Thursday, February 21, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: Towson

Because where else today are you going to see three Hall of Famers talking about tidy whities?

The dream of the first 17-win season in #CAAHoops history perished Saturday night, when Trask Coliseum was again a house of horrors as the Flying Dutchmen couldn’t overcome an emotional Senior Night effort from UNC Wilmington — nor even more incompetent than usual officiating from the CAA’s finest — in an 87-79 upset loss. The Dutchmen will look to get back on track and inch closer to the CAA regular season title tonight, when they begin the final homestand of the season (we hope, anyway) by hosting Towson. Here’s a look back at the loss to the Seahawks and a look ahead to the Tigers.

Justin Wright-Foreman (30 points) had yet another 30-point game and Eli Pemberton scored 22 points while going 5-of-8 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, but the Dutchmen had no answer down the stretch for UNC Wilmington, which scored a whopping 19 points on its final nine possessions to hand Hofstra another frustrating loss. Wright-Foreman was 9-of-10 from the line and pulled down seven rebounds but was just 9-of-25 from the field, including 3-of-9 from the 3-point line. Desure Buie (15 points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists) had another strong game while Jacquil Taylor (eight points, 12 rebounds) once again flirted with a double-double. Tareq Coburn had just four points and no rebounds in 35 minutes for the Dutchmen, whose bench was outscored 51-0 (!!!).

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. UNC Wilmington 2/16)
3: Eli Pemberton
2: Justin Wright-Foreman
1: Desure Buie

Justin Wright-Foreman 64
Eli Pemberton 32
Desure Buie 24
Jacquil Taylor 17
Tareq Coburn 13
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “Thought UNCW played really well. They were the toughest team on the floor tonight. We were tough, but they were probably tougher more minutes than we were. As I say to the team all the time, the game honors toughness. We had to be tough and we weren’t.”

The Dutchmen fell to UNC Wilmington on the road or at a neutral site for the fifth straight time dating back to the 2016 CAA championship game in Baltimore (grrr). The Seahawks have beaten the Dutchmen at Trask coliseum in each of the last three seasons as well as in the first round of last season’s CAA Tournament (grrr). That is the longest road or neutral site losing streak for the Dutchmen against a CAA opponent since a five-game skid against William & Mary ( of course) from 2011-12 through 2014-15. That streak included four losses at William & Mary and one loss in the CAA Tournament. *twitches* No other CAA opponent has an active  home or neutral site winning streak as long as two games against the Dutchmen.

With Saturday’s loss, the Dutchmen’s hopes of becoming the first team in CAA history to go 17-1 evaporated. By winning their final four games, the Dutchmen can match Drexel (2011-12), George Mason (2010-11) and VCU (2006-07) by finishing 16-2.

In addition, the loss Saturday prevented the Dutchmen from becoming the sixth team in CAA history to go 13-1 through 14 league games. VCU (2006-07) and Old Dominion (2004-05) both started 13-1 during an 18-game CAA schedule while Richmond (1988-89) and Navy (1986-87 and 1985-86) all went 13-1 during a 14-game league schedule.

The Dutchmen’s starting lineup accounted for all 79 points Saturday night. It was the first time the Dutchmen haven’t received a point from their bench since Jan. 28, 2016, when three bench players — Desure Buie, Andre Walker and Justin Wright-Foreman, hmm, whatever happened to him — went scoreless in 24 minutes. 

Junior Tareq Coburn had his quietest game as a starter Saturday, when he scored four points and had no rebounds in 35 minutes. According to College Basketball Reference, it is the 17th time since the 2010-11 season, the first season College Basketball Reference has individual game data, that a Hofstra player has recorded no rebounds while playing at least 35 minutes. Only Brian Bernardi (three points in 36 minutes against Towson on Jan. 31, 2015) scored fewer points while pulling down no rebounds over at least 35 minutes.

Despite the loss to UNC Wilmington, the Dutchmen are still well-positioned to win the CAA regular season championship, the number one seed in the conference tournament and the automatic NIT bid if necessary, which we certainly hope it isn’t.

The Dutchmen can clinch the regular season title as early as tonight with a win over Towson coupled with a Northeastern loss to James Madison and a Charleston win over William & Mary. In that case, the Dutchmen would be assured of finishing no worse than 13-5 but would have the tiebreakers at 13-5 over both Northeastern and Charleston by virtue of their 3-1 record against the two teams (Charleston was swept by Hofstra and split with Northeastern, which also split with Hofstra).

The Dutchmen can also clinch the regular season title with two more wins and one more loss by Northeastern, or two more wins and one more win by Charleston.

With one more win, the Dutchmen will ensure they can finish no lower than second place. 

With his 30 points against UNC Wilmington, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 80 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: 80 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 recorded his ninth 30-point game of the season Saturday afternoon and the 20th of his career. That’s the most by a Hofstra player since at least the 1989-90 season. But Wright-Foreman has played just 117 games and registered all of his 30-point games in his last 76 games dating back to Jan. 2, 2017. Here is the list of all players with multiple 30-point games since 1989-90 (career games in parenthesis).

Justin Wright-Foreman 20 (117)
Demetrius Dudley 12 (55)
Charles Jenkins 12 (128)
Antoine Agudio 10 (122)
Speedy Claxton 8 (119)
Loren Stokes 7 (124)
Zeke Upshaw 3 (33)
Mike Moore 3 (65)
Ameen Tanksley 2 (68)
Rick Apodaca 2 (108)
John Mavroukas 2 (90)

THE 30/30/30/30/30/30/30/30/30 (AT LEAST) CLUB
The nine 30-point games this season by Justin Wright-Foreman are the most by a Hofstra player since at least 1989-90. It is just the third time a Hofstra player has collected at least seven 30-point games in a season. Wright-Foreman did it last year, of course, and Demetrius Dudley did it in 1991-92. Dudley is also the only other Hofstra player with at least five 30-point games in back-to-back years since 1989-90.

Justin Wright-Foreman 9 (2018-19)
Justin Wright-Foreman 7 (2017-18)
Demetrius Dudley 7 (1991-92)
Antoine Agudio 6 (2007-08)
Speedy Claxton 6 (1999-2000)
Demetrius Dudley 5 (1992-93)

Justin Wright-Foreman did something else nobody’s done in nearly three decades (at least) Saturday when he scored at least 30 points in his third straight game. He is the first Hofstra player since at least 1989-90 to twice score 30 points in three consecutive game. Wright-Foreman also collected 30 points three straight times from Dec. 30 through Jan. 10. Prior to that, only Speedy Claxton (Jan. 14-21, 2000) and Demetrius Dudley (Nov. 23-30, 1991) had scored at least 30 points in three straight games since the 1989-90 season. Wright-Foreman also has the most back-to-back 30-point efforts (seven) of any Hofstra player since 1989-90. Here is the entire list: 

Justin Wright-Foreman 2/9/19-2/16/19 (48 vs. W&M, 30 vs. Charleston, 30 vs. UNC Wilmington)
Justin Wright-Foreman 12/30/18-1/10/19 (34 vs. Drexel, 42 vs. Northeastern, 37 vs. William & Mary)
Justin Wright-Foreman 1/7/18-1/11/18 (39 vs. Elon, 35 vs. Towson)
Justin Wright-Foreman 12/9-12/12/17 (30 vs. Rider, 33 vs. SUNY-Stony Brook)
Justin Wright-Foreman 1/21-1/26/17 (30 vs. Northeastern, 30 vs. Drexel)
Charles Jenkins 12/8-12/11/10 (40 vs. Binghamton 32 vs. Florida Atlantic)
Charles Jenkins 2/16-2/20/10 (30 vs. Delaware, 31 vs. Rider)
Antoine Agudio 12/1-12/5/07 (34 vs. UNCW, 36 vs. Fordham)
Loren Stokes 1/21-1/26/06 (32 vs. Northeastern, 31 vs. Towson)
Speedy Claxton 12/18/99-12/22/99 (39 vs. Iona, 31 vs. St. John’s)
Speedy Claxton 1/14/00-1/21/00 (30 vs. Vermont, 40 vs. Hartford, 40 vs. Maine)
John Mavroukas 1/6/95-1/8/95 (35 vs. New Hampshire, 33 vs. Vermont)
Demetrius Dudley 11/23/91-11/30/91 (33 vs. Navy, 32 vs. Lehigh, 30 vs. Manhattan)
Demetrius Dudley 2/6/92-2/8/92 (37 vs. Towson State, 33 vs. Buffalo)

Justin Wright-Foreman remained in sixth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list Saturday, when he scored 30 points against UNC Wilmington. Slacker. To be fair, he needed 44 points to move past Rich Laurel into fifth place. Of course, he’s done that this year, so what’s the deal, Justin? Anyway, according to my rudimentary math skills. Wright-Foreman has a good chance of moving past Laurel tonight, when he will need just 14 points to surge into fifth place. 

5.) Rich Laurel 2,102 (1973-77)
6.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 2,089 (2015-present)
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, remained in 19th place on the all-time list Saturday, when he scored 22 points. Pemberton is positioned to make up room tonight, though. He needs just six points to move past Mike Tilley into 18th place and is 16 points shy of surpassing Kenny Adeleke (la la la la) for 17th place.

17.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
18.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
19.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,281 (2016-present)
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 eight points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in 40 minutes Saturday (to be fair, all the stats were recorded by Taylor) and are now averaging 10.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.04 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 70.3 percent of their free throws (52-for-74), which is…different.

Desure Buie remained eligible for the national free throw shooting title Saturday, when he was 4-for-5 from the line against UNC Wilmington. That actually dropped his season average to 89.6 percent (69-of-77), which was still good enough for seventh in the nation through Tuesday’s games.'s minimum to qualify for the leaderboards is 2.5 made free throws per game, which means Buie will need to make one free throw tonight in order to remain qualified.

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.

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 9-of-10 from the line Saturday and is now shooting 87.9 percent (138-for-157) for the season, which was good enough for 22nd in the nation through Tuesday’s games. The Dutchmen are the only team with two players in the top 25 in free throw shooting and one of only three teams with two players in the top 50, along with Fairleigh Dickinson (Darnell Edge at a tie for 27th and Jahill Jenkins at a tie for 39th) and Pacific (Roberto Gallinat at 41st and Lafayette Dorsey at 49th).

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 25-of-30 from the line against Charleston, which increased their season-long percentage to 79.8 percent. That was, and I can’t believe I’m typing these words, good enough for the second-best percentage in the country through Tuesday’s games. The Dutchmen ranked just behind Incarnate Word (80.6 percent) and just ahead of Louisiana-Monroe (78.5 percent), California Baptist (78.4 percent, or, technically, 78.43 percent) and Toledo (78.4 percent, or, technically, 78.38 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.

The Tigers, under eighth-year head coach Pat Skerry, are 10-17 this season and 6-8 in CAA play. Towson has alternated wins with losses in its last seven games and beat Drexel, 92-77, on Friday. If these trends continue…

The Dutchmen and Tigers had no common foes in non-league play. Both teams have split with UNC Wilmington while Towson was swept by Charleston, which was swept by Hofstra. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 72nd at as of early this morning. The Tigers, who were picked 10th and last, were ranked 271st at as of early this morning.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (121.6) and second in conference-only defensive efficiency (104.7). The Tigers rank eighth in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (105.3) and sixth in conference-only defensive efficiency (108.7).

The Tigers are led by junior guard Brian Fobbs, who is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game and ranks second on the squad with 6.0 rebounds per game. Junior guard Tobias Howard is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game while junior forward Dennis Tunstall leads the club with 7.8 rebounds per game. predicts an 80-64 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 15.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 18-8 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 42-26 against Towson in a series that began during the 1982-83 season, when both schools were in the East Coast Conference. The Dutchmen earned their third straight win over the Tigers with an 84-61 victory in Towson on Jan. 26. Hofstra is seeking to sweep the season series for the third time in the last four years. 

Hofstra and Towson opposed one another in the ECC and the North Atlantic Conference/America East before moving together to the CAA for the 2001-02 school year. Hofstra has faced only two opponents as often as it’s faced Towson: Longtime conference rivals Delaware and Drexel.

The Dutchmen will finish the regular season the way the good basketball gods intended it: By playing a spate of ECC games. Three of the Dutchmen’s final four regular season games are against Towson, Delaware and Drexel. A win tonight will give the Dutchmen the ECC crown, since they would have swept Towson and Delaware, the only other team that can finish 4-2 in ECC play, split with the Tigers. Stop looking at me like that, this is a real thing.

Delaware 2-2
Towson 2-3
Drexel 1-3

Tom Flacco bias! (The brother of soon-to-be-ex-Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco plays football and baseball at Towson)
Jim Palmer bias! (The Hall of Fame pitcher and former underwear model took classes at what was then known as Towson State while recovering from a torn rotator cuff in the late 1960s, which I didn’t know until just now)
Mike Morsell had a great Mohawk bias! (We miss the former Tigers star, who graduated last year)
Mayflower bias! (The Baltimore Colts packed up Mayflower trucks and left for Indianapolis in the middle of the night in 1984)

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