Thursday, January 18, 2018

I’ll Be Quirky: Delaware

Like the view of Hofstra-UDee from there, Chris?

The Flying Dutchmen successfully navigated the trap game scenario last Saturday, when Rokas Gustys overcame an early benching to rack up 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 91-86 win over Drexel. The Dutchmen will look to make it three straight wins tonight, when they host Delaware in the biggest game between the rivals in a generation. You think I’m kidding. Here’s a look back at the win over the Dragons and a look ahead to the Fightin’ Blue Hens.

Rokas Gustys recorded yet another double-double and Justin Wright-Foreman was nearly perfect in a “quiet” game for the Dutchmen, who held off a late rally by Drexel to hang on for the ECC win. The Dutchmen led by 14 with fewer than four minutes left before Drexel ended the game on an 18-9 run. Drexel got as close as two points and had a shot to close within one in the final 30 seconds, when Sammy Mojica missed a 3-pointer. Wright-Foreman had a merely human 20 points but was a decidedly efficient 8-of-9 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Eli Pemberton (19 points) and Jalen Ray (12 points) also scored in double digits for the Dutchmen while Hunter Sabety scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting, including six points in six first-half minutes in place of Gustys.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Drexel 1/13)
3: Rokas Gustys
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Eli Pemberton

Justin Wright-Foreman 47
Rokas Gustys 24
Eli Pemberton 18
Jalen Ray 6
Desure Buie 4
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 2
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

The win over Drexel capped a 2-0 road trip for the Dutchmen, who edged Towson 76-73 at the buzzer last Thursday night. It was the third perfect CAA road trip in the Joe Mihalich era (2013-present). The Dutchmen beat Drexel (81-57) and Towson (87-82) Feb. 15-18, 2015 and handled William & Mary (96-82) and James Madison (71-66) Feb. 23-25, 2017. 

With the win on Saturday, the Dutchmen improved to 4-2 in CAA play. It is the sixth time in the CAA era (2001-present) they have opened 4-2 or better through six league games. They earned a three seed or higher in the CAA tournament in four of the previous five seasons, with the 2014-15 season (fifth seed) the exception. 

2015-16: 4-2
2014-15: 4-2
2010-11: 5-1
2006-07: 5-1
2005-06: 4-2

Rokas Gustys recorded his 42nd double-double Saturday. Only two active players have more double-doubles: Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado (64) and Eastern Michigan’s James Thompson IV (51). In addition, Gustys’ 42 double-doubles are the most by a CAA player since 2010-11 (the first year for which College Basketball Reference has individual player game finder data). He broke a tie Saturday with Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon, who had 41 double-doubles in just two seasons from 2012-14.

Justin Wright-Foreman entered Wednesday third in the nation in scoring with 25.6 ppg. He ranks behind only Oklahoma’s Trae Young (29.5 ppg through Tuesday) and Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn (25.8 ppg). No Hofstra player has averaged 25 points per game since 1976-77, when Rich Laurel averaged 30.3 ppg.

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Saturday for the 40th straight game. It is the fifth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, as well as the fifth-longest streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home), a stretch in which a Hofstra player has scored in double digits in at least 30 straight games only six times. Wright-Foreman can tie Loren Stokes’ career-high 40-game streak tonight. Hopefully that doesn’t come with a punch to the nuts.

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Antoine Agudio 48 straight games 3/6/06-1/17/08****
Juan’ya Green: 43 straight games 11/14/14-12/9/15 
Loren Stokes 41 straight games 2/20/06-3/14/07*** 
Justin Wright-Foreman: 40 straight games 12/11/16-present
Loren Stokes: 34 straight games 1/14/04-1/31/05

***streak ended with the end of the player’s Hofstra career
****Agudio had three DNPs during his streak

Justin Wright-Foreman and Rokas Gustys, the two newest members of the 1,000-point club at Hofstra, each moved up the list Saturday and are likely to do so again today. With his 20 points, Wright-Foreman (1,085 points) surpassed Derrick Flowers into 30th place on the program’s all-time list. Next up for Wright-Foreman is ex-teammate Ameen Tanksley. Gustys, meanwhile, scored 20 points to increase his career total to 1,040 points and surge past Jim Shaffer into 34th place. He is just six points shy of moving past Percy Johnson for 33rd place.

27.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
28.) Richie Swartz 1,107 (1959-62)
29.) Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (2014-16)
30.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,085 (2015-present)
31.) Derrick Flowers 1,069 (1987-91)
32.) Darius Burton 1,060 (1993-97)
33.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
34.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,040 (2014-present)
35.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
36.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

With 16 rebounds Saturday, Rokas Gustys (1,140 rebounds) inched closer to John Irving for second place on Hofstra’s all-time list. Gustys is 47 rebounds away from surpassing Irving, whose 1,186 rebounds are the most by a Hofstra player during the school’s Division I era.

Rokas Gustys ranks second behind only Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87) on the CAA’s all-time list. At his current season average of 11.5 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play 16 more games this season to surpass Robinson. The Dutchmen are guaranteed to play at least 13 more games (12 regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

Hunter Sabety was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field Saturday. It marked the ninth time this season and the 17th time in 50 career games he’s missed one field goal or fewer (minimum three attempts).

Freshman Jalen Ray scored 12 points Saturday to move past Woody Souffrant into 18th place on the Hofstra freshman scoring list during the CAA era (2001-present). Ray is the second freshman to reach 100 points in as many seasons. Eli Pemberton scored 397 points last year.

Antoine Agudio, 452 (2004-05)
Charles Jenkins, 436 (2007-08)
Kenny Adeleke, 433 (2001-02)
Eli Pemberton, 397 (2016-17)
Loren Stokes, 374 (2003-04)
Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)
Shemiye McLendon, 178 (2010-11)
Wendell Gibson, 153 (2001-02)
Jordan Allen, 152 (2012-13)
Chris Jenkins, 151 (2013-14)
Rokas Gustys, 140 (2014-15)
Mike Radziejewski, 138 (2001-02)
Aurimas Kieza, 126 (2002-03)
JALEN RAY, 112 (2017-18)
Woody Souffrant, 110 (2001-02)
Moussa Kone, 100 (2011-12)

The five-point win over Drexel Saturday marked the 11th time in 18 games this season a Hofstra game has been determined by six points or fewer or in overtime, the most in the CAA. The Dutchmen are 9-2 in their “close shaves.” Four of the five CAA games played Saturday were close shaves — as was the case last Thursday night.

HOFSTRA 11 (9-2)
Drexel 10 (5-5)
Elon 9 (7-2)
James Madison 9 (2-7)
Towson 7 (3-4)
UNC Wilmington 7 (2-5)
Delaware 6 (4-2)
College of Charleston 6 (2-4)
Northeastern 5 (3-2)
William & Mary 3 (3-0)

While recency bias makes these nail-biters seem new and unusual, “Team Barbasol” is a well-earned moniker for the Dutchmen. Of the 84 games the Dutchmen have played since the start of the 2015-16 season, a whopping 47 have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. They are 29-18 in the “close shaves.”

The Dutchmen will look to complete a round-robin sweep of the first leg of ECC tonight, when they play their third straight game in the season within a season, the one Litos won’t acknowledge. 

Delaware 1-0
Towson 0-1
Drexel 0-2

Hofstra will provide a video and radio feed of tonight’s game, as well as live stats, at the Pride Productions hub.

The Blue Hens, under second-year head coach Martin Ingelsby, are 11-8 this season and 4-2 in CAA play. Delaware won its third straight game Saturday, when it edged James Madison, 61-60.

The Dutchmen and Blue Hens had no common foes during non-league play. Both the Dutchmen and Dragons have beaten Drexel and James Madison and lost to William & Mary in CAA play.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 167th at as of early this morning. The Blue Hens, who were picked seventh, were ranked 241st at as of early this morning.

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank fourth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (112.5) and ninth in conference-only defensive efficiency (112.7). The Blue Hens rank ninth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (105.0) and fourth in conference-only defensive efficiency (107.7). predicts a 78-70 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 8.5-point favorites as of early this morning. Hofstra is 6-8 against the spread this season.

Hofstra-Delaware games were annually a big deal in the America East, where the two teams combined to win four straight titles from 1998 through 2001. But tonight will mark only the second time since the schools joined the CAA in 2001-02 that both will enter a game against each other with a winning league record. The first time barely qualifies: The Dutchmen and Blue Hens were each 1-0 prior to their meeting on Jan. 9, 2013. (Alas, tonight I'm in Florida.)

Hofstra is 54-32 against Delaware in a series that began during the 1954-55 season. The only other school Hofstra has faced as often is Drexel, whom it has also played 86 times. Hofstra and Delaware were rivals in the East Coast Conference and the North Atlantic Conference/America East before heading to the CAA, along with Drexel and Towson, for the 2001-02 season.

The Dutchmen swept the regular season series last year before falling to Delaware in the opening round of the CAA Tournament. That win by the Blue Hens snapped the Dutchmen’s six-game winning streak against Delaware.

Wilmington Blue Rocks bias! (The longtime Single-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals plays in Delaware)
Ajmal Basit bias! (Basit was the last great villain of the America East era)
Chris Christie bias! (The former New Jersey governor and famed frontrunner went to Delaware, though you’d never know it by his Notre Dame garb)
Rich Gannon bias! (The former NFL MVP graduated from Delaware, huh, that’s nice publicity)

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