Saturday, February 17, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: Drexel

No Mets fans!

There was no agonizing last-second loss Thursday night, when the Flying Dutchmen got back on track and earned a split of the season series with their biggest rival by outlasting William & Mary, 90-84, at the Arena. The Dutchmen will look to sweep the homestand and continue building momentum for the CAA Tournament this afternoon, when they host ECC foe Drexel. Here’s a look back at the win over the Tribe and a look ahead to the Dragons.

Rokas Gustys (22 points, 21 rebounds) had perhaps the best game of his career and Eli Pemberton led all scorers with 26 points for the Dutchmen, who led for the final 36-plus minutes but didn’t secure the win over the Tribe until the final seconds. The Dutchmen led by as many as 17 points in the first half but William & Mary closed to within four points in the final minute, when Justin Wright-Foreman (19 points, a career-high seven assists) drained a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining. Pemberton and Wright-Foreman combined to hit 7-of-8 free throws the rest of the way. Freshman Jalen Ray had 13 points, collected a career-high four steals and made one of the defensive plays of the game with just under 13 minutes remaining, when he committed a turnover but raced back to hound the Tribe’s David Cohn into a rushed layup with the chance to cut the Dutchmen’s lead to three points. Gustys and Hunter Sabety helped limit Tribe center Nathan Knight to a manageable 16 points and five rebounds after Knight racked up 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks in the first game of the season between the teams. 

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. William & Mary 2/15)
3: Rokas Gustys
2: Eli Pemberton
1: Justin Wright-Foreman

Justin Wright-Foreman 65
Rokas Gustys 40
Eli Pemberton 31
Desure Buie 9
Jalen Ray 7
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

The Dutchmen’s 90-84 win marked the eighth time in 12 games during the Joe Mihalich era (2013-present) that a game against William & Mary was decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. With the victory Thursday, the Dutchmen improved to 3-5 in such “close shaves.”

2/15/18: Hofstra 90, William & Mary 84
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

One streak did end Thursday, when the Dutchmen carried a 48-36 lead into halftime. It was the first time in the last eight meetings between the teams, dating back to Feb. 22, 2015, that they were separated by more than seven points at halftime.

Joe Mihalich reached a career milestone Thursday night, when he earned his 350th win as a head coach. Mihalich is just the 185th Division I coach to record at least 350 wins as head coach. Among the men he has surpassed this year is ex-Hofstra head coach Butch van Breda Kolff, who had 346 wins. Boy did I whiff on that one.

Rokas Gustys registered the third 20/20 game of his career Thursday, when he racked up 22 points and 21 rebounds. However, it was the first time Gustys achieved the 20/20 in regulation. The Dutchmen went into overtime during his back-to-back 20/20 games in January 2016, when Gustys had 25 points and 20 rebounds in an 86-82 overtime loss to James Madison on Jan. 16 and 23 points and 20 rebounds in a 96-92 triple overtime win over Northeastern on Jan. 21. Prior to Gustys, no Hofstra player had recorded a 20/20 game since David Taylor on Jan. 27, 1982.

In addition, Gustys is just one of five players with three or more 20/20 games since the start of the 2010-11 season (the first year for which College Basketball Reference has individual player game finder data). Only two players have as many as four 20/20 games. Gustys and Missouri State’s Alize Johnson are the only active players with three 20/20 games

Alize Johnson, Missouri State, 4
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, 4
Rokas Gustys, Hofstra, 3
Joel Bolomboy, Weber State, 3
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State, 3

With his 22 points Thursday night, Rokas Gustys jumped from 29th place on the Hofstra all-time scoring list into a tie for 26th place with Nathaniel Lester at 1,139 points. Gustys leapfrogged Mike Moore and Wandy Williams on Thursday and could gain multiple spots again Saturday. He is 21 points shy of moving past Ted Jackson into 24th place.

24t.) Brian Bernardi 1,186 (2014-17)
24t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
26t.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
26t.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,139 (2014-present)
28.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
29.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)

With his mammoth 21-rebound effort Thursday night, Rokas Gustys took a big step towards becoming the CAA’s all-time rebounding leader. Gustys, whose 1,261 rebounds are the most by a Hofstra player in the Division I era and the second-most in school history behind only Bill Thieben (1,837), moved within 54 rebounds of surpassing Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87) atop the CAA’s chart. At his current season average of 12.1 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play five more games to move past Robinson. He “gained” a game on Robinson thanks to Thursday’s 21-rebound performance.The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least four more games (three regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

Rokas Gustys recorded his 12th double-double of the season and the 46th of his career Thursday. Gustys now has as many double-doubles in his career as the Dutchmen did in the five seasons prior to his arrival on campus in the fall of 2014. The only player with more than 10 double-doubles from 2009-10 through 2013-14 was Stephen Nwaukoni, who had 11 double-doubles in four seasons.

Rokas Gustys had his third 20-rebound game of the season Thursday and the 11th of his career. Hofstra had just two 20-rebound games — both of which were recorded during the 2002-03 season by Kenny Adeleke, who had exactly 20 rebounds against Monmouth on Dec, 20, 2002 and UNC Wilmington on Feb. 15, 2003 — between 1989-90 and 2014-15. 

In addition, Gustys’ 11 20-rebound games are the most by any Division I player since the start of the 2010-11 season. Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried is second with six 20-rebound games.

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Thursday for the 49th straight game. He now has the second-longest streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home), breaking a tie with Antoine Agudio. The only player with a longer streak in the last 29 seasons is Charles Jenkins, who ended his career by scoring in double figures in his final 48 games for the Dutchmen. In addition, Wright-Foreman’s streak is the fourth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov.

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Justin Wright-Foreman: 49 straight games 12/11/16-present
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*** 
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 resides in 18th place on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list for a third straight game after scoring “only” 19 points Thursday night. Prior to last Saturday, Wright-Foreman gained at least one spot on the list in each of the 10 games he played since joining the 1,000-point club on Jan. 7. Here is his ranking following each game:

Elon (Jan. 7): 35th place
Towson (Jan. 12): 33rd place
Drexel (Jan. 14): 32nd place
Delaware (Jan. 19): 30th place
Charleston (Jan. 21): 29th place
Northeastern (Jan. 26): 26th place
Delaware (Jan. 28): 25th place
UNCW (Feb. 1): 22nd place
Charleston (Feb. 3): T19th place
Elon (Feb. 8): 18th place
UNCW (Feb. 10): 18th place

Wright-Foreman will look to continue his ascension this afternoon. He enters the game seven points away from surpassing Mike Tilley for 17th place and 17 points away from moving past Kenny Adeleke into 16th place.

15.) Dave Bell 1,330 (1969-72)
16.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
17.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
18.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,280 (2015-present)

Justin Wright-Foreman didn’t lead the Dutchmen in scoring Thursday, when his 19 points ranked behind Eli Pemberton (a game-high 27 points) and Rokas Gustys (22 points). It was the second time this season and just the fifth time in the last 45 games — dating back to the beginning of Wright-Foreman’s emergence on Dec. 31, 2017 — that he has not ranked first or second on the Dutchmen in scoring. The first three instances came in consecutive games last January.

1/12/17 vs. Elon: Deron Powers 21-Pemberton 16-Wright-Foreman 14
1/14/17 vs. UNCW: Powers 20-Gustys 15-Wright-Foreman 13
1/19/17 vs. Towson: Pemberton 26-Powers 19-Wright-Foreman 18
1/18/18 vs. Delaware: Pemberton 21-Desure Buie 20-Wright-Foreman 15
2/15/18 vs. William & Mary: Pemberton 26-Gustys 22-Wright-Foreman 19

In addition, Thursday marked only the sixth time this season, and the ninth time in 45 games since Wright-Foreman’s emergence began Dec. 31, 2017, that Wright-Foreman has not held at least a share of the team lead in scoring. Pemberton has led the Dutchmen in scoring in seven of those nine games while Powers held the team lead in the other two contests.

Justin Wright-Foreman enters today ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at 24.3 points per game. No Hofstra player has averaged 25 points per game since 1976-77, when Rich Laurel averaged a school-record 30.3 points per game.

Justin Wright-Foreman and Rokas Gustys moved into Hofstra’s single-season all-time top 10 in scoring and rebounding, respectively, on Thursday night. With his 19 points, Foreman increased his season total to 656 points, one more than Zeke Upshaw, who previously ranked 10th all-time with 655 points during the 2013-14 season. With his 21 rebounds, Gustys increased his season total to 328, which moved him past John Irving (323 rebounds in 1974-75). Gustys now occupies the fourth, ninth and 10th spots on the list.

Sophomore guard Eli Pemberton continued his recent surge Thursday night, when he scored at least 20 points for the fourth time in the last five games. Pemberton has 417 points in 24 games this season and 816 points through 55 games in two seasons, a pace that compares favorably with the first 55 games played by the four most recent members of Hofstra’s 2,000-point club: Charles Jenkins, Antoine Agudio, Loren Stokes and Speedy Claxton. Here are their point totals through their 55th game with the Flying Dutchmen:

Charles Jenkins 912 
Antoine Agudio 877
Loren Stokes 854
Speedy Claxton 850

With his 13 points Thursday night, Jalen Ray broke a tie with Wendell Gibson and moved into sole possession of 12th place on the Hofstra freshman scoring list in the CAA era (2001-present). Ray is the second freshman to reach triple digits in as many seasons. Eli Pemberton scored 397 points last year. Ray is 13 points away from moving past Shemiye McLendon into 11th place.

1.) Antoine Agudio, 452 (2004-05)
2.) Charles Jenkins, 436 (2007-08)
3.) Kenny Adeleke, 433 (2001-02)
4.) Eli Pemberton, 397 (2016-17)
5.) Loren Stokes, 374 (2003-04)
6.) Chaz Williams, 325 (2009-10)
7.) Jamall Robinson, 312 (2013-14)
8.) Halil Kanacevic, 294 (2009-10)
9.) Carlos Rivera, 226 (2003-04)
10.) Nathaniel Lester, 189 (2007-08)
11.) Shemiye McLendon, 178 (2010-11)
12.) JALEN RAY, 166 (2017-18)
13.) Wendell Gibson, 153 (2001-02)
14.) Jordan Allen, 152 (2012-13)
15.) Chris Jenkins, 151 (2013-14)
16.) Rokas Gustys, 140 (2014-15)
17.) Mike Radziejewski, 138 (2001-02)
18.) Aurimas Kieza, 126 (2002-03)
19.) Woody Souffrant, 110 (2001-02)
20.) Moussa Kone, 100 (2011-12)

Jalen Ray tied a single-game high for a Hofstra player this season by recording four steals Thursday night. Rokas Gustys (against Auburn on Nov. 19) and Desure Buie (against SUNY-Stony Brook on Dec. 12) also have four-steal games. No Hofstra player has recorded more than four steals in a game since Ameen Tanksley had five steals against Elon on Feb. 7, 2015.

Ray and Buie are the two most recent Hofstra freshman to record four steals in a game. Buie had four steals against Northeastern on Feb. 21, 2016. The most recent Hofstra freshman with more than four steals in a game was Gustys, who had five steals against SUNY-Stony Brook on Nov. 21, 2014.

The win over William & Mary kept the Dutchmen in the running for the second or third seed in the CAA Tournament, which is scheduled to begin two weeks from today at the “neutral site” of North Charleston, SC. 

The Dutchmen and the Tribe are tied for third place in the CAA at 9-6, two games behind second-place Northeastern (11-4) and three games behind first-place Charleston (12-3). Technically, the Dutchmen are in third place at the moment because they split with Northeastern, which beat William & Mary on DATE HERE and hosts the Tribe today.

Hofstra’s regular season title hopes were extinguished Thursday. While the Dutchmen can still finish with the same record as Charleston, the Cougars have the tiebreaker by virtue of their head-to-head sweep.

The Dutchmen could lock up a top-five seed in the tournament as early as today. With a win or a UNC Wilmington loss today, the Dutchmen will ensure no worse than a sixth-place finish and thus avoid Slap-And-Tickle Saturday, when the seventh- through 10th-place teams open tournament play. With a win today and an Elon loss, the Dutchmen will be assured of finishing no lower than fifth. A Dutchmen win and a Towson loss today would give the Dutchmen a two-game lead over fifth-place Towson with two games left to play.

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 11-17 this season and 5-10 in CAA play. Drexel suffered its third straight loss Thursday, when it fell to Northeastern, 75-69. The three consecutive defeats come on the heels of a four-game winning streak in which the Dragons beat CAA contenders Northeastern and William & Mary.

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.

In the CAA, the Dutchmen and Dragons have both split with Elon, William & Mary and Northeastern. The Dutchmen split with UNC Wilmington, which beat Drexel and faces the Dragons again in the regular season finale next Saturday. The Dragons split with James Madison, whom Hofstra beat and faces again next Thursday night. Hofstra has swept Delaware, which beat Drexel on Jan. 11, and beaten James Madison, with whom the Dragons swept. The Dragons split with Charleston, which swept the Dutchmen.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 164th at The Dragons, who were picked ninth, enter today ranked 252nd at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (113.2) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (109.9). The Dragons are sixth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (109.0) and are last in conference-only defensive efficiency (118.3). predicts an 83-74 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 8.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 11-12 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 40-46 against Drexel in a series that began during the 1958-59 season. The Dutchmen earned a 91-86 win in the first meeting this season between the teams on Jan. 3. The Dutchmen have won seven of the last eight games dating back tot he 2014-15 season and are looking for their third series sweep in the last four years. 

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 88 times.

With a win tonight, the Dutchmen will remain perfect in the ECC, the league Litos won’t acknowledge, and take a big step towards ensuring themselves the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which won’t actually take place because the ECC doesn’t actually exist, you weirdos.

Towson 4-1
Delaware 1-4
Drexel 0-4

You just won the Super Bowl bias! (Eagles fans are now less long-suffering than Hofstra fans)
Trust the Process bias! (The perpetually tanking 76ers look like they’re finally going to make the NBA playoffs again)
Dennis played catch with Chase Utley bias! (Know your Always Sunny, kids)
Parents Just Don’t Understand bias! (Know your ‘80s songs, kids)

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