Friday, January 5, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: James Madison

TGIF! Standing TALL, on the wings of my CAA dreams...

The nightmare of a winless #CAAHoops season ended in thankfully early fashion Tuesday night, when the Flying Dutchmen overcame a 12-point first half deficit to edge Northeastern, 71-70, in the Barone Bowl in Bahstahn. The Dutchmen will look to build a winning streak tonight, when they host James Madison in the first home game at the Arena since we were still picking apart Thanksgiving leftovers. Here’s a look back at the win over the Huskies and a look ahead to the Dukes.

Justin Wright-Foreman (27 points) once again led all scorers, but Eli Pemberton, Rokas Gustys and Matija Radovic combined to score 20 of the Dutchmen’s final 24 points in a narrow comeback win over Northeastern. The Dutchmen took the lead for good on Pemberton’s layup with 4:50 left, after which they withstood seven missed 3-pointers by Northeastern that would have either tied the game or given the Huskies the lead. Northeastern, which committed just two fouls in the first 19 minutes of the second half, was whistled for five fouls in the final 20 seconds to finally send Pemberton to the line with four seconds left. He hit one free throw to ice the game and make Shawn Occeus’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer meaningless (thank goodness). Gustys (15 points, 13 rebounds) produced his sixth double-double of the season and moved to the brink of the Hofstra 1,000-point club while Pemberton added 13 points and five rebounds.

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

Justin Wright-Foreman 36
Rokas Gustys 17
Eli Pemberton 16
Desure Buie 4
Joel Angus 4
Jalen Ray 3
Kenny Wormley 2
Hunter Sabety 1

COACHSPEAK: “Last year we had a devastating, heart-breaking loss on a long, wild 3-point shot by William & Mary and didn’t respond very well last year. Our next game was JMU at home and we laid an egg. So the challenge this year was to see how we responded and I think our guys responded really, really well. They responded like a team that wants to win.”

50/50 START
The Dutchmen are 1-1 through two CAA games for the second straight season and the ninth time since joining the league in 2001-02.

The Flying Dutchmen came back from a deficit of at least 10 points for the second time this season and the 14th time in five seasons under Joe Mihalich.

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)

Joe Mihalich shuffled the rotation Tuesday, when Desure Buie drew the start at point guard instead of Kenny Wormley for the first time since Nov. 13. However, Buie played just nine minutes, tied for his second-fewest of the season, while Wormley played a season-low three minutes. Joel Angus started for the 14th time in as many games but played a season-low six minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, Jalen Ray played 28 minutes, tied for his second-most of the season, while Matija Radovic played 19 minutes, his most against a Division I opponent since he played 24 minutes against Army in the season opener. 

Senior Rokas Gustys could hit a pair of career milestones tonight. Gustys (990 points, 1,078 rebounds) needs just 10 points to become the 35th member of Hofstra’s 1,000-point club and nine rebounds to move past Old Dominion’s Odell Hodge into third place on the CAA’s all-time list. He has scored at least 10 points 50 times and pulled down at least nine rebounds 66 times.

Gustys, who enters tonight tied for fourth place on the CAA’s all-time rebounding list with Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins, is 38 rebounds away from moving past Navy’s Vernon Butler (1,115) into second place and 237 rebounds away from moving ahead of Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314) atop the list. 

Rokas Gustys isn’t the only Hofstra player who could join the 1,000-point club as early as tonight. Junior Justin Wright-Foreman (965 points) is 35 points shy of membership. He has scored 35 points twice in game, including a career-high 36 against William & Mary last Saturday. The most recent addition to the Hofstra 1,000-point club was Brian Bernardi, who reached the milestone last season.

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Tuesday for the 36th 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: 36 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

The one-point win over Northeastern marked the seventh time in 14 games this season for the Dutchmen that the outcome was determined by three points or fewer. The Dutchmen are 5-2 in those games. No other CAA team has played more than five games decided by three points or fewer.

Drexel 5
Elon 4
Towson 4
Delaware 3
James Madison 3
William & Mary 2
College of Charleston 1
Northeastern 1
UNC Wilmington 1

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

The Dukes, under second-year head coach Louis Rowe, are 4-11 this season and 0-2 in CAA play. James Madison fell to William & Mary, 86-74, on Tuesday. It was the third straight loss for the Dukes.

The Dutchmen and Dukes had no common foes during non-league play, though James Madison opened CAA play last Saturday by falling to Northeastern, 81-70. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 149th at The Dukes, who were picked 10th, are ranked 251st at

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 9-point favorites. Hofstra is 4-6 against the spread this season.

The Dukes’ leading scorer is junior Stuckey Mosley, who, in addition to being a worthy heir to Humpty Hitchens in the awesome name department, is averaging 19.3 points per game in his first season after transferring from Toledo. Joey McLean (12.3 points per game) and Matt Lewis (10.1 points per game) are also averaging in double figures. The Dukes’ leading rebounder is junior Develle Phillips, who is pulling down 7.7 rebounds per game.

Hofstra is 16-12 against James Madison in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen snapped a five-game regular season losing streak against the Dukes with a 71-66 win in the regular season finale last Feb. 25. Hofstra is just 2-6 in the last eight regular season games between the clubs, though the Dutchmen earned a 74-57 win over James Madison in the quarterfinals of the CAA tournament in 2015.

Good luck getting publicity for football tomorrow bias! (The James Madison football team is playing for its second straight national title tomorrow, but nobody will notice that, right?)
Scott Norwood bias! (The man who would have been an all-time Buffalo sports hero if his game-winning field goal attempt in Super Bowl XXV was from 45 yards instead of 47 yards went to James Madison)
You helped write the Constitution bias! (And thank goodness he did)

Andrey Semenov probably still has some eligibility bias! (He probably does)

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