St. Joe's Pat Carroll shoots way to Big 5 HOF

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St. Joe's Pat Carroll shoots way to Big 5 HOF

Pat Carroll was introduced Monday night at the Palestra as Saint Joseph's all-time three-point record holder.

Almost immediately, he had to correct the evening's emcee, Harry Donahue.

As Carroll told everyone, the record for made threes by a Hawk isn't his anymore. It belongs to some kid he's been coaching and mentoring the last four years.

Here's one thing no one will ever be able to take away from him:

Carroll was inducted to the Big 5 Hall of Fame Monday night, alongside Penn's Michael Jordan, La Salle's Crista Ricketts and long-time sportswriter Dick "Hoops" Weiss.

"The Big 5 is the most unique, legendary organization in college basketball," Carroll said, before thanking those who voted him to the hall for "waiving defense" as a requirement.

Carroll, 31, has retired from basketball and now works in the pharmaceutical industry for Merck. He and his wife, Amanda, are expecting their third child in July.

"They're going to outnumber us," he said. "We might have to go to zone defense. Man-to-man's not going to cut it."

That's how much time has passed since St. Joe's perfect regular season and run to the Elite Eight in 2004, Carroll's junior year.

It's one thing to be a great shooter; it's another to be a great shooter on a team with Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. Those three probably would have gotten to the Final Four, too -- if Carroll hadn't cut his fingernails before the Oklahoma State game. If you're a Saint Joe's fan and don't get the reference, you probably don't want to click here to find out.

But 10 years later, Carroll and his former head coach, Phil Martelli, are able to laugh at the fingernail quip, even as Carroll calls the game "the most heartbreaking loss" of his career.

"A lot of us kind of went our separate ways after college," he said, referring to his teammates from the '04 team. "But recently, we're all in contact now. Jameer, Delonte -- who was just inducted into the St Joe's Hall of Fame -- there's about 10 of us on a group text. Jameer, Delonte, John Bryant, Dwayne Jones. Basically 10 players from that team and a lot of funny texts going back and forth.

"It's good to keep in touch."

Carroll has found himself revisiting that 2004 season often over the last few months. The Wichita State Shockers completed an undefeated regular season of their own this year before being eliminated by Kentucky in the Round of 32.

"I felt happy for [Wichita]," he said. "I actually spoke with a couple reporters from Kansas that would look at the similarities. It brought back so many memories. … For any team, no matter who you are, to go through an undefeated season is incredible. But at a non-BCS school, it's once in a lifetime."

Back on Hawk Hill, St. Joe's made it back to the NCAAs this season for only the second time since that famed run.

And back on Hawk Hill is exactly where Carroll finds himself. He's a graduate student studying organizational development and leadership -- and serving as an informal shooting coach for one specific player.

"As soon as I got there, I reached out to him," said St. Joe's senior Langston Galloway. "Pat's a great guy. I reached out to him because I wanted to get my shot better. … We'd do some drills that he used to do and showed me a few things."

And then he broke Carroll's records?

"And then I broke his records," he answered.

On Jan. 25 in a 77-62 win over Richmond, Galloway made the 295th three-pointer of his career, one more than Carroll's 294. The new record stands at 343. After No. 295, Galloway sent Carroll a text.

"I told him he set the bar high," Galloway said.

A little less than a month later, on Feb. 22, Galloway went 10 of 15 from behind the arc, setting a new St. Joe's single-game record for threes and breaking another mark that used to belong to Carroll, who once made nine.

"There's probably not a better kid on or off the court," Carroll said. "I'm just happy for him -- obviously not for breaking my records -- but there's not a better kid that you would wish to do that."

Everything came full circle Monday night, with Carroll going into the Big 5 hall as Galloway was recognized as the Big 5's leading scorer. The latter even found out he's been invited to play in this week's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament -- a hotbed for NBA scouts.

"This is definitely special," Galloway said. "Pat's always going to be my friend and he's just like family. We're always going to talk no matter where we're at. He's always going to be just like a brother."

Carroll will finish up his graduate degree and then look to potentially return to basketball in some capacity. He's been running youth camps for a few years along with his brother, Matt, formerly of Notre Dame and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Carroll even mused Monday night about a possible future in coaching.

But at least for a little while, if you find yourself at the corner of City Line and 54th, there's a chance you might run into a left-handed, lanky grad student who looks a whole lot like Pat Carroll.

"You're always looking for ways for the players to indicate to you that they made the right choice coming out of high school," Martelli said. "My point has always been that once you decide on St. Joseph's, that's your decision for 40 years.

"And Pat is really living that and showing people that he had a special experience. He's well thought of around campus, above and beyond all the shots that he made, just the way he conducted himself.

"He'll carry the name of a Hawk with him forever."

Hall of Famers
Joining Carroll in the 2014 Hall of Fame class ...

• Michael Jordan was the 1997 Ivy League rookie of the year and the 2000 Ivy League player of the year. A three-time first-team All-Ivy selection, Jordan, along with backcourt running mate Matt Langel, led Penn to back-to-back league titles in 1999 and 2000. He graduated third on the Quakers' all-time scoring list with 1,604 points and second in assists with 469, behind only current Penn head coach Jerome Allen. Jordan is now an assistant coach to Langel at Colgate. "I used to tell him what to do on the court," Jordan said. "Now he's telling me what to do."

• Crista Ricketts was named first-team All-Big 5 in each of her four seasons on Olney Ave. She's second in La Salle history in made free throws (453), third in defensive rebounds (459), third in total points (1,645), and fourth in points per game (15.1). Ricketts played at La Salle from 2003-2007 before exploring the pro game overseas in Spain, Portugal and Austria.

• Dick Weiss is one of just two men to be inducted into both the U.S. football writers Hall of Fame and U.S. basketball writers Hall of Fame. Weiss, a Philadelphia native, worked for the Philadelphia Daily News for over two decades before joining the New York Daily News in 1993. He recently covered his 42nd Final Four.

Award winners
The following coaches and players were also honored Monday night in the Big 5's year-end awards ceremony. One the men's side ...

Team champions: Villanova Wildcats

Player of the year: James Bell, Villanova
Rookie of the year: DeAndre Bembry, St. Joe's
Coach of the year: Jay Wright, Villanova

Most improved player: James Bell, Villanova
Leading scorer: Langston Galloway, St. Joe's
Leading free throw shooter: Dalton Pepper, Temple
Scholar athlete: Jimmy McDonnell, Temple

First-team
James Bell, Villanova
Tyreek Duren, La Salle
Langston Galloway, St. Joe's
Halil Kanacevic, St. Joe's
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova

Second-team
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Will Cummings, Temple
Darrun Hilliard, Villanova
Dalton Pepper, Temple
Ronald Roberts Jr., St. Joe's
Jerrell Wright, La Salle

And for the women …

Team champions: St. Joe's

Player of the year: Alyssa Baron, Penn
Rookie of the year: Sydney Stipanovich, Penn
Coach of the year: Mike McLaughlin, Penn

Most improved player: Sarah Fairbanks, St. Joe's
Leading scorer: Erin Shields, St. Joe's
Leading free throw shooter: Erin Shields, St. Joe's
Scholar athlete: Erin Shields, St. Joe's

First-team
Alyssa Baron, Penn
Natasha Cloud, St. Joe's
Alicia Cropper, La Salle
Devon Kane, Villanova
Erin Shields, St. Joe's

Second-team
Karen Bonenberger, Penn
Caroline Coyer, Villanova
Sarah Fairbanks, St. Joe's
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple
Emily Leer, Villanova

Temple vs. SMU: Get ready for offensive firepower in AAC opener

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Temple vs. SMU: Get ready for offensive firepower in AAC opener

Temple (2-2, 0-0 AAC) vs. SMU (2-2, 0-0 AAC)
Lincoln Financial Field
Saturday, Noon, ESPNews

If recent history tells us anything, we should expect to see some crooked numbers on Lincoln Financial Field’s scoreboard Saturday afternoon when SMU visits Temple in the conference opener for each team.

The last two times these AAC programs have met, the final scores have wound up 59-49 (a SMU win in Dallas in 2013) and 60-40 (a Temple win in Dallas last season).

Temple is coming off a 48-20 homecoming demolition of Charlotte. The game was basically over early in the second quarter, a frame in which the Owls scored 28 points to blow away the 49ers. SMU is coming off a 33-3 home loss to in-state rival TCU. The Mustangs hung tough for the first half and the score was 6-3 at the break, but the Big 12 powerhouse Horned Frogs took over in the second half.

Weather could play a factor Saturday, though, as current forecasts call for a chance of scattered thunderstorms in the Philadelphia area all afternoon.

Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s the matchup.

Scouting Temple
The Owls’ offense has been in a much-needed groove since the second half of the narrow loss at Penn State two weeks ago.

Last week, Walker went 15 of 26 for 268 yards and two touchdowns – a 51-yard bomb to Adonis Jennings and a 40-yard quick strike to Brodrick Yancy. On the season, Walker has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 846 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite target has been Keith Kirkwood, who has 14 grabs for 191 yards and two touchdowns through four games.

It should be no coincidence that Temple’s offensive revival has come with the return of star senior running back Jahad Thomas, who missed the first two games of the year with a dislocated left thumb. In the two games Thomas has played, he’s got 127 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Sophomore Ryquell Armstead, who also has four rushing scores, leads the Owls with 166 yards on the ground. Last year against SMU, then-freshman Jager Gardner ripped off a school-record 94-yard touchdown run.

One other offensive note: Temple head coach Matt Rhule was finally pleased with his offensive line after the way it played against Charlotte. Earlier this week, he praised offensive line coach George DeLeone and the job he’s done recently trying to get work out the issues on the line. The Owls didn’t give up a sack last week. True freshman Matt Hennessy started at left guard last week while redshirt sophomore Jaelin Robinson saw time at right tackle. Don’t be surprised if they see significant playing time again.

Two things have concerned Rhule defensively – a lackluster pass rush and the tendency to give up big plays.

Through four games, the Owls have yet to establish any sort of consistent pass rush. They have just four sacks through four games. They had 10 in last year’s opener against Penn State alone. The good news for Temple’s pass rush is that SMU starts a freshman QB and his given up nine sacks through four games, so opportunities to disrupt the pocket should be there on Saturday.

Temple’s defense has allowed 10 plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage this season, including a 66-yard touchdown run by Charlotte’s Kalif Phillips last week.

Injury-wise, the Owls are relatively healthy. Sophomore wideout Ventell Bryant, who was believed to be dealing with a shoulder injury, announced on his Instagram this week that he’d been cleared to play.

Scouting SMU
The Mustangs’ rebuilding efforts took a big hit during the first game of the season when senior quarterback Matt Davis, who played very well against Temple last season and hurt the Owls with both his arm and legs, was lost for the year with a knee injury. Redshirt freshman Ben Hicks has stepped in and his tenure so far hasn’t been so hot. He’s completed just 50 percent of his passes this year and has thrown just two touchdowns compared to seven picks.

Despite the inexperience and lack of production at quarterback, SMU will still push the tempo with a fast-paced offense that can rip off chunks of yardage instantly and averages 448 yards per game. A big reason for that is the play of sophomore wideout Cortland Sutton, who has 449 receiving yards and four touchdowns already this season. Sutton, whom Rhule had very high praise for earlier this week, averages 24.9 yards per reception. Sophomore tailback Braeden West is no slouch, either. He’s averaged 93.8 yards per game on the ground this season and has two rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, SMU has a couple of ballhawks in its secondary. The Mustangs are tied for tops in the nation with 10 interceptions through four games. Sophomore corner Jordan Wyatt is tied for the team lead in picks with three and also leads the Mustangs with 25 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Walker will have to be wary of where Wyatt is at on the field. Senior Horace Richardson also has three picks already for the Mustangs.

While SMU’s takeaway numbers are pretty, the Mustangs’ total defense numbers are ugly. They give up an average of 449.8 yards per game, which ranks 98th out of 128 teams in the FBS. The 27 points the Mustangs allow per game are good 70th in the FBS.

History
Saturday will mark the third meeting between the schools in the last four years and fifth overall. As mentioned above, the two teams combined for 208 points the last two times they’ve met. Those last two meetings have been the only meetings between Temple and SMU that have had definitive finals. They tied in both 1942 (6-6) and 1947 (7-7). So feel free to call Saturday’s game a rubber match.

Storyline to watch: Second test for Temple's secondary
Thus far this season, Temple has faced a triple-option team in Army, an FCS team in Stony Brook, a weapon-filled offense in Penn State and a second-year FBS team in Charlotte. Needless to say, Penn State was the only true test Temple's defense, specifically the new-look secondary, has had to face and it didn't go so well, especially in the first half when the Nittany Lions tore the Owls apart with slant plays for huge chunks of yardage. While the Owls' defense calmed down, the Nittany Lions still finished with 287 passing yards and 403 total yards. Temple's secondary will have its next test on Saturday with Sutton and SMU's receivers. Corners Derrek Thomas, Artrel Foster and Nate Hairston and safety Delvon Randall have a prime opportunity to gain more confidence against a young quarterback with a tendency to make mistakes. Junior safety Sean Chandler is still the unquestioned leader of the group.

What’s at stake: Getting conference play started on the right foot
If the Owls want to be taken as a serious threat to repeat in the AAC East, this is a game they have to have against an inferior SMU team. This is the first of nine straight AAC games, and even though SMU is in the AAC West, this game is still a tonesetter for rest of conference play. The Owls don’t want to fall behind right off the bat. And they really don’t want to fall behind right of the bat this week, with a short week and travel to Memphis for a game on Thursday looming. Yes, that’s two games in five days coming up for Temple.

Prediction
Even if the weather doesn’t hold out, points will be scored at the Linc on Saturday. Just not as many as the past couple of years. At this point in time, Temple just has more talent and it looks like the Owls are finally getting things in sync. Temple 38, SMU 21

No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

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No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

No. 17 Villanova (3-1, 1-0) at Elon (2-2, 1-0)
Rhodes Stadium, Elon, N.C.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Climbing in the national rankings, Villanova looks for its fourth straight win this weekend in a road CAA contest. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
After a season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, the Wildcats have won three straight, including a 31-14 rout of Lafayette last week. The Wildcats’ defense continued to flex its muscle in that victory with senior defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon scoring on a 25-yard fumble return to go along with his two sacks and sophomore linebacker Jeff Steeb returning an interception 45 yards for a TD. For the season, Villanova’s defense has now scored four touchdowns in four games while its rushing defense ranks 21st in the country, allowing just over 100 yards per game. Offensively, running backs Aaron Forbes and Javon White formed a nice tandem last week with both scoring and Forbes running for a career-high 111 yards on 11 carries.

Scouting Elon
The Phoenix bounced back from two straight losses to start the year with a home rout of Fayetteville State and a massive 27-10 road win over nationally ranked William & Mary last week. Just its second victory over over a top-10 FCS program, Elon was led by a 120-yard, two-TD rushing game from Malcolm Summers and an opportunistic defense that intercepted three passes. Elon does have some question marks offensively with several underclassmen in prominent roles, including sophomore Daniel Thompson, who took over for the injured Connor Christiansen at quarterback after the first game. But Elon’s passing offense still ranks third in the CAA with 206.5 yards per game.

Series history
This will be Villanova’s first-ever game vs. Elon, which joined the CAA in 2014.

Storyline to watch
Kpassagnon, an NFL prospect, was the biggest reason why Villanova extended its winning streak to three, putting all kinds of pressure on Lafayette and setting the tone by scoring a defensive touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. He’ll have a chance to do that again and try to rattle a young quarterback early. And he may need to have another big game in what figures to be a low-scoring affair between two hot defenses.

What’s at stake?
Elon and Villanova are among six teams that are 1-0 in the conference, meaning the winner of this game could rise to the top of the conference after just two games.

Prediction
Elon’s win last week was very impressive, but it seems unlikely that this young Phoenix squad can knock off two nationally ranked teams in a row. Villanova 24, Elon 14.