Saturday, January 19, 2013

Delaware 69, Hofstra 54 (Or: I’m looking out over that Delaware Memorial Bridge, not seein’ that 2-0 CAA start)

In their CAA opener, the Flying Dutchmen saw what can happen when Stevie Mejia and Taran Buie are playing well. Two nights later in Delaware, the Dutchmen saw what happens when they don’t as Mejia and Buie combined for just 11 points—on 3-of-18 shooting from the field—as the Dutchmen fell to Delaware, 69-54, in New-ARK. And since it’s almost a week later, away we go with the recap!

1.) The final margin of defeat looks pretty convincing, but the Dutchmen would have been in the game into the final minutes—at worst—if they could have gotten the type of production out of their guards that the Blue Hens got out of theirs. Devon Saddler, Jarvis Threatt and Kyle Anderson combined for 53 points on 20-of-35 shooting for Delaware. Mejia’s night was not a complete loss: He played a team-high 36 minutes, scored nine points (second to Daquan Brown—more on him shortly) on 2-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from the line and had a passable if unspectacular assist-to-turnover ratio of 2:3. But…

2.) …Buie scored just two points and shot a Tony Dennison-esque 1-of-11 from the field. More alarmingly, he played just 19 minutes and sat the last 15:21. It’s tough for a starter—especially a guard—to earn that much pine time on such a thin team. In fact, the 19 minutes tied a season-low for Buie, who also played 19 minutes against Marshall back when, you know, the Dutchmen had a full roster and all that. Buie arrived here with plenty of hype, so it’s easy to forget that he went almost two years between Division I games and is basically re-starting his career. Still, the Dutchmen need his on-court maturation to speed up, and fast.

3.) The struggles of Buie and Mejia stood out because the rest of the Dutchmen combined to shoot a perfectly fine 50 percent (17-of-34)—and that includes a 2-of-8 night for David Imes. Forwards Imes, Daquan Brown, Jordan Allen, Stephen Nwaukoni and Moussa Kone combined for 43 points and 28 rebounds, a collective effort which could win the Dutchmen a lot of games in a watered-down CAA that has few imposing frontcourts. Speaking of which: The Dutchmen shut down one of the league’s better low post combos in Jamelle Hagins and Josh Brinkley, but they were limited to eight points and 12 rebounds. Hagins entered the night averaging a remarkably prolific 13.1 points and 12.7 rebounds per game but finished with no points and six rebounds.

4.) Nwaukoni had seven points and led the way on the boards again with 11 rebounds—the ninth time in the last 10 games he’s played that he’s pulled down at least seven rebounds. Kone had seven points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. It was the second time in three games he had at least seven points (following a seven-game stretch in which he didn’t score more than six points in any contest) and the five boards were his most since Dec. 1 against SMU. And Imes had eight points and eight rebounds, which marked only the fourth time this year he’s scored as many as eight points and the second time he’s recorded as many as eight rebounds.

5.) Brown’s performance was as encouraging as it was unexpected. He entered the Delaware game with just six points in his first three games, a stretch in which he played only 25 minutes. But Brown scored 10 points in the first half alone and finished with a team-high 13 overall. He looked infinitely better than he did in his Hofstra debut more than two weeks earlier, when it looked as if he hadn’t seen a court in a year-and-a-half. Which, of course, he hadn’t. There have been some rusty appearances since then, but Brown’s outing against Delaware provided some hope he could eventually form a pretty stout frontcourt trio along with Nwaukoni and Kone.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Delaware, 1/9)
3: Daquan Brown
2: Stephen Nwaukoni
1: David Imes

20: Taran Buie
19: Stevie Mejia
10: Stephen Nwaukoni
7: Jordan Allen
4: Moussa Kone
3: Daquan Brown
3: David Imes
2: Matt Grogan

***21 points vacated

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