Saturday, February 25, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: James Madison

Huh. Publicity in I-AA football. How about that.

The Flying Dutchmen got a bit of revenge on William & Mary by scoring the final 15 points of the game Thursday night to turn another potential Daniel Dixon special into a 96-82 win over the Tribe. The Dutchmen look to end the regular season on a winning note today, when they visit James Madison. Here’s a quick look back at the win over the Fighting Dixons and a look ahead to the Dukes.

Justin Wright-Foreman continued his astonishing emergence by scoring a career-high 35 points — including 25 in the second half — as the Dutchmen pulled away late from William & Mary. Wright-Foreman scored seven points in the game-ending 15-0 run, including the nostalgic 3-pointer that gave the Dutchmen the lead for good with 3:29 left. The Dutchmen trailed by as many as nine points early in the first half and didn’t lead by more than five points until there was just 61 seconds left in the game. Deron Powers scored 19 points and collected five assists while Eli Pemberton added 16 points. Rokas Gustys fell short of a third straight double-double but pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with eight points.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. William & Mary 2/23)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Deron Powers
1: Eli Pemberton

Justin Wright-Foreman 54
Deron Powers 33
Eli Pemberton 29
Brian Bernardi 23
Rokas Gustys 20
Ty Greer 9
Hunter Sabety 7
Jamall Robinson 5

Despite the win, the Dutchmen were locked into the no. 8 seed in next weekend’s CAA Tournament — and a spot in “Pillowfight Friday” — by virtue of Northeastern’s 105-104 double overtime victory over Elon and James Madison’s 70-64 win over Drexel. 

Northeastern locked up the last bye with the win while James Madison’s win ensured the Dukes of the seventh spot. The Dutchmen can tie the Dukes for seventh place with a win today, but James Madison will earn the seventh seed by virtue of a better record against the CAA’s top six teams.

The Dutchmen will play ninth-seeded Delaware next Friday night at 6 PM. The winner will advance to face top-seeded UNC Wilmington next Saturday at noon. 

Justin Wright-Foreman scored a career-high 35 points on Thursday. It was just the 25th time a Hofstra player has scored at least 35 points in a single game and the first time since Zeke Upshaw scored 37 points against Richmond on Nov. 19, 2013.  

Wright-Foreman is just the 18th player to score at least 35 points without the game going into overtime. Prior to Wright-Foreman, the last player to score at least 35 points in a game that ended in regulation was Charles Jenkins, who scored 38 points against Fairfield on Nov. 30, 2009.

Bill Thieben, 46 pts vs. Wilkes 1954-55
Steve Nisenson, 45 pts vs. West Chester, 1962-63
Demetrius Dudley 44 pts vs. Central Connecticut, 2/9/93
Bill Thieben, 42 pts vs. Wilkes, 1955-56
Bernard Tomlin, 42 pts vs. Oral Roberts, 1974-75
Rich Laurel, 40 pts vs. American, 1976-77
Speedy Claxton, 40 pts vs. Hartford, 1/16/00
Speedy Claxton, 40 pts vs. Maine, 1/21/00
Speedy Claxton, 39 pts vs. Iona, 12/18/99
Demetrius Dudley, 38 pts vs. Columbia, 1/7/93
Charles Jenkins, 38 pts vs. Fairfield, 11/30/09
Demetrius Dudley, 37 pts at Towson State, 2/6/92
Demetrius Dudley, 37 pts vs. Maine, 1/25/93
Carlos Rivera, 37 pts vs. James Madison, 2/24/07
Demetrius Dudley, 36 pts vs. Air Force, 12/28/91
Antoine Agudio, 36 pts at Fordham, 12/5/07
John Mavroukas, 35 pts at New Hampshire, 1/6/95
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN, 35 pts vs. William & Mary, 2/23/17

Justin Wright-Foreman held at least a share of the team scoring lead Thursday for the 10th straight game, which is the longest streak by a Hofstra player since Charles Jenkins ended his collegiate career by at least sharing the team lead in points for 11 straight games from Feb. 2, 2011 through March 15, 2011. 

Charles Jenkins 11 games (2/2/11-3/15/11 end of season)
Charles Jenkins 10 games (11/13/10-12/18/10)
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 10 games (1/21/17-present)

THE 30/30/30/30 CLUB
Justin Wright-Foreman had his fourth 30-point game of the season on Thursday. He is just the third Dutchman since 2002-03 to record at least four 30-point games in the same season. He joins a club whose other two members are the top two scorers in program history: Charles Jenkins, who had four 30-point games in each of his final three seasons, and Antoine Agudio, who had six 30-point games as a senior in 2007-08.

Antoine Agudio 6 (2007-08)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2008-09)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2009-10)
Charles Jenkins 4 (2010-11)

Brian Bernardi (4-for-4) and Justin Wright-Foreman (6-for-6) were each perfect from the line Thursday as they extended their respective streaks of consecutive made free throws. Bernardi has made his last 31 free throws dating back to the second half of the Kentucky game on Dec. 11 while Wright-Foreman has drained his last 24 free throws dating back to the second half of the Northeastern game on Feb. 11. Bernardi’s streak is the longest by a Hofstra player in at least five seasons, a stretch in which someone has drained at least 20 straight free throws five times.

BRIAN BERNARDI, 31-for-31 (12/11/16-present)
JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN (24-for-24 (2/11/17-present)
Juan’ya Green 24-for-24 (11/22/15-12/6/15)
Dion Nesmith 23-for-23 (11/25/14-1/13/15)
Juan’ya Green 21-for-21 (1/28/16-2/4/16)

Junior forward Rokas Gustys pulled down his 900th career rebound in Thursday night’s win and has 910 rebounds in his three-year career. He is just the fourth player in program history to reach 900 rebounds and the first since David Taylor collected 926 rebounds from 1979 through 1982.

Justin Wright-Foreman has played at least 10 minutes in every game but one this season and has scored in double figures in 24 of 30 games, including the last 20. 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, who scored 44 points in 27 games last season, has scored 538 points this season, which is already the fourth-most by a Hofstra sophomore in the CAA era. He is 12 points away from surpassing Loren Stokes for third place and 29 points away from moving past Antoine Agudio into second place. 

The only players in the top 10 to score fewer points as a freshman than Wright-Foreman are David Imes, who scored 25 points as a freshman in 2009-10 before scoring 251 points as a sophomore, and Ziggy Sestokas, who scored 29 points as a freshman in 2005-06 before scoring 219 points as a sophomore.

1.) Charles Jenkins 629 (2009-10)
2.) Antoine Agudio 566 (2005-06)
3.) Loren Stokes 549 (2004-05)
4.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 538 (2016-17)
5.) Kenny Adeleke 468 (2002-03) 
6.) Rokas Gustys 459 (2015-16)
7.) Mike Radziejewski 265 (2002-03)
8.) David Imes 251 (2010-11)
9.) Woody Souffrant 244 (2002-03)
10.) Ziggy Sestokas 219 (2006-07)

With 538 points this season, Justin Wright-Foreman enters today 15th among sophomores in scoring, according to College Basketball Reference. He was 22nd among sophomores entering Thursday. No one ahead of him scored fewer than 100 points as a freshman last season. Albany’s David Nichols, who enters today ranked 23rd among sophomores with 516 points this season, scored 40 points in 15 games last year.

The Dutchmen are trying to become only the second team in CAA history to finish with seven league wins after opening 1-6 or worse through seven games. William & Mary opened 1-6 and finished 7-11 in 2012-13. The Dutchmen have joined that Tribe team along with the 2001-02 James Madison and 2010-11 Northeastern squads, both of whom finished 6-12, as the only CAA teams to record at least six wins after beginning 1-6 or worse. The previous 22 teams to open 1-6 or worse finished with an average of 3.5 CAA wins. 

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

The Dukes, under rookie head coach Louis Rowe, are 9-21 this season and 7-10 in CAA play. James Madison locked up the no. 7 seed in next week’s CAA Tournament by edging Drexel, 70-64, on Thursday.

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

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 181st at and 188th in the RPI, The Dukes, who were picked fifth, are ranked 228th at and 252nd in the RPI.

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

James Madison won the first game this season against the Dutchmen on Jan. 5, when the Dukes didn’t trail for the final 39:23 of a 62-54 win at the Arena. The 54 points are the fewest scored this season by the Dutchmen. 

The Dutchmen are third among CAA teams in scoring (77.5 ppg) but are allowing 76.9 ppg, the third-most in the league.

The Dutchmen rank seventh in the CAA in field goal percentage (44.4%) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (37.0%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 46.1 percent overall, eighth in the league, and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, which is last. 

The Dukes ranks ninth in the CAA in scoring (66.2 ppg) and are allowing 69.7 ppg, which is third in the league. 

The Dukes are sixth in the CAA in field goal percentage (44.6%), two-tenths of a percentage point ahead of the Dutchmen, and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (33.2%). They are fifth in field goal percentage defense (44.2%) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage defense (35.8%).

Hofstra is 15-12 against James Madison in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dukes are going for their third straight regular season sweep and have won six of the last seven regular season games between the clubs, though the Dutchmen beat James Madison, 74-57, in the quarterfinals of the CAA tournament in 2015. 

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” 56.4 ppg this season via five players who didn’t play for the team in 2015-16, plus the emergence of sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman. 

Justin Wright-Foreman (16.7)***
Eli Pemberton (12.9)
Deron Powers (12.9)
Ty Greer (5.8)
Hunter Sabety (4.3)
Jamall Robinson (3.8)

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

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 the 19th Dutchmen freshman in the CAA era to score at least 100 points in his debut season. He is tied with Loren Stokes for fourth 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)
4.) ELI PEMBERTON, 374 (2016-17)
6.) Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
7.) Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
8.) Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
9.) Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
10.) Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)

You won the Division I-AA title bias! (James Madison garnered publicity for I-AA football by winning the national title in January)
@VCUPav made Humpty Hitchens glare at him during a game bias! (The great VCU superfan pestered Hitchens during a Pillowfight Friday game in 2012)
You guys have more old seniors than anyone ever bias! (Hasn’t Jackson Kent been there since 1988?)
Mike Deane is still an assistant bias! (The former Siena, Marquette, Lamar and Wagner head coach remained on staff even after Matt Brady was fired last March)

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