Thursday, January 17, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington

Alas Freddie Jackson never hit a nostalgic 3-pointer in front of me THANKS A LOT JADEN DALY.

A dozen isn’t only for eggs anymore. The Flying Dutchmen ran their winning streak to 12 games in nail-biting fashion Saturday night, when they overcame a 10-point second half deficit and survived a potential game-tying shot just before the buzzer to edge Elon, 74-71. The Dutchmen will look to cement their grip atop the CAA during a two-game homestand that begins tonight with a game against old nemesis UNC Wilmington. Here’s a look back at the win over the Phoenix and a look ahead to the Seahawks.

The Dutchmen trailed at the half for only the second time this season, fell behind by 10 points early in the second half and then mounted a 34-14 runs before hanging on against Elon. The run was fueled by Eli Pemberton (nine points), Jalen Ray (eight points, including the 3-pointer that gave the Dutchmen the lead for good with 9:56 remaining) and Justin Wright-Foreman (seven points). The streak of 30-point efforts ended at three for Wright-Foreman, who slacked off with a mere 21 points and five rebounds in just 38 minutes. Pemberton finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists while Jacquil Taylor had 13 points and seven rebounds. Ray added nine points and four rebounds.

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

Justin Wright-Foreman 48
Eli Pemberton 16
Desure Buie 13
Tareq Coburn 10
Jacquil Taylor 9
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “We talked to our team the other night, when we were able to win that triple-overtime game, talked about the will to win. I think good teams have it. I think our team has it ,Will to win. You’ve heard all the cliches — the will to win, refuse to lose. We had a lot of reasons to panic tonight. Elon outplayed us, certainly outplayed us, outcoached us for that first 20 minutes, for sure, and a lot of the second 20. But our guys, the light went on.”

No! But 74-71 wins are a lot less frequent than you'd think, or at least I would think. The Dutchmen previously won a game 74-71 way back on Feb. 16, 1978, when they edged St. Peter’s at the PFC as, I recall, the entire tri-state area dug out from the big blizzard. The Dutchmen have recorded six unicorn scores this season.

The Flying Dutchmen came back from a deficit of at least 10 points for the second time this season and the 18th time in six seasons under Joe Mihalich.

vs. Elon 1/12/19 (trailed by 10 in 2H, won 74-71)
vs. Mount St. Mary’s 11/9/18 (trailed by 15 in 1H, won 79-61)
vs. Delaware 1/27/18 (trailed by 11 in 2H, won 64-59)
vs. Towson 1/11/18 (trailed by 10 in 2H, won 76-73)
vs. Northeastern 1/2/18 (trailed by 12 in 1H, won 71-70)
vs. Monmouth 12/6/17 (trailed by 14 in 2H, won 85-84)
vs. Drexel 2/4/17 (trailed by 13 in 2H, won 79-77)
vs. Delaware 2/2/17 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 73-65)
vs. Coppin State 11/11/16 (trailed by 11 in 1H, won 74-72)
vs. UNCW 2/25/16 ( trailed by 18 in 1H, won 70-69)
vs. Drexel 1/30/16 (trailed by 12 in 2H, won 70-64)
vs. Sacred Heart 12/28/15 (trailed by 11 in 2H, won 80-73)
vs. St. Bonaventure 11/28/15 (trailed by 10 in 1H, won 89-83)
vs. Canisius 11/13/15 (trailed by 18 in 1H, won 96-85)
vs. Towson 2/18/15 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 87-82)
vs. UNCW 1/3/15 (trailed by 13 in 1H, won 68-56)
vs. UNCW 2/8/14 (trailed by 15 in 2H, won 61-52)
vs. Charleston 1/11/14 (trailed by 14 in 1H, won 75-71)

The Flying Dutchmen received a vote in this week’s Associated Press poll, which consists of writers from around the country. Hofstra and Florida tied for 46th with the single vote apiece. 

The Dutchmen won their 12th 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 fifth time in school history the Dutchmen have won at least 12 straight games. 

Michigan and Virginia refuse to lose, so the Dutchmen still have the third-longest winning streak in the country. But this is still some pretty good company:

1.) Michigan, 16 games (all season)
2.) Virginia, 14 games (all season)
3.) HOFSTRA, 12 GAMES (Nov. 26-present)

The 12-game winning streak is tied for the longest 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 5-0 in CAA play for the third time since joining the league in 2001-02. They opened 5-0 in 2006-07 and 2010-11 but lost their sixth league game both times. If these trends continue…

The CAA schedule is only heading into 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 two-loss clubs Delaware and Northeastern. This weekend’s homestand brings to Hempstead the CAA’s other two-loss teams in UNC Wilmington and College of Charleston, each of whom are 3-2.

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 15-3 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. 

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 11 Division I teams to hold a lead after halftime in every game thus far. 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
Ohio State
St. John’s

The total was 13 entering last night but both Central Florida and Texas Tech lost in games in which they never held a second-half lead.

With his 21 points against Elon, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 71 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

Justin Wright-Foreman remained in eighth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Saturday, when he scored a team-high 21 points. To be fair, he needed to make up 173 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 1,864 (2015-present)
9.) David Taylor 1,818 (1979-83)
10.) Norman Richardson 1,677 (1997-2001)

Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, scored 15 points Saturday to move past Richie Swartz into 30th place. Pemberton enters tonight 17 points away from supplanting fellow Connecticut native Mike Moore for 29th place and 21 points away from moving past Wandy Williams into 28th place.

28.) Wandy Williams, 1,132 (1966-69)
29.) Mike Moore 1,128 (2010-12)
30.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,112 (2016-present)
31.) Richie Swartz, 1,107 (1959-62)1,
32.) Ameen Tanksley 1,090 (2014-16)
33.) Derrick Flowers 1,069 (1987-91)
34.) Darius Burton 1,060 (1993-97)
35.) Percy Johnson 1,045 (1950-53)
36.) Jim Shaffer 1,022 (1991-95)
37.) John Irving 1,018 (1974-77)

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-23 from the line against Elon, which improved their season-long percentage to 79.1 percent. That is, and I can’t believe I’m typing these words, good enough for the third-best percentage in the country entering today’s games. The Dutchmen rank just behind Incarnate Word (80.9 percent) and North Dakota State (79.3 percent) and just ahead of La Salle (78.4 percent) and Toledo (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 did not go to the free throw line Saturday night, which means he fell a little farther off the pace in the race to move back into contention for the national free throw shooting title. Buie is shooting a robust 93.3 percent (42-of-45) 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 will need to make six free throws tonight, in the Dutchmen’s 19th game, in order to qualify.

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 103rd win at Hofstra on Saturday. That snapped a tie with Dick Berg for sixth place on the all-time Hofstra wins list and moved Mihalich into sole possession of sixth place, 20 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 Seahawks, under second-year head coach C.B. McGrath, are 7-11 this season and 3-2 in CAA play. UNC Wilmington earned a 97-83 win over Drexel on Saturday.

The Dutchmen and Seahawks had no common foes during non-league play. Both have faced Delaware and Drexel in CAA play. The Seahawks fell to Delaware, 82-69, last Thursday night.

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 82nd at today. The Seahawks, who were picked fifth, were ranked 239th at today.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (117.0) and first in conference-only defensive efficiency (98.1). The Seahawks rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (112.8) and eighth in conference-only defensive efficiency (111.9).

The Seahawks, as they have been since the days Jerry Wainwright roamed the sidelines, are led by super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super senior Devontae Cacok, who is collecting a team-high 14.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, the latter of which is good for fourth in the country through yesterday’s games. Cacok, who is actually only a senior for the first and last time, broke the UNC Wilmington career rebounding record, previously held by another long-timer in Keith Rendleman, in the Seahawks’ most recent game and enters tonight with 1,067 rebounds predicts an 83-70 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 12.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 12-5 against the spread this season but has dropped four in a row as far as the bookies are concerned.

Hofstra is 19-20 against UNC Wilmington in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The teams traded lopsided home wins — the Dutchmen won 96-76 in Hempstead on Feb. 1 before the Seahawks returned the favor with a 90-70 victory on the shore nine days later — last year before the Seahawks ended the Dutchmen’s season with a 93-88 win in the CAA quarterfinals. It was the fourth time UNC Wilmington has eliminated Hofstra from the CAA Tournament following wins in the 2003 quarterfinals and the 2006 and 2016 championship games. I’m not twitching with barely-suppressed rage, you are.

Hasn’t Cacok graduated yet bias? (We’ll miss him though)
Freddie Jackson bias! (He rocked the Dutchmen for old time’s sake from 2011-15)
One stupid technical foul cost us the 2016 title game bias! (Duh)
Your coach sounds like he should be on BJ & the Bear bias! (C.B. McGrath & the Bear just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?)

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