Checking In On… the NECPosted by rtmsf on December 23rd, 2011
Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
- Quick Recap: Relatively quiet time lately with exams finishing up. As we look towards the new year, the expected contenders: Robert Morris, Central Connecticut and LIU, are on top … with a surprise. St. Francis (PA), which played eight home games to date, had both their NEC games in friendly confines and the Red Flash won both contests to join the aforementioned trio on top of the conference standings. Wagner and Quinnipiac, certain to be factors, lead the next group. All of this will begin to get sorted out in earnest when 2012 arrives and conference play heats up.
- Player of the Week: Ben Mockford, St. Francis (NY), So., guard – Knocked down seven 3-pointers in the Terriers’s win at Howard. Deadly from beyond the arc, Mockford paces the NEC with 3.3 treys per game.
- Newcomer of the Week: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut, Fr. guard – Vinales captured his fifth award in six weeks. Scored a game-high 27 points in 37 minutes in a loss at Northwestern. The 6’1″ Vinales has scored at least 24 points on six occasions to date.
- Robert Morris 2-0 8-3
- Central Connecticut 2-0 5-5
- LIU 2-0 6-6
- St. Francis (PA) 2-0 3-7
- Wagner 1-1 7-3
- Quinnipiac 1-1 5-5
- Sacred Heart 1-1 6-8
- St. Francis (NY) 1-1 3-6
- Monmouth 0-2 2-9
- FDU 0-2 1-9
- Mount St. Mary’s 0-2 1-9
- Bryant 0-2 1-10
- Robert Morris – Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 74-62. Colonials trailed by eight with just over 12 minutes to play. Junior guard Velton Jones (16.8 PPG/3.7 APG) had 16 points, 15 after halftime intermission.
- Central Connecticut – Suffered a 70-64 setback at Northeastern. Robby Ptacek (19.1 PPG/3.1 RPG) had 17 points while Ken Horton (22.5 PPG/9.3 RPG) posted his third double-double of the season and 21st of his career.
- Long Island – Split its two games, losing to Norfolk State and defeating St. Peter’s. Blackbirds have played 10 of their first 11 away from home. Julian Boyd (16 PPG/9.3 RPG) had his fourth double-double of the season with a 29-point, 17-rebound effort against St. Peter’s. The 17 rebounds represented a career high for the junior forward.
- St. Francis (PA) – Lost at Pittsburgh, 71-47. Anthony Ervin (10.6 PPG/3.8 RPG) led the way for St. Francis with 13 points. Scott Eatherton (13.5 PPG/5.5 RPG) leads the nation in field goal shooting. The 6’8″ sophomore forward is hitting at a 77.6 percent clip from the field. Meanwhile, it seems like there is “no place like home” for Ollie Jackson. The Red Flash freshman is hitting 55 percent from three at home and 21 percent on the road.
- Wagner – Idle. Senior Tyler Murray is averaging 13.4 points, 4.9 rebounds per game. Murray is shooting an NEC best 54.5 percent from long distance. He had a 28-game consecutive streak of double figure scoring stopped on Dec. 10 in a 70-69 loss to Lehigh.
- Quinnipiac – Dropped a tough 72-67 decision at UMass. James Johnson (17.6 PPG/2.9 APG) led the way with 22 points for the Bobcats, who came from 16 points down to just fall short. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak.
- Sacred Heart – Lost two games: 106-65 at Notre Dame and 83-73 at Boston College. Shane Gibson (18.5 PPG/4.1 RPG) paced the Pioneers with 22 points at Notre Dame and 25 at BC. In the latter game, Gibson became the 33rd player in Pioneer history to crack the 1,000-point mark. That made Gibson the ninth player to hit 1,000 since Sacred Heart became a Division I school in 1999. Evan Kelley and Phil Gaetano share point guard duties and both have positive assist-to-turnover ratios.
- St. Francis (NY) – Defeated Howard 73-71 on the road. Terriers had been 0-4 in games decided by six or less points prior to the win over Howard. Sophomore guard Ben Mockford (13 PPG/2.2 RPG) had a career high 24 points. Mockford’s three pointer with just over 30 seconds to play broke a tie and was instrumental in the St. Francis victory. Junior forward Akeem Johnson, a 57 percent free throw shooter, is hitting 79 percent from the stripe (19-24) during the last five games.
- Monmouth – Lost at Rutgers 81-66. Hawks had a 10-point first half lead before Rutgers made its run. Monmouth is 0-40 all-time against Big East teams (0-8 versus Rutgers). Twelve of the Hawk’s first 14 games have been away from home. Will Campbell (6.3 PPG) paced Monmouth with 13 points against Rutgers.
- Fairleigh Dickinson – Dropped a 71-53 home contest to Vermont. Kinu Rochford (10.4 PPG/7.5 RPG) scored 13 points and added six rebounds while Melquan Bolding (15 PPG/3 RPG) had 12 for the Knights. It was FDU’s first home game since November 18. Knights have now lost seven straight games.
- Mount St. Mary’s – Lost at Penn State 72-43. Most of the Mount’s points came courtesy of the bench (30 in all) with Raven Barber (11) and Chad Holley (10) leading the way. Mount St. Mary’s only trailed by three at the half before the Nittany Lions opened it up the final twenty minutes.
- Bryant – Only game was a 75-55 loss at Boston College. Freshman Ben Altit (4.1 PPG), in his second start, scored a career high 14 points (including two 3-pointers).
On the Schedule:
- Quinnipiac at Colgate, Wed., Dec. 28 – Battle between two teams vying for a top-half finish in their respective conferences.
- FDU at St. Joseph (NY-Brooklyn), Wed., Dec. 28 – A great spot for FDU to get in the win column.
- Monmouth at Lafayette, Wed., Dec. 28 – Not an easy one for Monmouth, as Lafayette has been good at home.
- American at Mount St. Mary’s, Thurs., Dec. 29 – American will give Mount St. Mary’s all they can handle.
- Brown at St. Francis (NY), Thurs., Dec. 29 – The Ivy League comes to town.
- Robert Morris at Memphis, Thurs., Dec. 29 – Arguably the top matchup of the NEC non-conference season. Should be a fun one.
- Air Force vs. Wagner (Cable Car Classic), Thurs., Dec. 29 – Air Force can bomb it from deep.
- Sacred Heart at New Hampshire, Thurs., Dec. 29 – Solid road test for Sacred Heart.
- Central Connecticut at UMass, Fri., Dec. 30 – Another excellent non-conference matchup for NEC fans.
- St. Joseph (NY-Brooklyn) at LIU, Fri. Dec. 30 – Long Island will be disappointed if it doesn’t come out of this one a winner.
- Wagner vs. Santa Clara/Eastern Michigan (Cable Car Classic), Fri., Dec. 30 – Tough opponent regardless of who Wagner draws.
- St. Francis (PA) at Drexel, Sat., Dec. 31 – A great place to play (Drexel) and a solid measuring stick as St. Francis gets deep into NEC competition.
- Quinnipiac at Boston University, Sat., Dec. 31 – Don’t sleep on Boston.
- Lehigh at Bryant, Sat., Dec. 31 – Things won’t get any easier for Bryant.
To all, the most enjoyable and blessed holiday season.