Saturday, February 10, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington

Dan Scott was not a good father figure.

The Flying Dutchmen authored one of their most impressive wins of the season Thursday night, when they rode a dominant defensive second half (!!!) to a resounding 67-48 win over Elon. The Dutchmen will look to complete a perfect road trip tonight when they visit two-time defending champion UNC Wilmington. Here’s a look back at the win over the Phoenix and a look ahead to the Seahawks.

The Dutchmen followed up their quietest first half of the season with one of their best defensive halves of the Joe Mihalich era as they came back from a four-point halftime deficit to cruise past Elon. The Dutchmen didn’t lead for a span of more than 20 straight minutes spanning the two halves before ending the game on a 34-13 run. Eli Pemberton scored 27 points, one shy of his career-high, and single-handedly kept the Dutchmen in the game in the first half, when he scored 17 of Hofstra’s 24 points. Justin Wright-Foreman scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and Rokas Gustys had 20 rebounds, the second time this season he’s recorded at least 20 boards against Elon, while adding three steals.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Elon 2/8)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Rokas Gustys
1: Justin Wright-Foreman

Justin Wright-Foreman 61
Rokas Gustys 35
Eli Pemberton 29
Desure Buie 8
Jalen Ray 7
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

By any standard, the Dutchmen produced an impressive defensive effort Thursday night. The 48 points allowed marked just the second time in the Joe Mihalich Era (2013-present) the Dutchmen have surrendered fewer than 50 points. It was also just the eighth time in Mihalich’s head coaching career — spanning 20 seasons and 626 games — that his team has allowed fewer than 50 points.

2/8/18: Hofstra 67, Elon 48
2/25/15: Hofstra 73, Charleston 40
11/21/09: Niagara 63, Central Florida 46
2/12/09: Niagara 57, Canisius 41
1/31/09: Niagara 68, Manhattan 49
11/28/08: Niagara 71, Monmouth 48
2/13/02: Niagara 65, Loyola (MD) 42
1/12/99: Niagara 51, Manhattan 49

The Dutchmen were particularly stingy in the second half Thursday, when they held Elon to 20 points. It was the just the fourth time the Dutchmen have allowed 20 points or fewer in a half under Mihalich and the first time since the shot clock was shortened to 30 seconds prior to the 2015-16 season.

vs. Charleston 14 pts (1H, 2/25/15)
vs. UNC Wilmington 17 pts (2H, 2/8/14)
vs. UNC Wilmington 20 pts (2H, 1/3/15)
vs. Elon 20 pts (2H, 2/7/18)

Lastly, Elon shot just 35.8 percent from the field, the lowest field goal percentage by an opponent in a CAA game since Delaware shot 34.5 percent on Dec. 31, 2016.

The Dutchmen scored just 24 points in the first half Thursday, their fewest points in a half this season. It was just the 14th time in the Joe Mihalich era the Dutchmen have scored fewer than 25 points in a half and the seventh time they’ve done so since the shot clock was shortened to 30 seconds prior to the 2015-16 season.

vs. James Madison 18 pts (2H, 1/24/15)
vs. SMU 18 pts (1H, 1/19/14)
vs. James Madison 21 pts (2H, 1/5/17)
vs. UNC Wilmington 21 pts (1H, 2/8/14)
vs. Charleston 21 pts (1H, 2/1/14)
vs. Indiana State 22 pts (1H, 11/23/15)
vs. Northeastern 23 pts (2H, 1/21/16)
vs. Siena 23 pts (1H, 12/23/13)
vs. Elon 24 pts (1H, 2/8/18)
vs. Delaware 24 pts (1H, 2/2/17)
vs. Drexel 24 pts (1H 1/30/16)
vs. Charleston 24 pts (2H, 1/7/16)
vs. James Madison 24 pts (1H, 2/10/14)
vs. Northeastern 24 pts (2H, 1/25/14)

The Dutchmen played a rare lopsided game Thursday, when they beat Elon by 19 points. It was just the fifth time in 13 CAA games and the 11th time in 25 games overall, that a game involving the Dutchmen was decided by fewer than six points or in overtime. Only Drexel has played more games decided by fewer than six points or in overtime, though the Dutchmen’s 10-4 record in “close shaves” gives them the best winning percentage of any CAA team in such contests.

Drexel 15 (8-7)
HOFSTRA 14 (10-4)
James Madison 14 (5-9)
Towson 12 (6-6)
UNC Wilmington 12 (4-8)
College of Charleston 11 (7-4)
Elon 11 (7-4)
Northeastern 9 (5-4)
Delaware 9 (4-5)
William & Mary 6 (4-2)

While recency bias makes these nail-biters seem new, of the 91 games the Dutchmen have played since the start of the 2015-16 season, a whopping 50 have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. They are 30-20 in the “close shaves.”

While the Dutchmen have played the second-most close shaves amongst CAA teams, their 19-point win over Elon on Thursday lifted them into a tie with Towson for the most league wins by 15 points or more. The Dutchmen and Tigers have three such wins apiece. Only two other teams, Charleston and William & Mary, have more than one CAA win by 15 points or more.

Towson 3
College of Charleston 2
William & Mary 2
Delaware 1
Elon 1
UNC Wilmington 1
Northeastern 1
Drexel 0
James Madison 0

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Thursday for the 47th straight game. It is the fourth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, and the third-longest streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home). He is one game shy of tying Antoine Agudio for second place on the list,

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Antoine Agudio 48 straight games 3/6/06-1/17/08****
Justin Wright-Foreman: 47 straight games 12/11/16-present
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 continued climbing the all-time scoring list at Hofstra on Thursday night, when he collected 21 points to move past Roberto Gittens into 18th place.

In addition, Rokas Gustys, who reached the 1,000-point club two days before Wright-Foreman, remained in 30th place on the all-time list by scoring six points. He is four points shy of surpassing Richie Swartz for 29th place. 

17.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
18.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,246 (2015-present)
19.) Roberto Gittens 1,240 (1997-2001)
20.) Carlos Rivera 1,225 (2003-07)
21.) Demetrius Dudley 1,220 (1991-93)
21t.) John Mills 1,220 (1941-43/46-47)
23t.) Brian Bernardi 1,186 (2014-17)
23t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
26.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
27.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
28.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
29.) Richie Swartz 1,107 (1959-62)
30.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,104 (2014-present)
31.) Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (2014-16)
32.) Derrick Flowers 1,069 (1987-91)
33.) Darius Burton 1,060 (1993-97)
34.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
35.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
36.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

Justin Wright-Foreman gained at least one spot on the Hofstra all-time scoring list for the ninth time in as many games since he joined the 1,000-point club on Jan. 7. That streak is likely endangered tonight, when he'll need 40 points to tie Mike Tilley for 17th place all-time. But then again, maybe not. Here is Wright-Foreman's 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

Justin Wright-Foreman didn’t lead the Dutchmen in scoring Thursday, when his 21 points ranked behind Eli Pemberton’s game-high 27 points. It was just the fifth time this season, and the eighth time in 43 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 six of those eight games while Deron Powers held the team lead in the other two contests.

Justin Wright-Foreman enters today ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at 24.9 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.

Rokas Gustys, whose 1,230 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), has a chance to join some even more select this season. With his big game on Thursday, Gustys pulled within 85 rebounds of surpassing the CAA’s all-time leading rebounder, Hall of Famer David Robinson (1,314 rebounds for Navy from 1983-87). At his current season average of 11.9 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play eight more games to move past Robinson. He “gained” a game on Robinson thanks to Thursday’s 20-rebound performance. The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least six more games (five regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

Rokas Gustys had his second 20-rebound game of the season Thursday and the 10th of his career. Both 20-rebound games this year have come against Elon. 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’ 10 20-rebound games are the most by any Division I player since the start of the 2010-11 season, the first season in which College Basketball Reference has individual game data for players.

The Dutchmen enter play today tied with William & Mary for third place in the CAA at 8-5. The two teams are one game behind second-place Northeastern and two games behind first-place Charleston, though the Dutchmen are, for all intents and purposes, three games behind the Cougars by virtue of being swept in the season series.

While the odds of winning the regular season CAA championship are long for the Dutchmen, they do control their own fate in the race for a no. 2 or no. 3 seed, which would ensure no date with likely no. 1 seed and tourney host (wait, it’s not on campus so it’s a “neutral site,” wink wink nudge nudge, #ThanksTom). Charleston until the championship game. By winning out, the Dutchmen will finish 13-5 in the CAA and ensure themselves no worse than a no. 3 seed in the CAA Tournament, which is scheduled to begin three weeks from today. 

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

The two-time defending champion Seahawks, under first-year head coach C.B. McGrath, are 7-17 this season and 4-8 in CAA play. UNC Wilmington dropped its third straight game last Saturday, when it fell to Northeastern, 107-100, in overtime. The Seahawks’ scheduled game Thursday against James Madison was postponed due to the outbreak of mumps within the Dukes. 

The Dutchmen and Seahawks had no common foes during non-league play. Both the Dutchmen and Seahawks have beaten Drexel, James Madison and Towson, the latter of whom split the season series with UNC Wilmington. Hofstra has swept Delaware, which swept UNC Wilmington, and split with Elon, which fell to the Seahawks. Both teams have lost to William & Mary, Charleston and Northeastern. Charleston swept the season series form Hofstra while Northeastern split with the Dutchmen.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, entered today ranked 151st at The Seahawks, who were picked fifth, entered today ranked 277th at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (114.2) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.7). The Seahawks rank eighth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (107.5) and eighth in conference-only defensive efficiency (113.3).

The game will pit two of the nation’s top five rebounders in UNCW’s Devontae Cacok, who leads the country with 13.2 rebounds per game and Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys, who ranks fourth with 11.9 rebounds per game. predicts an 86-80 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 3-point favorites. Hofstra is 10-11 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 19-19 against UNC Wilmington in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 96-76 win in Hempstead just nine days ago. With a win tonight, the Dutchmen will earn their first season sweep of the Seahawks since 2013-14.

You’re still mad about Charles Jenkins’ eight-point play bias! (You had to be there)
Dan Scott redeemed himself bias! (You had to see One Tree Hill to get it)
Daggum Roy protege bias! (C.B. McGrath was a long-time assistant under Roy Williams)
Chris Flemmings bias! (That dude was stone-cold)

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