Both sides of the luck coin

There were seven games played by New York City area teams on Thursday night. St. Francis (NY) beat Quinnipiac 73-72 as Stefan Perunicic hit the game-tying layup, and game-winning free throw. Perunicic also scored his 1,000th point in the victory. Manhattan lost a real tough one to swallow as Dylon Cormier hit a three in the left corner on Loyola’s final possession in the Greyhounds’ 61-60 victory.

Game like those two demonstrate how fragile winning and losing can be in college basketball. Ultimately it’s that end result that matters, but it’s never that simple. Ken Pomeroy tracks something he calls “Luck” on his site, but it’s only sort of like finding a four-leaf clover. It’s the difference between a team’s expected record given their ratings and their actual one.

Coming into tonight’s game between Massachusetts and Fordham both schools were in the Top 50 nationally in “Luck”. The Minutemen have been one of the surprises of early season college basketball, even if they haven’t gotten the hype of say Wagner. It was a stretch of three victories by five points or less though, that helped UMass to its 11-3 record. It got another one too on Thursday night. Fordham (12th in luck) battled all the way back into the game, but couldn’t close it out before falling 80-76 on the road. St. Peter’s did something similar to UMass in it’s 65-61 win over Canisius, building a double-digit lead before hanging on to move to 2-2 in the MAAC.

Sometimes though you can avoid having fate play a role. Long Island was locked in a close game for most of the contest with Sacred Heart, but the Blackbirds pulled away late to get a comfortable 87-81 victory. Once again both Jamal Olasewere (29 points, 12 boards) and Julian Boyd (12 points, 12 boards) had double-doubles for the Blackbirds. A similar thing happened in Binghamton, where Stony Brook took a late lead and finished off the winless Bearcats 60-54. Tommy Brenton was the star for the Seawolves in that one with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Wagner left nothing to chance against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Seahawks jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and cruised to an 88-64 win over the Knights in NEC play. Jonathon Williams scored 23 points and Latif Rivers added 19 in the blowout. Here’s a Mario Moody alley-oop dunk to celebrate the big win.

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