NEC Daily Ball Screen: 1/9/22

Before we get to the games, yesterday NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris appeared during halftime down at St. Francis-Brooklyn and discussed, among other things, the league's forfeiture rule. You can listen for yourself over at NEC FrontRow (fast forward to around the 1 hour mark), but my takeaways are:

1) Games are most likely not going to being rescheduled. Last season they built the schedule in a way that allowed for make-up games, and this year that need was not anticipated/expected. Make-ups mean mid-week games, which means more missed class time, plus more of a burden on the players, administrative, staff, etc. both from a physical and mental health standpoint.

2) The league is constantly re-evaluating. The NCAA is meeting on January 19th to determine if they will adjust their minimum games requirement for competing in the NCAA Tournament. Right now that number is 25 (it was just 13 last season). If the NCAA does not reduce that number, and some teams are hurt by canceled/forfeited games more than others, they may be forced to try to reschedule at least a few games.

There was not a discussion of re-evaluating the forfeiture policy, like it or not. Let's hope there are no more games affected.

Let's do a quick bounce around the league.

Long Island 75, St. Francis (PA) 70 (OT)

After leading by as many as 13 points in the 2nd half, SFU stormed back, ultimately taking a 2 point lead after a pair of Ramiir Dixon-Conover free throws with 16 seconds left. However, Isaac Kante made a pair of his own with 4 seconds to force overtime, and eventually the Sharks would score the game's final 5 points to secure the victory.

Long Island had four scorers in double-figures, led by Ty Flowers' 21 points and 7 boards, though he was just 2 for 11 from beyond the arc. Eral Penn had 14/7, while Isaac Kante had a 10/11 double-double. Kyndall Davis had 11 points and 5 assists, and added this thunderous put-back dunk that got major props within the Twittersphere:

The Red Flash, which dropped to 0-4 in NEC play, got a big game from RDC; 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, though he did have 4 turnovers. As a team SFU made 17 of 20 from the free throw line, and battled back despite losing Ronell Giles to what appeared to be a knee injury in the 1st half. Let's hope it looked worse than it actually was. Maxwell Land stepped up in a big way, scoring 20 points and adding 8 rebounds in 41 minutes. SFU was again without Josh Cohen, though back-up big Jeriah Coleman looked good in 12 minutes of action. Mark Flagg had 14 boards, 4 assists, and 2 blocks, though was just 1 for 7 from the field.

LIU won despite making just 7 of 27 from three, largely thanks to taking care of the basketball (just 13 turnovers) and making 18 of 25 from the free throw line. St. Francis (PA) turned it over 18 times, and wasn't able to get much at the rim (7 of 13), instead taking 31 mid-range shots, making just 9.

Merrimack 66, Central Connecticut 57

Merrimack improved to 4-0 (3-0 in games actually played) on Saturday in New Britain in an empty Detrick Gym. Jordan Minor managed just 8 points on 12 field goal attempts, but was a monster defensively, blocking 8 shots. In watching the game, it felt more like 18.

Offensively, the Warriors were led by Ziggy Reid's 20 points and Mikey Watkins' 17. Reid, who really had issues shooting the basketball in non-conference play, is now 6 for 13 from downtown in three NEC games, and is averaging 16.7ppg in league play. Watkins was 6 for 10 from the field, and also added 6 rebounds. As a team, Merrimack knocked down 9 of 22 from distance (41%), as even 6'7" freshman Nick Filchner got into the action, making 2 of 3.

In Patrick Sellers' first in-person look at the Merrimack defense, his Blue Devils turned it over 16 times (26%), and were just 12 for 33 inside the arc, largely due to the rim protection Minor provided. CCSU, which got back all the players they were missing last week (Nigel Scantlebury, Jayden Brown, Zach Newkirk, and Tre Mitchell) were without key reserves Trenton McLaughlin and Davonte Sweatman. Scantlebury had a quiet 13 points (6 for 6 from the free throw line), to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists (and 5 turnovers). Ian Krishnan was 4 for 8 from deep (18 points), while Andre Snoddy had 7 points and 8 rebounds (plus 4 turnovers) in 37 minutes.

Mount St. Mary's 69, St. Francis-Brooklyn 61

Down 30-17 in the 1st half and 32-24 at the half, Mount St. Mary's went on an extended 37-10 run to win their first league game after having to forfeit their first two.

Josh Reaves was huge off the bench in this one, knocking down 4 of 7 from distance for 19 points and 5 boards, while Jalen Benjamin was 6 for 6 from the charity stripe (16 points). The Mount had a D1 season best 65.4% eFG% (7 of 12 from three), though they were without Dakota Leffew in this one.

While SFC struggled to force the Mount into misses, they allowed just 1 Mountaineer offensive rebound and forced 16 turnovers (24.6%), though it wasn't enough as the Terriers scored just 0.94ppp despite making 17 of 22 from the charity stripe. The Terriers made just 6 of 20 from three, perhaps missing Larry Moreno, and were 8 of 28 in the mid-range. Rob Higgins had an inefficient 13 points on 4 of 16 shooting, while Michael Cubbage and Patrick Emilien (11 points apiece) were held largely in check, as was Tedrick Wilcox (5 points on 2 of 7 shooting). Emilien added 10 boards.