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. 

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

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

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. 

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. 

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.

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

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 and 224th in the RPI. The Phoenix, who were picked fourth, are ranked 152nd at 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%).

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.

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.

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. 

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)

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)

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)

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”)

No comments: