Huskies Win Hall of Fame Tipoff

November 24th, 2014

By: Josh Brown

After impressive wins over Boston University and Florida State to open up the season, the Northeastern Men’s Basketball Team (4-0) took home some hardware over the weekend, defeating Navy and Manhattan on back to back days to win the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The 4-0 start is the first time the Huskies have met that mark since the 2005-2006 season.

“It’s something that will help us build our confidence going forward,” said Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen after Sunday’s victory.

In the first round on Saturday, the Huskies were matched up with a struggling Navy team who had lost their first three games heading into the contest.

Senior Scott Eatherton led the way for Northeastern in the first half, scoring 13 points and grabbing 4 rebounds en route to a 30-23 lead after the opening 20.

“Scott came through in a big way tonight,” said Coen. “I thought his presence was felt both on the boards and around the basket. He did a nice job of getting himself involved and also getting his teammates involved.”

In the second half the flood gates opened up for the Huskies, outscoring Navy 38-21 in the frame to give the team a 68-44 win.

Quincy Ford led the way for Northeastern in the second half scoring all 8 of his points in the frame, including two three pointers. T.J. Williams also played well for the Huskies registering 11 points of his own in 38 minutes. Eatherton ended up with a game high 19 points and 8 rebounds.

Northeastern walk-on Caleb Donnelly scored his first collegiate basket late in the game, sinking a three pointer to give the Huskies a 24 point lead.

“He’s [Donnelly] been working really hard,” said Eatherton. “He’s really helped us in practice. He’s been challenging T.J., all the guards. It was great to see all the hard work pay off.”

The Huskies on a quick turnaround were matched up with the Manhattan Jaspers Sunday night, who beat Binghamton 78-63 to advance to the championship game. The Jaspers lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season to Louisville.

Northeastern wasted no time getting to work, outscoring the Jaspers 44-24 in the first half, tying their highest scoring half of the season from the second half of the BU game at the Garden.

Scott Eatherton and Zach Stahl were unstoppable for the Huskies, scoring 14 points and grabbing three rebounds a piece in the half.

“I thought the first half was probably the best half of basketball we’ve played all season,” Coen said. “We really shared the basketball. We took care of the ball outside of the first couple minutes. [We] handled their pressure the way we wanted to, and got real quality shots.

Northeastern, who has several coaches watching Manhattan’s first game on Saturday, had an answer for everything the Jasper’s were trying to run.

“I’ve got to give credit to my staff,” Coen said. “They work really really hard at every phase of the game, particularly game preparation. As a coach you want to give your team an edge, and I thought they did that with the scout today.”

Manhattan tried to claw their way back in the second half, behind a pesky defense which led Northeastern to commit 14 turnovers (23 in the game) but it was not enough as the Huskies were able to hang on for the 65-51 win.

Eatherton finished the game with 22 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Stahl who had 16 points and 8 rebounds of his own. Quincy Ford pitched in with 9 points (all on three point shots) and 6 rebounds to help Northeastern secure the win.

“Overall I thought everybody who stepped on the court did a really fine job for us,” Coen said.

The Huskies take the court again Wednesday when they travel to to the 4-1 University of Massachusetts Minutemen. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

jbrown The Dog Pound

Northeastern Earns Second Win of the Season, Defeats Merrimack 3-1.

November 23rd, 2014

By: Jeremy Leopold

A disciplined Northeastern hockey team showed up at Mathew’s Arena Saturday night to take down a red- hot Merrimack team, and split the season series, after loosing to the Warriors 4-2 on Saturday.

First period goals from John Stevens and Dalen Hedges proved to be the difference for the Huskies en route to the 3-1 win. Northeastern controlled the pace of play for most of the game in large part to staying out of the box. Northeastern, who coming in to the game led Hockey East in penalty minutes, only committed one penalty the entire game.

“There’s been a major emphasis the past few weeks on [not taking penalties] and last night it just got to a point where, you know, ‘enough is enough boys’ and the guys responded… I thought we had [discipline] tonight in our systems and in our actions,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan.

In addition to playing a more disciplined game, the Huskies dominated the dot, winning the face off battle 49-23.

“I think for the majority of the game it looked like the refs were throwing the puck back to their d’ on face offs. Obviously they weren’t, but our centers weren’t really doing a great job, our wingers weren’t doing a great job, and we’re losing a lot of draws, I mean that’s as bad as we can be in face offs,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy.

John Stevens got things started for the Huskies just 2:14 in to the game. Stevens received a pass from his brother Nolan in the slot and beat freshman goaltender Colin Delia high to the glove side for his first goal of the season. Delia was playing in place of Rasumus Tirronen who was pulled just 20 seconds in to Friday night’s game and did not dress for this game.

Eight minutes later, on a Northeastern power play, Dalen Hedges added to the lead. Hedges corralled a rebound on his backhand in the slot, spun back to his forehand and wristed it by Delia high on the blocker side to notch his team leading ninth point of the season.

Merrimack got on the board early in the second when Justin Mansfield took a pass in the slot from Hampus Gustafsso and eeked it past Clay Witt off the left post for his fourth goal of the year.

Merrimack played well for the rest of the second as well with a few good chances. Mathieu Tibbet rang post halfway through the period after a flurry of shots from Merrimack and later missed an open net on a two on one rush.

“They’re playing desperate hockey. You know whether it’s a tug here, beating us in a foot race there or a block shot there,” said Dennehy. “We did it in spurts and I thought we had a really good second period and I thought parts of the third were good. We didn’t do it consistently enough.”

Madigan agrees that Merrimack had a better second period but he thought Northeastern really played well in the third.

“[The] second period wasn’t a great period for us. Then I thought in the third period that we played really smart, did a lot of little things well,” said Madigan.

The line that played especially well throughout the game, but the third period in particular, was the third line of John and Nolan Stevens and Ryan Rosenthal who had only had five shots on the night combined but all were good scoring chances.

“We’ve definitely been clicking as a line and finding some chemistry,” said John Stevens. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Mike Szmatula netted an empty netter with 1:22 remaining in the third period to push the lead to the final tally 3-1

For Merrimack the loss drops them to 8-4-1 (4-3-0) on the season.

On the flip side, Northeastern’s win moves them to 2-9-1 (2-5-1) on the year. With the rough start they still have quite a mountain to climb the rest of the year. A win at Matthew’s against a Hockey East opponent is a good way to start.

“We’re certainly coming from a little bit behind because of our poor start but you got to get points each and every weekend series, and, you know, I was happy with the two points here tonight,” said Madigan “We will get back to work on Monday or Tuesday. There’s a lot of things we can do to sure up our game.”

jbrown The Dog Pound

Huskies Earn First Win of Season Against UNH

November 17th, 2014

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON- Huskies fans can breathe again.

After starting the season winless in the teams first nine games, Northeastern received goals from two newcomers to defeat the University of New Hampshire (4-6-0, 1-3-0 in Hockey East) 2-1 Saturday night at Matthews Arena.

Northeastern (1-8-1, 1-4-1 in Hockey East) received 35 saves from senior Clay Witt, who returned to the ice Friday night in the Huskies 5-3 loss to New Hampshire, after missing six games with a lower-body injury.

“Clay Witt was outstanding for us,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “I thought we just fed off his confidence.”

Freshman Adam Clark started in net for New Hampshire, stopping 31 shots a night after defeating the Huskies in his home building.

“Disappointed that we had an opportunity to win on the road and get a sweep, which is very difficult in this league,” said Wildcats coach Dick Umile.

Despite both teams getting a shot on the power play in the first period, neither team could find the back of the net leaving the score tied at zero after the first period of play.

The Wildcats had the first three opportunities on the man-advantage in the second period, but could not crack Witt on a night where the Huskies killed off every penalty for the first time this season.

New Hampshire out-shot Northeastern 18-5 in the second frame, but like the first period both team’s failed to slip one by the respective goaltenders.

The third period went off to a quick start when junior Kyle Smith took a pass from line mate Matt Willows and backhanded it over the blocker of Witt.

Northeastern would answer just 1:20 later when sophomore transfer Ryan Rosenthal lit the lamp, muscling a goal past Clark on a rebound off a John Stevens shot to tie the game at one.

After a couple minutes of back and forth action freshman Nolan Stevens scored his first collegiate goal, taking a pass from his brother John Stevens in the middle of the ice and shooting it under the glove of Clark to give the Huskies the 2-1 win.

“He’s (Nolan Stevens) had chances,” Madigan said. “I thought that line played really well all weekend. The two Stevens and Rosenthal.”

Despite a ferocious offensive attack by the Wildcats in the final couple minutes, including two minutes of 6-on-5 play, Witt stood tall for Northeastern sending the Huskies faithful home happy.

“We needed a win in this building,” Madigan said. “We haven’t played very well in this building.”

Despite the loss, Umile liked the effort from his team but felt it was the type of game the Wildcats need to win.

“I thought we played a pretty good road game tonight,” Umile said. “I told the team if we’re gonna be a team here in this league we gotta win these games.”

Even with the first win under their belt, the Huskies still have a lot of work to do, a task Madigan is not taking lightly.

“I have faith in the group in this locker room because they’re good kids and they’re good hockey players,” Madigan said. “We dug ourselves a hole and now it’s gonna be one game at a time.”
This article can also be found on USCHO…Follow Josh on twitter @josh_brown31

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: Northeastern Huskies

November 14th, 2014

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Head Coach – Bill Coen, 111-112 (9th season)

Last season- 11-21 (7-9 CAA)

Losses- F Chris Avenant, G Demetrius Pollard, G Marco Banegas-Flores, F Derrico Peck

Newcomers- G Devon Begley, G Alex Jordan.

It’s no surprise the Huskies have been picked to win the CAA title after returning their entire core from last season.  Scott Eatherton will lead the Northeastern frontcourt  (15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg) after receiving national recognition last year. The  2014 CAA defensive player-of-the-year will also have help from the outside, which was a lagging problem for coach Bill Coen last season. After medically red-shirting practically all of last year with season-ending back surgery, forward Quincy Ford returns to the court with something to prove. Coen’s backcourt was inconsistent on the offensive end last year and often relied on the presence of Eatherton and Reggie Spencer. Ford’s offensive ability will surely take some of the pressure off the big men.

Don’t be misguided by Northeastern only recruiting one freshman for this season. Point guard TJ Williams was often the best player on the court as a freshman. He smoothly slipped in to the starting lineup and was a huge factor in the Huskies upset win against Georgetown in Puerto Rico. David Walker brings a nice balance to backcourt with his athleticism and his size will help Coen’s zone defense. The bench, led by forward Zach Stahl, should also be a huge asset.

Northeastern’s biggest competition will come from a re-vamped Hofstra and William & Mary. Player-of-the-year candidate Marcus Thornton has the ability to go off on any team but with Northeastern’s hard non-conference schedule, the Husky’s should be prepared when he comes around. Their biggest challenge will be injuries. For two straight years, injuries have plagued the contenders.

Bottom line- The pieces are all there for Northeastern to end its 23-year skid of missing the NCAA tournament. This is a better team than the 2013 regular season championship squad that featured Jon Lee and Joel Smith. Coach Bill Coen has the CAA’s best big man in Scott Eatherton and Quincy Ford is back. Don’t be surprised if the Husky’s have a lackluster record after non-conference play. They’re facing some challenging teams. When the CAA comes around, the expectations will be as high as they’ve ever been. It’s tournament or bust for Coen and Co.

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CAA Preview: UNCW Seahawks

November 12th, 2014

By Jeremy Leopold

Head Coach- Kevin Keatts (1st season)

Last Season- 9-23 (3-14 CAA)

Losses- G Chris Dixon, G Tanner Milson, G Zack Allen, G Marcus Graham, G Ben Eblen, F Shane Reybold, F Alex Kilmartin

Newcomers- G Malik Pugh, G Jordan Talley, G Nick Powell, (Transfers who have to sit out this season: Denzel Ingram, Jarvis Haywoood, Marcus Bryan, Chris Flemmings)

First year head coach Kevin Keatts has a difficult road ahead of him after inheriting a team that hasn’t finished with a wining record since the 2007-2008 season.

For UNCW, the graduation of their third leading scorer and second leading assist man in Chris Dixon, their second leading rebounder in Shane Reybold and their leading dime dropper in Ben Eblen won’t help to improve upon last season’s last place finish. The coaches agree and place the Seahawks 9th in the CAA preseason coach’s poll, ahead of only CAA newcomer Elon.

There is some hope, however, for UNCW. Cedrick Williams, a preseason CAA second team selection, returns for his senior year. Williams led the team in scoring and rebounding last season with 11.5 points and 6.6 boards per game.

In addition to Williams, the Seahawks return senior gaurd Addison Spruill who finished second on the team in scoring last season. Spruill will be asked to do more offensively this season when it comes to distributing the ball with the departure of Eblen and Dixon after Spruill averaged one assist per game last season.

Also returning is the 7-foot, 275 pound behemoth, C.J Gettys. At times last season Gettys showed flashes of the force the Seahawks hope for him to become due to his size. With another year under his belt, and, more importantly, another offseason to refine his game, the redshirt sophomore could be poised for a breakout season.

Three incoming freshman guards will add to the backcourt depth for the Seahawks this season, likely backing up Spruill and senior guard Freddie Jackson.

Bottom Line- Keatts comes in as UNCW’s head coach highly touted after being a lead assistant for Louisville last season under famed coach Rick Pitino. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, however, he still has to play with Buzz Petersons’ recruits and aside from Williams there isn’t much talent on this roster. Look for UNCW to finish near the bottom of the conference again.

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CAA Preview: William & Mary Tribe

November 10th, 2014

By Kyle Williams

Head Coach – Tony Shaver (12th season)

Last Season – 20-12 (10-6, Colonial Athletic Conference)

Losses – F Tim Rusthoven, G Brandon Britt, G Kyle Gaillard, G Julian Boatner, F Sean Sheldon, G Ben Whitlatch, F Fred Heldring

Newcomers – G Connor Burchfield, G David Cohn, G Daniel Dixon, G Glover Jamison, G/F Greg Malinowski, F Paul Rowly, G Oliver Tot

A year removed from their heartbreaking exit in the CAA tournament final, William & Mary is coming into this season looking to finally get over the hump and reach their first ever NCAA tournament. The Tribe will have high expectations after being picked to finish second in the CAA; armed with arguably the best backcourt in the conference, they are in a position to not only meet those expectations, but to pass them as well.

Any and all conversations about William & Mary basketball has to start with their star player, Marcus Thorton. A preseason first team all-CAA pick, he’s coming off his best season that ended with a first team all-CAA spot, averaging 18.7 points per game with .435/.403/.779 splits, along with 2.8 assists per game. He can spot up or take defenders off the dribble, and is a legitimate threat from anywhere on the court. Playing along side him is last year’s CAA rookie of the year Omar Prewitt, who averaged 11.4 ppg while doubling as a three-point threat and the team’s second leading rebounder at 4.6 per game. Together, they’re a nightmare for opposing defenses, and should be able to get any shot they want on most nights.

Beyond Thorton and Prewitt, the Tribe will bring back Terry Tarpey, a forward guard combo who was a contributor last season averaging 5.4 points and over six rebounds a game. They also bring back Sean Sheldon, a serviceable defensive big man who will give them at least some presence in the low post.

Looking at the losses for this team, the one that sticks out is Tim Rusthoven. Even though he battled through injuries at times last year, he still averaged 12.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with 59% shooting, and was one of the only guys in the conference able to take Scott Eatherton one on one in the post. His loss will hurt, especially in the paint; the aforementioned Sean Spence might be able to clean the defensive glass, but he’s not an offensive threat at all.

The other big loss for this team is the trio of Brandon Britt, Kyle Gaillard, and Julian Boatner. These three combined to average almost twenty-three points last year, and all shot better than 37% from three, with Boatner in particular shooting 42.7% from beyond the arc on over three attempts per game. The team will be hoping to offset this loss partially with the play of David Cohn, a sophomore transfer from Colorado State. However, his stats (3.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg) are less than eye opening, and he’ll have to earn his place in this lineup. After him, unproven freshmen Connor Burchfield and Jamison Glover fill out the bench.

Bottom Line – This team has the feel of tournament-or-bust this year. The loss of Rusthoven will hurt, but in a year when only Northeastern and College of Charleston look like they will be dominant on the boards, it won’t be as serious as it could be. The lack of scoring will be a question mark, and one of the new guards will have to step up to replace some of what the Boatner-Gaillard-Britt trio gave the Tribe last season. However, this team still has arguably the best player in the conference in Marcus Thorton, and another dynamic scorer in Omar Prewitt. Those two will always give this team a chance to win, and they will push the Tribe deep into the CAA tournament this March.

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Northeastern Still Winless After Weekend With Umass-Lowell

November 9th, 2014

By: Josh Brown

Five different River Hawks it the lamp Saturday night, leading the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (6-1-2, 4-0-1 in Hockey East) to a 5-0 win over struggling Northeastern (0-7-1, 0-3-1 in Hockey East).

The teams, who tied 3-3 on Friday night, usually have a history of playing close games, but on this night it was all River Hawks.

“I thought it was a game of boys versus men,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “They were men and we were boys.”

Derick Roy made the start for Northeastern, continuing to fill in for the injured Clay Witt, who missed his sixth consecutive game with an upper body injury. Freshman Jeff Smith got the nod for Lowell, earning his first collegiate shutout.

“When a goalie gets a shutout in Hockey East, it’s obviously very strong,” said River Hawks coach Norm Bazin. “I thought he had a solid game.”

After a scoreless first period, Michael Fallon got on the board, scoring on a five-on-three power play to give Lowell the 1-0 lead. Fallon, who was standing in the slot, picked up a rebound and was able to jam it past the outstretched Roy.

Northeastern had a chance to tie the game when Ryan Rosenthal was awarded a penalty shot midway through the period, but he was stopped by Smith’s blocker to preserve the lead.

Later in the period, freshman C.J. Smith gave his team a two-goal advantage, again on a power play, taking a Dylan Zink pass and beating Roy to get his second goal of the season.

“We own the ability to be the dumbest team right now when we’re down a man,” said Madigan.

Less than four minutes later, the River Hawks started to run away with the game when Michael Colantone gave Jake Kamrass a one-timer that he shot into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Lowell continued to pour it on in the third, scoring a short-handed goal at 8:28 thanks to a Joe Gambardella breakaway, set up when Jake Suter poked the puck away in the neutral zone.

Suter got a goal of his own, his first of the season, at 19:29 in the period to give the River Hawks the 5-0 win.

“It’s a good sign that guys are contributing,” said Bazin, “and we’ll see if we can keep that going. I thought it was a well-played hockey game. They’re a great opponent, this is a historic rink, and we’re glad we came out with two points.”

Madigan, whose team continues to struggle early on, laid the blame on everyone after the loss.

“We need to be better top to bottom, coaches, players, if we’re going to compete in this league,” Madigan said. “They just pounded us, took it to us. They out-skated us. They wanted the puck more. They imposed their will more on us. They were more physical.”

“And they just grind you and grind you, and we didn’t want to make the sacrifice or commitment to playing that type of game.”

This article can also be found on uscho.com…Follow Josh Brown on Twitter @josh_brown31

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: Hofstra Pride

November 7th, 2014

By Dan McLoone

Head Coach – Joe Mihalich (2nd Season)

Last Season – 10-23 (5-11, Colonial Athletic Association)

Losses – G Zeke Upshaw, F Jordan Allen, F Darren Payen, F Dan Steinberg, G Chris Jenkins, G Adam Savion, F Stephen Nwaukoni

Newcomers – G Malik Nichols, G Juan’ya Green, G Ameen Tanksley, F Rokas Gustys, F Andre Walker, F Ibrahim Djambo, G Brian Bernardi

Just one year after being picked to finish last in the CAA, the Hofstra Pride find themselves in a completely different position. With a major roster overhaul that includes the addition of five transfer players who are now eligible to play, Joe Mihalichs’s squad is now projected to finish third in the CAA and have a realistic shot at making some big noise in the conference.

Key to the Pride’s resurgence will be redshirt junior guard Juan’ya Green, who sat out last season after transferring from Niagara. Without even playing a game in the CAA, Green has been named to the preseason All-CAA First Team. In his last season of action at Niagara, he averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Coming along with Green from Niagara is fellow redshirt junior guard Ameen Tanksley, who averaged 11.3 points per game in his last season. The two transfers will look to reestablish the chemistry they had with Mihalich, who was their head coach at Niagara for their first two seasons in college.

Just as crucial to the success of the Pride will be redshirt senior guard Dion Nesmith, a preseason All-CAA Second Team selection. Nesmith is the team’s best returning player and will be expected to up his scoring production from last year’s 13.3 per game to make up for the graduation of guard Zeke Upshaw (19.8 points per game in 2013-2014).

Also returning from last year’s starting five are senior forward Moussa Kone and sophomore forward Jamall Robinson. Kone is the teams default rim protector and rebounder, and will look to improve on his averages of 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game from last year as the graduation of Stephen Nwaukoni frees up more minutes in the post.  The 6’5” Robinson will improve on last year’s 9.5 points per game thanks to the transfer of the similarly built forward Jordan Allen to Sacred Heart University.

The Pride will offset their losses with three other transfers: junior guard Malik Nichols from South Plains, sophomore guard Brian Bernardi from Southern Methodist University and senior forward Ibrahim Djambo from Clemson. Hofstra will also boast a tall two-man freshmen class comprised of 6’9” forward Rokas Gustys and 6’10” forward Andre Walker.

Bottom Line - The Pride will be led by the dynamic backcourt of Nesmith and Green, who have the talent to give opposing defenses headaches. The development of Robinson and Kone into dominant post players could push Hofstra past the likes of Northeastern or William & Mary. The worst case scenario sees the team fail to gel in their first year and finish in the middle of the pack, but Hofstra has the talent to be serious contenders for the CAA title.

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CAA Preview: Drexel Dragons

November 3rd, 2014

By Justin Littman

Head Coach- Bruiser Flint (14th Season)

Last Season- 16-14 (8-8, CAA)

Losses- G Chris Fouch, G Frantz Massenat, G Stevan Manojlovic, F Goran Pantovic, G Jake Lerner, F Dartaye Ruffin

Newcomers- C Sooren Derboghosian, G Sammy Mojica, F Austin Williams, G Rashann London, F Tyshawn Myles

After a disappointing, injury-riddled 2013-14 season, the Drexel Dragons are looking for better results this year. It may be difficult, as the Dragons have lost three starters to graduation, including their top two scorers in Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat, as well as leading rebounder Dartaye Ruffin. Additionally, they will be without sophomore point guard Major Canady, who is out for the season with a right ankle injury.

Fortunately for the Dragons, 6-6 guard Damion Lee is set to return. A redshirt junior, he played in only five games last year before an ACL tear ended his season. He averaged 17.1 ppg as a sophomore in 2012-2013, and if he’s healthy could contend for CAA Player of the Year.

Aside from Lee, the Dragons return guard Tavon Allen and senior forward Kazembe Abif. Coach Flint will also need to rely on young front court players Rodney Williams and Mohamed Bah, who will play big minutes this season.

Drexel will also hope to get production from some of their newcomers. Freshmen guards Rashann London and Sammy Mojica figure to get some playing time this season due to the lack of depth in the backcourt. They also add center Sooren Derboghosian, a senior transfer who played sparingly at UCLA. Additionally, they will hope that senior guard Freddie Wilson can finally blossom into a reliable role player off the bench and give the Dragons needed minutes in the backcourt.

Bottom Line- Drexel’s two leading scorers have graduated, and this young team is only going to go as far as Damion Lee can take it. Picked by coaches to finish fourth in a weak CAA, they could easily finish lower if Lee doesn’t return to form. The lack of depth at the point guard position is extremely concerning, and it will likely cause problems for Bruiser Flint all season.

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