns Starting Role: Sophomore forward Longi Yiljep (Sanaru-Zaria, Nigeria) earned a starting role in Brown's first three games and responded against Binghamton with six points and three rebounds, and a strong defensive effort.  Last year, Yiljep scored a career high eight points in 20 minutes of play against New Hampshire, and blocked a career best three shots vs. Maine.

Maia Provides Inside Presence:  The wild card in the Bears' frontcourt is Rafael Maia (San Paulo, Brazil), a 6-9 sophomore center, who was ineligible last year due to an NCAA technicality, but practiced with the Bears.  He was named the Ivy League's Rookie of the Week after scoring 14 points vs. Central Connecticut and coming back with 21 points against Maine. His 21 points vs. Maine came on 9 of 14 shooting from the field, while also pulling down a season high eight rebounds. Maia scored 14 points vs. Central Connecticut on 6 of 8 shooting from the field, while grabbing five rebounds. Despite foul trouble in Brown's season opening win over Binghamton, Maia scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds. A native of Brazil, Maia is a talented big man with tremendous skills. He has the ability to provide a rugged inside presence, or step back and take the trey. Heading into last season, he was the preseason pick for the Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

 

Ponticelli Solid In Middle:  Brown senior forward Tyler Ponticelli (Northbrook, IL) opened the season with a solid game vs. Binghamton, grabbing four rebounds against the Bearcats.  Ponticelli played in all 31 games last year, earning 23 starts for the Bears. He scored in double figures six times, including a career high 17 points vs. Johnson & Wales. Ponticelli also pulled down a career best 10 rebounds against Cornell.

 

Schmidt Comes Off The Bench: Sophomore center Jon Schmidt (Baltimore, MD) contributed some solid minutes against Binghamton, grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes of play. He saw action in 21 games a year ago and grabbed a career best five rebounds against Hartford.  He scored a season high four points against Johnson & Wales and Columbia.

 

Captains:  Seniors Tyler Ponticelli and Matt Sullivan, along with junior Sean McGonagill are the tri-captains of the 2012-13 Brown Men's Basketball Team.

 

Welcome Back Tucker: All-Ivy junior forward Tucker Halpern (Brookline, MA) returned to the court on Thursday, 11/15/12, against Central Connecticut, completing a long road back to health. Halpern entered the game at the 10-minute mark of the first half, setting foot on the court for the first time since March 2011.  He missed all of last season and Brown's opening game vs. Binghamton following a long illness.  Halpern hit a trey on his first shot of the game and finished with 15 points, on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point arc. He also contributed against Maine with eight points. Halpern averaged 12.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Bears two years ago. He scored in double figures 19 times, 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. Halpern ranked sixth in the Ivy League in scoring with 14.3 ppg in league games.

 

Team Chemistry: This year's men's basketball team features three seniors (Matt Sullivan, Tyler Ponticelli, Steve Albrecht), two juniors (Sean McGonagill, Tucker Halpern), five sophomores (Jon Schmidt, Longji Yiljep, Joe Sharkey, Raphael Maia, Eddie Fitzpatrick) and one freshman (Cedric Kaukumensah).

 

Kuakumensah Force In The Middle: Joining the Bears frontcourt is 6-8 freshman power forward Cedric Kuakumensah (pronounced Koo-ack-a-men-sa), a rugged rebounder, who earned a starting role in Brown's first three games.  He scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds against Central Connecticut, and grabbed a game high nine rebounds, three blocked shots and four points against Binghamton. He also had four rebounds vs. Maine. A native of Worcester, Mass., he played at nearby St. Andrew's School in Barrington, Rhode Island, where he scored 1,287 points during his high school career.

Albrecht Sidelined Indefinitely: Senior guard Stephen Albrecht (Crown Point, IN) had started 24 straight games for the Bears before being slowed down due to injury late last season. He is currently sidelined indefinitely with an injury. A pure shooter, Albrecht's 60 treys led the Bears.  He knocked down six trifectas in scoring 23 points against Sacred Heart, and had 22 points against Monmouth. He also added 23 points against Yale.

Sharkey Returns: Sophomore guard Joe Sharkey (Norwood, MA) has been flying under the radar after missing all of last season due to injury.  He turned in a solid effort in his collegiate debut against Binghamton with five points, a key trey and three rebounds. He added three points in Brown's win over Maine, connecting on his only trey of the game.

 

Bear Facts:  Sophomore forward Eddie Fitzpatrick (North Attleboro, MA) has joined the Brown team after playing baseball for the Bears a year ago…Brown hosts St. Francis (NY) on Saturday, 11/24, and Sacred Heart on Thursday (11/29) to complete a three game home stand.

Bears On The Air:  Brown's entire 28-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.

 

Watch Live Video of The Bears On The Internet: Brown basketball fans can watch live video and listen to an audio feed (WPRV - AM 790) of all home games through the America One Network. All 13 home basketball games will be aired through Brown's athletic website http://brownbears.com.  Fans wanting to watch Brown events via America One will need a high-speed Internet connection and a current version of Windows Media Player. Games will be sold on an individual basis at $8 per game, or a season pass can be purchased for $75. A 30-day pass for $30 allows the viewer to watch all Brown events during a 30-day period.

Brown and Providence To Play At The Pizzitola Sports Center:  Brown will have a match-up against cross-town rival Providence College on Friday, December 28th at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Bears will be facing the BIG EAST Friars at home for the first time since November 30, 1982 when the two teams met at Marvel Gymnasium. Special ticket packages for the PC game and all Brown home games are available at the Brown Ticket Office, located at the Pizzitola Sports Center Box Office, by calling 401-863-2773, or by visiting BrownBears.com.

 

Next Game:  The Bears are home again on Saturday, November 24, hosting St. Francis (NY) in a matinee start (2:00 p.m.) at the Pizzitola Sports Center.

 

 
 Pictured:  Tyler Ponticelli '13.  photo by Tim Sullivan