Riding the momentum of its first winning streak of the season, the men’s basketball team will travel to Providence, R.I., to square off against Brown (6-8, 0-0 Ivy) in the conference opener for both squads tonight at 7 p.m.
Although plagued with inconsistency throughout the non-conference portion of their schedule — a win over the Pac-10’s Oregon State (6-8), for example, coupled with a loss against Division 1 newcomer Bryant (2-15) — the Bulldogs (5-9, 0-0) are playing arguably their best ball of the season heading into the all-important 14-game conference schedule.
With only one NCAA tournament bid given to a low-major conference such as the Ivy League each season, the non-conference schedule proves to be just a tuneup for the portion of the season that really matters. And coming off three consecutive victories — most recently a 71-63 home win over Hartford (6-11) — the Bulldogs seem to be peaking at just the right time.
The Elis boast three double-digit scorers, led by guard Alex Zampier’s ’10 14.2 points per game average. Captain and forward Ross Morin ’09 is averaging 13.8 ppg and forward Travis Pinick ’09 is third at 10.1 ppg and leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 6.3 per contest.
The emergence of Pinick, a second team All-Ivy selection last season, in the previous handful of contests has been instrumental in the team’s success. In the Bulldogs’ six games over winter break, Pinick averaged 13.2 ppg and 7.3 rpg — including 14 points and nine boards in last Saturday’s win over Hartford.
Brown is led by the conference’s fourth-leading scorer, 6-foot-8 forward Matt Mullery, who is averaging 14.8 ppg and is 10th in the league in rebounding with 5.2 rpg.
Sophomore guard Adrian Williams is second on the Bears and 10th in the Ancient Eight in scoring, averaging 13.1 ppg, while senior forward Chris Skrelja is second in the conference in rebounding, averaging 6.9 rpg.
The two squads will finish their season series on Jan. 23 when the Bulldogs host the Bears at 7 p.m.