College Hoops Monday Recap: Yarou Out For the Year?

    
December 1st, 2009

According to numerous outlets including FOX Sports' Jeff Goodman this is indeed the case, with the highly touted freshman forward out of Benin by way of Montrose Christian missing the remainder of the season with an undisclosed medical issue. Yarou played in the first two games of the season but was sent home from the Wildcats' trip to Puerto Rico due to a viral infection. This would be a significant loss for Jay Wright's team and the frontcourt rotation becomes thinner.

Antonio Peña, who played well in Puerto Rico, will be looked to for more production and the same goes for the likes of Taylor King, Isaiah Armwood and Maurice Sutton. But Coach Wright also has a number of bodies in the backcourt, which affords him the luxury of being able to go small if necessary. Losing Yarou is a blow to the Wildcats' chances but the injury is coming early in the season, allowing them the time to tinker with their rotation before they hit Big East play.

Three Key Happenings

1. Penn State gets a win for the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions nearly blew it but they were able to ultimately escape Virginia with a 69-66 win, putting the Big Ten up 1-0 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Talor Battle scored twenty-eight points in the second half and with four minutes remaining the Lions held a 55-43 edge. But Cavaliers closed strong, getting to within 67-66 with just under six seconds remaining. Battle's two foul shots provided the final margin but not before some anxiety on the visiting bench. Sylven Landesburg led the Cavaliers with eighteen but this was nearly a case of "here we go again" for the Big Ten. Talor Battle made sure that wasn't the case. 

2. Two good stories to keep an eye on: Army and Stony Brook. Yes Monday was a light night on the schedule, so we may as well take a look at some schools that don't normally end up on the highlight shows. The Black Knights and Seawolves each have 5-1 records and while Steve Pikiell's team was expected to be a factor in America East not much was expected of Army. The school fired head coach Jim Crews just weeks before the start of practice, hiring Zach Spiker from Cornell.

What has ensued is a story that hasn't even scratched the surface, and a team that returned essentially every key contributor outside of Jarell Brown has played good basketball. Cleveland Richard and Ella Ellis led the way in their 64-58 win over Bryant and while a win over the Bulldogs isn't particularly impressive the Black Knights could have used the coaching change as a crutch. They haven't. With players such as Muhammad El-Amin, Bryan Dougher and Tommy Brenton Stony Brook will likely have more staying power but both have played well to start the season. 

3. St. Mary's begins their three-game road swing with a comeback. The Gaels didn't get off to the best of starts at San Jose State, going into the locker room down 45-33 at the half. Whatever message Randy Bennett delivered to his team during the intermission clearly worked, as the Gaels outscored the Spartans 45-26 in the second stanza on their way to the 78-71 victory. Mickey McConnell led SMC with nineteen points while Omar Samhan added a double-double with twelve points and thirteen boards. With their next two games being at Utah State and at Oregon this was a game that St. Mary's needed to get given how tough it can be to win in either of those arenas. The win won't do much for their profile but it's a lot better than having to deal with the damage that a loss could have done. 

Top Three Games

1. Navy 65, Quinnipiac 62 Chris Harris led the Midshipmen with thirty-one points, including a half-court shot that banked in at the buzzer to give Navy the win in Annapolis. James Feldeine led the Bobcats with 24 points, scoring eighteen in the second half. 

2. Penn State 69, Virginia 66 See above. 

3. Hofstra 84, Fairfield 80 A shootout in Hempstead with Charles Jenkins scoring thirty-eight for the winners while three Stags scored at least 22 points (Derek Needham, fresh off of being named MAAC Rookie of the Week, led Fairfield with 26).  

Three Notable Performances

1. G Charles Jenkins (Hofstra) Jenkins went off on Fairfield, making twelve of his seventeen shots on his way to a 38-point effort. 

2. G Chris Harris (Navy) Scoring thirty-one points is one thing. But when you bank in the game-winner from half court you deserve mention. 

3. G Talor Battle (Penn State) Battle scored twenty-eight of his 32 points in the second half and the Nittany Lions needed every one of those points in their 69-66 win over Virginia. 

Thoughts? Additions? Feel free to add them below.