Thursday, February 15, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: William & Mary

The Wolf. He solved problems.

The Flying Dutchmen followed up one of their most encouraging wins of the CAA season with their most discouraging loss Saturday, when they were smoked by UNC Wilmington 90-70. The rollercoaster-riding Dutchmen will look to climb back up tonight, when they host rival William & Mary in a game with pivotal CAA tournament seeding implications at the Arena. Here’s a look back at the loss to the Seahawks and a look ahead to the Tribe.

The Dutchmen raced out to a seven-point lead barely four minutes into the first half but were outscored by 27 points the rest of the way in a not-as-close-as-it-seemed loss to UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks won by 20 points a mere nine days after they lost to the Dutchmen by 20 points in Hempstead. Justin Wright-Foreman tied a season-low by scoring a team-high 15 points, including just four in the second half, when the Dutchmen gave up as many points (48) as they did in the entire previous game against Elon. More importantly, Wright-Foreman appeared to dodge disaster midway through the second half, when he suffered a foot or ankle injury that initially left him writhing in pain before he returned after a few minutes. Rokas Gustys (13 points, 10 rebounds) had yet another double-double but was outplayed by Seahawks center Devontae Cacok, who scored 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to earn co-CAA player of the week honors despite Saturday being his only game of the week. Desure Buie had 11 points and a team-high five assists before leaving with what appeared to be a leg injury late in the second half.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. UNC Wilmington 2/10)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Rokas Gustys
1: Desure Buie

Justin Wright-Foreman 64
Rokas Gustys 37
Eli Pemberton 29
Desure Buie 9
Jalen Ray 7
Joel Angus 4
Kenny Wormley 3
Stafford Trueheart 1
Hunter Sabety 1

COACHSPEAK: “We’re gonna just burn the tape and move on.” Hey that sounds familiar, does he follow me on Twitter?. 

After a stout defensive effort last Thursday, the Dutchmen reverted back to form in Saturday’s loss to UNC Wilmington. The Dutchmen fell to 0-3 this season when giving up 90 points and have lost their last six games in which they surrendered at least 90 points dating back to Nov. 21, 2016. Overall, the Dutchmen are 2-13 when giving up at least 90 points in the Joe Mihalich Era (2013-present). The Dutchmen gave up at least 90 points 15 times between 2001-02 and 2012-13. 

The Dutchmen made some unusual program history Saturday night, when they lost to UNC Wilmington by 20 points just nine days after beating the Seahawks by 20 points. It is the first time in Hofstra’s Division I era that the Dutchmen have registered a 20-point win and suffered a 20-point loss against the same opponent in the same season. Yay?

The closest the Dutchmen came to “achieving” such a feat actually happened during a rare non-conference home-and-home in 2013-14, when Hofstra earned the first win of the Mihalich era by beating Fairleigh Dickinson Dutchmen 80-58 in Hempstead on Nov. 10 before absorbing an 86-67 loss in Teaneck on Jan. 5. Prior to this year, the Dutchmen came closest to pulling off the 20/20 in conference play in 1995-96, when Hofstra beat NAC foe Towson State 83-63 on Jan. 23 before falling to the Tigers 74-56 on Feb. 18.

The Dutchmen and Seahawks are the second set of CAA teams in as many seasons to swap 20-point wins and 20-point losses. Northeastern beat William & Mary, 84-64, on Dec. 31, 2016 before falling to the Tribe, 94-69, in the rematch Feb. 2, 2017. Hey look at that, Joe Mihalich and Tony Shaver have something in common! They should talk tonight.

Last week’s games marked the first time the Dutchmen have played consecutive non-close shaves in CAA play. Only six of the Dutchmen’s 14 CAA games and 12 of their 26 games overall have been decided by fewer than six points or in overtime. Only Drexel and James Madison have 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)
James Madison 15 (6-9)
HOFSTRA 14 (10-4)
UNC Wilmington 13 (4-9)
Towson 12 (6-6)
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 92 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.”

All four games played last Saturday (the James Madison-Elon game was postponed due to an outbreak of mumps within the James Madison program) were decided by at least 10 points. (In fact, all four were decided by at least 15 points) It was the first time since Jan. 18, when four of five games were decided by at least 10 points, that four or more games were double-digit affairs. Lopsided wins by Charleston and William & Mary created a four-way tie, with the Dutchmen and Towson, atop the rout leaderboard. All four squads have three CAA wins by 15 points or more. 

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

Junior guard Justin Wright-Foreman scored at least 10 points Saturday for the 48th straight game. In addition to maintaining the fourth-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, he moved into a tie with Antoine Agudio for the second-longest such streak by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home).

Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
Justin Wright-Foreman: 48 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’s rapid rise up Hofstra’s all-time scoring list finally slowed down Saturday, when he scored 15 points against UNC Wilmington and remained in 18th place with 1,261 points. It was the first time since he joined the 1,000-point club on Jan. 7 that Wright-Foreman didn’t gain at least one spot on the list. 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 tonight. He enters the game 26 points away from surpassing Mike Tilley for 17th 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 1,261 (2015-present)

Senior center Rokas Gustys who reached the 1,000-point club two days before Wright-Foreman, continued his climb up the all-time scoring list Saturday, when he collected 13 points to move past Richie Swartz for 29th place. Gustys (1,117 points) could also keep climbing tonight. He is 12 points shy of surpassing Mike Moore for 28th place and 16 points away from moving past Wandy Williams into 27th place.

26.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
27.) Wandy Williams 1,132 (1966-69)
28.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
29.) ROKAS GUSTYS 1,117 (2014-present)

Rokas Gustys, whose 1,240 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. By pulling down 10 rebounds Saturday, Gustys pulled within 75 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 11.8 rebounds per game, Gustys would need to play seven more games to move past Robinson. The Dutchmen are scheduled to play at least five more games (four regular season CAA games and at least one tournament game).

Rokas Gustys recorded his 11th double-double of the season and the 45th of his career Thursday, when he scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds against UNC Wilmington. The Dutchmen had just 46 double-doubles (points-rebounds) combined in the five seasons prior to Gustys’ 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.

The loss Saturday all but ended the Dutchmen’s chances to win the CAA regular season title and turned tonight’s game into a near must-win for their hopes of drawing the second or third seed in the CAA Tournament, which is scheduled to begin two weeks from Saturday at the “neutral site” of North Charleston, SC.

The Dutchmen (8-6 in the CAA) enter play tonight alone in fourth place in the CAA, one game ahead of fifth-place Towson (7-7), one game behind third-place William & Mary (9-5), two games behind second-place Northeastern (10-4) and three games behind first-place Charleston (11-3). However, thanks to Charleston’s sweep of the season series, the Dutchmen will be eliminated from regular season title contention with either a loss tonight or a Cougars win. 

With a win tonight, the Dutchmen would split the season series with William & Mary and, obviously, tie the Tribe for third place in the CAA. The Dutchmen would also temporarily have the tiebreaker by virtue of their split with Northeastern, which beat William & Mary earlier this season and faces the Tribe again on Saturday. A loss by the Dutchmen would all but ensure a fourth-place finish or lower.

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

The Tribe, under 15th-season head coach Tony Shaver, are 16-9 this season and 9-5 in CAA play. William & Mary snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday, when it beat Delaware, 83-66.  The Tribe were the last unbeaten team in the CAA but 4-5 since a 5-0 start.

The Dutchmen and Tribe had no common foes during non-league play. Both teams have swept Delaware and beaten James Madison and Elon, both of whom the Tribe have swept. The Dutchmen split with Elon and are scheduled to complete the season series with Drexel on Saturday and with James Madison next Thursday night. The Dutchmen split the season series with UNC Wilmington, whom the Tribe beat Jan. 27. The Dutchmen beat Towson, which swept William & Mary, and split with Northeastern, which will look to complete a sweep of the Tribe on Saturday. Both teams have lost to Charleston, which swept the Dutchmen and is scheduled to face the Tribe again in the regular season finale next Saturday.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, entered today ranked 162nd at The Tribe, which was picked eighth, entered today ranked 179th at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank fourth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (112.8) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (109.8). The Tribe are tied for first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (116.1) and are ninth in conference-only defensive efficiency (113.9). predicts an 87-82 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 4.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 10-12 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 19-13 against William & Mary in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Tribe eked out a 90-87 win in the first meeting between the teams this season on Dec. 30. William & Mary is split the season series each of the last two years.

The Dutchmen barely crossed paths with William & Mary during their first decade-plus in the CAA, but the Tribe have become Hofstra’s biggest rival since Joe Mihalich became head coach in 2013. Of the last 11 games between the two teams, seven have been decided by six points or fewer or in overtime, including the CAA opener Dec. 30, when the Dutchmen blew a three-point lead in the final minute and fell, 90-87. Five of those games have gone down to the last second, including the goddamn Daniel Dixon debacles. Overall, the Dutchmen are just 2-5 against the Tribe in these “close shaves.”

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

In addition, the Dutchmen and Tribe have reached halftime separated by seven points or fewer in each of their last eight games, and separated by six points or fewer in each of the last seven games. 

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

Oh and the coaches really like one another.

Prior to 2013-14, the Dutchmen held a 14-7 lead in the season series. The teams faced each other just once per season from 2005-06 through 2008-09. Only four of the first 21 games between the Dutchmen and Tribe were decided by six points or fewer or in overtime, including, of course, The Wolf’s game seven years ago tonight.

Nathan Knight isn’t even an original Commodore bias! (It’s a Twitter thing)
Presidential bias! (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Tyler all went to William & Mary)
Linda Lavin bias! (The Alice star went to William & Mary, I had no idea)
Second-oldest college in America bias! (Only 242 years older than Hofstra!)

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