GAME NOTES: A couple of teams searching for their first wins of the 2010-11 season hit the floor at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland this afternoon as the Iona Gaels and the Bryant Bulldogs take part in the final round of the World Vision Classic. Bryant has been fighting for respect in this event since it began on Friday and has had a hard time finding it, suffering back-to-back losses by double digits. Two days ago Bryant was taken down by host Cleveland State by a score of 71-57, but yesterday the Bulldogs completely lost their bite as they took a 90-49 tumble versus Kent State. As for the Gaels, they could have easily posted a victory over the Golden Flashes two days ago, but ended up losing a late lead and suffering a one-point setback, 73-72. On Saturday the meeting with the Vikings wasn't nearly as close as Iona was sent packing in a 78-68 final versus CSU. As far as the all-time series between these two teams is concerned, this is the first-ever meeting.
Alex Francis played 35 minutes on Saturday despite knowing that the Bulldogs were being blown away by the Golden Flashes. He finished with a double-double consisting of 11 points and a team-best 10 rebounds, although he shot just 3- of-9 from the floor and was a woeful 5-of-11 at the free-throw line. Frankie Dobbs chipped in with 11 points as well, converting 3-of-9 shots behind the three-point line where the team as a whole was just 30.8 percent accurate. For a team that finished an ugly 1-29 a season ago, the positive signs for 2010-11, at least in the early going, is that Francis is a player that the Bulldogs can follow and take guidance from, despite his young age. Although it has been just two games, Francis has gotten off to a quick start by averaging a double-double with 13.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per outing, followed by Dobbs (13.0 ppg) and Cecil Gresham (10.0 ppg), although the latter has shot just 30.4 percent in the early going.
Mike Glover exploded for 28 points and nine rebounds, converting 12-of-15 shots at the free-throw line on Saturday, yet his efforts failed to get the Gaels over the hump as they bowed by double digits versus Cleveland State on the road. Rashon Dwight was back in the starting lineup for the squad and used the opportunity to post 19 points and five assists, yet he shot only 6-of-15 from the floor. Jermel Jenkins kicked in another 10 points and four dishes, but the big problem for Iona was a lack of bench support as the reserves came up with a grand total of just four points for a squad that shot 40.4 percent from the field. Glover is clearly the one to watch at the offensive end of the floor for the Gaels this season. While it has only been two games, he is already averaging 22.0 ppg and has made an incredible 30 trips to the free- throw line, the rest of the team a combined 23 attempts at the stripe. Jenkins can be counted on for 11.5 ppg and is a solid 5-of-9 beyond the arc in the early going.
One of these teams has to break into the win column today, and with the way Glover has been lighting up the scoreboard it looks like Iona will get that chance.