Saturday, January 28, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: Elon

The Elon to the right is not the one the Dutchmen are playing today.

The winning streak ended at one Thursday night, when the Flying Dutchmen came all the way back from a 15-point second half deficit to take late leads in both regulation and overtime only to fall to Drexel, 81-80. At least the Dragons didn’t win on a buzzer-beating half-courter this time? The Dutchmen will try to get back in the win column this afternoon, when they host Elon at the Arena. Here’s a quick look back at the Drexel loss and a look ahead to the Phoenix.

Justin Wright-Foreman tied a career-high by scoring 30 points for the third time in CAA play but was left to wonder what-if about end-game sequences in regulation and overtime as the Dutchmen suffered a narrow loss. Wright-Foreman missed three of four free throws in the final three minutes of regulation before his pass to Hunter Sabety under the basket went off Sabety’s hands in the waning seconds. In overtime, Wright-Foreman missed two more free throws, including one that would have given the Dutchmen a three-point lead with 41 seconds remaining. Drexel’s Kurk Lee followed with the game-winning 3-pointer, after which Wright-Foreman missed a driving layup with six seconds left. Ty Greer missed two tip-ins and Brian Bernardi missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer. Bernardi (14 points), Deron Powers (11 points) and Rokas Gustys (10 points) also scored in double figures while Greer pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds playing largely in place of Eli Pemberton, who suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury in the first half. Powers added five assists and two steals.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Drexel 1/26)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Brian Bernardi
1: Deron Powers

Justin Wright-Foreman 33
Deron Powers 25
Eli Pemberton 24
Rokas Gustys 18
Brian Bernardi 16
Ty Greer 9
Jamall Robinson 5
Hunter Sabety 2

Sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored a career-high 30 points for the second straight game and the third time in nine CAA games on Thursday, when he became the sixth Dutchman since 2002-03 to record three 30-point games in the same season. Among Wright-Foreman’s predecessors are the two most prolific scorers in program history, Charles Jenkins (who had four 30-point games in each of his final three campaigns) and Antoine Agudio, as well as 1,000-point scorers Loren Stokes and Mike Moore and current NBDL player Zeke Upshaw. 

Antoine Agudio 6 (2007-08)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2008-09)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2009-10)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2010-11)
Loren Stokes 3 (2005-06)
Mike Moore 3 (2011-12)
Zeke Upshaw 3 (2013-14)
Justin Wright-Foreman 3 (2016-17)

Wright-Foreman has played at least 10 minutes in every game but one this season and has scored in double figures in 16 of 22 games. He scored more than four points and played more than 10 points in just one game last season, when he collected nine points in 17 minutes against Division II Molloy. 

Wright-Foreman has scored 335 points this season, the most in the CAA era for a Hofstra sophomore who scored fewer than 100 points as a freshman. 

The Dutchmen fell to 0-2 in overtime games this season (they lost to William & Mary, 95-94, on Jan. 2), 1-7 in overtime overtime games under Joe Mihalich and 17-13 in overtime games during the CAA era (2001-present).

The Dutchmen played every CAA team once during the first half of the league schedule. Hofstra is the only team yet to play an opponent twice in CAA play.

With Thursday’s loss, the Dutchmen fell to 2-7 at the midway point of the CAA schedule. It is only the fourth time in 16 seasons the Dutchmen have had two or fewer wins halfway through CAA play. 

Between 2001-02 — when  the "America East four” saved, err, joined the CAA — and last season, 37 teams reached the midway point of the league schedule with two wins or fewer. Only the 2009-10 Dutchmen, who started 2-7 and finished 10-8, finished .500 in league play. Only two others (Towson in 2001-02 and William & Mary in 2012-13) finished with as many as seven league wins. Overall, 37 teams combined to finish with an average of 3.8 CAA wins.

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

The Phoenix, under eighth-year head coach Matt Matheny, are 13-9 this season and 5-4 in CAA play. Elon is 4-1 in its last five games. a stretch that began with a 96-80 win over the Dutchmen in North Carolina on Jan. 12. The Phoenix are the first CAA team the Dutchmen are facing for the second time.

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

In CAA play, the Dutchmen and Phoenix have each beaten Northeastern and lost to College of Charleston, UNC Wilmington and James Madison. The Phoenix split with William & Mary, which beat the Dutchmen, and defeated Towson and Drexel, each of whom also beat the Dutchmen. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 185th at and 195th in the RPI. The Phoenix, who were picked fourth, are ranked 142nd at and 172nd in the RPI.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 3 1/2-point favorites.

The Dutchmen rank third among CAA teams in scoring (78.2 ppg) but are allowing  77.6 ppg, the second-most in the league and two-tenths of a point better than Drexel.

The Dutchmen rank fifth in the CAA in field goal percentage (45.0%) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (36.5%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 45.7 percent overall, ninth in the league, and 39.7 percent from beyond the arc, which is last. 

The Phoenix rank fifth in scoring (75.5 ppg) and are allowing 71.0 ppg, which is sixth in the CAA.

The Dragons are fourth in the CAA in field goal percentage (45.3%) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (36.0%). They are third in field goal percentage defense (42.1%) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (36.0%).

Hofstra is 5-1 against Elon, which joined the CAA prior to the 2014-15 season. Elon earned its first win in the series on Jan. 12, when the Phoenix led the Dutchmen by as many as 25 points on the way to a 96-80 victory in North Carolina. 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. 

Justin Wright-Foreman (14.0)***
Eli Pemberton (13.2)
Deron Powers (13.1)
Ty Greer (7.6)
Jamall Robinson (4.1)
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 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half and overtime. Of his 335 points this season, 226 have been scored in the second half. 

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 and is four points away from moving past Halil Kanacevic, though Pemberton's short-term availability is unknown after he suffered an ankle injury Thursday.

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, 291 (2016-17)
9.) Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
10.) Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)

Junior forward Rokas Gustys became the fourth-leading rebounder in program history Thursday night, when he collected 10 rebounds against Drexel. Gustys, who moved past Gary Cheslock, has more rebounds than anyone who has played at Hofstra in the last 35 seasons.

3.) David Taylor, 926 (1979-82)
4.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 859 (2014-present)
3.) Gary Cheslock, 857 (1978-81)

You got tripped by Grayson Allen bias! (Elon’s Steven Santa Ana was tripped on Dec. 21 by Duke’s little weasel, who was suspended for a whopping one game by Duke’s big weasel)
Newcomer bias! (Elon is the newest member of the CAA)
Your nickname reminds me of Galaga bias! (You had to be a kid in the ‘80s to understand phoenixes and Galaga)
You’re not related to that Musk guy bias! (He's the guy who invents stuff)

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