Saturday, February 11, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: Northeastern

Happy pre-Valentine's Day, everyone!

The Flying Dutchmen’s winning streak ended at two games Thursday night, when they blew a 10-point lead in a nip-and-tuck 69-65 loss to Towson. The Dutchmen will look to get back on the winning side of the ledger and keep alive their faint hopes of earning a bye in the CAA Tournament tonight, when they visit Northeastern in the season’s second “Barone Bowl.” Here’s a quick look back at the loss to the Tigers and a look ahead to the Huskies. 

Justin Wright-Foreman scored a game-high 29 points but was the only player in double figures for the Dutchmen, who could not get over the hump against Towson. The Dutchmen, who led by eight at the half, never trailed by more than six points in the second half but didn’t hold a lead in the final 7:22. Deron Powers had nine points and six assists while Hunter Sabety racked up six points, eight rebounds and five blocks despite playing just 19 minutes before fouling out. 

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Towson 2/9)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Deron Powers
1: Hunter Sabety

Justin Wright-Foreman 42
Deron Powers 31
Eli Pemberton 25
Brian Bernardi 19
Rokas Gustys 18
Ty Greer 9
Hunter Sabety 7
Jamall Robinson 5

The Dutchmen blew a double-digit lead for the second time this season (the first was against Towson on Jan. 19) and the 13th time in the Joe Mihalich Era.

vs. Towson 2/9/17 (led by 10 in 1H, lost 69-65)
vs. Towson 1/19/17 led by (16 in 1H, L 86-80)
vs. UNCW 3/7/16 (led by 12 in 2H, L 80-73 OT)
vs. JMU 2/7/16 (led by 14 in 1H, L 98-95 OT)
vs. UNCW 2/4/16 (led by 20 1H, L 70-67)
vs. JMU 1/24/15 (led by 14 1H, L 69-63)
vs. South Florida 11/25/15 (led by 15 2H, L 71-70)
vs. Delaware 2/19/14 (led by 15 1H, L 81-77)
vs. Northeastern 1/25/14 (led by 10 1H, L 70-57)
vs. Delaware 1/8/14 (led by 13 1H, L 86-79)
vs. Belmont 11/24/13 (led by 10 1H, L 85-75)
vs. Richmond 11/19/13 (led by 11 2H, L 74-63 OT)
vs. Monmouth 11/8/13 (led by 13 2H, L 88-84)

In addition, the Dutchmen have come back from a double-digit deficit to win a game 12 times under Mihalich, which means a double-digit lead has been squandered in nearly 22 percent of the games the Dutchmen have played in the Mihalich Era.

The loss Thursday, coupled with Northeastern’s comeback win over Charleston, likely dealt a crippling blow to the Dutchmen’s hopes of earning a first-round bye in the CAA Tournament and getting out of “Pillowfight Friday.” The Dutchmen are three games out of sixth place (or, optimistically speaking, fourth place) with five games to play. Here are are bottom of the CAA standings entering today.

4.) Elon 7-6
5.) William & Mary 7-6
6.) Northeastern 7-6
7.) James Madison 5-8
8.) HOFSTRA 4-9
9.) Drexel 3-10
10.) Delaware 3-10

The Dutchmen currently have the tiebreaker over Northeastern, whom they beat 78-73 on Jan, 21, but not over James Madison, who handed the Dutchmen a 62-54 loss on Jan. 5. The Dutchmen visit Northeastern tonight, obviously, and James Madison in the regular season finale Feb. 25. 

Elon is technically the fourth seed at the moment by virtue of its 2-1 record against William & Mary and Northeastern. William & Mary (2-2 against Elon and Northeastern) is technically fifth and Northeastern (1-2 against Elon and William & Mary) is technically sixth.

In addition, Drexel is technically the ninth seed at the moment by virtue of its head-to-head win over Delaware.

Junior forward Rokas Gustys missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury. Only Greer, Hunter Sabety, Deron Powers and Justin Wright-Foreman have played in every game this season. The The longest consecutive games streak belongs to Wright-Foreman, who has played in the Dutchmen’s last 41 games.

Sophomore guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored a team- and game-high 29 points on Thursday. It was the sixth straight game in which Wright-Foreman has at least shared the team lead in points, the eighth time he has done so during CAA play and the 11th time overall this season.
Wright-Foreman has played at least 10 minutes in every game but one this season and has scored in double figures in 19 of 25 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, who scored 44 points in 27 games last season, has scored 426 points this season, which is already the sixth-most by a Hofstra sophomore in the CAA era. 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.) Kenny Adeleke 468 (2002-03) 
5.) Rokas Gustys 459 (2015-16)
6.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 426 (2016-17)
7.) Mike Radziejewski 265 (2002-03)
8.) David Imes 251 (2010-11)
9.) Woody Souffrant 244 (2002-03)
10.) Ziggy Sestokas 219 (2006-07)

In addition, Wright-Foreman enters today ranked 28th among sophomores in scoring, according to College Basketball Reference. Only one player ahead of him scored fewer than 100 points as a freshman last season. Albany’s David Nichols scored 40 points in 15 games.

Hofstra will provide a video and radio feed of today’s game at the Pride Productions hub.
The Huskies, under 11th-year head coach Bill Coen, are 14-11 this season and 7-6 in CAA play. Northeastern has lost six of eight following a 5-0 start in the CAA, though the Huskies came back from a 16-point deficit Thursday to stun host Charleston, 73-72, on a buzzer-beating putback by Bolden Brice.

The Dutchmen and Huskies had two mutual foes during non-league play. The Dutchmen routed SUNY-Stony Brook 96-58 and lost to Vermont 87-73 while the Huskies fell to the Patriots 77-75 and beat the Catamounts 59-57. Northeastern’s non-conference wins included road victories at UConn and Michigan State.

In CAA play, the Dutchmen have swept Delaware, which split with the Huskies, and split with Drexel, which was swept by Northeastern. Northeastern has split with William & Mary and James Madison, each of whom beat Hofstra in the lone meeting thus far this season, as well as Towson, which swept the Dutchmen. The Huskies have beaten Charleston, which beat the Dutchmen in the teams’ first meeting, and Elon, which swept the Dutchmen.

The Dutchmen won the first game this season against Northeastern on Jan. 21, when they led by as many 16 in the second half before hanging on for a 78-73 victory at the Arena. Hofstra is looking to sweep the season series for the second straight season. Northeastern swept the season series the previous four years.

The Dutchmen, who were picked sixth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 205th at and 214th in the RPI. The Huskies, who were picked seventh, are ranked 127th at and 125th in the RPI.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Huskies are 6-point favorites.

The Dutchmen are tied for third (with Drexel) among CAA teams in scoring (77.2 ppg) but are allowing 77.0 ppg, the second-most in the league.

The Dutchmen rank sixth in the CAA in field goal percentage (44.3%), less than one-hundredth of a percentage point behind James Madison, and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (36.3%) They are allowing opposing teams to shoot 46.0 percent overall, eighth in the league, and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, which is last. 

The Huskies rank seventh in the CAA in scoring (72.4 ppg) and are allowing 69.8 ppg, which ranks fourth.

The Huskies are third in the CAA in field goal percentage (47.2%) and first in 3-point field goal percentage (38.7%). They are seventh in field goal percentage defense (45.4%) and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (35.3%).

Hofstra is 20-20 against Northeastern in a series that began during the 1949-50 season. All but three of the meetings have come in conference play since the 1994-95 season, when Hofstra joined the North Atlantic Conference. The Dutchmen have won three straight games over the Huskies dating back to last season. 

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” 56.5 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 (15.2)***
Deron Powers (13.2)
Eli Pemberton (13.1)
Ty Greer (6.7)
Hunter Sabety (4.3)
Jamall Robinson (4.0)

***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 already the 19th Dutchmen freshman in the CAA era to score at least 100 points in his debut season. With eight points on Thursday, Pemberton moved past Chaz Williams into fifth 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.) ELI PEMBERTON, 327 (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 just won the most dramatic Super Bowl of all-time bias (c’mon folks)
You also had a football alum in the Super Bowl bias! (Patriots backup tight end Matt Lengel was a freshman during Northeastern’s final football season in 2009, hey who else disbanded its football program after 2009?)
Matt Janning is from Watertown but not the one in Massachusetts bias! (The former Northeastern great is from Minnesota)
Love Stinks bias! (It’s the final game before Valentine’s Day so let’s pay homage to the J. Geils Band)

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