Three Thoughts: Rutgers 76, St. Francis Brooklyn 73

St. Francis Brooklyn led numerous times at the RAC against Big Ten opponent Rutgers in a back-and-forth show in the second half. The Terriers ended up losing 76-73 in the final seconds though after a missed three point shot by Brent Jones, when St. Francis was only down by two. St. Francis is now 0-3 after close losses to Army and Rutgers and a defeat versus Georgetown.

Note: This is a guest post from Harrison Malkin.

Here are some thoughts about the game:

1) Despite an 0-3 start, St. Francis can still live up to their lofty expectations: St. Francis played tough and left it all on the court tonight against Rutgers. The Terriers had the lead multiple times and were just a few points away from a win, and still have not won a game against Rutgers in the team’s history. This season, St. Francis also lost to Army, a team that had a losing record last year. That loss is nothing to fret about because St. Francis has not played well against Army recently, losing to them last season. The loss before these two was against Georgetown, one of the best teams in the Big East. St. Francis hung around in the loss, and was only down by six at halftime.

One of the only glaring problems right now facing St. Francis is their turnovers. St. Francis committed 21 turnovers against Rutgers, and they were all very costly in the loss on Sunday. St. Francis head coach Glenn Braica said after the game, “I think we are going to be alright this year, but have to stop turning over the ball. We have to value possessions early in the game.” He went on to say that turnovers “can come back to bite you later on,” which they did in the loss.

Right now, the team is playing hard and their losses have for the most part been been close. There is so much of the season left and the Terriers definitely have a chance still to live up to their steep expectations.

2) Jalen Cannon needs to stay out of foul trouble: NEC preseason player of the year Jalen Cannon played only 12 minutes in the loss, garnering a mere two points and three rebounds. Cannon committed five personal fouls and was thus disqualified for the rest of the game. He is instrumental in his team’s success, and averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for St. Francis last season. Cannon puts up  big numbers that are essential to the success of St. Francis. For Cannon to have the same kind of impact he did last season, he needs to stay out of foul trouble. When St. Francis took on Army, he achieved a double-double with fifteen points and ten boards. The senior scored ten points and picked up five rebounds against Georgetown too. Cannon has to keep his fouls under control in order for St. Francis to have a successful season and live up to their expectations as NEC preseason favorite.

3) Gunnar Olafsson is ready for a big season: Gunnar Olafsson, a guard from Iceland, played 28 minutes in the St. Francis game, but those were 28 productive minutes for the freshman. Although he started off not shooting the best, he gained momentum and ended up shooting 2-5 from the field and from the three. Olafsson did not take a shot in his game against Army and only was in for 12 minutes. Today when he got on the court for a longer amount of time, he showed glimpses into what the future can hold for him. The impact he had on the game was evident in the final seconds when St. Francis had the ball. The Terriers were only down by two and because Olafsson had been shooting excellently from three-point range, Rutgers did not let him get open to get a shot off. Gunnar Olafsson had a solid outing against Rutgers and showed just how good he can be.

Thanks Harrison for the guest post! You can find him on Twitter and at SBNation’s Big East Coast Bias.

6 thoughts on “Three Thoughts: Rutgers 76, St. Francis Brooklyn 73

  1. Was really encouraged by the gritty effort by the Terriers in the second half — they looked like a different team during that stanza. Actually, if you look at the stats, you’ll wonder how the Terriers ever lost that game, until you see the turnovers number. That’s the second game in a row where SFC help to defeat themselves. Despite the giveaways, there were a lot of positives for the Terriers, as a lot of different players emerged as contributors. Bit disappointed with some of the fouls called on Jalen Cannon because it was a very physical game on both sides. However, he Terriers’ depth in the frontcourt showed, as they were able to handle his unavailability — he was on the court for all of 12 minutes. If you get a chance, take a look at Kevin Douglas flying one-handed putback courtesy of BTN over at Blackbirds Hoops Journal. It was incredible and I’m surprised it didn’t make the rounds already on social media. Nice story today in the NY Post on the two LIU kids from Iceland. Ironically, on the accompanying page was a photo of fellow Icelander Gunnar Olafsson of SFC defending vs Rutgers.

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  2. close losses no longer matter, you have to win some games, bottom line. As Bill Parcells once said you are what what your record says you are.

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    1. The Terriers appear to be on the right track if they can minimize turnovers. There are no given W’s on their schedule, and with their lack of size vs Big East and Big 10 opponents and the fact that Coach Braica is trying to still trying to get several new key guys into the rotation, expect early season games like this to happen: close but no cigar! (If you remember, SFC history has been littered with some really lop-sided losses to programs like Rutgers, so the Remsen Street crew has really improved its lot vs the big boys.) If the Terriers are not winning games during the conference portion of the schedule, then there will be reason to worry. The guess here is that you likely saw a team on Sunday that at the end of the year will probably be bound for the Big Dance — and it wasn’t Rutgers!

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  3. Update — Tuesday night game at LaSalle — final score: Explorers 73, Terriers 60. They’re continuing to produce more turnovers than Entenmann’s. Scary stat: No one player had more than two give-aways. Only Terrier not to turn it over was Tony Jenifer. Can’t possibly win that way!! Hope that Coach Braica can get this straightened out — and fast! Two big inside guys for LaSalle proved to be a bit much to handle. The Terriers had no answer size-wise.

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  4. turnovers and lack of defense are not easy things to correct. there are a few wins on the horizon and the nec is the ONLY thing that counts. I always thought Bracia should play more zone, players do not appear capable of tough man to man defense.

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    1. Was hoping that the Terriers could steal a game or two early in the schedule in the hope that they could position themselves for a post-season invitation somewhere in the event that they don’t win the NEC. They let the games against Army and Rutgers get away from them. Both were winnable. The talent is there — unfortunately, the execution at this stage of the season is not.

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