The pursuit of a perfect season remained intact Thursday night, when the Flying Dutchmen led nearly wire-to-wire before mounting a late comeback to edge Dayton, 72-69, in the opening round of the Charleston Classic. The Dutchmen face Clemson in the semifinals tonight, Here’s a look back at the win over the Flyers and a look ahead to the Tigers.
THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Eli Pemberton scored a game- and career-high 27 points for the Dutchmen, who squandered a 15-point first half lead but took the lead for good with 1:40 remaining on a pair of free throws by Rokas Gustys (THIS REALLY HAPPENED) before surviving three 3-point attempts by Dayton in the final 73 seconds. Justin Wright-Foreman added 19 points while Gustys has five points and 10 rebounds. Joel Angus once again flirted with a double-double (seven points, six rebounds).
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Dayton 11/16)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Rokas Gustys
Justin Wright-Foreman 7
Eli Pemberton 4
Rokas Gustys 3
Desure Buie 2
Joel Angus 1
COACHSPEAK: “Had that tournament feeling to it—even an NCAA Tournament feeling to it. Great experience for our guys and that’s why you do this. That’s why we get in a tournament like this, to play great teams, see how well we can play. We feel pretty good about ourselves here. We’re going to enjoy the heck out of this tonight and then it’s off to see if we can do something with Clemson.”
THRICE AS NICE
The Dutchmen improved to 3-0 for the second time in the last three seasons and the 18th time in program history. This is the fourth time a Joe Mihalich-coached team has opened 3-0 (1999-2000, 2003-04, 2015-16).
THE STREAK IS OVER
Justin Wright-Foreman finished second on the Dutchmen with 19 points, ending a streak of 14 straight games in which held at least a share of the team high. It was the longest streak in Hofstra’s Division I era.
GO FOURTH, YOUNG MEN?
The Dutchmen are looking to open 4-0 for the 12th time in program history and the first time since the 2004-05 season, when the Dutchmen won their first nine games. A Joe Mihalich-coached team has opened 4-0 just once (2003-04).
CLEMSON AND THE ACC
Clemson is 3-0 this season with wins over Western Carolina (85-57) last Friday and North Carolina A&T (87-63) on Sunday prior to Thursday’s 81-76 victory over Ohio in the Charleston Classic. The Tigers were picked 13th in the ACC preseason poll
At KenPom.com today, Hofstra is ranked 114th while Clemson is ranked 48th. Per the wise guys, for entertainment purposes only, Clemson is an 8-point favorite. Hofstra is 1-0 against the spread this season.
For the second straight game, the Dutchmen will face a coach who began his career in the CAA. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell coached UNC Wilmington from 2002 through 2006, during which he steered the Seahawks to two CAA titles and went 8-2 against the Dutchmen. His final win at UNCW was a 78-67 victory over the Dutchmen in the 2006 CAA title game, when Loren Stokes played with one grotesquely swollen nut because Tony Skinn and Jim Larranaga are very awful people.
Hofstra and Clemson have no mutual foes. The winner of tonight’s game advances to face Temple in the Charleston Classic championship Sunday night at 9:30 PM while the loser battles Auburn in the third-place game at 7 PM.
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Hofstra and Clemson and the second straight time the teams oppose each other in the Charleston Classic. Clemson cruised to a 98-69 win on Nov. 14, 2008. The Tigers also beat the Flying Dutchmen (back when they really were the Flying Dutchmen) at the PFC (!!!) during the 1988-89 season and at Clemson during the 1989-90 season, when the Tigers’ season ended in the clip embedded above. It all ties together!
Hofstra is 5-27 all-time against current ACC foes. The Dutchmen last beat an ACC opponent on Nov 20, 2015, when they edged Florida State 82-77 in the opener of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.
OVER THE AIR
Tonight’s game will air live on ESPNU. Hofstra will carry live audio and offer live stats here.
Hofstra is 22-22 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).
THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
Elden Campbell bias! (Poor Elden’s stunned reaction to The Shot was captured for eternity by the CBS cameras)
Deshaun Watson bias! (The Houston Texans rookie phenom quarterbacked Clemson to the 2016 national title)
William The Refrigerator Perry bias! (The guy who scored a touchdown instead of Walter Payton in the Bears’ only Super Bowl win played for Clemson)
Kris Benson bias! (Anna’s ex-husband played at Clemson)