Daaaa Dutchmen with a baker's dozen.
That’s a baker’s dozen for the Flying Dutchmen, who trailed at the half for a second straight game Thursday before gradually blowing UNC Wilmington out of the building in the second half of an 87-72 win. The Dutchmen, who have won a mind-boggling 13 straight games, will look to cement their grip atop the CAA this afternoon, when they host defending champion Charleston at the Arena. Here’s a look back at the win over the Seahawks and a look ahead to the Cougars.
THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Justin Wright-Foreman (19 points) slipped into mere mortaldom and remained stuck in single digits deep into the second half, but Eli Pemberton (a season-high 24 points) picked up the slack and sparked a decisive 12-0 run that gave the Dutchmen the lead for good early in the second half. Pemberton scored six points in the spurt, including the basket that opened the run and gave the Dutchmen the lead for good at 52-51. Wright-Foreman didn’t score during the 12-0 run and was stuck on eight points until he hit his last four field goal attempts, by which point the Dutchmen held a safe double-digit lead. Jacquil Taylor (six points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) and Dan Dwyer (five points, three rebounds) combined to contain Devontae Cacok. Tareq Coburn had 15 points and five rebounds while Desure Buie added 11 points, seven assists and four steals.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. UNC Wilmington 1/17)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Jacqui Taylor
1: Desure Buie
Justin Wright-Foreman 48
Eli Pemberton 19
Desure Buie 14
Jacquil Taylor 11
Tareq Coburn 10
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1
WAS THIS A UNICORN SCORE?
No! But it had been a long time since the previous 87-72 win, which the Dutchmen recorded over—and I am not making this up—future Joe Mihalich employer Niagara in upstate New York on Feb. 14, 1981. This is the good content, kids! The Dutchmen have recorded six unicorn scores this season.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING
The Dutchmen won their 13th straight game Saturday. 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 fourth time in school history the Dutchmen have won at least 13 straight games.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING ACROSS THE NATION
Michigan and Virginia refuse to lose, though both play today, so the Dutchmen still have the third-longest winning streak in the country. But this is still some pretty good company:
1.) Michigan, 17 games (all season)
2.) Virginia, 16 games (all season)
3.) HOFSTRA, 13 GAMES (Nov. 26-present)
The 13-game winning streak the longest ever by a Joe Mihalich-coached team. 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.
The Dutchmen are 6-0 in CAA play for the first time ever. They opened 5-0 in 2006-07 and 2010-11. The Dutchmen are the ninth CAA team to open 6-0 in league play since the CAA expanded in 2001-02.
LAST TO LOSE
The CAA schedule is in its fourth weekend, but the Dutchmen are already the only 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 two games ahead of every team in the loss column and have the tiebreaker over the only teams with two losses, Delaware and Northeastern. They also have the tiebreaker over three-loss teams William & May and UNC Wilmington. College of Charleston is the only other CAA team with three league losses.
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 16-3 start is the Dutchmen’s best record through 18 games since the program moved to Division I. The Dutchmen opened up 14-4 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 10 Division I teams to hold a lead after halftime in every game thus far. Ohio State fell off the list after trailing in the entire second half of last night’s 75-61 loss to Maryland. 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 19 points against UNC Wilmington, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 72 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: 71 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 now tied for the 20th-longest in HISTORY, with former Purdue star Rick Mount, who put together his streak from 1968-70. This is some rarefied air.
SECOND HALF SUSPENSE
Justin Wright-Foreman didn’t break into double digits Thursday night until he drained a jumper with 7:15 left in the second half. It was the 30th time during his streak he waited until the second half to score his 10th point but only the seventh time he’s remained in single digits until the final 10 minutes and the first time he’s done so this season.
And for all intents and purposes, Thursday was the second-longest Wright-Foreman has remained in single digits since his streak really became a thing. He remained in single digits until 5:32 remained against James Madison on Feb. 22, 2018. His nearest-misses took place in the first game of the streak, when Wright-Foreman hit double digits with 1:46 left against Kentucky on Dec. 11, 2016, and the ninth game of the streak, when he hit double-digits with 1:13 remaining against UNC Wilmington on Jan. 14, 2017.
JWF IS A TOP TEN HIT
Justin Wright-Foreman remained in eighth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Thursday, when he scored 19 points. To be fair, he needed to make up 152 points to catch up to seventh-place Speedy Claxton, so Wright-Foreman will probably spend a few games in eighth place. Probably.
7.) Speedy Claxton, 2,015 (1996-2000)
8.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,883 (2015-present)
9.) David Taylor 1,818 (1979-83)
10.) Norman Richardson 1,677 (1997-2001)
PEMBERTON PICKS UP THE SLACK
With Justin Wright-Foreman having a quiet game by his standards, Eli Pemberton turned into the focal point of the offense Thursday, when he scored a team-high 24 points. It was the first time this season, and the eighth time since the start of last season, Pemberton has led the Dutchmen in points. Prior to Thursday, Pemberton hadn’t led the Dutchmen in scoring since he collected 22 points against James Madison on Feb. 22, 2018.
CONNECTICUT PRIDE FOR PEMBERTON
Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, scored 24 points Thursday to gain two spots on the all-time list. Pemberton surged past fellow Connecticut native Mike Moore as well as Wandy Williams into 28th place. Entering today, Pemberton is just four points away from moving past Nathaniel Lester into 27th place and 24 points away from surpassing Ted Jackson into 26th place.
26.) Ted Jackson 1,159 (1958-61)
27.) Nathaniel Lester 1,139 (2007-12
28.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,136 (2016-present)
29.) Wandy Williams, 1,132 (1966-69)
30.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Graduate transfers Jacquil Taylor and Dan Dwyer continued to more than fill in for Rokas Gustys down low. Taylor and Dwyer combined for 18 points and three blocks in 40 minutes Saturday and are now averaging 9.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while playing an average of 39.6 minutes per contest. As a senior last year, Gustys averaged 10.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game while playing an average of 29.7 minutes per contest. Taylor and Dwyer are also draining 75.5 percent of their free throws (37-for-49), which is…different.
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 23-of-26 from the line against UNC Wilmington, which improved their season-long percentage to 79.8 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 (80.9 percent) and just ahead of North Dakota State (79.3 percent), Toledo (78.8 percent) and La Salle (78.4 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 5-for-5 from the free throw line Thursday night, which again put him on the verge of moving back into into contention for the national free throw shooting title. Buie is shooting a robust 94.0 percent (47-of-50) from the line this season, which would rank fourth 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 48 makes through 19 games and will need to make three free throws today, in the Dutchmen’s 20th 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 break 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 104th win at Hofstra on Saturday. Mihalich is in sole possession of sixth place on the Hofstra coaching win list, 19 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 104
7.) Dick Berg 102
8.) Jack McDonald 100
OVER THE AIR
Hofstra will provide a video and radio feed of tonight’s game, as well as live stats, at the Pride Productions hub.
SCOUTING COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
The defending CAA champion Cougars, under fifth-year head coach Earl Grant, are 14-5 this season and 3-3 in CAA play. Charleston suffered its third loss in the last four games Thursday, when it fell at Northeastern, 69-60, in a rematch of last season’s CAA championship game.
The Dutchmen and Cougars had two common foes during non-league play. The Dutchmen beat Siena and fell to VCU while Charleston beat both teams. In CAA play, the Dutchmen and Cougars have each beaten UNC Wilmington and Delaware while the Cougars have fallen to Drexel and Delaware.
The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 79th at KenPom.com today. The Cougars, who were picked second, were ranked 109th at KenPom.com today.
According to KenPom.com, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (119.0) and first in conference-only defensive efficiency (99.6). The Cougars rank seventh in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (104.5) and second in conference-only defensive efficiency (101.7).
The Cougars are once again led by the haven’t-they-graduated-yet duo of junior guard Grant Riller, who leads the team with 21.7 points and 4.2 assists per game, and senior forward Jarrell Brantley, who is averaging a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game and is second with 18.9 points per game.
KenPom.com predicts a 73-68 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 5-point favorites. Hofstra is 13-5 against the spread this season.
ALL-TIME VS. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Hofstra is 4-6 against Charleston in a series that began with the Cougars joining the CAA prior to the 2013-14 season. Charleston earned its second straight season sweep last year, when the Cougars edged the Dutchmen, 76-70, in South Carolina and 86-85 in Hempstead.
THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
You got some serious home cooking in the CAA title game last year bias! (Ask our Northeastern friends)
Robert Mills bias! (The designer of the Washington Monument graduated from Charleston)
Heath Hembree bias! (The reliever pitched for Charleston)
You’re almost as old as William & Mary bias! (Per Wikipedia, which is never wrong, Charleston is the 13th-oldest university in the country)