NEC Daily Ball Screen: 1/16/22
Wagner improved to 5-0 in NEC play (3-0 in actual games played) down in Staten Island, but it wasn't nearly as easy as expected.
Coming in as anywhere between 15 and 18 point favorites, the Seahawks never led by more than 11 points, and the Terriers managed to cut the lead to 1 at 73-72 with just over 2 minutes left. Wagner big man Raekwon Rogers scored 5 points with less than 1:40 left, and Will Martinez knocked down two free throws with 23 seconds left to ice it.
Let's start with Rogers; the grad transfer from D2 Henderson St. seems to get better each game, and on Saturday he had a team-high 22 points on 8 of 12 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free throw line despite being limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Bashir Mason continually went to Rogers in the post, and it paid off in a big way. Will Martinez added 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting (and 6 of 7 from the free throw line), while Elijah Ford was 8 of 9 from the field for 16 points and 8 boards. Oh, and he did this:
Despite missing all 8 of their three-point attempts and getting just 8 points from Alex Morales (his previous season-low was 11), Wagner was able to win this one thanks to outscoring St. Francis-Brooklyn 60-30 in the paint, converting 27 of 38 at the rim.
We shouldn't ignore the Terriers, however; SFC was able to score 1.15ppp against a very strong Wagner defense, with Patrick Emilien making 9 of 13 from the field (23 points), featuring a myriad of moves on the block including a Dirk Nowitzki-like fadeaway. Tedrick Wilcox finished with 12 points (3 of 6 from three) and 8 boards, while Michael Cubbage had 13 and Jack Hemphill had 10. Unfortunately, St. Francis-Brooklyn is now 1-4 in the league.
Bryant 73, Mount St. Mary's 66
Bryant was able to keep pace with Wagner, improving to 4-1 thanks to the Adham Eleeda show.
The transfer from Northern Kentucky is now shooting 39.4% from three on the season, including 18 of 40 in NEC play. Peter Kiss added 18 points on 7 of 16 shooting, plus 5 assists, though he did have 6 turnovers. Charles Pride added 13 points, including 3 of 4 from three. Thanks to Eleeda and Pride, Bryant made 12 of 24 as a team from beyond the arc, and just 13 of 32 inside the arc.
Mount St. Mary's managed just 0.94ppp, as they made just 5 three-pointers (on 14 attempts) and turned it over 16 times. Nana Opoku had a 15 points/10 rebound double-double, while Jalen Benjamin scored 15 points on 12 field goal attempts. The sophomore wing tandem of Josh Reaves and Dakota Leffew combined for 24 points.
Mount St. Mary's is now 1-4 (1-2 in actual games played), though play 5 of their next 7 games at the Knot.
St. Francis (PA) 62, Merrimack 46
In the day's most surprising result, the Red Flash went up to North Andover and held Merrimack to just 0.67ppp. Yes, that's the same Warriors squad who came into this game scoring 1.19ppp in their three previous NEC games. The Warriors were just 3 of 23 from beyond the arc, putting up a woeful 31.9% eFG% and turning it over 17 times in 69 possessions.
SFU got big games from a pair of sophomores in Max Land (13 points and 9 boards) and Josh Cohen (12 points and 7 boards). Despite turning it over 19 times and making just 4 of 17 from deep, the Red Flash were able to score a respectable 0.90 against Merrimack thanks to making 12 of 18 at the rim. Marlon Hargis added 14 points on 7 field goal attempts.
Malik Edmead finished with 13 points (5 of 14 from the field) and 5 assists, while Jordan Minor had an 11/10 double-double, to go along with 4 steals (though he did have 5 turnovers). Mikey Watkins scored just 6 points, and had 0 assists with 5 turnovers.
SFU played this one without Myles Thompson and Ronell Giles, and given the sudden lack of depth, Krimmel had no choice but to play two bigs together. It will be interesting to see how that works out going forward.
Sacred Heart 77, Fairleigh Dickinson
Aaron Clarke scored 21 points, including the 1,000th of his career, as Sacred Heart won in workmanlike fashion. Clarke was 7 of 11 from the field, and also added 5 assists and 0 turnovers, while Tyler Thomas scored 24 points. Nico Galette had a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards.
The Pios made just 5 of 15 from three, and instead focused on getting to the rim where they were 15 for 18. FDU, for their part, took 33 shots at the rim against the undersized SHU frontline, but managed to make just 14 of those shots.
The Knights' Mikey Square continued his fine sophomore season, finishing with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, while Devon Dunn came off the bench to score 17 points and added 3 steals. Dunn was 4 of 10 from three, but just 2 of 10 from two, and on the season he's making 38.6% from downtown and 28.9% on 2-pointers.
Brandon Rush was quiet on Saturday, as SHU did a good job bottling him up; he ultimately finished with 10 points on 10 field goal attempts in 27 minutes. Joe Munden, who did not play in FDU's win over SFU on 12/31, played 28 minutes, and while he had 9 points and 9 boards, he also had 6 turnovers.
Long Island 83, Central Connecticut 61
After CCSU jumped out to a 12-1 lead, LIU responded by scoring 21 of the game's next 22 points and never looked back in this one.
The Sharks continued their hot shooting at the Steinberg Wellness Center, knocking down 12 of 29 from three while limiting the Blue Devils to just 17 field goal attempts at the rim and 3 of 13 in the mid-range.
Alex Rivera had, perhaps, his best game in an Long Island uniform,= finishing with 21 points on 6 of 7 from three, plus 4 assists and 3 steals in 29 minutes. Ty Flowers went for 30, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Eral Penn scored 12 points on 11 field goal attempts.
The Blue Devils, which fell to 1-3 in games actually played, got a huge night form freshman Andre Snoddy, including his first career double-double; 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Ian Krishnan was 5 of 11 from three (18 points), and Trenton McLaughlin knocked down three 3-pointers.
Nigel Scantlebury, CCSU's star PG, was held to 2 points in 15 minutes. With CCSU up 12-4 with 12-4 with 13 minutes left in the 1st half, Scantlebury picked up his 2nd foul and sat for the remainder of the 1st half as LIU outscored Central Connecticut 35-15 between that point and intermission. It's also worth noting that he also sat for most of the 2nd half, despite not picking up another foul. Freshman Jayden Brown, who started the game and picked up his 2nd foul with 10:30 left in the 1st half, and did not reappear until there was a little more than 6 minutes remaining in the game.