NEC Recap January 7 – The Second Saturday

Fairleigh Dickinson managed to sneak past Bryant, which means everyone in the NEC is still chasing the undefeated Knights four games in. It didn’t stop two other teams from grabbing key road victories.

Fairleigh Dickinson 87, Bryant 84

Nisre Zouzoua had a chance to tie the game on the final possession, but Fairleigh Dickinson held on for the 3-point victory after building a 22-point halftime lead. Zouzoua scored 22 points in the loss. Marcel Pettway added 21 and Bosko Kostur had 17 as the Bulldogs were able to shoot 21-37 (57%) inside the arc.

What kept the Knights undefeated in NEC play was the play of Stephan Jiggets. He scored 20 points to lead FDU and also haded out six assists. Earl Potts Jr. also looks to rounding into form, as he had 19 points. In all FDU had five players score in double-figures as they scored 1.25 points per possession to move to 4-0 in NEC play. The defense is certainly a concern—FDU has allowed 1.09 and 1.21 points per possession the last two times out, but the offense is excellent and bailing them out.

Mount St. Mary’s 77, Central Connecticut 68

The Mount captured its first not-that-close NEC game over the struggling Blue Devils Detrick Gymnasium on Saturday. MSM is now 3-1 and hosts Fairleigh Dickinson in a key early-season NEC showdown on Thursday. Freshman Miles Wilson had another outstanding game with 21 points on 8-12 shooting from the field. Chris Wray scored 13 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, had 5 assists and also blocked 4 shots. That sort of versatility is the best case scenario for what the 6-foot-8 junior can give Jamion Christian this season.

CCSU played just seven players in the contest, and Kevin Seymour played just three minutes. Every Blue Devil besides Khalen Cumberlander and Seymour had at least four fouls. Cumberlander scored 26 points thanks to 12-18 shooting inside the arc.

LIU Brooklyn 83, Saint Francis U. 70

LIU seems to be rounding into form at exactly the right moment as the Blackbirds swept the western Pennsylvania swing with a 13-point victory in Loretto. Even against a bigger frontline Jerome Frink was absolutely dominant. He scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Raiquan Clark and Nura Zanna each grabbed six offensive rebounds apiece by crashing the glass after the attention was drawn to Frink. Zanna finished with 10 points and 13 board, while Clark had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

The Blackbirds also received some clutch 3-point shooting from freshmen guards Julian Batts (3-5, 9 points) and Jashaun Agosto (2-4, 8 points). LIU’s KenPom rating continues to climb and is now at a season-high 246. The Blackbirds are 15th nationally in offensive rebounding at 37% and are grabbing a ridiculous 46% of their misses in NEC play.

Isaiah Blackmon led the Red Flash with 19 points. Keith Braxton scored 12 points on 4-11 shooting from the field. The defense, which had helped SFU win two straight, is a definite problem, but not many NEC teams have the size of LIU.

Robert Morris 62, St. Francis Brooklyn 58

RMU held off the SFC to grab a much needed victory at the Sewall Center. Kavon Stewart returned from a 1-game suspension, but he shot just 2-8 from the field and scored 7 points in 32 minutes. But his counterpart on the other side, Yunus Hopkinson, scored only 4 points in 19 minutes.

Glenn Sanabria led the Terriers with 20 points even though he was 0-6 inside the arc. Rasheem Dunn scored 13 points, but only shot 4-10 from the field. Overall SFC scored 0.94 points per possession.

RMU was led by Isaiah Still, who scored 23 points. The sophomore is basically the Colonials’ only scoring option right now. They shot just 1-6 from beyond the arc and 19-30 from the free throw line to keep SFC in the game. Andy Toole’s team is now 2-2 with a key matchup coming up on Thursday against Saint Francis U.

Wagner 75, Sacred Heart 64

The Pioneers scored just 0.90 points per possession as stifling defense helped Wagner even its NEC record. Corey Henson had an strong all-around game with 24 points (including a perfect 5-5 inside the arc), 6 rebounds and 7 assists. He also had just one turnover. Michael Carey is also being more assertive and he scored 21 points, including 7-7 from the free throw line. Those two stars scoring at a high rate should help the Seahawks, but they also got some help from Connor Ferrell (11 points) and Mike Aaman (10 points and 8 rebounds).

Sacred Heart struggled offensively. The Pioneers were unable to get to the free throw line (just 11 attempts), committed 15 turnovers and had an effective field goal percentage of just 48%. Matej Buovac scored 15 points and De’von Barnett had 14. Joe Lopez was held to just 6 points on 3-8 shooting in 25 minutes. Charles Tucker had 6 assists, but also 4 turnovers. Quincy McKnight had 12 points and 5 assists, but also 5 turnovers. McKnight is using the most possessions in NEC play while on the court at 34%, but his offensive rating is just 77.4. He either needs to start deferring to teammates or figure out a way to score more efficienctly otherwise SHU is in big trouble.

NEC Player of the Day
Corey Henson – The junior guard scored 24 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 7 assists in 38 minutes as the Seahawks evened their NEC record.

NEC Standings
1. Fairleigh Dickinson 4-0
2. Mount St. Mary’s 3-1
3. LIU Brooklyn 3-1
4. Wagner 2-2
5. Robert Morris 2-2
6. Saint Francis U. 2-2
7. St. Francis Brooklyn 2-2
8. Bryant 1-3
9. Sacred Heart 1-3
10. Bryant 0-4

Next On the NEC Schedule (1/12)
Saint Francis U. at Robert Morris 6 pm
Fairleigh Dickinson at Mount St. Mary’s 7 pm
Central Connecticut at LIU Brooklyn 7 pm
Wagner at Bryant 7 pm
Sacred Heart at St. Francis Brooklyn 7 pm

4 thoughts on “NEC Recap January 7 – The Second Saturday

  1. FDU in the 2nd half had 8 Turnovers in a 6 minute span which led to an 18-0 run for Bryant. FDU also gave up to many 2nd point chances in the 2nd half. Fortunately FDU Continues to hit their Free Throws when it matters. FDU had a first Half for the ages hitting 9-11 3 pointers and 67% overall FG%. Like all NEC Team, FDU is human and can all of a sudden go South in its play like it did yesterday. Hopefully we will not have to many more negative runs like yesterday. However 4-0 after 2 weeks and first place in the NEC is what really counts.


  2. John and Ryan had said on their latest podcast that, if the St. Francis Brooklyn had Glenn Sanabria during the Conference portion of last season, there could have been a possibility of the Terriers finishing as one of the top two teams in the NEC, given all the other talent they had on the roster. Losing Sanabria, who was likely SFC’s best player at that time when he went down with a season-ending injury, certainly hurt but it gave Yunus Hopkinson a chance to shine. Hopkinson played himself into a All-Conference Third Team selection by hitting key shot after key shot, game after game, for Glenn Braica’s crew. That element is missing this year. While Sanabria has returned to his role as a guy who always appears able to drill the momentum-changing three ball, Hopkinson hasn’t been able to generate the same level of consistency he did last year. Off last season’s late multiple 20+ point outings, think that a lot of NEC observers expected Hopkinson to peak as a scorer this year. Not all of this is his fault. The Terriers lack of an inside game has really hamstrung the offensive flow and has allowed Terrier opponents to overplay the backcourt, resulting in too frequent clock-related forced shots. The newcomer frontcourt quartet of Josh Nurse, Rob Montgomery, DJ Porter and Jahmel Bodrick continues to be a work-in-progress and really hasn’t provided a go-to post presence. Both Gunnar Olafsson and Keon Williams have contributed probably more than expected on the boards, but those guys are in the 6-3 to 6-4 swingman range and can’t really play a big man role despite their over-achieving rebounding efforts. But, except for one 22-point outburst by Olafsson earlier in the year, neither has shown the sort of scoring firepower that will take some pressure off the guards. Despite the SFU blow-out, the Terriers bounced back and played a very competitive game against RMU. But it looks like Sanabria, Hopkinson and Rasheem Dunn are going to have to carry this team. By the way, If Dunn continues the solid, focused level of play he’s shown so far, he will likely develop into an all-time SFC great. He’s playing incredibly well and not at all like a freshman.


  3. Biased opinion again, but LIU’s performances were the best of any team in the league this week. Sweeping RMU/SFU is no small task on the road – and the Red Flash win was especially impressive. After a sluggish first half, they systematically destroyed Saint Francis in their own gym. Outscored them 45-30 and outrebounded them 25-12.

    Frink & Zanna are playing like first-team players right now. Agosto is a calming influence as a freshman point, and the contributions from Clark and Batts have been an underrated key. Fleming is a wild card – if he plays under control and takes good shots, he can be the X factor. If he doesn’t (MSM), can be a detriment.

    CCSU & SFBK at home this coming weekend before a tough back-to-back against Wagner at home then FDU on the road. If they can make it through the next two weeks at 6-2, they’ll be in a good position to get one of the top 3 seeds.


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