Saturday, February 23, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: James Madison

Come for the in-depth Hofstra stats, stay for the obscure baseball cards!

Well that was pretty interesting. The Flying Dutchmen trailed by 10 points late in the second half Thursday night and by six points in overtime but blanked Towson in the second overtime on their way to a 91-82 win at the Arena. The Dutchmen will look to lock up at least a tie for the CAA regular season crown this afternoon, when they host James Madison in Senior Day (time flies). Here’s a look back at the win over the Tigers and a look ahead to the Dukes.

Jacquil Taylor (14 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks) single-handedly kept the Dutchmen afloat until they could bury Towson in the second overtime. Jalen Ray scored 17 points and sank five 3-pointers off the bench, including the dagger trey in the final minute of the second overtime. Justin Wright-Foreman scored 28 points while playing all 50 minutes but committed a career-high eight turnovers. Desure Buie (16 points, nine assists, three steals, one turnover) had another impressive game while Eli Pemberton had 11 points (despite shooting 3-of-15) and seven rebounds.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Towson 2/21)
3: Jacquil Taylor
2: Desure Buie
1: Jalen Ray

Justin Wright-Foreman 64
Eli Pemberton 32
Desure Buie 26
Jacquil Taylor 20
Tareq Coburn 13
Jalen Ray 9
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “Well, there’s a lot of reasons that we could have lost or should have lost, but we didn’t. And at the end of the day, it’s about walking off the floor and getting that W. Proud of these guys. We just spent a lot of time in there talking about our day. We just didn’t do a good job with our day — walkthrough, focus, concentration, attitude, that kind of stuff. We’ve got to learn from this. Like one of our assistants just said, we’re upset and we won. And that’s a trait of a good team.”

No! It was actually the second 91-82 win of the CAA era. The Dutchmen previously beat Delaware by that exact score almost exactly 16 years earlier on Feb. 19, 2003. Ohh so close. The Dutchmen have recorded 10 unicorn scores this season. 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 Flying Dutchmen came back from a deficit of at least 10 points for the third time this season and the 19th time in six seasons under Joe Mihalich.

vs. Towson 2/21/19 (trailed by 10 in 2H, won 91-82)
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 Dutchmen played an overtime game Thursday for the third time this season and went to at least double overtime for the second time. The Dutchmen fell to VCU, 69-67, in overtime on Nov. 24 before outlasting William & Mary, 93-90, in three overtimes on Jan. 10.  The Dutchmen are now 4-8 in overtime games under Joe Mihalich and 20-14 mark in overtime games during the CAA era (2001-present). 

With Thursday’s victory, the Dutchmen have won their last five regular season games to last at least two overtimes. Prior to beating William & Mary on Jan. 10, the Dutchmen also beat Northeastern, 96-92, in triple overtime on Jan. 21, 2016, edged Marshall, 103-100, in double overtime on Nov. 18, 2012 (let us never speak of that again) and beat James Madison, 99-96, in double overtime on Feb. 18, 2009. The Dutchmen haven’t lost in double overtime in the regular season since Jan. 17, 2008, when they fell to George Mason (grr), 85-78.

Of course, this factoid comes with quite an asterisk. The Dutchmen have lost their last two postseason games that have reached double overtime. They fell to Northeastern, 74-71, in the CAA quarterfinals on Mar. 6, 2010 and to William & Mary, 92-91, in the CAA semifinals on Mar. 8, 2015 WHY GOD WHY.

The Dutchmen outscored Towson 9-0 in the second overtime Thursday. Remarkably, it was the second overtime shutout in the CAA in less than two weeks. Northeastern blanked Elon 12-0 in the overtime session of a 72-60 win on Feb. 9.

Jacquil Taylor had a monster game Thursday, when he scored 14 points, tied a career-high with 17 rebounds and notched a career-high seven blocks in a (you guessed it) career-high 43 minutes. According to the Play Index at College Basketball Reference, it was the first 14/17/7 line of the season and the first in Division I since UNLV’s Christian Wood scored 27 points with 19 rebounds and seven blocks on Feb. 10, 2015. In addition, the seven blocks were the most by a Hofstra player since Greg Washington had eight blocks against Rider on Feb. 20, 2010. Ohh, so close.

Jacquil Taylor was 5-for-5 from the field Thursday night on his way to scoring 14 points. It marked the fourth time this year Taylor has been perfect from the field (minimum five attempts). He was 6-for-6 against Elon on Feb. 7, 5-for-5 against Towson on Jan. 26 and 7-for-7 against Rosemont on Dec. 28. Taylor is the first Hofstra player in the CAA era (2001-present) to go at least 5-for-5 from the field in four different games.

Jacquil Taylor 5/5 vs. Towson 2/21/19
Jacquil Taylor 6/6 vs. Elon 2/7/19
Jacquil Taylor 5/5 vs. Towson 1/26/19
Jacquil Taylor 7/7 vs. Rosemont 12/22/18
Rokas Gustys 5/5 vs. UNCW 3/4/18 (CAAT)
Rokas Gustys 6/6 vs. Northeastern 1/25/18
Rokas Gustys 8/8 vs. Towson 2/18/16
Rokas Gustys 5/5 vs. St. Bonaventure 11/28/15
Rokas Gustys 6/6 vs. Vermont 3/18/15 
Ameen Tanksley 9/9 vs. Norfolk State 12/2/14
Darren Payen 6/6 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson 11/10/13
Stephen Nwaukoni 5/5 vs. Belmont 11/24/13
Stephen Nwaukoni 5/5 vs. Cleveland State 11/26/11
Greg Washington 6/6 vs. William & Mary 1/22/11
David Imes 8/8 vs. Drexel 1/3/11
Adrian Uter 6/6 vs. Nebraska 3/16/06
Kenny Adeleke 6/6 vs. Illinois State 11/25/01

The perfect shooting night for Taylor continued the remarkably efficient run he’s enjoying. Taylor is 37-for-44 from the field in his last eight games, a stretch in which he’s had just one contest in which he’s missed more than one field goal (he was 4-for-7 against Northeastern on Feb. 2).

Overall this season, Taylor has eight games in which he’s missed just one shot while taking at least five field goal attempts. Seven of those games have come in CAA play. Last season, Rokas Gustys had five games in which he missed just one shot (minimum five field goal attempts) while Hunter Sabety had one.

Justin Wright-Foreman, who has pulled off so many “first time since…” feats this season, experienced life on the other end of that spectrum Thursday, when he committed a career-high eight turnovers — the most by a Hofstra player since Ameen Tanksley had eight turnovers against William & Mary on Jan. 28, 2015.

With the win over Towson, the Dutchmen improved to 15-0 at home this season while extending their overall home winning streak to 18 games dating back to Feb. 15, 2018. The 15 straight wins to open the home schedule are the most ever by the Dutchmen. The previous best season-opening unbeaten streak was fashioned by the 2005-06 team, which went 13-0 in the regular season and 1-0 in the NIT before falling to Old Dominion in the NIT quarterfinals. Per Hofstra SID Stephen Gorchov, those 14 straight home wins concluded a 21-game home winning streak that lasted from Jan. 22, 2005 to Mar. 16, 2006 and is the longest home winning streak for the Dutchmen in the CAA era.

The nail-biting win over Towson kept alive the Dutchmen’s hopes of clinching the CAA regular season championship — and with it the number one seed in the conference tournament and the automatic NIT bid if necessary, which we certainly hope it isn’t — on Senior Day this afternoon.

In order to do that, the Dutchmen will need an assist from Towson, which will need to beat Northeastern earlier Saturday afternoon. However, even if Northeastern wins, the Dutchmen can clinch the top seed with a win over James Madison and either a loss by Delaware to Drexel later this afternoon or a win by Charleston over Elon later tonight.

Either of the latter two results would lock up a third-place finish for Charleston and ensure the Dutchmen would have the tiebreaker over Northeastern if both teams finished 14-4 by virtue of Hofstra sweeping Charleston and Charleston splitting with Northeastern.

The Dutchmen are already assured of finishing no lower than second place. This will be just the second time Hofstra has finished higher than third in the CAA. The Dutchmen tied UNC Wilmington for the regular season crown in 2015-16 but earned the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

With his 28 points against Towson, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 81 straight games, the most ever by a Hofstra player as well as the most ever by a CAA 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: 81 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 the 11th-longest in HISTORY. This is some rarefied air. 

Justin Wright-Foreman moved into fifth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Thursday, when he scored 28 points against UNC Wilmington to surpass Rich Laurel. Wright-Foreman spent two whole games in sixth place. Slacker. But Wright-Foreman could make up for lost time today if he can score 32 points to move past Loren Stokes into fourth place. I assume Tony Skinn will then come out of the stands and punch Wright-Foreman.

4.) Loren Stokes 2,148 (2003-07)
5.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 2,117 (2015-present)
6.) Rich Laurel 2,102 (1973-77)
7.) Bill Thieben 2,045 (1953-56)
8.) Speedy Claxton, 2,015 (1996-2000)
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, moved up to 18th place on the all-time scoring list Thursday, when he collected 11 points to surpass Mike Tilley. Pemberton could move up the list again today as he needs just five points to surpass surpassing Kenny Adeleke (la la la la) for 17th place.

17.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
18.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,292 (2016-present)
19.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
20.) Roberto Gittens 1,240 (1997-2001)
21.) Carlos Rivera 1,225 (2004-07)
22t.) Demetrius Dudley 1,220 (1991-93)
22t.) John Mills 1,220 (1941-43, 1946-47)
24t.) Brian Bernardi, 1,186 (2014-17)
24t.) Juan’ya Green 1,186 (2014-16)

Graduate transfers Jacquil Taylor and Dan Dwyer continued to more than fill in for Rokas Gustys down low. Taylor and Dwyer combined for 14 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks in 50 minutes Thursday (to be fair, Taylor had all the stats except for one rebound by Taylor) and are now averaging 10.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.13 blocks per game while playing an average of 39.4 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 70 percent of their free throws (56-for-80), which is…different.

Desure Buie remained eligible for the national free throw shooting title Saturday, when he was 5-for-6 from the line against Towson. That actually dropped his season average to 89.2 percent (74-of-83), which was still good enough for 13th in the nation entering today’s games.'s minimum to qualify for the leaderboards is 2.5 made free throws per game, which means Buie will remain qualified even if he doesn't make a free throw today.

However, Hofstra’s specifications are two free throws made per game, which means Buie is much safer in his effort to maintain the pace needed 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.

However, Desure Buie is not the only Hofstra player with a chance at the national free throw shooting title and/or the single-season school record for the best free throw percentage. Justin Wright-Foreman was 1-for-1 from the line Thursday and is now shooting 88.9 percent (139-for-158) for the season, which is good enough for 22nd in the nation entering today’s games. The Dutchmen are the only team with two players in the top 25 in free throw shooting.

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 20-of-29 from the line against Charleston, which actually dropped their season-long percentage to 79.7 percent. That was, 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 (80.8 percent) and just ahead of California Baptist (78.6 percent, or, technically, 78.58 percent), Louisiana-Monroe (78.55 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.

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

While Senior Day is a bittersweet afternoon for players and coaches, the game itself has traditionally been a happy occasion for both the Flying Dutchmen and Joe Mihalich. The Dutchmen are 21-4 in home finales in the DD Era, with the lone losses being absorbed in 1994 (Army won 87-76), 2001 (Towson won 61-60), 2013 (Delaware won 57-56) and 2017 (UNC Wilmington won 83-76).

In addition, Mihalich is 17-3 in regular season home finales as a head coach. His 10-game winnings streak in home finales was snapped in 2017. The only other times a Mihalich-coached team lost a home finale were in 2001, when Niagara fell to Canisius, 85-70, and 2006, when the Purple Eagles lost to Manhattan, 82-81.

The Dutchmen will honor their four seniors — Kenny Wormley, Jacquil Taylor, Dan Dwyer and some guy named Justin Wright-Foreman — in a pregame ceremony beginning at 3:40 PM. Check out today’s features on the seniors, hyperlinked at their names. 

The Dukes, under third-year head coach Louis Rowe, are 12-16 this season and 5-10 in CAA play. James Madison had a two-game winning streak snapped Thursday, when it fell to Northeastern, 76-60.

The Dutchmen and Dukes had no common foes in non-league play. Both teams have split with UNC Wilmington. The Dutchmen swept Charleston and Towson, each of whom split with James Madison, and split with Northeastern, which swept the Dukes.

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 77th at today. The Dukes, who were picked sixth, were ranked 278th at today.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (121.1) and second in conference-only defensive efficiency (104.7). The Dukes rank seventh in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (106.4) and are tied for eighth in conference-only defensive efficiency (111.7).

The Dukes are led by a trio of guards averaging at least 10 points per game: Senior Stuckey Mosley (17.3 ppg), a candidate for the all-time all-#CAAHoops name team, and sophomores Matt Lewis (15.3 ppg) and Darius Banks (12.4 ppg), the latter of whom missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Sophomore Dwight Wilson is collecting a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game while also averaging 9.3 points per game. predicts an 81-66 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 15.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 18-9 against the spread this season, though it has lost two straight as far as the bookies are concerned.

Hofstra is 19-12 against James Madison in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen beat James Madison, 85-68, in Harrisonburg on Jan. 24 and are looking to complete their second straight regular season series sweep of the Dukes.

Matt Brady got a raw deal bias! (He did, you could look it up)
Mike Venafro bias! (The longtime Rangers LOOGY played at James Madison)
John C. Wells Planetarium Bias! (It’s one of the most impressive buildings on campus)
You might be trying to go to Division I in football bias! (Perhaps because there’s not enough publicity in I-AA)

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