Saturday, February 16, 2019

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington

Don't judge me!

The Flying Dutchmen raced out to a 24-point second half lead against defending CAA champion Charleston Thursday night and then withstood a furious rally by the Cougars to hang on for a 99-95 in a wild-even-by-the-batpoop-loony-standards-of-the-modern-day-CAA game. The Dutchmen will look to complete a perfect southern road trip and move closer to clinching the regular season title tonight, when they visit UNC Wilmington in the house of horrors known as Trask Coliseum. Here’s a look back at the wacky win over the Cougars and a look ahead to the Seahawks.

Justin Wright-Foreman scored 30 points, including nine points in a 19-0 (!!!) second-half run for the Dutchmen, who needed every single one of those points to survive Charleston, which answered that run with a game-ending 38-18 run. I told you it was crazy. Wright-Foreman also scored all eight of the Dutchmen’s points in an earlier 8-4 run that turned a 49-48 lead into a 57-52 lead. Remarkably, Wright-Foreman didn’t score in the final 11:37, but Jacquil Taylor kept the Cougars at bay by scoring 10 of his 12 points in that span, including two free throws with 28 seconds left that basically iced the game. (Obvious snarky comment about how that wouldn’t have happened last year goes here) Taylor also had eight rebounds, including a tap-out that extended a last-minute possession following a missed 3-pointer by Wright-Foreman. Eli Pemberton had one of the best games of his career with 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Desure Buie had nine points, 10 assists, no turnovers and three steals, including two that he turned into layups immediately after Charleston timeouts. Tareq Coburn added 14 points, including 12 first-half points off four 3-pointers.

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. William & Mary 2/9)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Eli Pemberton
1: Desure Buie

Justin Wright-Foreman 62
Eli Pemberton 29
Desure Buie 23
Jacquil Taylor 17
Tareq Coburn 13
Jalen Ray 8
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1

COACHSPEAK: “Two great teams going toe-to-toe. Great players, great atmosphere. We were lucky enough to hang on there at the end. We had the big lead, thank goodness. If the game goes much longer, I’m not sure we could have hang on. But we did. We made the plays at the end that we had to.”

Yes! The closest the Dutchmen came to a 99-95 win happened almost 10 years ago on Feb. 18, 2009, when they edged James Madison, 99-96, in overtime at the Arena. The Dutchmen have recorded unicorn scores in back-to-back games and 10 times overall 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
1/24/19: 85-68 over James Madison
2/9/19: 93-87 over William & Mary
2/14/19: 99-95 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 victory marked the first time the Dutchmen have won a game in which they allowed at least 95 points since Nov. 18, 2012, when Hofstra edged Marshall, 103-100, in overtime. Who knew that would be the last good thing to happen to the men’s basketball program for years and years? Prior to Thursday, the Dutchmen were 0-7 when allowing at least 95 points under Joe Mihalich. 

With the win, the Dutchmen improved to 3-13 when allowing at least 95 points in a game in the CAA era (2001-present). As noted earlier, the Dutchmen beat James Madison, 99-96, in overtime on Feb. 18, 2009.

The win also snapped a 22-game losing streak for Mihalich-coached teams in which they allowed at least 95 points dating back to Feb. 16, 2005 (ohh, so close), when Niagara beat Canisius, 113-101, in overtime. Mihalich-coached teams are now 7-33 when allowing at least 95 points.

There was some high-end offense being played Thursday night, when the Dutchmen were outscored by Charleston 60-56 (!!!) in the second half. The 60 points were the most allowed in a half by the Dutchmen in the Mihalich era (and likely much longer), breaking the mark of 54 points set by Towson in the second half of an 86-80 loss on Jan. 19, 2017 and William & Mary in the first half of a 100-79 loss on Jan. 28, 2015.

On the flip side, the 56 second-half points by the Dutchmen were tied for the fifth-highest single half output under Mihalich and the third time they have scored at least 56 points in a half this season. The Dutchmen scored 62 points in the first half against Division III Rosemont on Dec. 22 and racked up 57 points against Elon in the first half Feb. 7.

In addition, the Dutchmen allowed at least 50 points in a half and won for only the second time under Mihalich. They gave up 53 points to Columbia in the second half of an 88-86 win on Nov. 29, 2016.

Charleston scoring 60 points in the second half and LOSING was really weird to those of us who grew up on the rock fights of the CAA, where the 2001 championship game ended with a final score of 35-33. 

More recently, we are just 10 years removed from a season in which the tournament runner-up, George Mason (grrr), won five league or tournament games in which it scored 60 points or fewer. Overall in 2008-09, there were 25 league or tournament games that season in which the winner scored 60 points or fewer. Your beloved Flying Dutchmen had three of them and ended the season with a 52-51 loss to Old Dominion in the CAA quarterfinals. Memories.

The Dutchmen went on a 19-0 run in the second half Thursday. It was the longest run of the season, surpassing the 17-0 runs the Dutchmen enjoyed against Rosemont Dec. 22 and North Carolina A&T, and the longest run in at least three seasons.

Grant Riller scored a game-high 42 points for Charleston Thursday. It was the first time a Hofstra opponent has scored at least 40 points since Eddie Benton scored 42 for Vermont way back on Dec. 8, 1995. That’s so long ago, I was still in college!

Justin Wright-Foreman continued making up for lost time Thursday, when he scored 30 points to move past Bill Thieben into sixth place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list. It was the second straight game in which Wright-Foreman matched or exceeded a feat performed by Thieben — you might remember Wright-Foreman tied Thieben’s single-game school record by scoring 48 points against William & Mary last Saturday — and the second straight game in which he moved up the all-time scoring list. Wright-Foreman spent seven games languishing in eighth place before surging past Speedy Claxton last Saturday. Wright-Foreman enters tonight 44 points away from moving past Rich Laurel into fifth place, so he might spend at least one game in sixth place. Or he might not.

5.) Rich Laurel 2,102 (1973-77)
6.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 2,059 (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)

With his 30 points against Charleston, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 79 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: 79 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 eighth 30-point game of the season Saturday afternoon and the 19th of his career. That’s the most by a Hofstra player since at least the 1989-90 season. But Wright-Foreman has played just 116 games and registered all of his 30-point games in his last 75 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 19 (116)
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 (AT LEAST) CLUB
The eight 30-point games this season by Justin Wright-Foreman are the most by a Hofstra player since at least 1989-90. Wright-Foreman snapped a tie with, who else, himself? He also had seven 30-point games last season. The only other player to collect at least five 30-point games in back-to-back years since 1989-90 is Demetrius Dudley, who is also the only player to have as many as seven 30-point games in season since 1989-90.

Justin Wright-Foreman 8 (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 continued adding to yet another one of his records by scoring 30 points against Charleston. It was the second straight 30-point effort for Wright-Foreman and the sixth time he’s scored at least 30 points in consecutive games, the most such games by a Hofstra player since at least 1989-90. Only two other Hofstra players in that span — Speedy Claxton and Demetrius Dudley — have scored at least 30 points in back-to-back games as many as four times. Wright-Foreman, Claxton and Dudley all have one three-game streak of 30-point performances. Here is the entire list of players who have compiled back-to-back 30-point games for the Dutchmen since 1989-90: 

Justin Wright-Foreman 2/9/19-2/14/19 (48 vs. W&M, 30 vs. Charleston)
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)

Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, moved into 19th place on the all-time list Saturday, when he scored 25 points to move Roberto Gittens, who finished his career with 1,240 points. Pemberton enters tonight 28 points away from moving past Mike Tilley into 18th place.

18.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
19.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,259 (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)

Eli Pemberton had himself a pretty good game, too, on Thursday, when he scored 25 points, pulled down seven rebounds and had five assists. He finished second on the Dutchmen in all three categories. You know you’re doing pretty well as a team when those numbers are SECOND in every category.

Anyway, it was the first 25/5/5 game for Pemberton, who is the eighth Hofstra player to produce such a line since 1994-95, the first season in which Hofsra began displaying a player’s points/rebounds/assists lines in the subsequent season’s media guides. You’re not going to believe who’s had the most such games!

Justin Wright-Foreman 7
Speedy Claxton 6
Charles Jenkins 4
Juan’ya Green 2
Eli Pemberton 1
Antoine Agudio 1
Loren Stokes 1
Mike Radziejewski 1

Desure Buie had one of the most effective games in memory for a Dutchmen point guard Thursday, when he scored nine points and had 10 assists while committing just one turnover against Charleston. Buie is the first Hofstra point guard to collect at least 10 assists and commit one turnover or fewer against a Division I foe since Stevie Mejia had 10 assists and one turnover against Old Dominion on Feb. 24, 2013. Buie did have 10 assists and no turnovers against Division III Rosemont on Dec. 22.

The 10-assist game was the third of the season for Buie, who is the first Hofstra player with multiple 10-assist games in a season since Juan’ya Green reached double figures in assists eight times during the 2015-16 campaign.

Jacquil Taylor continued his remarkably efficient run Thursday night, when he was 5-for-6 from the field for the second straight game. Taylor is 17-for-18 from the field in his last three games and is 29-for-35 from the field in his last six 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 seven games in which he’s missed just one shot while taking at least five field goal attempts. Six 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.

Graduate transfers Jacquil Taylor and Dan Dwyer continued to more than fill in for Rokas Gustys down low. Taylor and Dwyer combined for 17 points, 12 rebounds and two block in 37 minutes Saturday and are now averaging 10.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.04 blocks per game while playing an average of 39.5 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 a nice 69.4 percent of their free throws (50-for-72), which is…different.

He did it! Desure Buie finally moved back into contention for the national free throw shooting title Thursday, when he was 4-for-4 from the line against Charleston. (This is admittedly a strange thing to track) 

Buie is shooting a robust 90.3 percent (65-of-72) from the line this season, which ranks eighth in the nation entering today’s games.'s minimum to qualify for the leaderboards is 2.5 made free throws per game, which *does the math which I was told I would not have to do once I left college* for Buie is exactly 65 free throws. Buie will need to make three free throws 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.

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 26-of-30 from the line against Charleston, which increased their season-long percentage to 79.6 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 (80.5 percent) and just ahead of Louisiana-Monroe (78.8 percent), Toledo (78.0 percent) and North Dakota State (77.7 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 Seahawks, under second-year head coach C.B. McGrath, are 8-19 this season and 4-10 in CAA play. UNC Wilmington suffered its sixth straight loss Thursday, when it squandered a 13-point lead and fell to Northeastern, 81-77.

The Dutchmen and Seahawks had no common foes during non-league play. Both have faced Northeastern twice in CAA play. The Huskies swept UNCW and split with Hofstra. 

The Dutchmen, who were picked third in the CAA preseason poll, were ranked 68th at today. The Seahawks, who were picked fifth, were ranked 279th at today.

According to, the Dutchmen rank first in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (122.5) and second in conference-only defensive efficiency (103.4). The Seahawks rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (111.8) and 10th and last in conference-only defensive efficiency (118.2). As of this typing, UNC Wilmington ranks 348th out of 351 Division I teams in overall defensive efficiency (116.1).

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 actually only a senior for the first and last time and enters his final home game tonight leading the team with 15.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, the latter of which is good for fourth in the country through yesterday’s games. Junior forward Jeantal Cylla (13.7 ppg) and sophomore guard Ty Gadsden (10.9 ppg) are also averaging in double figures while freshman guard Kai Toews is averaging 7.8 assists per game, which leads the CAA and ranks second in the nation. predicts an 86-76 win by Hofstra. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 9-point favorites. Hofstra is 18-7 against the spread this season.

Hofstra is 20-21 against UNC Wilmington in a series that began when the Dutchmen joined the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen trailed at the half in Hempstead on Jan. 17 before cruising to an 87-72 win. Hofstra is looking for its first regular season series sweep of UNC Wilmington since 2013-14, when the Dutchmen also beat the Seahawks in the CAA Tournament. Since then, UNC Wilmington has eliminated Hofstra from the 2016 and 2018 CAA Tournaments. I’m not twitching with barely-suppressed rage, you are.

Chad Tomko bias! (The guard was a really good player on some scuffling UNCW teams)
Brooks Lee bias! (He served as the interim head coach after Benny Moss got whacked coming back from Hofsra in 2010 and was then a DOBO and assistant coach under Buzz Peterson, you don’t see that too often)
Buzz Peterson was roommates with Michael Jordan, who was Peterson’s best man bias! (It’s true, you could look it up)
I don’t want to be anything other than what Hofstra’s trying to be lately bias! (It’s a One Tree Hill thing, sorta)

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