NCAA: HAMILTON HITS HIS STRIDE

Great Britain forward Ashley Hamilton appears to be getting back to his best after two strong performances this week in NCAA basketball.

Hamilton was dominant in the early part of the season before being sidelined for twelve games by injury. His performances since returning have been patchy, but this week he had 14 points and five rebounds against St Mary’s, the 20th-ranked team in the nation, followed by nine points and seven rebounds against Portland. Loyola Marymount posted a 1-1 record this week, leaving them tied for third place in the West Coast Conference.

Alasdair Fraser had a big night on Wednesday as he dropped a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double on New Hampshire. Fraser was 9-14 from the field, and most impressively for a player who has struggled with foul trouble all season, stayed on the floor for 39 minutes. The Scottish big man did have five turnovers, however.

Fraser was also solid in Maine’s other game this week, putting up nine points, seven boards and three blocks against lowly Binghamton, the only winless team in Division I.

Alex Marcotullio’s Northwestern team suffered a disappointing defeat to Purdue on Saturday, and after losing three in a row, the Wildcats’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament appear to be fading. Marcotullio had three points, two rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes off the bench.

Andrew Lawrence’s Charleston continued their slide as they lost two more games to extend their losing streak to four. Lawrence was typically solid, leading the Cougars in scoring and assists with 15 and six against Furman, then contributing six points and eight assists against Wofford.

Ben Mockford scored in double figures twice this week, dropping 11 and 10 points in St Francis’ two games. The Terriers are now 8-2 in Northeast Conference play, good enough for joint-second in the league.

Ovie Soko had a poor offensive night on Wednesday, making one of his eight shots for three points. But he put the work in on the boards, finishing with nine, and added four assists. By contrast, Soko managed only one rebound in Saturday’s game, where he scored six points in 23 minutes.

Will Neighbour returned to the UALR starting lineup this week, but he hasn’t quite regained his pre-injury form. The 6-10 forward had 10 points on 2-8 shooting, along with four rebounds and two blocks, against South Alabama. He managed just five points and three boards in the following game, and played only 20 minutes in both contests.

Shane Walker recorded his first double-double of the season on Sunday, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also had a season-high five blocked shots, one off his career-best. Walker had nine points, six rebounds and six turnovers in Loyola Maryland’s other game this week.

Former Leopards big man Joe Ikhinmwin bagged a career-high nine rebounds this week, along with six points – including only the second three-pointer of his career – but it wasn’t enough to stop South Carolina State losing their fifteenth straight game. The Bulldogs’ 4-17 record makes them one of the worst teams in the country.

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