Back when men were men, and played two sports, and grew manly mustaches!
Welp, it’s official. The NCAA Tournament drought is officially old enough to enroll at Hofstra this fall. The dream of a trip to the big dance perished for the 18th straight year last Tuesday night, when the Flying Dutchmen came all the way back from an 18-point first half deficit but could not take the lead and fell to Northeastern, 82-74, in the CAA championship game. But there’s still basketball left to be played for the Dutchmen, who were saddled with a seventh seed in the NIT and will face second-seeded North Carolina State tonight, Hmm. I wonder who coaches North Carolina State? Here’s a look back at the loss to the Huskies (but not too much of a look back because it still hurts) and a look ahead to the Wolfpack.
THE MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIZED IN ONE PARAGRAPH
Justin Wright-Foreman (a game-high 29 points) did his best to will the Dutchmen across the finish line, but the 18-point first half deficit was too much to overcome. A pair of Jacquil Taylor free throws tied the game 54-54 with 9:13 remaining, but Vasa Pusica, whom we will all see in our nightmares for years to come, drained a 3-pointer on Northeastern’s next possession to begin a 6-0 run that featured Wright-Foreman and Eli Pemberton both missing the front ends of one-and-ones. The Dutchmen never got any closer than four the rest of the way and trailed by at least five points for the final 6:59. Pemberton had 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while Taylor scored eight points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Northeastern 3/12)
3: Justin Wright-Foreman
2: Eli Pemberton
1: Jacquil Taylor
Justin Wright-Foreman 80
Eli Pemberton 38
Desure Buie 28
Jacquil Taylor 25
Tareq Coburn 16
Jalen Ray 13
Stafford Trueheart 2
Kenny Wormley 1
Dan Dwyer 1
HONORS FOR JWF & TAYLOR
Justin Wright-Foreman and Jacquil Taylor were named to the all-tournament team. Wright-Foreman scored a CAA Tournament single-game record 42 points in the overtime win over Delaware in the semifinals and finished the tournament with 88 points, just two points shy of the tournament record set by James Madison’s Steve Hood in 1990. Taylor had 32 rebounds and 10 blocks in the three games.
THIRD TIME WAS NOT THE CHARM
The Flying Dutchmen fell to 0-3 in CAA title games. You might remember they also lost to UNC Wilmington in 2006 and 2016. Do you think this will be the last time UNC Wilmington is referenced here?
AN IMPERFECT TENTH
The Dutchmen fell to 5-5 all-time in conference championship games. They won it all in the ECC in 1977, 1978 and 1994 and won the America East title game in 2000 and 2001. In addition to their CAA title game losses, the Dutchmen fell in the ECC championship game in 1986 and 1992. Hmm. Maybe we need to start playing more title games at home.
ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER
The title game pitted the top two seeds against each other for the fourth straight season. The no. 1 seed is 2-2 in those games, with the losses being absorbed by the Dutchmen. The loss for the Dutchmen also dropped the no. 1 seed to 8-7 all-time in CAA title games between the top two seeds and to 20-11 in title games overall.
The Dutchmen have reached the conference championship game all five times they have entered the tournament as the no 1 seed. They are 2-3 in those tilts, with the wins over Delaware in the America East title game in 2000 and 2001 and losses to Towson State (hey it was a state back then) in the 1992 ECC title game and to UNC Wilmington in the 2016 CAA championship game.
SELECT SECOND HALF COMPANY (except against Northeastern)
The Dutchmen never led in the second half last Tuesday. It marked just the second time this season they have not held a second half lead and the first time since…Feb. 2 against Northeastern. If these trends continue…hey!
LAST ONE STANDING IN JANUARY OR FEBRUARY (but not March)
The Dutchmen, who raced out to an 11-0 start in the league, could not buck historical trends as the final unbeaten team in CAA play. This marks the 12th time in the last 18 seasons — since the CAA expanded prior to the 2001-02 campaign — that the last unbeaten team did not win the conference tournament. The only teams to win the CAA after being the last team to lose in league play are UNC Wilmington (2001-02 and 2016-17), Delaware (2013-14), VCU (2006-07) and Old Dominion (2004-05).
YOU’RE JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN! YOU PLAY BASKETBALL FOR THE HOFSTRA FLYING DUTCHMEN!
With his 29 points against Northeastern, Justin Wright-Foreman extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 87 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: 87 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 seventh-longest in history. This is some rarefied air.
NUMBER THREE IS NOW NUMBER TWO
Justin Wright-Foreman moved into second place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list last Tuesday, when he scored 29 points against Northeastern to surge past Antoine Agudio. Barring a deep and productive run in the NIT, this likely completes the climb up the charts for Wright-Foreman. He is 216 points away from moving past Charles Jenkins, which means Wright-Foreman would need to average 43.2 points per game during a five-game run to the NIT championship in order to supplant Jenkins. That sounds unlikely, but who could have imagined Wright-Foreman would climb this high when he scored 127 points in his first 37 games at Hofstra?
1.) Charles Jenkins 2,513 (2007-11)
2.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 2,298 (2015-present)
3.) Antoine Agudio 2,276 (2005-08)
3.) Steve Nisenson 2,222 (1962-65)
5.) Loren Stokes 2,148 (2003-07)
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)
JWF ADDS TWO MORE LAURELS
Justin Wright-Foreman did move to the top of two lists last Tuesday night, when he scored 29 points against Northeastern. With his latest big game, Wright-Foreman increased his season total to 919 points, first breaking David Robinson’s record for the most points scored by a CAA player in a single season and then breaking Rich Laurel’s record for the most points scored by a Hofstra player in a single season.
MOST POINTS, CAA SINGLE-SEASON
1.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN, HOFSTRA 919 (2018-19)
2.) David Robinson, Navy 903 (1986-87)
3.) Gary Neal, Towson 810 (2006-07)
4.) David Robinson, Navy 796 (1985-86)
5.) Blue Edwards, East Carolina 773 (1989-90)
MOST POINTS, HOFSTRA SINGLE-SEASON
1.) JUSTIN WRIGHT-FOREMAN 919 (2018-19)
2.) Rich Laurel 908 (1976-77)
3.) Steve Nisenson 776 (1963-64)
4.) Steve Nisenson 765 (1962-63)
5.) Bill Thieben 760 (1954-55)
ELI MOVES UP TO FOURTEEN
Eli Pemberton, the newest member of the Hofstra 1,000-point club, climbed to 14th place on the all-time scoring list last Tuesday, when he scored 15 points to move past Ken Rood. He is 42 points away from surpassing Rick Apodaca for 13th place.
13.) Rick Apodaca 1,422 (1999-2003)
14.) ELI PEMBERTON 1,381 (2016-present)
15.) Ken Rood 1,368 (1973-77)
16.) Barry White 1,344 (1966-69)
17.) Dave Bell 1,330 (1969-72)
18.) Kenny Adeleke 1,296 (2001-04)
19.) Mike Tilley 1,286 (1963-66)
20.) Roberto Gittens 1,240 (1997-2001)
A DESURE THING
Desure Buie continued his push to win the national free throw shooting title last Tuesday, when he went 3-for-3 from the line against Northeastern. Buie has made 29 straight free throws dating back to Feb. 21 to increase his season average to 91.6 percent (98-of-107), which has vaulted him into third in the nation through yesterday’s games. Buie is behind only Davide Moretti of Texas Tech (93.3 percent) and Gavin Peppers of Nicholls State (92.4 percent), though Buie has attempted more free throws than either Moretti or Peppers.
Buie’s recent surge at the free throw line has also put him back into contention to break the Hofstra single-season record for free-throw percentage, which is held by Steve Nisenson, who shot 91.3 percent 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.
COLLECTING HIS FREEBIES
The 29 straight made free throws is only the second-longest streak of the season for Desure Buie, who drained 31 straight free throws from Nov. 11 through Dec. 28. That was the second-longest single-season streak of the Joe Mihalich era, one free throw shy of the streak authored by Brian Bernardi during the 2016-17 season.
Brian Bernardi, 32-for-32 (12/11/16-2/25/17)
DESURE BUIE, 31-for-31 (11/11/18-12/28/18)
Justin Wright-Foreman, 31-for-31 (2/11/17-11/10/17)***
DESURE BUIE, 29-for-29 (2/21/19-present)
Juan’ya Green 24-for-24 (11/22/15-12/6/15)
***Wright-Foreman hit his final 29 free throw attempts of the 2016-17 season and his first two attempts of the 2017-18 season
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (which unfortunately was released in 1992)
You’re not wrong if you’re thinking you’ve never seen a Dutchmen team shoot free throws this well. The Dutchmen were 22-of-25 from the line against Northeastern, which improved their season-long percentage to 79.9 percent. That kept them, and this is still weird, second in the country behind Incarnate Word (81.0 percent) and just ahead of Mississippi State (78.3 percent, or technically 78.29 percent), California Baptist (78.3 percent, or technically 78.27) and Central Connecticut State (78.2 percent, or technically 78.23 percent). Hey! That’s my parents’ alma mater! Incarnate Word and Central Connecticut have completed their seasons while Mississippi State (NCAA) and California Baptist (CIT) are scheduled to begin tournament play this week. At this rate, barring certain someones showing back up and missing a bunch of free throws in the NIT, the Dutchmen are going to 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 likely to finish 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.
OVER THE AIR
Tonight’s game will be aired live on ESPN2. Wow! A CAA game on an ESPN channel! Weird. Hofstra will also provide audio and live stats at the Pride Productions hub.
HOFSTRA IN THE POSTSEASON
This marks the Flying Dutchmen’s 13th appearance in a postseason tournament, their 10th appearance in a tournament we’ll gladly acknowledge and the program’s sixth trip to the NIT. The Dutchmen also appeared in the NIT in 1999, 2005, 2006 2007 and 2016.
The Dutchmen are 2-12 in postseason play at the Division I era, with the only wins recorded during the 2006 NIT. The Dutchmen will take the court tonight one day shy of the 13th anniversary of their most recent NIT win, a 77-75 victory over St. Joseph’s
THE CAA IN THE NIT
The Dutchmen are the first CAA team to appear in the NIT since Charleston fell to Colorado State in the first round of the 2017 NIT. The last CAA team to record a win in the NIT was Drexel, which won its first two games in 2012 before losing to Massachusetts and Chaz Williams (of course) in the quarterfinals. The only CAA team to reach Madison Square Garden in the NIT was Old Dominion in 2006, which got there by beating the Dutchmen (of course) in the quarterfinals. The CAA is 17-36 all-time in the CAA.
Despite a top-80 NET, the Dutchmen were screwed with a seven seed in the NIT. Would be nice if there was a league to advocate for them. However, 15 teams seeded seventh or lower have won at least one game in the NIT since 2010, including three seven seeds (Belmont, Akron and Oakland) in 2017. Last season marked the only time this decade a seventh- or eighth-seed did not win a game.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA STATE
The Wolfpack, under second-year head coach Kevin Keatts OH YEAH HIM WOW THAT’S A TOTAL COINCIDENCE THAT THE COMMITTEE PAIRED US AGAINST HIM DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING, earned an at-large bid after going 22-11 overall and 9-9 in the ACC. North Carolina State last played Thursday, when it fell to Virginia, 76-56, in the ACC quarterfinals.
The Dutchmen and Wolfpack had one common foe this season Both team opened their seasons with wins over Mount St. Mary’s. North Carolina State earned a 105-55 victory on Nov. 6, three days before Hofstra notched a 79-61 win.
The Dutchmen are ranked 94th at KenPom.com today. The Wolfpack are ranked 33rd at KenPom.com. They are the third-highest team at KenPom to miss the NCAA Tournament, behind Clemson (29th) and Texas (30th)
According to KenPom.com, the Dutchmen rank 17th in the nation in offensive efficiency (116.3) and 260th in defensive efficiency (108.8). The Wolfpack are 35th in the nation in offensive efficiency (112.7) and 38th in defensive efficiency (98.0).
The Wolfpack have three players averaging in double figures, led by senior guard Torin Dorn (13.4 ppg), who also leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Markell Johnson is averaging 11.9 ppg and a team-high 4.1 assists per game while C.J. Bryce, hmm, he sounds familiar, is averaging 11.3 ppg.
KenPom.com predicts an 84-74 win by North Carolina State. Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Wolfpack are 8.5-point favorites. Hofstra is 19-14 against the spread and has dropped seven of its last eight, as far as the bookies are concerned.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE IN THE NIT
The Wolfpack are in the NIT for the 12th time and the first time since 2010. North Carolina State has never won the NIT but reached the semifinals for the fourth time in 2010.
KEVIN KEATTS VS. HOFSTRA
North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts, of course, spent three seasons as the head coach at UNC Wilmington before heading to the Wolfpack following the 2016-17 season. UNC Wilmington went 5-2 against Hofstra under Keatts with, as you may remember, an 80-73 overtime win in the 2016 CAA championship game. Argh.
ALL-TIME VS. NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Hofstra is 0-2 all-time against the Wolfpack, with an 82-56 loss during the 1983-84 season and a 76-64 loss on Nov. 17, 2014.
ALL-TIME VS. THE ACC
Hofstra is 5-28 all-time against current ACC foes. The Dutchmen last faced an ACC opponent on—whoa—Nov. 17, 2017, when they fell to Clemson, 78-59, in the Charleston Classic. The Dutchmen last beat an ACC opponent on Nov 20, 2015, when they edged Florida State 82-77 in the opener of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.
THINGS YOU CAN SHOUT ON TWITTER IF CALLS GO DO NOT GO HOFSTRA’S WAY
David Thompson hated the NIT bias! (Thompson may have been the first to disparage the NIT when he called it a “loser’s tournament” in 1975)
Philip Rivers has enough kids to field an entire college basketball team bias! (The former Wolfpack quarterback has eight kids!)
Tim Stoddard bias! (The North Carolina State alum is one of just two men to play in a Final Four and a World Series)
C’mon Kevin let us have this for the love of God let us have this bias! (Duh)