Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I’ll Be Quirky: Northeastern

Melrose Place soundtrack for the win!

The Flying Dutchmen wasted no time getting right into the ecstasy and the agony of the #CAAHoops season Saturday afternoon, when they overcame a 13-point first half deficit only to squander a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds and fall to William & Mary, 90-87, on a last-second, go-ahead 3-pointer. Gosh that never happens, you’d think we’d be ready for it. Anyway, the Dutchmen will try to avoid repeating history tonight, when they head to Northeastern looking to ensure a buzzer-beating loss to the Tribe doesn’t define their season. Here’s a look back at the loss to William & Mary and a look ahead to the Huskies.

The Dutchmen fell behind by 13 points in the first half but had the ball and a three-point lead with 30 seconds left before all hell broke loose in Williamsburg. Desure Buie’s inbounds pass underneath the Tribe basket was stolen to set up the first of Connor Burchfield’s dagger 3-pointers, which tied the game at 85-85. After a layup by Justin Wright-Foreman, Burchfield hit another 3-pointer, this one from a Daniel Dixon spot in the left corner, to give the Tribe the lead. Kenny Wormley’s driving layup was blocked by Nathan Knight and the Tribe hit two free throws to ice the game. Wright-Foreman racked up a career-high 36 points while Eli Pemberton had 10 points and four assists. Wormley had nine points and one assist while Rokas Gustys added nine points and six rebounds, though the technical foul he drew in the first half sparked a decisive 10-0 run by William & Mary.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. William & Mary 12/30)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Eli Pemberton
1: Kenny Wormley

Justin Wright-Foreman 33
Eli Pemberton 15
Rokas Gustys 15
Desure Buie 4
Joel Angus 4
Jalen Ray 3
Kenny Wormley 2
Hunter Sabety 1

The Dutchmen fell in their CAA opener for the first time since 2013-14 to fall to 9-8 all-time in CAA openers. They have opened 0-2 or worse in CAA play just three times: In 2002-03 and 2007-09, when the Dutchmen began 0-2, and 2011-12, when they got off to an 0-7 start.

The 90-87 loss on Saturday marked the 11th time a Hofstra-William & Mary game was decided by six points or fewer in 31 all-time meetings between the schools. Seven of those games have taken place since Joe Mihalich became Hofstra’s head coach prior to the 2013-14 season. The Dutchmen are 2-5 in those contests (sigh).

12/30/17: William & Mary 90, Hofstra 87
1/2/17: William & Mary 95, Hofstra 93 (OT)
3/6/16: Hofstra 70, William & Mary 67***
2/11/16: Hofstra 86, William & Mary 80
3/8/15: William & Mary 92, Hofstra 91 (2OT)***
2/22/15: William & Mary 80, Hofstra 78
2/26/14: William & Mary 79, Hofstra 74

***CAA semifinals

Not surprisingly, Saturday’s game marked the eighth straight time the Flying Dutchmen and William & Mary were separated by seven points or fewer at the half. The two teams have been separated by six points or fewer at the half each of the last seven times they’ve opposed each other.

12/30/17: William & Mary 45-41
2/23/17: Tied 41-41
1/2/17: Hofstra 50-44
3/6/16: William & Mary 34-30***
2/11/16: Tied 38-38
1/24/16: Hofstra 38-37
3/8/15: William & Mary 35-32***
2/22/15: William & Mary 41-34

***CAA semifinals

Justin Wright-Foreman scored a career-high 36 points in Saturday’s loss. It was the seventh 30-point effort in the last 31 games by Wright-Foreman, who racked up his first 30-point game against William & Mary a year ago today. The 36 points Saturday marked just the sixth time in the CAA era (2001-present) a Hofstra player has scored more than 35 points in a game.

Charles Jenkins 40 pts (@Binghamton, 12/8/10)
Charles Jenkins 38 pts (Fairfield, 11/30/09)
Zeke Upshaw 37 pts (@Richmond, 11/19/13)
Carlos Rivera 37 pts (@JMU, 2/24/07)
Justin Wright-Foreman 36 pts (@W&M, 12/30/17)
Antoine Agudio 36 pts (@Fordman, 12/5/07)

Rokas Gustys moved into the CAA’s all-time top five in rebounding Saturday afternoon, when he pulled down six rebounds against William & Mary. The effort lifted Gustys (1,065 rebounds) past Drexel’s Samme Givens for fifth place. Gustys is just 51 rebounds away from second-place Vernon Butler (1,115) and 250 rebounds away from moving ahead of Hall of Famer David Robertson (1,314) atop the list.

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

The Huskies, under 12th-year head coach Bill Coen, are 8-5 this season and 1-0 in CAA play. Northeastern beat James Madison, 81-70, in the CAA opener Saturday. It was the sixth win in the last seven games for the Huskies, whose only blemish in that span was an 84-65 loss to St. Bonaventure on Dec. 20.

The Dutchmen and Huskies had no common foes during non-league play.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 158th at KenPom.com. The Huskies, who were picked sixth, are ranked 124th at KenPom.com.

Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Huskies are 5.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 3-6 against the spread this season.

The Huskies’ leading scorer is junior Vasa Pusica, who is averaging 16.2 points per game in his first season after transferring from San Diego. The Huskies’ leading rebounder is sophomore Donnell Gresham Jr., who is pulling down 4.3 rebounds per game.

Hofstra is 21-20 against Northeastern in a series that began during the 1949-50 season. All but three of the meetings have come in conference play since the 1994-95 season, when Hofstra joined the North Atlantic Conference. The Dutchmen took the all-time lead by virtue of sweeping last season’s series with a 78-73 win in Hempstead and a 74-64 win in Bahston. It was the second straight season sweep for the Dutchmen, who had lost seven straight games to Northeastern prior to the 2015-16 season.

The Barone Bowl was established by me and Northeastern graduate Mike Brodsky during the 2009-10 season, after Northeastern and Hofstra dropped football within two weeks of one another (Hofstra’s decision, of course, was reached after a multi-year study, wink wink nudge nudge). The Barone Bowl pays homage to the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in which a Hofstra kicker boots a 68-yard field goal against Northeastern but Frank Barone catches the ball and refuses to give it up. Apparently that wasn’t the type of publicity either school liked. Anyway.

Northeastern leads the Barone Bowl series, 10-7, though Hofstra has retained the Barone Bowl in each of the last two seasons. This, unfortunately, is a purely symbolic trophy, one which you will not find displayed by either school. But you can find me and Brodsky talking about it on Twitter!

Letters to Cleo bias! (Good luck singing that chorus)
Michael Dukakis bias! (The former presidential candidate teaches at Northeastern)
J.J. Barea bias! (The former Northeastern star won CAA player of the year honors in Northeastern’s first season in the league in 2005-06, which is a pretty damn remarkable feat)
Original home of the Bruins bias! (The Bruins indeed began play at Matthews Arena)

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