Saturday, January 13, 2018

I’ll Be Quirky: Drexel

Next you're gonna tell me you don't know who Samme Givens is, or Frantz Massenat!

Team Barbasol continued its unbelievable roller coaster season Thursday night, when Jalen Ray’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer capped a 10-point comeback and lifted the Flying Dutchmen to a stunning 76-73 win over Towson. Justin Wright-Foreman scored 35 points — the second straight game he’s scored 35 or more — before setting up Ray’s shot with a perfect pass near midcourt. The Dutchmen will look to land on ESPN yet again this afternoon, when they visit ECC rival Drexel. Here’s a look back at the wild win over the Tigers and a look ahead to the Dragons.

Justin Wright-Foreman became the first Hofstra player since the guy who recruited him to score at least 35 points in consecutive games, but he set up the shot of the year (so far) by dishing to Jalen Ray for the winning basket at the buzzer as the Dutchmen beat Towson. The Dutchmen trailed by 10 with 5:22 left before going on a 10-0 run and tying the game on Stafford Trueheart’s 3-pointer with 1:53 left. Wright-Foreman gave the Dutchmen their first lead in of the second half by converting a nostalgic 3-point play with 1:19 remaining. The Tigers scored the next four points before Wright-Foreman drained a 3-pointer to tie the score with 20 seconds left. Towson’s Brian Starr missed a 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor and Hunter Sabety, who had four fouls, wrestled the ball away from Justin Gorham and passed to Wright-Foreman, whose pass hit Ray in stride. Ray lofted the winning shot just before the buzzer for his second SportsCenter highlight of the season. Eli Pemberton (12 points) and Rokas Gustys (10 points) each scored in double digits while Trueheart scored nine points, pulled down seven rebounds and collected two steals in his first collegiate start. Ray finished with six points. The win by the Dutchmen snapped Towson’s home winning streak at 14 games, which was the 10th-longest streak in the nation. 

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Towson 1/11)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Jalen Ray
1: Stafford Trueheart

Justin Wright-Foreman 45
Rokas Gustys 21
Eli Pemberton 17
Jalen Ray 6
Desure Buie 4
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 2
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

COACHSPEAK: “We’ve had some clunkers this year. But you don’t even think about them right now. The resiliency this team has, the refuse to lose attitude, the belief in themselves, the toughness down the stretch, the no quit that you’ve got—these are all championship qualities. We haven’t played like champions all year long, every game. Like I said, we’ve had some clunkers. But there’s something special about this team when we put all those things together.”

The Flying Dutchmen came back from a deficit of at least 10 points for the third time this season and the 15th time in five seasons under Joe Mihalich.

vs. Towson 1/11/18 (trailed by 10 in 2H, won 76-73)
vs. Northeastern 1/2/18 (trailed by 12 in 1H, won 71-70)
vs. Monmouth 12/6/17 (trailed by 14 in 2H, won 85-84)
vs. Drexel 2/4/17 (trailed by 13 in 2H, won 79-77)
vs. Delaware 2/2/17 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 73-65)
vs. Coppin State 11/11/16 (trailed by 11 in 1H, won 74-72)
vs. UNCW 2/25/16 ( trailed by 18 in 1H, won 70-69)
vs. Drexel 1/30/16 (trailed by 12 in 2H, won 70-64)
vs. Sacred Heart 12/28/15 (trailed by 11 in 2H, won 80-73)
vs. St. Bonaventure 11/28/15 (trailed by 10 in 1H, won 89-83)
vs. Canisius 11/13/15 (trailed by 18 in 1H, won 96-85)
vs. Towson 2/18/15 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 87-82)
vs. UNCW 1/3/15 (trailed by 13 in 1H, won 68-56)
vs. UNCW 2/8/14 (trailed by 15 in 2H, won 61-52)
vs. Charleston 1/11/14 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 75-71)

Jalen Ray’s game-winning 3-pointer gave the Dutchmen their first win at the buzzer since Charles Jenkins (remember him?) drained a 3-pointer with no time left in overtime to beat William & Mary, 81-78, on Feb. 15, 2011. Deron Powers came closest to draining a buzzer-beating shot in the interim when he hit a layup with 0.5 seconds left to beat Bradley, 92-90, on Nov. 21, 2016.

Justin Wright-Foreman, who scored 39 points in Sunday’s 89-76 loss to Elon, became the first Dutchman to score at least 35 points in back-to-back games since current assistant coach Speedy Claxton had consecutive 40-point games against Hartford and Maine on Jan. 16-21, 2000. For Claxton, those outbursts capped a streak of three straight 30-point efforts, which brings us to…

Justin Wright-Foreman will look to match Speedy Claxton again today as he tries to score 30 points in a third straight game. Claxton, who opened his streak with a 30-point game against Vermont on Jan. 14, 2000, is one of only two Hofstra players to collect 30 points in three straight games since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home). Demetrius Dudley scored 33 points against Navy, 32 points against Lehigh and 30 points against Manhattan from Nov. 23-Nov. 30, 1991. Here is the entire list of Hofstra players to score 30 points in back-to-back games since 1989:

Justin Wright-Foreman 1/7/18-1/11/18 (39 vs. Elon, 35 vs. Towson)
Justin Wright-Foreman 12/9-12/12/17 (30 vs. Rider, 33 vs. SUNY-Stony Brook)
Justin Wright-Foreman 1/21-1/26/17 (30 vs. Northeastern, 30 vs. Drexel)
Charles Jenkins 12/8-12/11/10 (40 vs. Binghamton 32 vs. Florida Atlantic)
Charles Jenkins 2/16-2/20/10 (30 vs. Delaware, 31 vs. Rider)
Antoine Agudio 12/1-12/5/07 (34 vs. UNCW, 36 vs. Fordham)
Loren Stokes 1/21-1/26/06 (32 vs. Northeastern, 31 vs. Towson)
Speedy Claxton 12/18/99-12/22/99 (39 vs. Iona, 31 vs. St. John’s)
Speedy Claxton 1/14/00-1/21/00 (30 vs. Vermont, 40 vs. Hartford, 40 vs. Maine)
John Mavroukas 1/6/95-1/8/95 (35 vs. New Hampshire, 33 vs. Vermont)
Demetrius Dudley 11/23/91-11/30/91 (33 vs. Navy, 32 vs. Lehigh, 30 vs. Manhattan)
Demetrius Dudley 2/6/92-2/8/92 (37 vs. Towson State, 33 vs. Buffalo)

In addition to his 35 points, Justin Wright-Foreman added six assists and five rebounds. It was the second straight game in which he had at least 35 points, six assists and five rebounds. According to research conducted Thursday night by Patrick Stevens, only three other Division I players have produced just one 35/6/5 line this season: Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn (36 points, six assists, six rebounds on Nov. 10), Bucknell’s Zach Thomas (38 points, seven assists, 11 rebounds on Nov. 26) and Morgan State’s Tiwian Kendley (35 points, six assists, six rebounds on Jan. 6).

Justin Wright-Foreman enters today second in the nation in scoring with 25.9 ppg. He ranks behind only Oklahoma’s Trae Young, who is averaging 29.2 ppg through Friday. 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 Thursday for the 39th 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.

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: 39 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 Thursday and are likely to do so again today. With his 35 points, Wright-Foreman (1,065 points) leapfrogged Percy Johnson and Darius Burton into 31st place on the program’s all-time list. He could move past as many as two (or three?) players today. Gustys, meanwhile, scored 10 points to move past John Irving into 35th place on the list and is three points away from moving past Jim Shaffer into 34th place.

28.) Richie Swartz 1,107 (1959-62)
29.) Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (2014-16)
30.) Derrick Flowers 1,069 (1987-91)
31.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,065 (2015-present)
32.) Darius Burton 1060 (1993-97)
33.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
34.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
35.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,020 (2014-present)
36.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

With five rebounds Thursday, Rokas Gustys (1,124 rebounds) inched closer to John Irving for second place on Hofstra’s all-time list. Gustys is 63 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 11.2 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play 17 more games this season to surpass Robinson. The Dutchmen are guaranteed to play at least 14 more games (13 regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

Freshman Jalen Ray didn’t just win the game with his buzzer-beating 3-pointer Thursday. The dramatic shot gave Ray exactly 100 points this season, making him the 20th Hofstra freshman in the CAA era (2001-present) to reach triple digits as a rookie and the second to do so 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)
Woody Souffrant, 110 (2001-02)
JALEN RAY, 100 (2017-18)
Moussa Kone, 100 (2011-12)

The Dutchmen got back to normal Thursday with the nail-biting win over Towson. It was the 10th Hofstra game this season determined by six points or fewer or in overtime, the most in the CAA. The Dutchmen are 8-2 in their “close shaves.” Four of the five CAA games played Thursday were close shaves. 

HOFSTRA 10 (8-2)
Drexel 9 (5-4)
Elon 8 (6-2)
James Madison 8 (2-6)
Towson 7 (3-4)
College of Charleston 5 (2-3)
UNC Wilmington 6 (2-4)
Delaware 5 (3-2)
Northeastern 4 (2-2)
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 83 games the Dutchmen have played since the start of the 2015-16 season, a whopping 46 have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. They are 28-18 in the “close shaves.”

The Dutchmen will look to move to 2-0 in the ECC when they face Drexel today. Drexel fell to Delaware, 72-66, in the other ECC opener Thursday night as the season within a season, the one Litos won’t acknowledge, kicked off.

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

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

The Dragons, under second-year head coach Zach Spiker, are 7-11 this season and 1-4 in CAA play. Drexel suffered its second straight loss Thursday, when it fell to Delaware, 72-66.

The Dutchmen and Dragons had one common foe during non-league play. The Dutchmen beat Rider, 88-82, on Dec. 9 while the Dragons beat the Broncs, 89-77, on Dec. 2. Both the Dutchmen and Dragons have lost to Elon and William & Mary in CAA play.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 162nd at The Dragons, who were picked ninth, enter today ranked 262nd at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank sixth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (108.7) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (110.4). The Dragons rank ninth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (103.9) and 10th in conference-only defensive efficiency (119.9). predicts a 77-74 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 3-point favorites. Hofstra is 5-8 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 39-46 against Drexel in a series that began during the 1958-59 season. The Dutchmen and Dragons earned a hard-fought split of the series last season, when Drexel eked out an 81-80 overtime win in Philadelphia on Jan. 26 and Hofstra mounted a 10-point comeback in the final minute to notch a stunning 79-77 victory in Hempstead on Feb. 4. The Dutchmen have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams dating back to the 2014-15 season.

The Dutchmen and Dragons have opposed one another as members of the East Coast Conference, the North Atlantic Conference/America East and the CAA. The only opponent Hofstra has faced more than Drexel is Delaware, whom the Dutchmen have played 86 times.

Nick Foles bias! (The Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes rest on Foles after Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in December)
What the s**t is this bias? (Sweet Dee Reynolds would say that)
All your best players have gone prematurely bald bias! (It was probably the stress of playing under Bruiser)
Cinderella bias! (The Philly-based band had a bunch of great hard rock songs in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s)

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