Ho-hum. Another win, another spot on the SportsCenter Top 10. The Flying Dutchmen remained red-hot and viral Thursday night, when they led for the final 30 minutes of an 85-68 win over James Madison. That’s 15 straight for the Dutchmen, who will look to keep the streak going today when they visit ECC foe Towson. Here’s a look back at the win over the Dukes and a look ahead to the Tigers.
THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Justin Wright-Foreman (23 points on 8-of-11 shooting) had one of his patented efficiently dominant games, but Eli Pemberton stole the show and became an instant Twitter sensation by draining an 85-footer just before the first half buzzer in the Dutchmen’s win over James Madison. According to this story at NCAA.com, it may have been the third-longest shot ever made in a college basketball game. NBD. Pemberton finished with 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds while tying for the team lead with two steals. Desure Buie had nine points, six assists and two steals while Tareq Coburn had 14 points.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. James Madison, 1/24)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Desure Buie
Justin Wright-Foreman 52
Eli Pemberton 25
Desure Buie 15
Jacquil Taylor 12
Tareq Coburn 10
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1
NOT-SO-RANDOM SELECTION FROM THE 1993-94 JUKEBOX:
AND I SCREAM TO MYSELF WHAT'S GOING ON???
WAS THIS A UNICORN SCORE?
Yes! The Dutchmen previously won games by scores of 84-68 (over Sacred Heart in 1969-70) and 85-70 (over Delaware in 1958-59) but never before won 85-68. This is the second straight unicorn score for the Dutchmen, who have recorded eight unicorn scores overall this season.
11/14/18: 92-72 over North Carolina A&T
12/8/18: 89-73 over Rider
12/10/18: 80-50 over Manhattan
12/22/18: 107-54 over Rosemont
12/28/18: 91-46 over Delaware
1/10/19: 93-90 over William & Mary
1/19/19: 86-72 over College of Charleston
1/24/19: 85-68 over James Madison
The term unicorn score was coined by Mets superfan, historian and blogger Greg Prince to describe a score by which the Mets had never previously won.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING
The Dutchmen won their 15th straight game Thursday. It is the longest winning streak for the program since the program’s Division I-record 18-game winning streak during the 2000-01 season and the third time in school history the Dutchmen have won at least 15 straight games.
YES, VIRGINIA, WE HAVE THE LONGEST WINNING STREAK IN THE COUNTRY
Michigan and Virginia both lost last Saturday — the Wolverines fell to Wisconsin before Hofstra tipped off and the Cavaliers fell to Duke after the Dutchmen won — so the Dutchmen have the longest winning streak in the land! Is this really happening? Tennessee and Michigan State are tied for the second-longest winning streak in the country.
1.) HOFSTRA, 15 GAMES (Nov. 26-present)
t2.)Tennessee, 13 games (Nov. 28-present)
t2.) Michigan State, 13 games (Nov. 30-present)
The 15-game winning streak the longest ever for Joe Mihalich as a head coach. The 2006-07 Niagara squad won 12 straight games from Feb. 2 through Mar. 13 before falling to Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The final win in the streak for the Purple Eagles was a 77-69 victory over Florida A&M in a NCAA Tournament play-in game.
However, this is not the longest winning streak Mihalich has ever experienced as a coach. He was the assistant coach for La Salle when the Explorers won 22 straight games during the 1989-90 season before falling to Clemson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
STREAKING IN THE CAA
The Dutchmen’s 15-game winning streak is the third-longest by a CAA team since the 2001-02 season, behind only Drexel’s 19-game run during the 2011-12 season and George Mason’s 16-game streak in 2010-11. CAA teams have authored 14 winning streaks of 10 games or longer since the 2001-02 season. Here is the entire list, with the number of league wins during the streak in parenthesis.
Drexel 19 games 2011-12 (18 CAA wins, including two tourney)
George Mason 16 games 2010-11 (15 CAA wins, including one tourney)
HOFSTRA 15 games 2018-19 (8 CAA wins)
Delaware 13 games 2013-14 (11 CAA wins)
Old Dominion 12 games 2006-07 (11 CAA wins, including one tourney)
Charleston 11 games 2017-18 (11 CAA wins)
UNC Wilmington 11 games 2015-16 (11 CAA wins)
VCU 11 games 2011-12 (11 CAA wins)
Georgia State 11 games 2011-12 (3 CAA wins)
Northeastern 11 games 2010-11 (8 CAA wins)
Towson 10 games 2017-18 (0 CAA wins)
William & Mary 10 games 2009-10 (2 CAA wins)
VCU 10 games 2006-07 (10 CAA wins)
Drexel 10 games 2006-07 (4 CAA wins)
The Dutchmen are 8-0 in CAA play for the first time ever. They opened 5-0 in 2006-07 and 2010-11. The Dutchmen are the sixth CAA team to open 8-0 in league play since the CAA expanded in 2001-02.
VCU 11-0 (2006-07)
Delaware 11-0 (2013-14)
UNCW 9-0 (2016-17)
Old Dominion 8-0 (2004-05)
Northeastern 8-0 (2012-13)
HOFSTRA 8-0 (2018-19)
LAST TO LOSE
The Dutchmen, obviously, are the last unbeaten team in league play. This is the third time Hofstra has been the last unbeaten atop the CAA. The Dutchmen were the final unbeaten team at 4-0 in 2014-15 and 5-0 in 2010-11.
In addition, the Dutchmen are at least three games ahead of every team in the loss column and have the tiebreaker over the only teams with three losses, Northeastern and Delaware. They also have the tiebreaker over every other team with four losses: Drexel, Charleston and UNC Wilmington. The three-game lead is the largest for any conference leader IN THE COUNTRY.
Since 2001-02, when the CAA expanded to include the America East Four, the last unbeaten in league play has won the CAA and reached the NCAA Tournament five times. UNC Wilmington did it in 2001-02 and 2016-17 while Delaware (2013-14), VCU (2006-07) and Old Dominion (2004-05) did it once apiece.
THE SPRINTING DUTCHMEN
Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, the 18-3 start is the Dutchmen’s best record through 18 games since the program moved to Division I. The Dutchmen opened up 17-4 in 1982-83, 2000-01 and 2005-06.
SELECT SECOND HALF COMPANY
The Dutchmen, obviously, led in the second half Saturday. But did you know they’ve led in the second half of every game this season? The Dutchmen are one of just eight Division I teams to hold a lead after halftime in every game thus far. Murray State fell off the list after trailing in the entire second half of Thursday’s loss to Belmont. Here is the list in alphabetical fashion, which I was going to do even before I realized it would pair old ECC foes Buffalo and Hofstra one after the other OH YEAH LITOS YOU LIKE DEM APPLES?
YOU’RE JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN! YOU PLAY BASKETBALL FOR THE HOFSTRA FLYING DUTCHMEN!
With his 23 points against James Madison, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 74 straight games, the most ever by a Hofstra player. In addition, Wright-Foreman’s streak is now the second-longest active streak in Division I, per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov.
Justin Wright-Foreman: 73 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
Per Gorchov, Wright-Foreman’s streak is tied for the 17th-longest in HISTORY. This is some rarefied air.
JWF IS A TOP TEN HIT
Justin Wright-Foreman remained in eighth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Thursday, when he scored 23 points. To be fair, he needed to make up 114 points to catch up to seventh-place Speedy Claxton, so Wright-Foreman will probably spend a few more games in eighth place. Probably.
7.) Speedy Claxton, 2,015 (1996-2000)
8.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,925 (2015-present)
9.) David Taylor 1,818 (1979-83)
10.) Norman Richardson 1,677 (1997-2001)
PEMBERTON POUNCES UP THE LIST
Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, moved up another spot on the all-time list Thursday, when he scored 20 points to surge past ex-teammate Rokas Gustys into 25th place. Pemberton enters today needing just five points to surpass another former teammate — Brian Bernardi, who is tied for 23rd place with one of his ex-teammates, Juan’ya Green.
23t.) Brian Bernardi, 1,186 (2014-17)
23t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,182 (2016-present)
26.) Rokas Gustys 1,172 (2014-18)
27.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
28.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12)
29.) Wandy Williams, 1,132 (1966-69)
30.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
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 20-of-29 from the line against College of Charleston, which actually dropped their season-long percentage to 79.3 percent. That is, and I can’t believe I’m typing these words, good enough for the second-best percentage in the country entering today’s games. The Dutchmen rank just behind Incarnate Word (81.2 percent) and just ahead of North Dakota State (79.2 percent), Louisiana-Monroe (78.8 percent) and Toledo (78.8 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.
In addition, as reader Evan Jones notes, the Dutchmen are a little behind the pace set last season by William & Mary, which set the single-season CAA record by shooting .810 from the free throw line. Technically, the Tribe were at 81.049 percent (479-for-591).
Last year’s Dutchmen 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.
A DESURE THING
Desure Buie went 2-for-4 from the free throw line Thursday night, which kept him on the verge of moving back into into contention for the national free throw shooting title. Buie, whose streak of 13 straight made free throws was snapped when he missed his first attempt in the second half, is shooting a robust 91.1 percent (51-of-56) from the line this season, which would rank 12th nationally if Buie had enough made free throws to qualify for the title. NCAA.org's minimum is 2.5 made free throws per game, which means Buie needed 53 makes through 21 games and will need to make four free throws today, in the Dutchmen’s 22nd game, in order to qualify for the leaderboard.
However, Hofstra’s specifications are two free throws made per game, which means Buie is on pace to threaten the school single-season record for free throw percentage of 91.3 percent, which was set by Steve Nisenson during the 1963-64 season. Nisenson and Brian Appel (90.5 percent during the 1977-78 season) are the only players to shoot at least 90 percent from the line over a full season for the Dutchmen.
Joe Mihalich earned his 106th win at Hofstra on Saturday. Mihalich is in sole possession of sixth place on the Hofstra coaching win list, 17 wins shy of some guy named Jay Wright.
1.) Butch van Breda Kolff 215
2.) Tom Pecora 155
3.) Paul Lynner 152
4.) Frank Reilly 146
5.) Jay Wright 122
6.) JOE MIHALICH 106
7.) Dick Berg 102
8.) Jack McDonald 100
OVER THE AIR
Hofstra will provide a video and radio feed of today’s game, as well as live stats, at the Pride Productions hub.
The Tigers, under eighth-year head coach Pat Skerry, are 7-14 this season and 3-5 in CAA play. Towson has won two straight games, including a 75-72 victory over Northeastern on Thursday, following a six-game losing streak.
The Dutchmen and Tigers had no common foes in non-league play. Both teams have beaten Elon, Delaware and Northeastern while the Tigers have lost to William & Mary, Charleston, UNC Wilmington, James Madison and Drexel.
The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 67th at KenPom.com today. The Dukes, who were picked 10th and last, were ranked 285th at KenPom.com today.
According to KenPom.com, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (121.5) and first in conference-only defensive efficiency (101.1). The Tigers rank eighth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (105.0) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (109.4).
The Tigers are led by junior guard Brian Fobbs, who is averaging a team-best 16.0 points per game and ranks second on the squad with 5.9 rebounds per game. Junior forward Dennis Tunstall is collecting 7.9 rebounds per game.
KenPom.com predicts a 75-65 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 9.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 15-5 against the spread this season.
ALL-TIME VS. TOWSON
Hofstra is 41-26 against Towson in a series that began during the 1982-83 season, when both schools were in the East Coast Conference. The Dutchmen swept the season series last year, when Jalen Ray hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a 76-73 win at Towson on Jan. 11 before Hofstra earned a 91-86 win on Senior Day in Hempstead on Feb. 24. The season sweep was the second in the last three years for the Dutchmen.
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.
THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
Big South bias! (Towson was in the Big South for a hot minute in between the ECC and the NAC)
Casper Wells bias! (The former big leaguer played at Towson)
How you like dem apples bias! (Pat Skerry is a Bostonian through and through)
You’re still Towson State to me bias! (An oldie but a goodie)