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Owl Hoop Teams Host Tip-Off Tourneys

KEENE, N.H. 11/18/09 - Both Owl basketball coaches Rob Colbert and Keith Boucher readily use the word “competitive” when describing their respective Keene State Tip-Off tournaments set for Spaulding Gym this Friday and Saturday. A quick look at the field bears out their description.

The 14th Annual Keene State Women’s Basketball Tournament gets underway on Friday, with the Owls facing Regis College (Mass.) at 3 p.m. The University of New England will take on SUNY-Cobleskill in the other first-round game at 5 p.m. Consolation (1 p.m.) and championship games (3 p.m.) are scheduled for Saturday.

The ninth annual KSC Noyes Volkswagen Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off at 7 p.m. on Friday, with Keene State going up against SUNY-Cobleskill. Bates College will take on Thomas College (Me.) at 9 p.m. The tournament concludes on Saturday with consolation (5:30 p.m.) and championship games (7 p.m.).

“This is no walk-in-the-park tournament,” said KSC women’s basketball coach Keith Boucher. “We’re going to have our hands full defending the championship.”

“Looking back, I think this is one of the best groups of teams we’ve had come to the Noyes Classic in some time,” said Owl men’s coach Rob Colbert. “Because we play with such energy and toughness, it’s going to be a challenge for us to maintain that level in back-to-back games.”

The Owl women, who have won their tournament 12 out of the past 13 years, bring a 1-0 record into Friday’s first-round game. The Owls opened their season with an 83-52 win over Nichols College on Monday. Sophomore guard Sara Laudano (North Haven, Conn.) came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points, while freshman point guard Amber Alberto (Waterbury, Conn.) filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, eight assists, and two steals.

Regis College, coached by Julie Plant, a former standout at Southern Maine, brings a 2-0 record into the tournament. The Pride has posted impressive wins over Mount Ida (83-61) and Mitchell College (81-61). Senior guard Jessica Page (Quincy, Mass.) averaged 21 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two games. Regis has won four Commonwealth Coast Conference championships.

Starting its second year in NCAA Division III, SUNY-Cobleskill is under the direction of first-year coach Larry Kings. The Fighting Tigers opened their season with a 65-50 win over Albany School of Pharmacy on Tuesday. Freshman Tanayzha Augustine (Poughkeepsie, NY) made an impressive debut for Cobleskill, posting a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Coached by former Owl assistant Anthony Ewing, the University of New England enters the tournament with a 2-0 record. The Nor’easters, a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, opened their season with a 66-42 win over St. Joseph’s (Me.) before stunning #13 Southern Maine (72-55) on Tuesday. All five starters and a total of six players scored in double figures as the University of New England pulled away late for a 72-55 win over Southern Maine.

Keene State defeated UNE 83-69 to claim last year’s Invitational championship.

Entering the tournament with a 1-0 record, Keene State men’s basketball team is looking for its 10th-straight tournament title. The Owls erased a 16-point second-half deficit to post a thrilling 85-82 come-from-behind victory over Colby-Sawyer College at NHTI in Concord on Sunday. Sophomore forward Derek D’Amours (Agawam, Mass.) led the way with a career-high 33 points.

Keene State’s opening-round opponent SUNY Cobleskill brings a 0-1 record into Friday night’s game. The Fighting Tigers dropped an 83-72 road contest to Skidmore College on Tuesday. Sophomore swingman Andrei Lucas (Chula Vista, NY) finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for Cobleskill.

Bates College will open up its season against Thomas College on Friday. The Bobcats, coming off a 13-12 campaign, will be led by senior guard Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine), who was named to the 2009 NESCAC men’s basketball All- Conference second team.

A member of the North Atlantic Conference, Thomas College of Waterville, Me., brings a 1-0 record in the tournament. Junior forward Travis Dorsey’s (Fairfield, Me.) basket with 44 seconds remaining snapped a 71-all tie and lifted the Terriers to a 79-73 win over Wentworth Institute on Sunday. Junior guard Andrew Duncanson (Portland, Me.) had a game-high 24 points for Thomas.

Keene State captured last year’s tournament with a 104-88 victory over Daniel Webster College.

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