Thursday, February 7, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: Elon

We all smiled politely at the end of the Flying Dutchmen's 16-game winning streak.

So this is what it’s like to root for a basketball team that loses a game. The Flying Dutchmen’s epic 16-game winning streak ended Saturday afternoon, when Northeastern led for the final 28 minutes of a 75-61 win in Bahston. The Dutchmen will look to start a new winning streak tonight, when they host Elon at the Arena. Here’s a look back at the (gasp) loss to the Huskies and a look ahead to the Phoenix.

Desure Buie (a career-high 22 points) had a terrific game, but the rest of the Dutchmen scuffled in the most lopsided defeat of the season. Northeastern never trailed in the second half, during which the Dutchmen never got closer than five points and trailed by double-digits for the final 7:53. Buie was 9-of-12 from the field, but the rest of the Dutchmen were a combined 13-of-44 (29.5 percent). Justin Wright-Foreman, who was limited to 12 first-half minutes due to foul trouble created by overmatched refs, scored 15 points but committed five turnovers. Jacquil Taylor had another double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds) while accounting for two of the Dutchmen’s three (!!!) assists. Eli Pemberton had nine points and five rebounds while Tareq Coburn had two points and eight rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Northeastern, 2/2)
3: Desure Buie
2: Jacquil Taylor
1: Justin Wright-Foreman

Justin Wright-Foreman 56
Eli Pemberton 26
Desure Buie 20
Jacquil Taylor 14
Tareq Coburn 10
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “Clearly, the better team won. They did all the things they had to. They just were better on both ends of the floor. Billy and his kids did a great job. The right thing happened. I wish it didn’t happen, but the right thing happened because they deserved to win, we deserved to lose. At the same time, I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. It was a magical run. Longest win streak in the country. If you told me the last 17 games, hey, you’re going to go 16-1, raise your hand if you wouldn’t like that, right?”

Sorry, force of habit.

THE FALL AND WINTER OF 69 (straight days without a loss)
The Dutchmen lost Saturday for the first time since Nov. 24, a span of exactly 10 weeks. Here are some things that happened in between losses:

—Gas dropped from $2.53 a gallon (as of Nov. 26) to $2.25 a gallon (as of Monday).
—The cost of a stamp went from 50 cents to 50 cents.
—Ralph Breaks The Internet, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Aquaman, The Upside & Glass all topped the box office charts. I’ve seen none of these movies.
—Ariana Grande’s”Thank U, Next,” Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” Halsey’s “Without Me” And the Post Malone/Swae Lee song “Sunflower” all topped the Billboard Hot 100. I’ve heard of none of these songs.
—The Dow Jones went from 24,285.95 on Nov. 23 to 25,063.89 on Feb. 1. And everything was nice and static in between!
—About 2.5 billion packages were shipped during the Christmas season. Approximately 2.4 billion of those packages were ordered on Dec. 21 or later.
—The Patriots did not win the Super Bowl.
—The government shut down for 35 days. A wall was not built.

The 16-game winning streak that ended Saturday was the longest active streak in the country, the longest for the Dutchmen since the 2000-01 team won 18 straight (the most by the program at the Division I level) and the third time in school history the Dutchmen won at least 16 straight games.

It was also the longest winning streak during Joe Mihalich’s head coaching career, exceeding the 12-game winning streak Niagara enjoyed during the 2006-07 season. However, it was not the longest winning streak of Mihalich’s coaching career. He was an assistant coach when La Salle won 22 straight games during the 1989-90 season.

The Dutchmen fell one game short of matching the nation’s longest winning streak this season. Michigan opened the season with 17 straight wins. Since the final buzzer in the Dutchmen’s loss on Saturday afternoon, Tennessee has won twice to extend its winning streak to 17 games.

T1.) Tennessee, 17 games (Nov. 28-present)
T1.) Michigan, 17 games (Nov. 6-Jan. 13)
T3.) HOFSTRA, 16 games (Nov. 28-Jan. 26)
T3.) Virginia, 16 games (Nov. 6-Jan. 15)

The Dutchmen’s 16-game winning streak was tied for the third-longest in league history and tied for the second-longest second-longest by a CAA team since the 2001-02 season. George Mason also won 16 straight games during the 2010-11 season (a streak that began after a loss to Hofstra, BTW, hee hee) while Navy and David Robinson won 16 straight during the 1985-86 season. The longest winning streak in CAA history is Drexel’s 19-game run during the 2011-12 season.

Per the CAA, only nine teams have ever won 12 straight games in a season.

Drexel 19 games 2011-12 (18 CAA wins, including two tourney)
HOFSTRA 16 games 2018-19 (9 CAA wins)
George Mason 16 games 2010-11 (15 CAA wins, including one tourney)
Navy 16 games 1985-86 (11 CAA wins, including three tourney)
Delaware 13 games 2013-14 (11 CAA wins)
Navy 13 games 1986-87 (10 CAA wins, including three tourney)
Old Dominion 12 games 2006-07 (11 CAA wins, including one tourney)
James Madison 12 games 1991-92 (9 CAA wins)
James Madison 12 games 1989-90 (11 CAA wins)

The Dutchmen fell two wins shy of matching the best start in CAA history and one win shy of becoming the fourth team to open up at least 10-0 in CAA play. They are the sixth team to open 9-0 in the CAA and the first since UNC Wilmington started out 9-0 in 2016-17. Of their predecessors, three won the CAA Tournament and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

VCU 11-0 (2006-07)***
Delaware 11-0 (2013-14)***
Richmond 11-0 (1985-86)
HOFSTRA 9-0 (2018-19)
UNCW 9-0 (2016-17)****
James Madison 9-0 (1991-92)

***won CAA Tournament

The Dutchmen, obviously, were the last unbeaten team in league play. This is the third time Hofstra was 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.

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 Dutchmen were one of three teams unbeaten in league play to suffer their first loss Saturday. LSU of the SEC and North Carolina A&T of the MEAC also fell as the number of teams perfect in league play dropped from 13 to 10.

Another streak came to an end for the Dutchmen Saturday, when they trailed in the entire second half of the loss to Northeastern. It marked the first time this season the Dutchmen have not led in the second half and dropped the number of teams that have led in the second half of every game this year to just six. But we don’t care who they are anymore. (Just kidding. They’re Buffalo, Houston, Iowa State, Tennessee, Virginia and VCU)

Prior to Saturday, the Dutchmen held a lead in the second half of each of their previous 27 games dating back to a 90-70 loss to UNC Wilmington last Feb. 10. That was tied for the third-longest streak in the country, behind only Houston (a second-half lead in 42 straight games), Tennessee (a second-half lead in 31 straight games) and VCU (which has had a second-half lead in 28 straight games following last night’s 60-50 win over George Washington).

Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, the 19-5 start is tied for the Dutchmen’s best record through 23 games since the program moved to Division I. The Dutchmen opened up 19-4 in 2000-01.

Justin Wright-Foreman was named a finalist for two national awards this week. On Tuesday, he was selected as one of 10 candidates for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year. And on Wednesday, he was selected as one of of 20 senior men’s and women’s basketball players vying for the Senior CLASS Award, which is given to a student-athlete excelling in community, classroom, character and competition. 

With his 15 points against Northeastern, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 76 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: 76 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 14th-longest in HISTORY. Among the four players with 76 straight double-digit scoring efforts are David Robinson and the late Reggie Lewis. This is some rarefied air. 

Justin Wright-Foreman remained in eighth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Saturday, when he scored 15 points. To be fair, he needed to make up 66 points to catch up to seventh-place Speedy Claxton, so Wright-Foreman will probably spend at least two more games in eighth place. Probably.

7.) Speedy Claxton, 2,015 (1996-2000)
8.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 1,965 (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, remained in 23rd place on the all-time list Saturday, when he scored nine points. Pemberton could make up more ground tonight. He is eight points away from surpassing another tandem, Demetrius Dudley and John Mills, who are tied for 21st place with 1,220 points, and 13 points away from moving past Carlos Rivera into 20th place. 

20.) Carlos Rivera 1,225 (2004-07)
21t.) Demetrius Dudley 1,220 (1991-93)
21t.) John Mills 1,220 (1941-43, 1946-47)
23.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,213 (2016-present)
24t.) Brian Bernardi, 1,186 (2014-17)
24t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)

The 61 points by the Dutchmen on Saturday were their fewest of the season and their fewest since a 63-61 loss to Manhattan on Dec. 20, 2017. The Dutchmen are 0-3 this season when scoring fewer than 70 points and 13-32 when scoring fewer than 70 points under Joe Mihalich.

The Dutchmen finished with just three assists Saturday, their fewest in a single game since recording three assists in a 57-46 loss to George Mason (!!!) way back on Jan. 19, 2013.

Desure Buie led the Dutchmen in scoring for the first time ever Saturday, when he finished with a career-high 22 points. Buie twice previously scored 20 points in a game against Delaware on Jan. 18, 2018 and UNC Wilmington on March 4, 2018. Buie is the third player other than Justin Wright-Foreman or Eli Pemberton to lead the Dutchmen in scoring in a single game this season, joining Tareq Coburn (22 points against Manhattan on Dec. 10) and Kenny Wormley (20 points against Rosemont on Dec. 22). Coburn, Wormley and Buie are the only three Dutchmen other than Wright-Foreman and Pemberton to lead the Dutchmen in scoring over the last 67 games dating back to Jan. 14, 2017, when Deron Powers had 20 points in an 84-76 loss to UNC Wilmington. 

Desure Buie shot 75 percent (9-of-12) from the field Saturday. It was the highest shooting percentage by a Hofstra player who took at least 10 shots from the field since Rokas Gustys shot 81.8 percent (9-of-11) against UNC Wilmington in the CAA championship game on Mar. 7, 2016 (sigh)

Desure Buie went 2-for-2 from the free throw line Saturday, which kept him on the verge of moving back into into contention for the national free throw shooting title. Buie is shooting a robust 90.3 percent (56-of-62) from the line this season, which would rank him 14th nationally entering play yesterday 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 58 makes through 23 games and will need to make four free throws today, in the Dutchmen’s 24th 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.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (which unfortunately was released in 1992)
It’s not really early anymore, but you’re not wrong if you’re thinking you’ve never seen a Dutchmen team shoot free throws this well. The Dutchmen were 12-of-19 from the line against Northeastern, which dropped their season-long percentage to 79.1 percent. That was, and I can’t believe I’m typing these words, good enough for the second-best percentage in the country entering Wednesday’s games. The Dutchmen rank just behind Incarnate Word (80.5 percent) and just ahead of Louisiana-Monroe (78.4 percent), Toledo (78.2 percent) and Lafayette (77.8 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. 

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

The Phoenix, under 10th-season head coach Matt Matheny, are 8-16 this season and 4-7 in CAA play. The Phoenix had a two-game winning streak snapped Saturday, when it fell to Drexel, 67-63.

The Dutchmen and Phoenix had two common foes during non-league play. Both teams beat Manhattan (Elon earned a 62-56 win in the season opener Nov. 4 while Hofstra cruised to an 80-50 victory on Dec. 10) and Kennesaw State (the Dutchmen won, 78-52, on Dec. 1 while the Phoenix recorded a 76-67 victory Dec. 18).

Elon is the second team Hofstra is facing for the second time in CAA play. The Phoenix have split with Delaware and been swept by Drexel.

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 69th at as of early this morning. The Phoenix, who were picked eighth, were ranked 326th at as of early this morning.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (118.9) and second in conference-only defensive efficiency (101.2). The Phoenix rank 10th and last in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (100.1) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.8).

The Phoenix are led by a pair of seniors. Forward Tyler Sebring is averaging a team-high 17.3 points per game and ranks second with 5.4 rebounds per game. Guard Steven Santa Ana is averaging a 15.4 points per game and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game. predicts an 83-63 win by the Dutchmen. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 19.5-point favorites as of early this morning. It’s the most the Dutchmen have been favored by this season. Hofstra is 16-6 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 7-3 against Elon, which joined the CAA prior to the 2014-15 season. The Dutchmen have won the last two games between the teams, including Jan. 12, when they overcame a 10-point second half deficit to earn a 74-71 victory at Elon. The Dutchmen are pursuing their first sweep of Elon since the 2015-16 season. Hofstra and Elon first opposed each other on Nov. 23, 2009, when the Dutchmen cruised past the Phoenix, 70-46, in a preseason NIT game at the Arena.

Jack McKeon may manage the Nationals this year bias! (The 88-year-old, an Elon graduate, was just hired by the Nationals as a senior adviser)
You generated publicity from I-AA football bias! (Elon made the I-AA tournament this year, must be nice)
Wade Burton bias! (The NASCAR driver went to Elon)
You used to be a college bias! (Elon became a university in 2001)

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