Sunday, November 19, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: Auburn

So that's where Lonely Tailgater gets it from.

The dream of an unbeaten season perished Friday night, when Clemson began running away from the Flying Dutchmen late in the first half of a 78-59 win in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic. The Dutchmen will look to head home on a winning note tonight when they take on new bitter all-sports rival Auburn in the third-place game at 7 PM. Here’s a look back at the loss to the Tigers and a look ahead to the, umm, Tigers.

Justin Wright-Foreman scored a team-high 20 points for the Dutchmen, who led briefly in the first half and trailed by only two points with three minutes to go before Clemson entered the locker room on a 12-4 run to take a 42-32 lead. The Dutchmen pulled within six a little more than five minutes into the second half, but Clemson scored the next nine points and led by double digits the rest of the way. Eli Pemberton scored 14 points and Rokas Gustys (10 points, 10 rebounds) collected another double-double while tying for the team lead with three assists. Joel Angus added eight points and six rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Clemson 11/17)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Rokas Gustys
1: Eli Pemberton

Justin Wright-Foreman 10
Rokas Gustys 5
Eli Pemberton 5
Desure Buie 2
Joel Angus 1

The Dutchmen opened 3-0 for the second time in the last three seasons and the 18th time in program history. They have not begun a season with at least four straight wins since the 2004-05 team started out 9-0.

In addition, the Dutchmen were one of 17 previously unbeaten teams to lose Friday. But they remained unbeaten longer than all but one of those teams — a group that included CAA rival Northeastern and former CAA foe VCU — thanks to the 9:30 tipoff. Viva la third shift!

Senior center Rokas Gustys enters tonight’s game with 978 rebounds, the third-highest total in school history and the 10th-highest total in CAA history. He is 16 rebounds shy of moving past George Mason’s Will Thomas (aww too bad) for ninth place all-time in the CAA and 209 rebounds away from surpassing John Irving for second place all-time at Hofstra. Irving’s 1,186 rebounds are the most in Hofstra’s Division I history.

Auburn is 2-1 this season after falling to Temple, 88-74, in Friday’s semifinal game. The Tigers routed Norfolk State, 102-74, in the season opener Nov, 10 before opening Charleston Classic play with an 83-64 win over Indiana State on Thursday. Auburn was ninth in the SEC preseason poll.

Like many other schools (such as Miami, so sad), Auburn is involved in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball. Former assistant coach Chuck Person, who played at Auburn in the ‘80s, was indicted Nov. 7 on six charges. Person allegedly accepted $91,500 in bribes while directing two unnamed players to a financial advisor who was cooperating with the FBI. Scandal-happy head coach Bruce Pearl has not been implicated but has yet to cooperate with school officials conducting an internal investigation. So long story short, maybe if Hofstra loses the win will be vacated!

At today, Hofstra is ranked 125th while Auburn is ranked 53rd. Per the wise guys, for entertainment purposes only, Auburn is a 10.5-point favorite. Hofstra is 1-1 against the spread this season.

Hofstra and Auburn have one mutual foe. The Tigers will host Dayton, whom the Dutchmen beat 72-69 on Friday, in a non-bracketed Charleston Classic game (don’t ask) on Nov. 29.

This is the first time Hofstra and Auburn have faced each other in men’s basketball and only the second time the schools have opposed each other in any sport. But it’s also the second clash in seven days. The NCAA screwed Hofstra again by sending the Flying Dutchwomen soccer team to Auburn last Friday, where the Tigers earned a 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Dutchmen are 2-11 all-time against current Southeastern Conference schools. Hofstra edged Florida 68-67 during the 1977-78 season and beat Mississippi 78-73 during the 1990-91 season. This is the third straight season in which Hofstra has faced an SEC foe. The Dutchmen lost to Kentucky 96-73 at Not Nassau Coliseum last Dec. 11 and fell to South Carolina, 94-84, in the second round of the Paradise Jam on Nov. 22, 2015.

Tonight’s game will air live on ESPNU. Hofstra will carry live audio and offer live stats here.

Hofstra is 22-23 in preseason tournament play in the CAA era. The Dutchmen participated in the Gulf Coast Showcase last season, when they beat Bradley (92-90) and South Dakota (65-57) while falling to Vermont (87-73) in Florida before beating Division III Medaille 89-56 at Hofstra (don’t ask).

Lonely Tailgater is a bad online influencer bias! (Twitter’s MVP inexplicably follows me)
Charles Barkley isn’t paid to be a role model bias! (Long before he was chucking people through bar windows, Barkley played three seasons at Auburn)
Pat Dye went for the tie in the 1988 Sugar Bowl bias! (It’s true, you could look it up)
We got screwed at Auburn last week bias! (Duh) 

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