Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: Monmouth

Wait, is that a I-AA football player I see?

The Flying Dutchmen took care of business on their road trip to Atlanta Saturday afternoon, when they pulled away over the final 12 minutes to cruise to a 78-52 win over Kennesaw State. The Dutchmen will look to make it three straight wins tonight, when they host Monmouth at the Arena. Here’s a look back at the win over the Owls and a look ahead to the Hawks.

The Dutchmen let Kennesaw State hang around for more than 30 minutes before ending the game on a 32-16 run to earn their most lopsided win of the season. Justin Wright-Foreman (20 points, five rebounds, a team-high five assists) did Justin Wright-Foreman things, while Eli Pemberton (15 points, a team-high seven rebounds) did Eli Pemberton things on an afternoon in which he joined the Hofstra 1,000-point club. Jalen Ray added 10 points while Tareq Coburn finished with nine points and five rebounds. Jacquil Taylor and Stafford Trueheart each pulled down six rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Kennesaw State 12/1)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Eli Pemberton
1: Jalen Ray

Justin Wright-Foreman 24
Eli Pemberton 11
Jalen Ray 4
Tareq Coburn 3
Stafford Trueheart 2
Desure Buie 2
Jacquil Taylor 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “It’s our first road win. We played so well at Marshall and Maryland and VCU, but this is our first road win. Tough teams, good teams, win on the road, so I’m glad we were able to do that tonight.”

No! The Dutchmen most recently earned a 78-52 win on Feb. 15, 1999, when they went on the road and earned the resounding victory against Northeastern. That season ended in the NIT. Harbinger? (No. We want the NCAAs damnit)

Junior Eli Pemberton became the 37th player in program history to score 1,000 points when he drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 14:02 left in the first half. The basket gave Pemberton exactly 1,000 career points. He finished the game with 1,012 points (for his career, not the game—the latter would have been a record) and enters tonight with a chance to move up at least two spots on the charts.

34.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
35.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
36.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)
37.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,012 (2016-present)

Eli Pemberton became the sixth player to score 1,000 points under Joe Mihalich at Hofstra — a pretty remarkable feat considering Mihalich is only in his sixth season at the helm. Here are Pemberton’s predecessors to score 1,000 points under Mihalich, with their all-time rank in parenthesis. 

Justin Wright-Foreman 1,594 (10th)
Brian Bernardi 1,186 (T23rd)
Juan’ya Green 1,186 (T23rd)
Rokas Gustys 1,184 (25th)
Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (31st)
Eli Pemberton 1,012 (37th)

Eli Pemberton also became the 19th player to score 1,000 points at Hofstra since I arrived on campus in the fall of 1993. Which, if my math is correct, means there have now been more 1,000-point scorers at Hofstra in the last 25 years than there were in the program’s first 57 seasons. I will assume that is due to my presence and not rule changes such as the shot clock, the 3-point shot and the shorter shot clock as well as the longer schedules played by teams since the 1990s.

The Dutchmen’s first winning streak of the season ended a seven-game stretch in which they alternated wins in odd-numbered games with losses through even-numbered games. The seven-game streak of alternating wins and losses was the longest to open a season in program history.

The win over Kennesaw State marked the 19th straight time the Dutchmen have won a game in which they held the opponent under 60 points. Under Joe Mihalich, the Dutchmen are 21-1 when holding opponent to fewer than 60 points. The only loss was absorbed Feb. 10, 2014, when the Dutchmen fell to James Madison, 59-53.

In addition, the Dutchmen limited Kennesaw State to 22 points in the first half Saturday, which were the fewest points scored by an opponent in a half since Elon was held to 20 points in the second half on Feb 8, 2018.

The Dutchmen didn’t allow Kennesaw State to hit a 3-pointer Saturday. Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, it was the first time the Dutchmen have held an opponent scoreless from beyond the arc since that James Madison game, a span of 138 games. More remarkably, per Gorchov, it was the first time the Dutchmen have held an opponent without a 3-point basket in a win since Feb. 11, 1991, when Army was 0-for-7 as the Dutchmen earned a 50-46 victory. That was 841 games ago!!!

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (which unfortunately was released in 1992)
It’s early, but you’re not wrong if you’re thinking you’ve never seen a Dutchmen team shoot free throws this well. The Dutchmen were 14-of-18 from the line Saturday which actually dropped their season-long percentage to 80.8 percent. Entering today, that’s good enough or third in the country, behind only Incarnate Word (82.2 percent) and Charlotte (81.3 percent). At this rate, the Dutchmen would shatter the program record for free throw percentage set by the 2010-11 team, which drained 76.1 percent of its free throws.

Last year’s team shot 68.2 percent from the free throw line. But subtracting Rokas Gustys’ performance (45-of-120, 37.5 percent), the Dutchmen would have shot 74.7 percent, which would have been the third-best single-season mark in program history. 

In addition, Saturday marked the sixth straight game in which the Dutchmen missed four or fewer free throws. #CreativeMath That’s the longest such streak since, you guessed it, 2010-11, when the Dutchmen missed four or fewer free throws in nine straight games from Jan. 8 through Feb. 2. However, these Dutchmen have shot almost as many free throws in the last six games (135( as the 2010-11 team did during its streak (145). This year’s Dutchmen are shooting 84.4 percent during the streak. The 2010-11 Dutchmen shot 84.8 percent during their streak.

With his 20 points Saturday afternoon, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 61 straight games, the most by a Hofstra player since 1989-90 (as far back as my records go, at least at home). In addition, Wright-Foreman’s streak is now the second-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov.

Justin Wright-Foreman: 61 straight games 12/11/16-present
Charles Jenkins 58 straight games 12/12/09-3/15/11*** 
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

With his 20 points Saturday, Justin Wright-Foreman remained in 10th place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list. To be fair, he needed to score 84 more points to move up the list and pass Norman Richardson for ninth place. 

8.) David Taylor 1,818 (1979-83)
9.) Norman Richardson 1,677 (1997-2001)
10.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,594 (2015-present)
11.) Frank Walker 1,437 (1985-89)
12.) Leroy Allen 1,435 (1983-87)

A season after scoring 755 points, an average of 24.4 points per game, Justin Wright-Foreman has scored 215 points in eight games, an average of 26.9 points per game. The latter figure would be the highest average by a Hofstra player since Rich Laurel averaged a program-record 30.3 points per game during the 1976-77 season.

With that in mind, I looked up Newsday from the 1976-77 season on microfilm (GOOGLE IT CRAIN) to try and track the game-by-game progress of both Laurel and Wright-Foreman. And there were box scores from all 30 games! This made me unnaturally happy.

Anyway, here are Laurel’s totals through the first eight games of the 1976-77 season, a stretch in which he collected 234 points and averaged 29.3 points per game.

vs. C.W. Post 11/27: 25 pts
vs. Dowling 11/28: 14 pts
vs. Temple 12/2: 26 pts
vs. CCNY 12/4: 29 pts
vs. Duquesne 12/10: 29 pts
vs. Southern Illinois 12/11: 31 pts
vs. St. Francis (NY) 12/16: 43 pts
vs. Rhode Island 12/18: 37 pts

If you’re thinking of Loren Stokes while watching Eli Pemberton, you’re not alone. Through eight games during his junior season, the slashing Pemberton is averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Through eight games in his junior season of 2005-06, the slashing Stokes was averaging 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Hopefully Tony Skinn Jr. isn’t waiting to punch Pemberton in the privates in the CAA Tournament.

Hofstra will over live video, audio and stats here.

Monmouth, under eighth-year head coach King Rice, is 0-9 this season following a 63-45 loss to Bucknell on Saturday night. Only one of those losses was by single digits. Per our friend Patrick Stevens, the Hawks are one of just five winless teams in Division I. Monmouth’s schedule thus far has included just two home games and contests against Kentucky, West Virginia, St. Joseph’s and Valparaiso. 

The Hawks were picked to finish fifth in the MAAC.

With Micah Seaborn having departed for pro ball following his junior season last year, the Hawks are led by sophomore Deion Hammond, who was selected to the preseason all-MAAC third team and is averaging 10.9 points per game.

Thanks to the Dutchmen’s MAAC-heavy non-conference schedule, Hofstra and Monmouth have four common foes this season. Monmouth fell to Cal State-Fullerton, 83-67, on Nov. 18, three days before the Dutchmen beat the Titans, 80-71. The Dutchmen also beat Siena last Wednesday, 94-86, and tonight begin a three-game stretch in which they play a trio of MAAC schools, including Rider on Saturday and Manhattan on Monday. Monmouth plays Siena, Manhattan and Rider twice apiece in conference play.

This is the second straight season Hofstra is facing four MAAC opponents. Last year marked the first time the Dutchmen faced four teams from one league in the non-conference schedule since 1993-94, when the Dutchmen, who were really known as the Dutchmen back then, played four North Atlantic Conference foes in the program’s final pre-NAC season.

Hofstra is 2-6 all-time against Monmouth. The Dutchmen snapped a six-game losing streak against the Hawks 52 weeks ago tonight, when they authored the first of their several SportsCenter moments by coming back from a 14-point deficit to earn an 85-84 win on Jalen Ray’s last-second 3-pointer off an intentionally missed free throw by Justin Wright-Foreman. 

At this morning, Hofstra is ranked 127th while Monmouth is ranked 287th. predicts a 78-65 win for the Dutchmen. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 14-point favorites. The Dutchmen are 7-1 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 96-118 all-time against current MAAC schools. This marks the 12th time in the last 13 seasons the Dutchmen have played at least two MAAC schools (the 2014-15 schedule had no MAAC teams).

The Selection Committee screwed you not once but twice bias! (Monmouth should have made the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team in both 2016 and 2017)
This game should have taken place in the first round of the NIT three years ago bias! (I used this last year but it’s still relevant) 
Dean Smith protege bias! (King Rice played under Dean Smith when I loved UNC hoops with the power of a thousand suns)
Miles Austin bias! (The former NFL wide receiver played collegiately at Monmouth, weird, they got publicity from I-AA football?)

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