NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/15/21

In the inaugural Jack Phelan Class, St. Francis (PA) went up to Hartford, jumped out to a big early lead, then cruised to an 81-66 win over UHart.

SFU outscored Hartford 23-9 over the games first 10 minutes, and led 50-25 about one minute into the second half. The Hawks made it somewhat interesting, cutting the lead to 62-55 with 8:30 left as the Red Flash went cold offensively, but a 14-5 St. Francis run effectively ended things.

In yesterday's Ball Screen, I wondered aloud of SFU could start defending, and it did! The Red Flash held the Hawks to just 8 of 34 from three, and turned them over 18 times (25%). In fact, this game would probably have been a bigger blowout if Hartford hadn't had unsustainable success in the mid-range (14 of 18).

Offensively, Ronell Giles earned his first ever "Kenpom MVP" thanks to shooting 7 of 9 from the field for 17 points, plus 4 assists and 1 turnover. I'm planning on digging into Giles in next week's Mid-Range Jumper, as he's really improved inside the arc (45.7% this season, 39.5% as a freshman) and in terms of taking care of the basketball.

No to be outdone, fellow sophomore Max Land finished with 15 points (3 of 5 from three, 6 boards, 3 assists), as did Josh Cohen (6 of 8 from the field, 5 rebounds). According to NEC MBB Associate Commissioner Ron Ratner, Ramiir Dixon-Conover because just the 6th player in the nation this season to post at least 13p/5r/51/6s in a game vs. a D1 team.

As a team, SFU scored 1.11ppp, and had little issue both inside (27 of 47) and outside (7 of 18). In watching this game, it felt like at times Hartford had very little interest in playing defense. No wonder they have the 347th ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in the entire nation.

Junior guard Moses Flowers led the Hawks with 23 points on 13 field goal attempts. Austin Williams put up a 13p/10r/7a line, but also had 7 turnovers.

Stony Brook 87, Central Connecticut 67

CCSU took an early 7-4 lead, then the Seawolves went on an extended 30-8 run to put this one to bed in the first half, as SBU took a 47-30 lead into the break.

After putting up a season-best 85.7 Adjusted DE in Saturday's 68-53 loss at Providence, last night the Blue Devils had their worst Adjusted DE of the season; 119.5. Stony Brook was getting good looks from all over the court, especially in the first half, finishing 14 of 27 from three and 16 of 26 at the rim for a whopping 66.1% eFG%.

Nigel Scantlebury continued his hot start, scoring 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting, to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists (just 2 turnovers). Trenton McLaughlin came off the bench to score 13 points (2 of 3 from downtown), while fellow freshman Jayden Brown scored 13 points, including his 2nd three-pointer of the season.

If you're looking for a silver-lining in this one, Tre Mitchell had his 2nd consecutive double-figure scoring night, scoring 12 points, including 2 of 5 from three. Over his last two games, he's made 5 of 13 from beyond the arc, which is more in line with last season's 3P% (36.8) than this year's (27.3%).

Freshman Andre Snoddy had a tough one; 2 points and 6 turnovers (0 assists) in 26 minutes. Snoddy is one of the best rebounders in the NEC, and had 6 last night, but he's got 8 assists against 28 turnovers this season.

Old Friend Jahlil Jenkins led Stony Brook with 21 points and 5 assists, knocking down 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. Anthony Roberts added 19 points, while Tyler Stephenson-Moore and Tykei Greene had 14 apiece. SBU finishes the season 3-1 against the NEC, with wins over CCSU, Bryant, and Sacred Heart, and that 78-49 loss to Wagner. All four games were home.

Today's Game

Fairfield at Fairleigh Dickinson, 7pm, NEC FrontRow

Thing to Watch:

Does FDU have enough offensive fire-power to hang with Fairfield? The Stags have the top-rated offense in the MAAC, with an Adjusted OE of 107 pts/100 possessions that ranks 71st nationally. Jay Young has talent and depth, with guys who can score inside (6'4" big wing Taj Benning, 6'9" big Supreme Cook, 6'10" big Chris Maidoh) and outside (senior guard Caleb Green, wing Jesus Cruz, and freshman PG TJ Long). Fairfield's eFG% of 54.5% is 43rd nationally (36% from three, 55% from two), and they don't turn it over (15.8% turnover rate is 36th nationally). Fairleigh Dickinson has the 2nd worst defense in the NEC, according to Torvik's Adjusted DE, and they've scored more than 0.98ppp just twice this season.

No Best Bets today; Stony Brook has covered in 8 of its 9 games, but I'm not very interested in touching a 9-point road favorite. If that came down to 7 or so, I'd consider it. Otherwise, I'm leaving this one alone.