Saturday, January 14, 2017

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington

The Flying Dutchmen pictured entering the ring against Drederick Tatum, err, UNC Wilmington.

The slide continued Thursday night for the Flying Dutchmen, who trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half of a 96-80 loss to Elon. It was the fourth straight loss for the Dutchmen, whose road gets no easier today when they visit red-hot defending league champion UNC Wilmington, which is unbeaten in CAA play. Gulp. Here’s a quick look back at the loss to the Phoenix and a look ahead to the Seahawks.

THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Deron Powers returned to the starting lineup with a flourish as he scored 21 points and finished with eight assists and just one turnover, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Dutchmen again trailed nearly wire-to-wire in losing to Elon for the first time ever. Eli Pemberton scored 16 points but turned the ball over seven times while Justin Wright-Foreman added 14 points — all in the second half — and Brian Bernardi chipped in with 13 points, albeit on 5-of-17 shooting. Rokas Gustys continued to struggle as he was limited to eight points and four rebounds while playing only 19 minutes due to foul trouble. The Dutchmen whittled a 25-point deficit down to seven with 4:35 left before Elon ended the game on an 11-2 run. The Phoenix shot a blistering 58 percent from the field overall, including 52 percent from 3-point land. 

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Elon 1/12)
3: Deron Powers
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Eli Pemberton

SEASON STANDINGS
Justin Wright-Foreman 26
Eli Pemberton 21
Deron Powers 19
Rokas Gustys 15
Brian Bernardi 12
Ty Greer 9
Jamall Robinson 5
Hunter Sabety 1

IT CONTINUES TO GETS LATE EARLY OUT HERE
The Dutchmen fell to 1-4 in CAA play on Thursday. It is only the third time since joining the conference in 2001-02 that the Dutchmen have been 1-4 or worse through five league games. The Dutchmen were 1-4 in 2002-03, when they finished 6-12 in the CAA, and 0-5 in 2011-12, when they finished 3-15.

Of the 40 teams to open 1-4 or 0-5 between 2001-02 when the "America East four” saved, err, joined the CAA — and 2015-16, only two recovered to finish .500 in league play (Northeastern in 2006-07 and Drexel in 2014-15). No team has ever opened 1-5 or worse and finished .500 in the CAA.

THE SKID HITS FOUR
With four straight losses, the Dutchmen have lost as many CAA games in the last 11 days as they did all of last season. The losing streak is the longest for the Dutchmen since a five-game losing streak during the 2013-14 season, Joe Mihalich’s first at the helm. The Dutchmen led for just 25 seconds on Thursday and have led for a grand total of 7:24 since Daniel Dixon’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer dropped through the net on Jan. 2.

ROK NOT ROLLING
Junior center Rokas Gustys scored in single digits for the third straight time and the fourth time in five games Thursday, when he was limited to eight points. He has 15 points in his last three games, his fewest over a three-game span since he scored seven points against Towson, Charleston and William & Mary Feb. 18-28, 2015.

In addition, Gustys pulled down just four rebounds against Elon, his fewest rebounds in a game this season and his fewest since he recorded four rebounds against Siena on Dec. 9, 2015.

OVER THE AIR
Hofstra will provide both a video and radio feed of today’s game at the Pride Productions hub
SCOUTING UNC WILMINGTON
Gulp. 

The Seahawks, under fourth-year head coach Kevin Keatts, are 16-2 this season and 5-0 in CAA play. Their only two losses came against defending Conference USA champion Middle Tennessee State and the ACC’s Clemson,

UNC Wilmington, which is one of three unbeaten teams in the CAA, overcame an early eight-point deficit to rout William & Mary, 101-77. It was the fifth time this season the Seahawks have scored at least 100 points.

The Dutchmen and Seahawks had one mutual foe during non-league play. The Dutchmen fell to St. Bonaventure, 81-75, while UNC Wilmington edged the Bonnies, 81-80.

In CAA play, the Dutchmen and Seahawks have each beaten Delaware while UNCW has defeated Elon and William & Mary, each of whom have beaten the Dutchmen during the latter’s four-game losing streak.

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 178th at KenPom.com and 203rd in the RPI. The Seahawks, who were picked first, are ranked 41st at KenPom.com and 24th in the RPI. UNCW is also receiving votes in both the AP poll, where it was tied for 34th with three votes last week, and the coaches’ poll, where it was 29th with 12 votes.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Seahawks are 15-point favorites.

The Dutchmen rank third among CAA teams in scoring (78.2 ppg) but are allowing  76.8 ppg, the third-most in the league. 

The Dutchmen rank sixth in the CAA in field goal percentage (44.3%) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (37.5%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 45.6 percent overall, eighth in the league, and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is last. 

The Seahawks rank first in scoring (87.6 ppg) and are allowing 74.5 ppg, which ranks seventh in the CAA.

The Seahawks lead the CAA in field goal percentage (49.7%) and are fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (35.5%). They rank last in field goal percentage defense (47.9%) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (34.4%).

ALL-TIME VS. UNC WILMINGTON
Hofstra is 18-17 against UNC Wilmington in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Seahawks took two of three classic meetings last season. UNCW came back from a 20-point first half deficit to edge the Dutchmen, 80-77, at the Arena on Feb. 4 before the Dutchmen returned the favor by storming back from an 18-point first half deficit in an 70-69 victory at Trask Coliseum on Feb. 25. The Seahawks, of course, got the last laugh by overcoming a 12-point second half deficit to earn an 80-73 win over the Dutchmen in the CAA championship game on Mar. 7. *spasms* 

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET AGAIN
Today’s game against UNC Wilmington will be the first this season between the Dutchmen and Seahawks. The team that lost the CAA final is 8-6 in the subsequent season’s first rematch. (Drexel did not play VCU in 2012-13 because the Rams left for the Atlantic 10)

REPLACING THE MISSING SCORING—AND THEN SOME
The Dutchmen lost a whopping 50.3 ppg from last year’s squad via the graduations of Juan’ya Green (17.8 ppg), Ameen Tanksley 15.9 ppg), Denton Koon (11.4 ppg) and Malik Nichols (5.2 ppg). But they have “found” 55.4 ppg this season via five players who didn’t play for the team in 2015-16, plus the emergence of sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman. 

Eli Pemberton (13.7)
Deron Powers (12.8)
Justin Wright-Foreman (12.4)***
Ty Greer (8.9)
Jamall Robinson (4.3)
Hunter Sabety (3.3)

***The Wright-Foreman average subtracts the 1.2 ppg he averaged last season to better account for the “found” points.

WRIGHT-FOREMAN IS THE FINISHER
Sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman continued to thrive in the second half Saturday, when he scored all 14 his points in the second half. Of his 244 points this season, 170 have been scored in the second half. 

SOPHOMORE SURGE
After scoring just 44 points as a freshman, Justin Wright-Foreman has emerged as one of the Dutchmen’s top scorers this season. He was the 27th Hofstra freshman in the CAA era to score fewer than 100 points but already has more points as a sophomore than all but one of his predecessors. Wright-Foreman is only eight points away from moving past David Imes and taking the biggest leap of any Hofstra sophomore since 2001-02.

David Imes 251 points 2010-11 (25 as a freshman)
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 244 points 2016-17 (44 as a freshman)
Ziggy Sestokas 219 points 2006-07 (29 as a freshman)
Greg Washington 169 points 2008-09 (33 as a freshman)
Gibran Washington 158 points 2002-03 (76 as a freshman)

PEMBERTON HITS THE TOP 10
Eli Pemberton, who was the first Hofstra freshman since Antoine Agudio (2004-05) to open his career by scoring in double digits in his first five games, is already the 19th Dutchmen freshman in the CAA era to score at least 100 points in his debut season. Pemberton currently ranks eighth on the CAA-era freshman scoring list.

1.) Antoine Agudio, 452 (2004-05)
2.) Charles Jenkins, 436 (2007-08)
3.) Kenny Adeleke, 433 (2001-02)
4.) Loren Stokes, 374 (2003-04)
5.) Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
6.) Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
7.) Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
8.) ELI PEMBERTON, 246 (2016-17)
9.) Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
10.) Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)

GUSTYS CLOSES IN ON THE TOP FIVE
Junior forward Rokas Gustys moved up two spots on Hofstra’s all-time rebounding list Saturday, when he pulled down eight rebounds against College of Charleston. Gustys surpassed Roberto Gittens and Barry White to become the sixth-most prolific rebounder in program history. He is 21 rebounds away from moving past Kenny Adeleke and reaching the top five. 

5.) Kenny Adeleke, 837 (2001-04)
6.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 817 (2014-present)
7.) Barry White, 811 (1966-69)
8.) Roberto Gittens, 809 (1997-2001)

THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
Let us have something nice bias! (Duh)
One Tree Hill bias! (The addictive CW teen drama — don’t judge me — was shot in Wilmington)
Brett Blizzard bias! (Because he was great, and so is alliteration)
Benny Moss bias! (Because there was a time when UNC Wilmington did not rule the world)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: Elon


The team that loses tonight will be singing a different Yogi Berra tune. 

The Flying Dutchmen performed better on Saturday against College of Charleston but still saw their losing streak reach three games as they fell to the host Cougars, 77-71. The Dutchmen will look to avoid falling into an even bigger early-season hole tonight, when they visit Elon. Here’s a look back at Saturday’s loss and a look ahead to the Phoenix. 

THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Eli Pemberton scored 21 points and the newly promoted Justin Wright-Foreman added 20 points, but the Dutchmen could get no closer than three points in the second half against Charleston. Ty Greer, who was benched in favor of Jamall Robinson, added 13 points, including a tip-in with 9:52 left in the first half that gave the Dutchmen their final lead. While Greer performed well in a reserve role, Deron Powers, who didn't start due to illness, had no points and no assists in just 11 minutes. Rokas Gustys continued to struggle for touches as he scored just two points (on 1-of-2 shooting) while pulling down eight rebounds. Joe Chealey cemented CAA Player of the Week honors by scoring a career-high 31 points for the Cougars.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. College of Charleston 1/7)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Ty Greer

SEASON STANDINGS
Justin Wright-Foreman 24
Eli Pemberton 20
Deron Powers 16
Rokas Gustys 15
Brian Bernardi 12
Ty Greer 9
Jamall Robinson 5
Hunter Sabety 1

IT GETS LATE EARLY OUT HERE
The Dutchmen fell to 1-3 in CAA play with the loss Saturday. It is only the fourth time since joining the conference in 2001-02 that the Dutchmen have been 1-3 or worse through four league games. The Dutchmen were 1-3 in both 2002-03 and 2007-08 and 0-4 in 2011-12. They finished 6-12 in 2002-03, 8-10 in 2007-08 and 3-15 in 2011-12.

Fifty-two teams opened 1-3 or 0-4 between 2001-02 —when the "America East four” saved, err, joined the CAA — and 2015-16. Those teams finished their seasons with an average of five wins. Only eight of the 52 teams recovered to finish .500 or better, and only two advanced as far as the CAA tournament semifinals. 

Northeastern 2006-07: 1-3 (9-9)
George Mason 2006-07: 1-3 (9-9)***
Drexel 2008-09: 1-3 (10-8)
VCU 2009-10: 1-3 (11-7)**
Drexel 2012-13: 1-3 (9-9)
Georgia State 2012-13: 1-3 (10-8)
Delaware 2014-15: 1-3 (9-9)
Drexel 2014-15: 1-3 (9-9)

***advanced to CAA finals
**advanced to CAA semifinals

Of the eight above-listed teams, only Northeastern and Drexel lost their fifth conference game to fall to 1-4. No team has started 1-5 or worse and finished .500 in CAA play since 2001-02. So tonight’s game against 1-3 Elon is pretty big. 

In addition this is the fourth time a Joe Mihalich-coached team has started conference play 1-3 or worse. Niagara opened 0-4 in the MAAC in 2005-06 and 2010-11 and 1-3 in 2011-12. The Purple Eagles finished 7-11 in 2005-06, 5-13 in 2010-11 and 8-10 in 2011-12. 

MIHALICH THROWS A CHANGE-UP
Joe Mihalich unveiled a new starting lineup Saturday, when Justin Wright-Foreman and Jamall Robinson replaced Deron Powers and Ty Greer. It is only the fourth different lineup used this season by Mihalich, whose starting lineup remained the same for all 34 games last season. 

ROK NOT ROLLING
Junior center Rokas Gustys scored in single digits for the second straight time and the third time in four games Saturday, when he was limited to two points. He has seven points in his last two games, his fewest over a two-game span since he scored seven points against Charleston and William & Mary Feb. 25-28, 2015.

OVER THE AIR
Hofstra will provide both a video and radio feed of today’s game at the Pride Productions hub

SCOUTING ELON
The Cougars, under eighth-year head coach Matt Matheny, are 9-8 this season and 1-3 in CAA play. Elon, which is one of five teams in the CAA with one win or fewer, earned its first league victory last Saturday, when it came back from a 13-point first half deficit to beat Towson, 72-61.

The Dutchmen and Phoenix had no mutual foes during non-league play. Both teams have fallen to the College of Charleston and William & Mary since CAA play began. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 167th at KenPom.com and 224th in the RPI. The Phoenix, who were picked fourth, are ranked 152nd at KenPom.com and 170th in the RPI.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Phoenix are two point favorites.

The Dutchmen rank third among CAA teams in scoring (78.1 ppg) but are allowing  75.7 ppg, the second-most in the league. 

The Dutchmen rank sixth in the CAA in field goal percentage (44.2%) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (38.7%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 44.9 percent overall, eighth in the league, and 38.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is last. 

The Phoenix rank fourth in scoring (75.9 ppg) and are allowing 72.8 ppg, which ranks sixth in the CAA.

The Phoenix rank fourth in the CAA in field goal percentage (45.5%) and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (35.3%). It is fifth in field goal percentage defense (43.1%) and second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.5%).

ALL-TIME VS. ELON
Hofstra is 5-0 against Elon, which joined the CAA prior to the 2015-15 season. The Dutchmen eked out a pair of narrow wins last season, when they beat Elon 80-76 in North Carolina on Jan. 9 and 66-64 at the Arena on Jan. 28. The series began Nov. 23, 2009, when the Dutchmen cruised past the Phoenix, 70-46, in a preseason NIT game at the Arena.

REPLACING THE MISSING SCORING—AND THEN SOME
The Dutchmen lost a whopping 50.3 ppg from last year’s squad via the graduations of Juan’ya Green (17.8 ppg), Ameen Tanksley 15.9 ppg), Denton Koon (11.4 ppg) and Malik Nichols (5.2 ppg). But they have “found” 55.3 ppg this season via five players who didn’t play for the team in 2015-16, plus the emergence of sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman. 

Eli Pemberton (13.5)
Deron Powers (12.4)
Justin Wright-Foreman (12.3)***
Ty Greer (9.2)
Jamall Robinson (4.6)
Hunter Sabety (3.3)

***The Wright-Foreman average subtracts the 1.2 ppg he averaged last season to better account for the “found” points.

WRIGHT-FOREMAN IS THE FINISHER
Sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman continued to thrive in the second half Saturday, when he scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half. Of his 230 points this season, 156 have been scored in the second half. 

SOPHOMORE SURGE
After scoring just 44 points as a freshman, Justin Wright-Foreman has emerged as one of the Dutchmen’s top scorers this season. He was the 27th Hofstra freshman in the CAA era to score fewer than 100 points but already has more points as a sophomore than all but one of his predecessors. Wright-Foreman surpassed Ziggy Sestokas on Saturday and is only 22 points away from moving past David Imes and taking the biggest leap of any Hofstra sophomore since 2001-02.

David Imes 251 points 2010-11 (25 as a freshman)
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 230 points 2016-17 (44 as a freshman)
Ziggy Sestokas 219 points 2006-07 (29 as a freshman)
Greg Washington 169 points 2008-09 (33 as a freshman)
Gibran Washington 158 points 2002-03 (76 as a freshman)

PEMBERTON HITS THE TOP 10
Eli Pemberton, who was the first Hofstra freshman since Antoine Agudio (2004-05) to open his career by scoring in double digits in his first five games, is already the 19th Dutchmen freshman in the CAA era to score at least 100 points in his debut season. With his team-high 21 points on Saturday, he moved past Carlos Rivera into eighth place on the CAA-era freshman scoring list.

1.) Antoine Agudio, 452 (2004-05)
2.) Charles Jenkins, 436 (2007-08)
3.) Kenny Adeleke, 433 (2001-02)
4.) Loren Stokes, 374 (2003-04)
5.) Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
6.) Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
7.) Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
8.) ELI PEMBERTON, 230 (2016-17)
9.) Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
10.) Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)

GUSTYS CLOSES IN ON THE TOP FIVE
Junior forward Rokas Gustys moved up two spots on Hofstra’s all-time rebounding list Saturday, when he pulled down eight rebounds against College of Charleston. Gustys surpassed Roberto Gittens and Barry White to become the sixth-most prolific rebounder in program history. He is 25 rebounds away from moving past Kenny Adeleke and reaching the top five. 

5.) Kenny Adeleke, 837 (2001-04)
6.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 813 (2014-present)
7.) Barry White, 811 (1966-69)
8.) Roberto Gittens, 809 (1997-2001)

THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
Your gym is too small bias! (With a capacity of 1,585, Alumni Gym is the eighth-smallest arena in Division I, though Elon has plans to replace it)
Jack McKeon bias! (McKeon, who managed the Florida Marlins to the 2003 World Series title, is an Elon graduate)
You used to be in NAIA bias! (Elon was a NAIA member until 1993, when it moved to Division II)
Your nickname is singular instead of plural bias! (Phoenix is an “it,” not a “they”)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: Charleston

The malaise from Monday’s stunning loss to William & Mary lingered into Thursday for the Flying Dutchmen, who trailed nearly wire-to-wire in a 62-54 loss to James Madison at the Arena. The Dutchmen will try to even their CAA record this afternoon, when they visit College of Charleston. Here’s a look back at Thursday’s loss and a look ahead to the Cougars.

THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Justin Wright-Foreman continued his emergence by scoring 25 points, but he was the only Flying Dutchmen player in double figures against James Madison. It was the first time since Jan. 2, 2014 that the Dutchmen have had just one player score at least 10 points. Wright-Foreman was 8-of-17 from the field while the rest of the Dutchmen were just 9-of-32. The Dutchmen led just once — at 2-0 — but entered halftime tied 33-33 before being outscored 29-21 in the second half. Rokas Gustys had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Dutchmen, who outscored the Dukes by six points with Wright-Foreman and fellow reserves Jamall Robinson and Hunter Sabety on the floor but were outscored by 14 the rest of the game.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. James Madison 1/5)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Jamall Robinson
1: Hunter Sabety

SEASON STANDINGS
Justin Wright-Foreman 22
Eli Pemberton 17
Deron Powers 16
Rokas Gustys 15
Brian Bernardi 12
Ty Greer 8
Jamall Robinson 5
Hunter Sabety 1

BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT
The Dutchmen, who edged Delaware 58-56 last Saturday, scored fewer than 60 points for the second time in three games. The 54 points were the fewest scored by the Dutchmen since a 59-53 loss to James Madison on Feb. 10, 2014. Joe Mihalich-coached teams are now 9-46 when scoring fewer than 60 points.

SUBPAR SECOND HALF
The Dutchmen scored just 21 points in the second half, their fewest in a half since an 18-point second half against James Madison in a XX-YY loss on DATE HERE.

OVER THE AIR
Hofstra will provide both a video and radio feed of today’s game at the Pride Productions hub. 


SCOUTING COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
The Cougars, under third-year head coach Earl Grant, are 12-4 this season but 3-0 in CAA play. Charleston, which is one of four 2-0 teams in the CAA, edged Towson, 62-57, on Thursday.

The Dutchmen and Cougars had no mutual foes during non-league play. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 167th at KenPom.com. The Cougars, who were picked fourth, are ranked 85th.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Cougars are 7.5-point favorites.

The Dutchmen rank third among CAA teams in scoring (78.5 ppg) but are allowing  75.6 ppg, the second-most in the league. The Cougars rank ninth in scoring (64.1 ppg) but are allowing just 59.1 ppg, the lowest total in the CAA and more than seven points fewer than second-place Delaware.

The Dutchmen rank sixth in the CAA in field goal percentage (43.9%) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (38.7%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 44,5 percent overall, eighth in the league, and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is ninth. 

The Cougars rank last in the CAA in field goal percentage (39.1%) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (29%). They are second in field goal percentage defense (40.2%) and first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26%).

ALL-TIME VS. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Hofstra is 4-2 against Charleston in a series that began with the Cougars joining the CAA prior to the 2013-14 season. The teams split two games last season, when host Charleston earned a 72-61 win on Jan. 7 and the Dutchmen earned the no. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament by beating the Cougars 72-63 in the home finale on Feb. 27.

REPLACING THE MISSING SCORING—AND THEN SOME
The Dutchmen lost a whopping 50.3 ppg from last year’s squad via the graduations of Juan’ya Green (17.8 ppg), Ameen Tanksley 15.9 ppg), Denton Koon (11.4 ppg) and Malik Nichols (5.2 ppg). But they have “found” 55 ppg this season via five players who didn’t play for the team in 2015-16, plus the emergence of sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman. 

Eli Pemberton (13.1)
Deron Powers (13.1)
Justin Wright-Foreman (11.9)***
Ty Greer (8.9)
Jamall Robinson (4.9)
Hunter Sabety (3.1)

***The Wright-Foreman average subtracts the 1.2 ppg he averaged last season to better account for the “found” points.

WRIGHT-FOREMAN IS THE FINISHER
Sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman continued to thrive in the second half (and beyond) Monday, when he scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the second half and overtime. Of his 210 points this season, 144 have been scored in the second half. 

SOPHOMORE SURGE
After scoring just 44 points as a freshman, Justin Wright-Foreman has emerged as one of the Dutchmen’s top scorers this season. He was the 27th Hofstra freshman in the CAA era to score fewer than 100 points but already has more points as a sophomore than all but two of his predecessors. Wright-Foreman surpassed Gibran Washington and Greg Washington on Monday and ranks behind only Ziggy Sestokas and David Imes.

David Imes 251 points 2010-11 (25 as a freshman)
Ziggy Sestokas 219 points 2006-07 (29 as a freshman)
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 210 points 2016-17 (44 as a freshman)
Greg Washington 169 points 2008-09 (33 as a freshman)
Gibran Washington 158 points 2002-03 (76 as a freshman)

GUSTYS REACHES 800 REBOUNDS
Junior forward Rokas Gustys pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds against William & Mary and now has 805 rebounds, good for eighth on the program’s all-time list. Gustys surpassed Dave Bell on Thursday and is five rebounds away from moving past Roberto Gittens into seventh place and seven from edging past Barry White into sixth place.

6.) Barry White, 811 (1966-69)
7.) Roberto Gittens, 809 (1997-2001)
8.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 805 (2014-present)
9.) Dave Bell, 797 (1969-72)
10.) Quinas Brower, 766 (1970-72)

Going down the only roads we've ever known


History continued to repeat itself Thursday night, when the Flying Dutchmen authored perhaps the worst performance of the Joe Mihalich Era in a 62-54 loss to James Madison at the Arena. What this familiar defeat lacked in sudden misery — though if Dixon were a member of the Dukes, he probably would have hit a 10-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final score — it had in vague feelings of impending, nearing-the-precipice doom. 

The loss Monday was the third true buzzer-beating defeat of the Defiantly Dutch Era. (A stunningly low number, no?) The first two — in 1995-96 and 2012-13 — yielded season-crushing collapses, though “cause and effect” can really only be argued with the first one.

Jay Wright’s second team had won four of its last five to improve to 7-7 overall and 4-4 in the North Atlantic Conference (that name will stick, I’m sure of it) when Northeastern handed the Flying Dutchmen (that name will stick, I’m sure of it) a 71-68 loss. That defeat began a nine-game losing streak for the Dutchmen and a season-ending stretch in which they lost 11 of the final 13 games I covered as a collegian.

Seventeen years later, the Dutchmen were going nowhere long before Frantz Massenat’s half-courter through a double team gave Drexel a 55-52 win. That expulsion-ravaged team was already 5-13 overall and had already endured an eight-game losing streak. But still, any flicker of hope the Dutchmen had at 2-3 entering the Drexel game disappeared as they went 2-12 the rest of the way.

A possible hangover from Monday was on my mind most of the day Thursday — and clearly on the minds of the Dutchmen, who lacked any confidence or urgency aside from reserves Justin Wright-Foreman, Jamall Robinson and Hunter Sabety. The Dutchmen were at a plus-6 when those three were on the court together and minus-14 the rest of the time.

The fog with which the Dutchmen played reminded me of the nadirs of Tom Pecora’s final two seasons at the helm. The loss Thursday was a particularly timely reminder of the first week of January 2009, when the Dutchmen trailed Drexel wire-to-wire in a 63-56 loss on Jan. 3 before going to Boston and getting throttled by Northeastern, 73-50, two days later.

Not a single Dutchmen scored in double figures in the latter game — the first and only time it happened in Pecora’s head coaching tenure. On Thursday — exactly eight years later — the Dutchmen were limited to one player in double figures (who else but Wright-Foreman) for the first time since Jan. 2, 2014, early in Mihalich’s first season.

Against Northeastern, Pecora opened most timeouts by huddling with his assistants, away from players, as if he had no idea what to tell them. That game ended with a spate of backups, including walk-on David Vallins, on the court. 

On Thursday, Mihalich stalked to half court with his hands covering his face before a timeout in the second half. He spent much of the final 20 minutes walking up and down the bench, looking for answers that weren’t there. And while he didn’t dip into the walk-ons for the final moments Thursday, he did deviate from his script by subbing in Wright-Foreman, Robinson and Sabety far earlier in the second half than usual. 

The Northeastern loss represented the start of the worst slump ever experienced by then-sophomore Charles Jenkins, whose 1-of-9 effort against the Huskies began a five-game stretch in which he was just 13-of-59 from the field. I have been thinking of the struggling Jenkins while watching Rokas Gustys — who made more free throws (two) than field goals (one) against James Madison — scuffle for touches over the last three games, during which he’s 5-of-13.

The loss to Northeastern dropped the Dutchmen to 1-2 in the CAA — the same record the Dutchmen have through three games this season. Eight years ago today, the Dutchmen briefly stopped the skid with a 66-61 win over Delaware in which Jenkins shot 4-of-24 (!!!), though they lost the next two games (to VCU and Drexel) to fall to 2-4 in league play. 

The Dutchmen began turning their season around Jan. 17 by upsetting previously unbeaten Northeastern at the Arena. They ended up winning nine of their final 12 CAA games and missed out on a top-four seed and a bye by a tiebreaker. 

At this point, with the Dutchmen beginning a three-game road trip today at defensively dominant Charleston before heading to Elon and defending champion UNC Wilmington, they’d gladly take a 2-4 record heading into a two-game homestand that begins Jan. 19. The second game in a two-game homestand two weeks from now? Currently unbeaten Northeastern. 

And if bottoming out for the Dutchmen doesn’t occur at 2-4? That would be reminiscent of 2010, when a team lacking any four-year seniors missed a chance to open CAA play at 2-0 when it led all game before falling to William & Mary, 48-47, on what I can only presume was a 55-footer at the buzzer by junior Daniel Dixon. 

The Dutchmen were 2-2 after four games before a five-game losing streak in which they were outscored by a whopping 62 points and had the score run up on them by Jaime Larranaga. (Good times!!!!) That funk had everything: Lineup changes by Pecora, our guy Corny Vines getting tossed out of practice and even Pecora showing up to a press conference sans players and questioning their effort following the George Mason debacle. 

“I’m not into feeling sorry for myself, I’m not into feeling sorry for them,” Pecora said. “They’ve got scholarships here. It’s $50,000 a year to come be a college basketball player. It’s a wonderful life. And you’re asked to play hard when you get on the floor, work hard in the classroom and behave like a gentleman when you’re off the court. It’s not that much to do. There’s guys who would give their left arm to do that.”

Mihalich was accompanied by Wright-Foreman on Thursday, when the head coach criticized or referenced the Dutchmen’s lack of toughness more than a dozen times. And as much as Mihalich likes a set lineup, he acknowledged he’d consider all options during what he expected to be a sleepless night.

“They’re bigger, stronger, tougher, more physical,” Mihalich said. “We’re just — we’re none of those things right now.”

An unrelenting schedule could put the Dutchmen in the type of seemingly unrecoverable hole they fell into seven years ago. But the 2009-10 Dutchmen, went 8-1 in the second half of the CAA schedule — a run sparked by resounding, point-differential-helping, got-Benny-Moss-fired 93-54 win over UNC Wilmington— to finish with a 10-8 record and came within a whisker of advancing to the CAA semifinals.

So if this all feels familiar, it should. But history suggests the Dutchmen will not be as bad as they looked Thursday, that Gustys is going to come out of his slump, that a team lacking a true four-year senior but loaded with players who are college basketball veterans is going to play much better at some point. It just may not happen as fast as we, or they, would prefer.


“I wish I could say ‘here’s what we’re going to do,’” Mihalich said Thursday night. “I don’t know. It takes some soul searching here. The guys in the room are going to have to do that too. The players are going to have to decide they don’t like this. I know how I feel/ My only prayer for the night: They feel the same as me, they’re as angry as I am, that they’re as frustrated as I am and want to do something about it. I know I want to do something about it.”