NEC Ball Screen: 12/2/21
A nice 2-2 evening for the Northeast Conference, with the two home favorites coming out with dubs.
St. Francis (PA) 93, Bucknell 67
After Bucknell went up 29-28 with 5 minutes remaining in the first half, the Red Flash completely blitzed the Bison; SFU went on an extended 19-3 run to go up by 15 a minute into the second half, then pushed the lead to as much as 35 with six minutes to go. It's the 2nd double-digit win St. Francis, which will play 4 straight road games after tonight.
Ramiir Dixon-Conover put on a show for St. Francis; the senior point guard got the rim whenever he wanted to, finishing with a career-high 23 points on 10 of 16 from the field (7 of 9 at the rim), 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Ronell Giles had 13, his 2nd double-digit scoring game in a row, to go along with 3 steals and 2 assists, while Max Land had 10 points and 5 assists. Sophomore big Josh Cohen continued his nice stretch; 9 points and 8 boards in 14 minutes, which were limited because of foul trouble.
As a team, SFU was 20 of 28 at the rim, and turned it over just 6 times. Defensively they held Bucknell to just 5 of 19 from beyond the arc (43.4% eFG%).
Andrew Funk led the Bison with 17 points on 7 of 15 from the field (3 of 4 from deep).
Central Connecticut 73, Holy Cross 67
If Dixon-Conover was the star of the evening in the NEC, fellow lefty PG Nigel Scantlebury was a close second. The senior guard scored a career high 25 points on 8 of 10 from the field (and 6 of 6 from the charity stripe), earning his first career "Kenpom MVP". I'll write more about Scantlebury in next week's Mid-Range Jumper, but he's really blossomed in new coach Patrick Sellers' system; his efficiency and usage are both up, and he's really defending.
Senior guard Ian Krishnan scored 16, just two days after setting a season-high of 17, including 3 of 5 from downtown. Freshman Andre Snoddy made an early bid to be the 3rd Blue Devil to earn NEC Rookie of the Week honors by scoring 11 points on 4 of 5 from the field, including knocking down two big free throws late.
The Blue Devils won this one by knocking down threes (8 of 17) and hitting clutch free throws (15 of 20 overall). However, the defensive rebounding remains an issue; Holy Cross grabbed 14 offensive boards (37.8%), and on the season CCSU ranks 311th in defensive rebounding rate. Luckily, Holy Cross, which came into this game ranked #342 at Kenpom, struggled to convert those 2nd chances (44.1% eFG%).
For the Crusaders, wing Judson Martindale was a handful; he finished with 22 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists. Freshman PG Kyrell Luc is an intriguing player; 5'10" and quick, Luc struggled to finish inside but did finish with 11 points.
Seton Hall 85, Wagner 63
Wagner returned to the court after a covid-related pause, but not everyone was able to come back. Absent was head coach Bashir Mason, as well as star Alex Morales and fellow starters DeLonnie Hunt and Will Martinez. And yet; the Seahawks had it tied early in the 2nd half. Ultimately the Pirates were too much, but there's a lot to feel good about if you're Wagner.
Raekwon Rogers, a 6'8" big, led the way with 15 points, while fellow transfer Jahbril Price-Noel had 11 and Elijah Ford had 10 points and 5 boards.
The Seahawks' defense was able to hold the Pirates to 7 of 24 from beyond the arc, but there was too much size and talent, and Seton Hall was able to convert 25 of 32 at the rim. It also didn't help that Wagner turned it over 17 times (22%) and got to the free throw line just 7 times.
Seton Hall had six players in double-figures. Syracuse transfer Kadary Richmond had a cool 10 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds, while 6'10" big Tyrese Samuel had 15 points and 6 boards.
The takeaway from this one for Wagner? This was good experience for some of the younger players on Wagner's roster. Oh; and the Seahawks could probably compete in the NEC without their star players.
Fordham 68, St. Francis-Brooklyn 46
St. Francis-Brooklyn lost its 7th game in a row to begin the season, in a game that never really felt close. The Terriers struggled to get the ball in the hoop; just 4 of 17 from three and 10 of 28 at the rim, which added up to a 30.2% eFG%. Oof.
Larry Moreno was the lone Terrier who had a reasonably efficient night; 13 points on 12 shots (2-6 from deep). Glenn Braica's duo of Michael Cubbage and Patrick Emilien combined for 22 points on 27 field goal attempts. Cubbage added 7 boards and 4 steals, while Jack Hemphill earned the start and grabbed 5 rebounds, as did Bahaide Haidara.
Notable; neither Rob Higgins nor Vuk Stevanic played in this one. Freshman Kasper Suurorg played a season-high 31 minutes (he played a total of 28 minutes coming into this one), tallying 3 points and 2 boards.
SFC struggled to contain 6'9" big Chuba Ohams; the Fordham senior had 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field, and also got to the free throw line 8 times. Oh, and add 22 boards and 3 blocks to his ledger. Antonio Daye added 22.
Three road games for the NEC, two of them against Colonial programs. You know what that means, right? The dreaded FloHoops.
Long Island at Towson, 7pm, FloHoops
Sacred Heart at Lafayette, 7pm, ESPN+
Fairleigh Dickinson at Drexel, 7pm, FloHoops
Things to Watch:
1) Is Towson back to full strength? The Tigers were without two starting guards for the past three games; Antonio Rizzuto and Jason Gibson. Despite that, Towson went 2-1 over those three games, with wins over Penn and New Mexico, and a 71-61 loss against a very good San Francisco team.
2) Can Tyler Thomas stay hot from the perimeter? Over his last three games, he's made 8 of 17 from three, including a season-high 29 points last time out at NJIT. It's no secret that Thomas is the primary scoring threat for SHU; he's taking 36% of the shots when he's on the floor, which is up from 31% last season.
3) Is Brandon Rush back for FDU? I mean, that's it right? I know Fairleigh Dickinson was able to hang with Manhattan without Rush, but do we trust them to score 1.10ppp without their star player again? I do not. Plus; Drexel is better than Manhattan, with wins over Charlotte and St. Joseph's, plus an OT loss against Tulane.
I got back to .500 yesterday, as I took SFU to cover 3.5 against Bucknell and, well, they covered that with ease.
Season Record: 11-11
Today's Bet: Long Island at Towson (-8.5)
We all know Pat Skerry can coach, and his Tigers have jumped from #245 at Kenpom in the pre-season to #183, with 4 blowout wins (Albany, Hampton, Penn, and New Mexico), and three close losses (Monmouth, Pitt, San Francisco).
LIU's yet to score more than 0.97ppp against a team that's not rated among the worst in D1, and while the defense has been good at times, I can't yet trust the backcourt to take care of the basketball.