Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Conference play has began to heat up and a few points stand out. Mount St. Mary’s had a murderous non-league schedule. Maybe too murderous as an 0-3 start in NEC play was not expected in Emmitsburg. The Mount did get in the conference win column with a 69-65 victory at Sacred Heart on Saturday. Suddenly there is optimism at FDU as the Knights are 3-1 and the memory of a succession of pre-NEC defeats is now in the past.  Here are the standings through Sunday:

The regularly scheduled tempo free breakdown, with gratitude to Basketball State.  Conference games only.

News & Notes

Experience may not be necessary. Newcomers are making their presence known in the NEC. Currently four statistical categories are paced by new faces.

  • Karon Abraham of Robert Morris leads in free throw percentage at .886.
  • Akeem Bennett of St. Francis (NY) is first with 2.3 steals per game.
  • Umar Shannon of St. Francis (PA) sets the pace with .488 three point shooting.
  • St.Francis( PA)’s Chris Johnson has a 2.41:1 assist/turnover ratio to set the standard in that category.
  • Bennett is a junior, the remaining three players are freshmen.
  • Quinnipiac’s Justin Rutty and his board prowess has been documented a number of times. Rutty is not the only Bobcat to hit the glass with a vengeance. Quinnipiac has yet to be outrebounded this season and enjoys a +10.7 overall edge over opponents in rebounding this campaign.

Player of the Week. Liam Potter (C), Sacred Heart - Potter averaged 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during a 3-1 stretch for the Pioneers. Potter also had three double-doubles during that run.

Rookie of the Week. Karon Abraham (G), Robert Morris - Averaged 18.7 points and 4.0 rebounds during a 2-1 holiday week for the Colonials. Abraham shot 61% (11 of 18) from three-point range.

Milestones

  • Senior guard Ryan Litke reached the top of Sacred Heart’s all time three-point shooting chart on December 30th. Litke broke Darrin Robinson’s record of 219 treys.
  • St.Francisv(NY) junior guard Ricky Cadell hit the 100th three-pointer in his career against Lafayette.
  • Cecil Gresham of Bryant made his 100oth career point against St. John’s.
  • Alvin Mofunanya has 80 blocks for FDU and is in the school’s top ten all-time list. The 6’8 senior is only in his second year playing for the Knights.
  • Monmouth senior Whitney Coleman has over 1,000 points and is ready to move into #15 on the school’s all-time scoring list.
  • Jeremy Goode is third all-time at Mount St. Mary’s with 210 steals.
  • Kelly Biedler became the second player in Mount St. Mary’s history to post 800 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals and 80 blocks. Alex Watson was the first in the early 90s.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant - A 66-50 loss to FDU dropped the Bulldogs to 0-15 on the season. Bryant had taken a 10-1 lead early at FDU but the Knights regrouped. Leading scorer Cecil Gresham (14.5 PPG ) is out for the season with an injury. Freshman guard Rapheal Jordan is the current scoring leader with 7.1 ppg and he was scoreless at FDU. Freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev has played well of late and he had 16 at FDU. The Bulldogs had a murderous non-league slate with the likes of Providence, St. John’s, Boston College, Indiana, Harvard and Cornell to name a few.
  • Central Connecticut – The Blue Devils earned a 2 OT win over UMBC just before the new year. The first meeting of 2010 saw CCSU fall 70-53 to Holy Cross in a game played at Mohegan Sun. CCSU is in a stretch that will see them play six games in 13 days. Sophomore guard Bobby Ptacek had a game high 23 in the win over UMBC and has emerged as a consistent scoring threat. The Blue Devils had five players in double figures in that UMBC contest (with 2 OTs they had the time to do it). The last time they had that many hit double figures was February of 2008.
  • FDU – Trailed Sacred Heart by 22 with 12 minutes left and rallied to post an 88-85 victory on January 2. The Knights followed up with a solid 66-50 victory over Bryant on Thursday and an 83-74 decision over CCSU on Saturday. Junior guard Mike Scott has been outstanding with 18 assists and zero turnovers for the Sacred Heart and Bryant games. The return to the lineup of 6-8 senior Alvin Mofunanya helped the inside game. John Galvin, a 6’8 junior, came off the bench to post 11 points against Bryant. Senior guard Sean Baptiste had a season-high 24 points against Sacred Heart and followed up with 18 in the win over Bryant.
  • LIU – Lost two (Chattanooga and Morgan State) at the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga just before the new year. Senior guard Kyle Johnson (15.5 PPG) was named to the all-tournament team. Johnson hit for a season-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Morgan State. Freshman guard Corey Wright earned his first starts at the tournament. Wright showed poise handing out seven assists and committing just three turnovers. ‘Pleasant under glass.’ LIU has yet to be outrebounded in a game since their first two meetings of the year.
  • Monmouth – Won both games over the break including a NEC clash just after the new year.  The Hawks defeated Quinnipiac 72-60 . Since getting the starting nod a few games ago, sophomore guard Will Campbell has given Dave Calloway’s club some instant offense. Campbell’s offensive exploits have complemented those of classmate Travis Taylor, a double-figure scorer in 16 straight games dating back to last season. The Hawks are in the midst of a five-game home stand in their new facility.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – They put four players in double figures and got in the NEC win column with a narrow victory at Sacred Heart The Mount had dropped non-league games to Boston University, Vermont and Siena before the Sacred Heart contest. The Siena game was a heartbreaker on the road where the Mount led by seven with just over 90 seconds to play. Siena scored the last seven points then pulled it out in overtime. The Vermont game saw the Mount go down with 2.5 seconds to play. The offense is beginning to come on as of late. Jeremy Goode is still having a great year at the point. The senior guard is getting steady help from senior forward Kelly Biedler, something that will be needed, and expected, in conference play.
  • Quinnipiac – Quinnipiac took a tour of the Ivy defeating Columbia and Dartmouth before dropping a conference game to Monmouth. Senior guard James Feldeine averaged 14 PPG during that stretch. Freshman guard Dave Johnson averaged a dozen points the last week and is a newcomer to watch. The Bobcats held Columbia to 26% second half shooting to come from behind in the 63-51 victory. Junior forward Justin Rutty, an inside force, recorded his fourth double-double of the season (10 pts and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes) against Dartmouth. Rutty is also getting help from Jamme Jackson, a freshman forward out of storied St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City (NJ).
  • Robert Morris - Took two out of three defeating Youngstown State and Ohio but losing to Kent State. The Ohio win improved Robert Morris to 18-1 under the direction of Mike Rice (third season). Freshman Karon Abraham was outstanding again. On the downside was the loss of senior guard Jimmy Langhurst who suffered a knee injury in practice the day after Christmas. Senior forward Rob Robinson and redshirt freshman Russell Johnson picked up the scoring slack as both players averaged double figures during that three game stretch.
  • Sacred Heart – Comebacks have been the trademark of the Pioneers this season. Thus far they have won four games where they trailed at intermission. They came from 16 down in the second half to defeat Stony Brook and trailed Holy Cross by eleven at the break before rallying to win. Ironically, Sacred Heart was victimized by a comeback in their January road loss at FDU. The 8-5 start for Sacred Heart is their best ever at the Division I level. Senior center Liam Potter recorded three straight double-doubles in late December.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Not an overly optimistic scenario with junior forward Alexander Harrington and senior forward Nigel Byam out for the season with injuries. The Terriers continue to hang in. They rallied from seventeen down the second half before falling short in a loss to Lafayette. St. Francis led Fairfield at the half before the Stags eventually pulled it out 65-58. A season-high 25 turnovers by St. Francis was the deciding factor against the Stags. Sophomore forward Stefan Perunicic hit a season high 23 points against Lafayette, including 6 of 12 beyond the arc.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Snapped a four-game losing streak with a 64-52 victory over Hartford. The Red Flash held Hartford to 16 first half points and shot 6 of 12 from three. St. Francis sealed the verdict by hitting 12 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes after the Hawks had closed the gap. Whom do you foul? St. Francis is now hitting 93% from the line (28-30) in the final three minutes of games with a ten or less point differential. Senior forward Devin Sweetney averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds in the two most recent games (loss to Duquesne and win over Hartford).
  • Wagner – Split the last two games at the Las Vegas Classic defeating Jackson State and losing to Chicago State. The Seahawks came back east and dropped tough games to Princeton and NJIT. The latter was their second loss to the Highlanders in their home and home series this season. Sophomore guard Chris Martin continues to lead Wagner in scoring (13.7 PPG) while senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play (10.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Mike Deane is also getting contributions from a pair of freshmen, guard Ryan Conrad and forward Josh Thompson.

Upcoming Games

January 9

  • CCSU at FDU

January 14

  • FDU at Robert Morris
  • LIU at Wagner
  • Monmouth at St. Francis (PA)
  • Quinnipiac at CCSU

January 16

  • Quinnipiac at Bryant
  • LIU at Mount St. Mary’s
  • Sacred Heart at CCSU
  • St. Francis (NY) at Wagner
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