Saturday, February 24, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: Towson

We'll be howling mad if the Dutchmen don't win today and clinch the no. 3 seed in the CAA Tournament!

The Flying Dutchmen’s winning streak hit three games Thursday night, when they never trailed in a rare stress-free (well, except for those of us tracking Justin Wright-Foreman’s double-digit scoring streak) 77-61 win over James Madison. The Dutchmen will look to clinch the no. 3 seed in the CAA Tournament this afternoon, when they host Towson in the Senior Day home finale (sniff). Here’s a quick look back at the win over the Dukes and a look ahead to the Tigers.

Eli Pemberton (22 points, six assists, five rebounds) continued his Loren Stokes-ian late-season run as the Dutchmen led wire-to-wire in a win over James Madison. Pemberton, Jalen Ray (15 points) and Desure Buie (11 points, a game-high seven assists) helped pick up the slack on a night in which Justin Wright-Foreman was limited to a season-low 11 points, including just two in the first 30 minutes. Rokas Gustys added eight points and nine rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. James Madison 2/22)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Jalen Ray
1: Desure Buie

Justin Wright-Foreman 68
Rokas Gustys 41
Eli Pemberton 36
Desure Buie 10
Jalen Ray 9
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

The Dutchmen won a game in which they didn’t trail for the second time this season and the first time since beating Kennesaw State, 75-57, on Nov. 13. The wire-to-wire win was the Dutchmen’s first in CAA play since an 80-67 win over Drexel in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals on March 5, 2016.

Justin Wright Foreman’s streak of double-digit scoring efforts was imperiled Thursday, when he scored just two points in the first half and remained stuck on two points for the first 10 minutes of the second half before he collected nine points in a span of fewer than four minutes. The 11 total points were his fewest in his 51-game streak.

In addition, the two points in the first half were the fewest Wright-Foreman has scored in the first half this season and his fewest since he was held scoreless in just two minutes against Elon on Jan. 12, 2017, when he was still coming off the bench. He was held to fewer than two first half points just one other time in his streak — at the very beginning on Dec. 11, 2016, when he was scoreless against Kentucky. Wright-Foreman has scored at least 10 points in the first half in 26 of his last 51 games.

As you figured out by now, junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Thursday for the 51st straight game, the second-longest streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home). 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 58 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: 51 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 remained in 16th place on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday. Entering today, he needs eight points to move past Dave Bell into 15th place and 22 points to surpass Barry White (no, not that one) into 14th place.

14.) Barry White 1,344 (1966-69)
15.) Dave Bell 1,330 (1969-72)
16.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,323 (2015-present)
17.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
18.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)

Justin Wright-Foreman didn’t gain at least one spot on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday for just the third time in the 14 games he’s 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
William & Mary (Feb. 15): 18th place
Drexel (Feb. 17): 16th place
James Madison (Feb. 22): 16th place

Justin Wright-Foreman obviously didn’t lead the Dutchmen in scoring Thursday, when his 11 points were tied for third with Desure Buie behind Eli Pemberton (22 points) and Jalen Ray (15 points). It was the third time this season and just the sixth time in the last 47 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: Deron Powers 20-Rokas 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
2/22/18 vs. James Madison: Pemberton 22-Ray 15-Buie 11-Wright-Foreman 11

Wright-Foreman was last fourth or lower amongst Dutchmen scorers in a single game on Dec. 6, 2016, when his five points off the bench against St. Bonaventure ranked sixth. 

In addition, Thursday marked only the seventh time this season, and the 10th time in the last 47 games that Wright-Foreman has not held at least a share of the team lead in scoring. Pemberton has led the Dutchmen in scoring in eight of those games while Powers held the team lead in the other two contests.

Justin Wright-Foreman enters today ranked fifth in the nation in scoring at 24.1 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.

Despite quiet (by their standards) games Thursday night, Justin Wright-Foreman and Rokas Gustys each continued to climb Hofstra’s single-season all-time top 10 list in scoring and rebounding.

With his 11 points, Wright-Foreman increased his season total to 699 points and climbed past Bill Thieben into eighth place on the single-season list. Wright-Foreman has a chance to gain multiple spots today, when he needs four points to surpass Charles Jenkins for seventh place and eight points to climb over Speedy Claxton into sixth place.

6.) Speedy Claxton, 706 (1999-2000)
7.) Charles Jenkins, 702 (2009-10)
8.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN, 699 (2017-18)
9.) Bill Thieben, 696 (1955-56)
10.) Steve Nisenson, 681 (1964-65)

Gustys, meanwhile, pulled down nine rebounds to increase his season total to 354 as he climbed past Ed Moore into seventh place. Gustys now occupies the fourth, seventh and 10th spots on the list.

6.) John Irving, 423 (1975-76)
7.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 354 (2017-18)
8.) Ed Moor, 351 (1951-52)
9.) Jim Boatright, 344 (1962-63)
10.) ROKAS GUSTYS, 338 (2016-17)

Rokas Gustys remained in 26th place on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list Thursday, when he scored eight points against James Madison. He needs just three points this afternoon to move past Ted Jackson into 25th place.

24t.) Brian Bernardi 1,186 (2014-17)
24t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
26.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,157 (2014-present)
27.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
28.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
29.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)

Rokas Gustys’ recent rebounding pace slowed a bit Thursday night, when he pulled down a merely human nine rebounds against James Madison. Gustys, whose 1,287 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), is now 28 rebounds away from surpassing Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87) as the leading rebounder in CAA history. At his current season average of 12.2 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play three more games to move past Robinson. The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least two more games — today’s regular season finale and at least one tournament game next weekend. However, Thursday marked the end of a two-game streak in which Gustys “gained” ground on Robinson, so a 17-rebound game today would put him back on pace to break the mark in the Dutchmen’s CAA Tournament opener.

Sophomore guard Eli Pemberton continued to keep some pretty good company Thursday, when he scored a team-high 22 points against James Madison. Pemberton has 457 points in 25 games this season and 854 points through 57 games in two seasons, a pace that compares favorably with the first 57 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 56th game with the Flying Dutchmen:

Charles Jenkins 952 
Antoine Agudio 908
Loren Stokes 904
Speedy Claxton 893

Jalen Ray continued moving up the list of leading Hofstra freshman scorers in the CAA era (2001-present) while Stafford Trueheart joined the 100-point club Thursday.

With his 15 points, Ray moved past Shemiye McLendon into 11th place on the CAA-era freshman scoring list. He is three points away from moving past Nathaniel Lester into 10th place. Trueheart, meanwhile, became the 21st freshman in the CAA era to score 100 points when he opened the game with a 3-pointer. He surged past Moussa Kone with that basket and is seven points away from moving past Woody Souffrant into 19th place. 

Hunter Sabety continued to take advantage of his limited playing time Thursday, when he was 1-for-2 from the field in 14 minutes against James Madison. The effort actually lowered Sabety’s field goal percentage this season to 70.6 percent (48-of-68), which would still be the highest percentage for any player in the Defiantly Dutch Era (1993-present) averaging a minimum of two shots per game. Sabety would break his own record, set last year when he shot a nice 69 percent (49-of-71) from the field. Sabety and Rokas Gustys, who shot 66 percent in 2015-16 and is shooting 62.5 percent this season, have registered four of the 11 60-percent shooting seasons by a Hofstra player in the DD era. 

HUNTER SABETY 2017-18 (48-68, 70.6%)
HUNTER SABETY 2016-17 (49/71, 69%)
Moussa Kone 2014-15 (97/144, 67.4%)
Lars Grubler 2002-03 (36/54, 66.7%)
ROKAS GUSTYS 2015-16 (192/291, 66%)
Roberto Gittens 2000-01 (123/187, 65.8%)
Adrian Uter 2004-05 (77/122, 63.1%)
ROKAS GUSTYS 2017-18 (130/208, 62.5%)
Moussa Kone 2011-12 (43/70, 61.4%)
Greg Springfield 2000-01 (70/115, 60.9%)
Wendell Gibson 2003-04 (102/168, 60.7%)

While the Dutchmen’s hopes of earning a top-two seed in the CAA Tournament disappeared Thursday night, they retained sole possession of third place and ensured no worse than the fourth seed with the win over James Madison. 

1.) Charleston 14-3
2.) Northeastern 13-4
3.) HOFSTRA 11-6
4.) William & Mary 10-7
5.) Towson 8-9
6.) Elon 6-10

The Dutchmen will clinch the no. 3 seed with a win today or a loss by William & Mary to Charleston. The Dutchmen will fall to the no. 4 seed — and a potential semifinal date with non-host host Charleston — with a loss and a Tribe win. In that scenario, the Tribe would be the no. 3 seed because they split with top-seeded Charleston. 

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

While Senior Day is a bittersweet afternoon for players and coaches, the game itself has traditionally been a happy occasion for both the Flying Dutchmen and Joe Mihalich. The Dutchmen are 20-4 in home finales in the DD Era, with the lone losses being absorbed in 1994 (Army won 87-76), 2001 (Towson won 61-60), 2013 (Delaware won 57-56) and last season (UNC Wilmington won 83-76).

In addition, Mihalich is 16-3 in regular season home finales as a head coach. His 10-game winnings streak in home finales was snapped last season. The only other times a Mihalich-coached team lost a home finale were in 2001, when Niagara fell to Canisius, 85-70, and 2006, when the Purple Eagles lost to Manhattan, 82-81.

The Dutchmen will honor their three seniors — Rokas Gustys, Hunter Sabety and Joel Angus III — in a pregame ceremony beginning at 3:50 PM. Check out today’s features on the seniors, hyperlinked at their names. 

The Tigers, under seventh-year head coach Pat Skerry, are 18-12 this season and 8-9 in CAA play. Towson has dropped two straight games, including an 80-75 loss to Northeastern on Thursday, and three of its last four. 

The Dutchmen and Tigers had one common foe during non-league play. The Dutchmen fell to Manhattan, 63-61, in a “home” game at Adelphi on Dec. 20 while the Tigers edged the Jaspers, 56-55, in Northern Ireland on Dec. 2. That was an odd sentence to write. 

In CAA play, the Dutchmen and Tigers have both swept Delaware and Drexel (ECC represent!) and split with UNC Wilmington. The Dutchmen swept James Madison and split Elon and Northeastern, all three of whom swept the Tigers. The Dutchmen split with William & Mary, whom Towson swept, and were swept by Charleston, which split with the Tigers.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, enter today ranked 157th at The Tigers, who were picked second, enter today ranked 149th at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (114.1) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.0). The Tigers are fifth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (110.7) and are fourth in conference-only defensive efficiency (107.0). predicts a 78-74 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 5-point favorites. Hofstra is 13-12 against the spread this season.

With a win today, the Dutchmen will complete a perfect season in the ECC, the league Litos won’t acknowledge, as well as clinch the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which won’t actually take place because the ECC doesn’t actually exist, you weirdos. Speaking of weird, I won’t figure out if anyone’s gone unbeaten in ECC play in the CAA era because I don’t want to hex it.

Towson 4-1
Delaware 1-5
Drexel 1-5

Hofstra is 40-26 against Towson in a series that began during the 1982-83 season, when both schools were in the East Coast Conference. The Dutchmen won the first game of the season between the rivals in dramatic fashion on Jan. 11, when they came back from a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes and earned a 76-73 victory on Jalen Ray’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Hofstra is looking to sweep the season series for the second time in the last three years.

Hofstra and Towson opposed one another in the ECC and the North Atlantic Conference/America East before moving together to the CAA for the 2001-02 school year. Hofstra has faced only two opponents as often as it’s faced Towson: Longtime conference rivals Delaware and Drexel.

Howling Mad Murdock bias! (Per Wikipedia, which is never wrong, Dwight Schultz went to Towson)
Baltimore Stallions bias! (The Stallions were the only American-based team to win the Canadian football League’s Grey Cup, ha ha, we’ve got that and women’s hockey over you guys!)
Jewish Jordan bias! (Tamir Goodman was supposed to be the Jewish Michael Jordan, but he wasn’t)
Sean Landata bias! (The final former USFL player in the NFL is a Towson graduate)

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