Saturday, December 8, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: Rider

Rider Strong didn't go to Rider, but maybe Shawn Hunter did. Hey, the show took place near New Jersey.

Winless Monmouth gave the Flying Dutchmen all they could handle Wednesday night, but a banged-up Justin Wright-Foreman converted the go-ahead nostalgic 3-point play with 16 seconds left and the Dutchmen played suffocating defense (!!!) on a final unsuccessful possession for Monmouth, which missed a shot at the buzzer as the Dutchmen hung on for an ugly-but-nobody-cares-how-ugly-it-is-when-you-win 75-73 win. The Dutchmen will continue their tour of the MAAC this afternoon, when they host Rider at the Arena. Here’s a look back at the win over the Hawks and a look ahead to the Broncs.

Justin Wright-Foreman (30 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the floor and 6-of-10 shooting from the line) appeared to be merely mortal, especially after taking a hard foul late in the second half, but he drained the winning basket and subsequent free throw as the Dutchmen escaped against Monmouth. The two teams were never separated by more than six points in a while game that featured four lead changes in the final two minutes. Eli Pemberton had 14 points and four rebounds while Desure Buie did his best Jason Hernandez imitation by scoring nine points on three 3-pointers, including a go-ahead basket with 2:22 left, and collecting six assists. Jacquil Taylor had nine rebounds and three blocks.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Monmouth 12/5)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Desure Buie
1: Eli Pemberton

Justin Wright-Foreman 27
Eli Pemberton 12
Desure Buie 4
Jalen Ray 4
Tareq Coburn 3
Stafford Trueheart 2
Jacquil Taylor 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “That was one heckuva win. That really was. We were terrible. We were terrible. We were soft. We did so many little things wrong. We turned the ball over. I don’t know what we did well. But when we had to make a play, we did. And that’s what good teams do.”


On a New York night, have you heard the news?

No! But 75-73 scores aren’t nearly as common as you’d think. Or at least I’d think. The Dutchmen most recently earned a 75-73 win on Dec, 29, 1988, when they edged host Long Island University. This is the second time in the last three games the Dutchmen have won a game by a score they hadn't won by since a win over LIU in the late ‘80s. That’s a convoluted sentence. Let’s move on.

With Wednesday’s win, the Dutchmen improved to 5-0 at home this season while extending their overall home winning streak to nine games dating back to Feb. 15. The five straight wins to open the home schedule are the most by a Dutchmen squad since the 2015-16 team won its first six home games. Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, the longest home winning streak for the Dutchmen in the CAA era (2001-present) is a 21-game streak from Jan. 22, 2005 to Mar. 16, 2006.

ALL BY HIMSELF (part one)
With his 30 points Wednesday night, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 62 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: 62 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

ALL BY HIMSELF (part two)
Justin Wright-Foreman recorded his third 30-point game of the season Wednesday night and the 14th of his career. That’s the most by a Hofstra player since at least the 1989-90 season. But Wright-Foreman has played just 99 games and registered all of his 30-point games in his last 58 games dating back to Jan. 2, 2017. Here is the list of all players with multiple 30-point games since 1989-90 (career games in parenthesis).

Justin Wright-Foreman 14 (99)
Demetrius Dudley 12 (55)
Charles Jenkins 12 (128)
Antoine Agudio 10 (122)
Speedy Claxton 8 (119)
Loren Stokes 7 (124)
Zeke Upshaw 3 (33)
Mike Moore 3 (65)
Ameen Tanksley 2 (68)
Rick Apodaca 2 (108)
John Mavroukas 2 (90)

With his 30 points Wednesday, Justin Wright-Foreman remained in 10th place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list. To be fair, he needed to score 54 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 1,624 (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 245 points in eight games, an average of 27.2 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 nine games of the 1976-77 season, a stretch in which he collected 265 points and averaged 29.4 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
vs. Catholic 12/20: 31 pts

Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, continued his climb up the all-time scoring ranks Wednesday, when he scored 14 points. That vaulted him two spots, past John Irving and Jim Shaffer, into 35th place on the program’s scoring list. He enters tonight needing 20 points to surpass Percy Johnson for 34th place. 

33.) Darius Burton 1,060 (1993-97)
34.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
35.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,026 (2016-present)
36.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
37.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

If you’re thinking of Loren Stokes while watching Eli Pemberton, you’re not alone. Through nine games during his junior season, the slashing Pemberton is averaging 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Through nine games in his junior season of 2005-06, the slashing Stokes was averaging 13.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Hopefully Tony Skinn Jr. isn’t waiting to punch Pemberton in the privates in the CAA Tournament.

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 19-of-26 from the line Wednesday, which actually dropped their season-long percentage to 79.8 percent (actually 79.79 percent). Entering today, that’s good enough for fifth in the country, behind only Incarnate Word (82.2 percent), Northern Colorado (80.3 percent), Lafayette (80 percent) and Utah State (79.8 percent—actually 79.80 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. 

However, Wednesday’s game ended a streak of six straight games in which the Dutchmen missed four or fewer free throws. #CreativeMath That was 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.

Hofstra will over live video, audio and stats here.

Rider, under seventh-year head coach Kevin Baggett, is 2-2 this season. Wait, only four games on the second weekend of December? What is this, 1993? The four games are the fewest played by any Division I team thus far this season. The Broncs haven’t played since Nov. 28, when they fell to West Virginia, 92-78.

Rider, the defending MAAC regular season champions, was the unanimous pick to finish first in the MAAC this season. The Broncs had four players selected to the preseason all-MAAC teams. Junior Stevie Jordan and sophomore Dimencio Vaughn were voted to the preseason all-MAAC first team while sophomores Frederick Scott and Jordan Allen were named to the second and third teams, respectively. The quartet combined to average 54.9 points per game last season. Vaughn leads the Broncs this year with 15.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Thanks to the Dutchmen’s MAAC-heavy non-conference schedule, Hofstra and Rider have four common foes this season. The Dutchmen have already beaten Monmouth and Siena and will face Manhattan Monday. Rider is scheduled to face Manhattan and Monmouth twice apiece in conference play and Siena once.

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 20-17 all-time against Rider, which was a conference rival in the ECC from 1974 through 1992. This will be just the fourth game between the schools since Rider left the ECC and the second one not necessitated by the blasted Bracketbusters. Hofstra has won the last three games between the teams, including 52 weeks ago tonight when the Dutchmen earned an 88-82 win in Lawrenceville.

The Flying Dutchmen established the program’s shot clock era for fewest points allowed in a game on Jan. 18, 1989, when Hofstra beat Rider, 48-34, at the Physical Fitness Center. 

At this afternoon, Hofstra is ranked 136th while Rider is ranked 106th. predicts n 84-83 win for the Dutchmen. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 1.5-point favorites. The Dutchmen are 7-2 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 97-118 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).

Shawn Hunter bias! (Rider isn’t named after Rider Strong, nor did he go to Rider, but when you can make a Boy Meets World reference, you do it)
Al Downing bias! (The pitcher who served up Hank Aaron’s 715th homer went to Rider)
No football since 1951 bias! (I wonder if they have one really annoying alum who still wants the sport to return?)

You’ve gone even longer without an NCAA Tournament bid than us bias! (Rider last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1994, when they fell to UConn at Nassau Coliseum. I was there on zero sleep)

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