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NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/12/21

I touched on it a few days ago, and I'm going to dig into it a bit more in Monday's Mid-Range Jumper, but St. Francis-Brooklyn has really defended since the calendar turned to December. On Saturday, however, it was the offense that got going, as the Terriers scored 75 points in 60 possessions as they easily knocked off Delaware St. 75-61 in Dover.

Hello, Rob Higgins! The junior guard scored a game-high (and season high) 17 points, including 3 of 5 from downtown, and added 3 assists and 0 turnovers in 35 minutes. Michael Cubbage added an efficient 16 points on 13 field goal attempts, plus 6 rebounds. As a team, SFC made 11 of 28 from three, and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds (49%).

Delaware St. was able to make some threes (5 of 13), and really converted at the charity stripe (14 of 17), but the St. Francis defense did its job by forcing 14 turnovers (23.3%), which is something they've done well lately.

The Terriers' Patrick Emilien struggled (5 points on 2 of 7 from the field), but did add 7 rebounds. Dominik Fragala led DSU with 16 points.

Odd: Tedrick Wilcox started the season's first 7 games, and played 27+ minutes three times, averaging 13 points and shooting 8 of 17 from three in those 3 games. However, in last weekend's loss to Hartford he was a DNP, and in the last two games he's played a total of 9 minutes. My guess? It's a defense issue. Per Hoop-Explorer, when he's on the floor, the Terriers' Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is 105.7 points/100 possessions. When he's off? 101.5.

Stony Brook 86, Bryant 78

With Peter Kiss and Hall Elisias out due to covid-protocols, Bryant just didn't have quite enough firepower to keep up with the Seawolves, who improve to 2-1 against the NEC.

The takeaway, if you're a Bryant fan; the Bulldogs would still compete in the NEC even if they lost their high usage star and elite rim protector. Especially if Charles Pride is going to play like that. Pride, who has had his struggles early this season, exploded for 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sour Patch Chuck has clearly made a concerted effort to get buckets inside, and over his last two games he's 13 for 16 at the rim. And after making just 1 of 15 three-pointers over his previous three games, he knocked 2 of 6 on Saturday.

Greg Calixte, logging 31 minutes in place of Elisias, had 12 points and 13 boards, while Adham Eleeda was 4 for 9 from three for 12 points. Erickson Bans, who played a season high 26 minutes, went for 11 and 8.

As a team, Bryant made just 7 of 16 free throws, with Calixte going 2 for 8. Also hurting them was 15 turnovers (21%), 5 by Eleeda. Without Elisias, Stony Brook had a lot of success at the rim, going 14 of 21.

Tykei Greene had 19 points and 8 boards for SBU, while Athony Roberts had 20 and 8. Old Friend Jahlil Jenkins finished with 13 points (all in the 2nd half) and 4 assists.

American 72, Mount St. Mary's 66 (OT)

The Mount was outscored 11-5 in overtime in a home loss to Kenpom #307 American on Saturday.

The offensive struggles continued for Mount St. Mary's, which was 3 for 14 from three on Saturday, scoring 0.92ppp, one game after perhaps their best offensive showing at Santa Clara on Tuesday.

After going for 21 and 9 at Santa Clara, Nana Opoku had another big game; 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting, and 6 boards. Unfortunately, that all happened in just 18 minutes as he was limited due to foul trouble. Josh Reaves had 10 points and 5 boards in 37 minutes.

Dan Engelstad's high usage players, Jalen Benjamin and Mezie Offurum, both struggled from the field. Offurum was 3 of 14, Benjamin 4 of 14. Offurum did finish 7 of 9 from the free throw line and add 9 boards.

American, which beat St. Francis (PA) 83-73 on Wednesday, was led by Stacy Beckton's 18 points and 6 boards. Matt Rogers added 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists.

With the loss, the Mount falls to #313 at Kenpom after starting out at #279.

Providence 68, Central Connecticut 53

It's all about the little victories for the young Blue Devils, so outscoring Providence 28-24 in the 2nd half should provide some confidence, if nothing else.

On the whole, Central held PC to just 0.89ppp, as the Friars struggled from beyond the arc (6 of 26). What's more; defensive rebounding has been an issue all season, yet Providence was only to muster 4 offensive boards (10%). The primary reason was that the guards crashed the glass; Nigel Scantlebury had 10 boards, while freshmen Andre Snoddy and Jayden Brown had 7 and 6, respectively.

Offensively it was a struggle for CCSU. Just 7 of 27 from downtown, but it was really ugly inside the arc; 3 of 18 from the mid-range, and 8 of 18 at the rim. That's not a surprise given the size that Providence can throw at you.

A tough day offensively for Scantlebury; 2 for 10 from the field for 9 points, 3 assists and 2 turnovers. Fellow starter Ian Krishnan was just 1 for 10. Tre Mitchell, who has struggled early this season, got hot and scored a season-high 15 points, including 3 of 8 from deep and 6 of 6 from the foul line.

A major concern: Besides Mitchell's 6 for 6 and Scantlebury's 2 for 2, the rest of the Blue Devils were 2 of 12 from the free throw line. Brown was 0 for 5, and is now just for 2 for 9 from the charity stripe.

For Providence, A.J. Reeves had a night; 17 points, 9 boards, and 7 assists against just 1 turnover. Justin Minaya had 14, and Noah Horchler had a 12 point, 10 board double-double.

Today's Games

Merrimack at Indiana, Noon, B1G Network

On Wednesday night, Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren killed Merrimack inside, and now they have to go up against 6'9" B1G Player of the Year candidate Trayce Jackson-Davis and 6'8" Race Thompson. Jackson-Davis is averaging 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, and has been dominant inside to the tune of a 62.2% eFG%. Thompson is checking in at 10.2 points and 8.9 rebounds, and is shooting 61.4% on twos (just 2 for 14 from deep). This shouldn't be the blowout the Gonzaga game was, but Indiana is the 2nd best team this Merrimack program has ever played (#32 at Kenpom).

Best Bets

I broke my slump yesterday taking the under in the SFC-Delaware St. game, and quite frankly I felt like it was obvious. I also hopped in to take Stony Brook -2.5 once I saw that Peter Kiss and Hall Elisias were out, and I had to sweat more than I had expected (of course, that game doesn't count for record purposes).

Season Record: 14-16

Today's Bet: Merrimack at Indiana (under 124.5)

Until Merrimack fails to hit the under at least twice in a row, I will continue to ride them. Process over results.

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