Thursday, January 24, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: James Madison

We're streaking! More than anyone else in the country!

Your Flying Dutchmen are officially the hottest team in the nation. The Dutchmen continued to serve notice they are the team to beat in #CAAHoops by leading defending champion College of Charleston for the final 32 minutes of an 86-72 victory Saturday. It was the 14th straight win for the Dutchmen, who took ownership of the longest winning streak in the land a few hours later when we all held our noses and applauded when Duke beat Virginia. The Dutchmen will look to make it 15 straight tonight, when they visit James Madison. Here’s a look back at the win over the Cougars and a look ahead to the Dukes.

Eli Pemberton (a season-high 26 points) continued his resurgence for the Flying Dutchmen, who withstood a series of second-half flurries by Charleston to remain unbeaten in the CAA. The Cougars got within one or two points four times in the first 10 minutes of the second half but the Dutchmen responded with a basket every time. Desure Buie’s layup ended the last Charleston threat and sparked an 18-6 run by the Dutchmen that put the game away. Justin Wright-Foreman scored 19 points while tying for the team lead with five rebounds and four assists for the Dutchmen, who received another quality game from Jacquil Taylor (16 points, four rebounds, three blocks) and another clutch performance from Jalen Ray who scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and added three steals in just 24 minutes.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. College of Charleston, 1/19)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Jacquil Taylor

Justin Wright-Foreman 50
Eli Pemberton 22
Desure Buie 14
Jacquil Taylor 12
Tareq Coburn 10
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

Yes! The Dutchmen came within a missed free throw of their second straight 87-72 win but instead posted their first 86-72 victory ever. I was surprised too. The Dutchmen have recorded seven unicorn scores 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

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

The Dutchmen won their 14th 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 14 straight games. 

Michigan and Virginia both lost 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, 14 GAMES (Nov. 26-present)
t2.)Tennessee, 12 games (Nov. 28-present)
t2.) Michigan State, 12 games (Nov. 30-present)

The 14-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.

The Dutchmen are 7-0 in CAA play for the first time ever. They opened 5-0 in 2006-07 and 2010-11. The Dutchmen are the seventh CAA team to open 6-0 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)
George Mason 7-0 (2008-09)
HOFSTRA 7-0 (2018-19)

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 two games ahead of every team in the loss column and have the tiebreaker over the only team with two losses, Northeastern. They also have the tiebreaker over every other team with three or four losses: Delaware, Drexel, Charleston, UNC Wilmington and William & Mary.

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.

Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, the 17-3 start is the Dutchmen’s best record through 18 games since the program moved to Division I. The Dutchmen opened up 16-4 in 1982-83, 2000-01 and 2005-06. 

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 nine Division I teams to hold a lead after halftime in every game thus far. St. John’s fell off the list after trailing in the entire second half of Saturday’s loss to Butler. 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?

Iowa State
Murray State

With his 19 points against College of Charleston, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 73 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 now the 20th-longest in HISTORY, with former Purdue star Rick Mount, who put together his streak from 1968-70. This is some rarefied air. 

Eli Pemberton shared CAA Player of the Week honors last week with Northeastern senior Vasa Pusica. Pemberton scored 50 points and shot 58.6 percent from the floor in the Dutchmen’s two wins. This is the second Player of the Week honor for Pemberton, who was the sole recipient for the week ending Nov. 19, 2017.

Eli Pemberton led the Dutchmen in scoring for the second straight game Saturday, when he collected 26 points. This marks the first time in exactly two years someone other than Justin Wright-Foreman has led the Dutchmen in scoring in consecutive games. The Dutchmen had four straight games from Jan. 7-19, 2017 in which someone other than Wright-Foreman led the team in scoring.

1/7/17 vs. Charleston: Eli Pemberton 21 pts, Justin Wright-Foreman 20 pts
1/12/17 vs. Elon: Deron Powers 21 points, Eli Pemberton 16 points, Justin Wright-Foreman 14 pts
1/14/17 vs. UNCW: Deron Powers 20 pts, Rokas Gustys 15 pts, Justin Wright-Foreman 13 pts
1/19/17 vs. Towson: Eli Pemberton 26 pts, Deron Powers 19 pts, Justin Wright-Foreman 18 pts

Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, gained two spots on the all-time list for the second straight game Saturday, when he scored 26 points to move past Nathaniel Lester and Ted Jackson into 26th place. Entering tonight, Pemberton has a chance to surge past two ex-teammates as well as former star point guard Juan’ya Green. Pemberton is 11 points shy of moving past Rokas Gustys into 25th place and 25 points away from Green and Brian Bernardi, who are tied for 23rd place. 

23t.) Brian Bernardi, 1,186 (2014-17)
23t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)
25.) Rokas Gustys 1,172 (2014-18)
26.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,162 (2016-present)
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 14-of-16 from the line against College of Charleston, which improved their season-long percentage to 80.0 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 (79.0 percent), Toledo (78.8 percent) and Louisiana-Monroe (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. 

Desure Buie went 2-for-2 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, who has made his last 13 free throws dating back to Jan, 5, is shooting a robust 94.2 percent (49-of-52) from the line this season, which would rank fourth nationally if Buie had enough made free throws to qualify for the title.'s minimum is 2.5 made free throws per game, which means Buie needed 50 makes through 20 games and will need to make three free throws today, in the Dutchmen’s 21st 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 105th win at Hofstra on Saturday. Mihalich is in sole possession of sixth place on the Hofstra coaching win list, 18 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
7.) Dick Berg 102
8.) Jack McDonald 100

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

The Dukes, under third-year head coach Louis Rowe, are 9-11 this season and 2-5 in CAA play. James Madison lost its second in a row last Saturday, when it fell to Drexel, 73-68.

The Dutchmen and Dukes had no common foes in non-league play. Both teams have beaten Charleston while the Dukes have lost to William & Mary, Elon, UNC Wilmington, Delaware and Drexel.

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 68th at today. The Dukes, who were picked sixth, were ranked 260th at today.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (121.0) and first in conference-only defensive efficiency (101.3). The Dukes rank fifth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (107.3) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (107.9).

The Dukes are led by a trio of guards averaging at least 10 points per game: Senior Stuckey Mosley (16.5 ppg), a candidate for the all-time all-#CAAHoops name team, and sophomores Matt Lewis (15.9 ppg) and Darius Banks (13.3 ppg). Sophomore Dwight Wilson is collecting a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game. predicts a 74-66 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 8-point favorites. Hofstra is 14-5 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 18-12 against James Madison in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen earned a series sweep last season, when they edged James Madison, 87-81, in overtime in Hempstead before beating the Dukes, 77-61, in Harrisonburg. It was Hofstra’s first sweep of James Madison since the 2008-09 season, though the two schools only played each other once per season over the subsequent four seasons.

Neither one of us have won a football national title in the last 24 months bias! (James Madison won the 2016 I-AA title but fell short the next two years)
Charles Haley bias! (The five-time Super Bowl champ played at James Madison)
Lefty Driesell bias! (The Hall of Fame coach directed James Madison to five CAA regular season championships and one NCAA Tournament)
Humpty Hitchens bias! (An oldie but a goodie)

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