NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/3/21
Down in Easton, PA, Sacred Heart put together perhaps its best all-around game of the season in a 74-67 win at Lafayette. Tyler Thomas scored 15 points on 7 of 15 shooting (well below his season average of 20.1 ppg), but came up huge late; the junior wing scored 8 of Sacred Heart's final 13 points.
Aaron Clarke continued his excellent start, scoring 19 points (4 of 5 from three, 5 of 6 from the charity stripe) to go along with 5 assists and no turnovers. Alex Watson scored a career-high 17, and Nico Galette had 8 points, 9 boards, and 3 steals, while Bryce Johnson chipped in 12p, 6r, and 3 assists.
Last night was all about offensive efficiency for the Pios; their 1.11ppp was their best this season thanks to finishing 15 of 19 at the rim and 9 of 25 from three (57.8% eFG%).
Lafayette was coming off wins at Rutgers and Columbia, and was led by 7-footer Neal Quinn, who scored 20 points on 11 field goal attempts, to go along with 8 boards. However, the Leopards struggled from the perimeter (10 of 34), and were just 5 of 11 from the free throw line.
Towson 72, Long Island 63
LIU jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead on Thursday, before Towson went ahead during a 20-2 run. The Sharks were able to keep it close, as the Tigers never lead by more than 12, but ultimately Long Island couldn't overcome making just 6 of 27 from three.
For LIU, I have to start in the backcourt; I've been critical of what Tre Wood and Alex Rivera have given them so far this season, but last night the two were really good; Wood scored a season-high 13 points (including 2 of 5 from downtown), with 2 assists and 2 steals (and 2 turnovers). Rivera scored 9 points on 7 field goal attempts, but added 11 rebounds and 3 assists (just 1 turnover).
Isaac Kante led the Sharks with 17 points and 6 boards, but it was a rough night for the forwards. Eral Penn managed to score 14 points, but was just 1 of 6 from three and 3 of 6 from the free throw line. Ty Flowers was 2 of 14 from the floor in 35 minutes, though did have 4 assists.
Notable; Derek Kellogg has largely gone to a 6-man rotation, with Kyndall Davis the only bench player to play more than 5 minutes last night.
For Towson, which is now ranked #179 at Kenpom, Cam Holden scored 21 points, while Nicolas Timberlake had 9 points and 11 boards.
Drexel 86, Fairleigh Dickinson
FDU welcomed back Brandon Rush, but not Greg Herenda, as the Knights battled but a late Drexel run pushed this one out of reach.
Rush, who missed Tuesday's loss at Manhattan, scored 9 points in 28 minutes. Mikey Square had his 2nd big scoring game in row (14 points), and Devon Dunn also had 14 but 0 assists and 4 turnovers. Freshman big Anquan Hill got his second consecutive start, and had 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Drexel had a lot of success inside; 21 of 34, including 10 of 14 from 6'8" big James Butler, who also had 14 boards. FDU big Pier-Olivier Racine continues to be MIA; after starting the first three games, he's played no more than 6 minutes in any of the last 4, including just 2 minutes last night.
Drexel wing Melik Martin scored 20 points and added 5 assists and 4 boards.
This was the 3rd game that coach Greg Herenda missed due to a "non-covid illness". Concerning, for sure. I'm really hoping he can get back on the sidelines soon.
Just one game featuring an NEC team being played on this Friday evening.
Bryant at Houston, 8pm, ESPN+
Can Bryant slow down Marcus Sasser? Houston's 6'1" combo-guard has increased his scoring from 13.7ppg last season to 18.6, and he's done it super efficiently; he's shooting 48/46/71, and also has a 21% assist rate.
I squeaked out a win last night, taking Towson -8.5 against Long Island. I'll take it!
Season Record: 12-11
Today's Bet: None
Just one game on the sched, and I just don't like it; the line has Houston -23.5, with the over/under 140.5. Houston is really good; per Kenpom they have the top rated defense and 10th rated offense (#4 overall), and this feels like a game to just stay away from.