NEC Recap – November 26

Six NEC teams were in action two evenings away from Thanksgiving. According to KenPom, all six were registered as underdogs, with Wagner having the most “realistic” shot of beating their opponent, St. Bonaventure. Despite the low odds, tonight served as an interesting barometer for several teams heading into the holiday break. Let’s check in to see how the conference fared.

Mount St. Mary’s 69, Bucknell 64

Mount St. Mary’s defeated Bucknell in an upset, since KenPom had the Bison listed as an 11-point favorite. It was the first time in 12 seasons these two programs have played, despite the two schools being only two hours apart. Rashad Whack scored a game high 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting, while Julian Norfleet had 13 points, seven assists, and zero turnovers. Overall, the Mount’s big three of Norfleet/Whack/Prescott continued to produce (48 of 69 points) and was too athletic at times for Bucknell’s backcourt. The Mount’s playmakers carried them to an eight-point lead at halftime. A game Bison club, however, battled back to within two points late, mainly due to the efforts of Brian Fitzpatrick. He and Chris Hass were the only two Bison in double figures with 18 and 10 points, respectively. The duo each achieved a career high in scoring, but it wasn’t enough to offset Bucknell’s poor defensive effort. It was the worst defensive performance of the season for Dave Paulsen’s Bison, as they allowed the Mountaineers to score 1.19 points per possession.

Boston College 75, Sacred Heart 67, OT

Three evenings removed from their first ever victory over an Atlantic 10 program, Sacred Heart failed to build a winning streak in Chestnut Hill, although they certainly gave Boston College a run for their money. The Pioneers had a chance to win it late, but a long Chris Evans three failed to find the bottom of the net at the end of regulation. Boston College, behind a monster Ryan Anderson line of 29 points and 11 rebounds, outscored Sacred Heart 14-6 in the overtime to eek out the victory. Anthony Latina’s upset-minded group built a first half lead, thanks to the three-point shot and their transition game. In the second half, however, the Eagles successfully slowed the game tempo to a crawl and used their interior size to their advantage, though Sacred Heart hung around. Phil Gaetano had his best game of the season, scoring 16 points by hitting a career high four triples. Chris Evans and Steve Glowiak also scored in double figures for the Pioneers. The Eagles were terrific at the free throw line, especially when it mattered late, converting 81% of their attempts by going 26 of 32.

Central Connecticut 74, NJIT 71

Not since the 1997-98 season, Howie Dickenman’s second season at the helm, have the Blue Devils started the season with five straight losses. Luckily for the Blue Devil faithful that streak will hold for another season, as CCSU pulled out a much-needed road victory over the NJIT Highlanders. Kyle Vinales led the Blue Devils with an ultra efficient 27 points on a mere 12 shots. Matthew Hunter, who missed last Saturday’s home opener with concussion symptoms, returned as a (surprise, surprise) stat stuffer, posting 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the victory. After a impressive first half, the Blue Devils nearly let a double-digit lead slip away late. NJIT was led by Damon Lynn and Ky Howard who combined for 35 points. Defense was a major emphasis for Howie Dickenman this offseason, and so far the extra work hasn’t paid off. Prior to tonight, CCSU allowed opponents to score 1.21 points per possession, and NJIT scored 48 points in the second half tonight.

Buffalo 81, Robert Morris 66

After a tight first stanza, Bobby Hurley’s Buffalo Bulls pulled ahead comfortably, handing Robert Morris their second consecutive loss and fourth in five games. In a fast paced affair, Buffalo was simply better rebounding the basketball (41 to 31) and outproducing at the charity stripe (25 to 20). It was Buffalo’s second victory of the season. Several Colonials exhibited a double-digit efficiency rating in this one, as Lucky Jones, Jeremiah Worthem, Karvel Anderson and Anthony Myers-Pate all scored in double figures. The remainder of the team, however, failed to garner much of a contribution. Also troubling, the Colonials continued their reputation as a fouling machine this young season. Prior to tonight, Robert Morris was in the bottom 20 nationally in defensive free throw rate. That trend surely continued as Buffalo shot 39 free throws in the home victory.

Fairleigh Dickinson 73, Rutgers 72

In one of the biggest upsets of the season, Greg Herenda’s Knights shocked their in-state rivals by winning on the road. Rutgers was leading the series 8-1 going in, but a Matt MacDonald (14 points) three late in the contest pushed Fairleigh Dickinson to their first Division I victory of the year. Once again, FDU point guard Sidney Sanders, Jr. paced the Knights with a game high 22 points and 10 assists. Sanders has been the perfect leader for an inexperienced team; currently he has 41 assists against 18 turnovers on the young season. The Knights shot well from behind the arc, hitting 48% of their rainmakers, compared to Rutgers who only drained 35%. It was the difference in the game that was otherwise statistically neck-and-neck.

St. Bonaventure 70, Wagner 67

A 37 to 26 point edge in the second half wasn’t enough to push Wagner to their fourth straight victory in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Showcase. The Bonnies led the entire way and limited the Seahawks to 41% shooting and 4 of 16 from behind the arc. Mario Moody scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in the loss, while Jay Harris tabbed 14 points, which ties the most he’s ever scored in a Wagner uniform. For the first time in four games, Wagner failed to take care of the basketball with nine assists versus 14 turnovers against their Atlantic 10 foe.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride

One thought on “NEC Recap – November 26

  1. An Incredible win.Scooter Gillette Dunk off a missed shot and Matt McDonald 2 threes in the clutch,should be on ESPN Highlights. The Incredible part of the victory is that the last 2 minutes of the contest FDU Frontcourt Fouled out of the game and FDU was playing small and then some with the Clutch rebound at the end by 5’6″ Malachi Nix.The difference in the game was that Rutgers had no answer for Sidney Sanders(Watch out Northeast League their is a new star emerging)and that they hit their three point shots. On to Seton Hall Sunday.

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