Birmingham Southern star Matty Rudak.
By John Manley
Matty Rudak was the man in Birmingham Southern’s 109-106 hoops win over Rhodes at home on Sunday. The 6-8 junior out of Kinsale, Co. Cork scored a team-high 22 points and managed a game-high 15 rebounds to pace the Panthers. He also blocked a Rhodes shot in the waning seconds of the game to preserve the victory. He clicked on nine of 12 shots from the field and four of six from the foul line. Earlier, on Friday, BSC defeated Hendrix, 104-92, with Rudak scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, including one of two 3-point attempts. The Panthers are getting their growl back at 6-10.
Illinois-Chicago is undefeated in three games in the new year. Last week, the Flames burned two University of Wisconsin branches, Green Bay, 84-73, and Milwaukee, 88-73, both in the Toddling Town. Jordan Blount, the 6-8 sophomore from Cork is firmly ensconced in the UIC starting lineup and scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 1-of-2 from the judiciary stripe in the Green Bay win. He also picked up seven rebounds, as well as five personal fouls, which brought about his early exit from the game. Against Milwaukee, he scored eight points, cashing on four of five attempts from short range. He also got credit for five rebounds and three assists as the Flames are burning brighter at 8-10.
Derrick Okunpolor got his first start of the year for Molloy College on Saturday in a 67-65 loss to Mercy in Nyack, N.Y. The 6-5 Belfast native scored eight points, canning four of six shots from close range, and garnered seven rebounds. Previously, in Wednesday’s 90-84 loss at home to Bridgeport, the junior connected on both his field goal tries to finish with four points. The Lions are limping along at 3-14.
Here’s a safe bet for you – when Colby’s Sean Gilmore enters the game, the action’s going to heat up. The 6-7 sophomore from San Francisco saw limited action in all three of the Mules’ wins last week, and managed to get whistled off the floor on one occasion. Wednesday’s 87-79 win over Pine Manor in Chestnut Hill, Mass. saw Gilmore, a veteran of the Irish national program, score eight points, hitting all three of his field goal attempts, including two from outside Doug Flutie’s old dorm. He also managed to pick up five personal fouls in just six minutes on the hardwood. The next night, the Mules hosted Maine-Farmington and sent that crew home with a 79-71 defeat. Gilmore saw 14 minutes of action, in which he scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor, took down four rebounds, blocked two shots and picked up four personals. On Sunday, Colby (10-5) enjoyed a 61-51 win over visiting Trinity (Conn.), with Gilmore going scoreless in just six minutes (he took no shots), although he assisted on two buckets and got whistled for three fouls.
Hartford improved to 10-8 with victories over Mass.-Lowell, 84-73, on Wednesday and Binghamton, 97-65, on Saturday. Both were home games. John Carroll carried much of the offensive load for the Hawks, especially in the Lowell win, in which he posted a game-high 24 points. The 6-8 junior from Dublin dropped nine of 16 shots from the floor, including one of three from long range, as well as all five free throws. He also accounted for three assists, three steals and two blocks in this game. His services weren’t required to as great an extent in the Binghamton blowout; he tallied 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including all three attempts from the shoulder of Route 84, and one of two foul shots. He also clamped five boards.
Whitney Moia came off the bench to earn a double-double as MidAmerica Nazarene routed Evangel (Mo.), 83-59, in Olathe, Kan. last Wednesday. Moia, a 6-3 junior from Dublin, scored 10 points, hitting four of six field goal attempts and both her free throws, and took down 11 caroms. She also rejected four Evangel shots. She then did likewise in a Saturday road loss, 82-81, to Central Methodist. She tallied 13 in both the points and rebounds columns, hitting six of 13 shots from the field, but only one of five from the foul line, a crucial determinant in the outcome. She also blocked five shots. The Pioneers are 14-2.
Edel Thornton was good for 10 points in Quinnipiac’s 62-56 home win over Marist on Wednesday. The junior guard from Gurranabraher, Co. Cork hit four of nine field goal attempts, including two of six from outside the three-point perimeter. She also pulled off three steals. The Bobcats have now won seven straight and are cruising along at 12-5.
India McPeak contributed to a Bowling Green victory over Utah State, 194.825-192.975, in Kentucky on Saturday. The Bangor, Co. Down senior had her team’ second best score on the balance beam. Her two performances yielded judges’ scores of 9.80 and 9.75 for a net 9.775.
Michael Craig was slotted at fourth singles for Trinity’s match with Columbia on Wednesday and the Belfast junior produced a 3-0 victory over Carter Robitaille, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9. The Bantams won the match, 6-3.
Harvard’s men won two of their three matches last week, beginning with 9-0 whitewashes of St. Lawrence and Cornell. David Ryan, in the 4 spot for Harvard, defeated St. Lawrence’s Belal Nawar, 3-1 (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-1) on Wednesday, and then moved up a rung to take out Cornell’s Jordan Brail, 3-0 (11-7, 11-0, 11-7) on Saturday. The Crimson then traveled from Ithaca to Manhattan, where they came up short, 5-4, against Columbia. Ryan, back at no. 4, dispatched Robitaille, 3-1 (11-3, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9).
The Harvard women rolled to 9-0 routs over both Cornell and Columbia over the weekend. Hannah Craig, slotted ninth in both, produced 3-0 victories over Cornell’s Lauren Leizman, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2, and Columbia’s Julia Masch, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8. Craig is a freshman from Belfast.
Drexel’s Cillian Dunne, a senior from Sutton, Dublin, won two of his three matches last week. After suffering a loss in the Dragons’ 7-2 defeat to Rochester, he and the team rebounded with 8-1 victories over Navy and Franklin & Marshall over the weekend. He worked the 8 spot against Navy’s Greg Hyer and left a 3-1 (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9) winner. Dunne then was slotted sixth against F&M’s Boden Polikoff, whom he dispatched, 3-0 (11-9, 13-11, 11-4).
Drexel’s women had just one match last week and handily defeated Franklin & Marshall, 8-1. The Irish tandem of Fiona Power and Stephanie Ryan were victorious at the sixth and eighth slots, respectively, both by 3-0 scores. Power handled Melissa Epstein, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4, while Ryan downed Clare Tompkins, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4. Power is a sophomore from Galway, while Ryan, a freshman, hails from Dublin.
After taking it on the chin against St. Lawrence in the first match of a three-part road trip, George Washington got back on the beam with victories over Bates 9-0, and Colby, 8-1 GW’s Oisin Logan was victorious in his matches at no. 3 over Bates’ McLeod Abbott, 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-3) and at no. 2 over Colby’s Elliot Gross, 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-2). Logan is a senior from Dublin.