Checking In On… the NECPosted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2012
Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
There is still over half a conference season to play. But, on Saturday on Staten Island, a very important and interesting matchup is on tap: Long Island Brooklyn versus Wagner. The two met in Brooklyn in December with the Blackbirds earning a narrow 78-73 victory. Since then, Jim Ferry’s club has captured nine of 11 and is unblemished in NEC play. Meanwhile, Wagner has won nine of its last 10. Included are victories at Pitt and the championship of the Cable Car Classic. The only setback for Danny Hurley’s group was a one-point loss to a good Lehigh team in early December. Yes, an enticing meeting and somehow we get the feeling it just might not be the last between these teams this season.
NEC Co-Players of the Week
- Julian Boyd, LIU, 6’7″, Jr., F: Boyd hit his 1,000th career point and led the way with 21 points average per game as the Blackbirds swept their two NEC games to move into sole possession of first place. Boyd highlighted the week, scoring 28 points adding eight rebounds in the win over Monmouth.
- Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart, 6’2″, Jr., G: The NEC’s leading scorer, Gibson averaged 27.5 points per game for the week. In a win at St. Francis (PA), Gibson scored 26 points but showed his versatility with five steals and five rebounds. Gibson also had seven 3’s and 29 points against Robert Morris.
Jalen Cannon, St. Francis (NY), 6’6″, Fr., F: Averaged 11.5 points and 12 rebounds as the Terriers swept their NEC opposition. St. Francis has won four of five since Cannon was inserted into the starting lineup.
Team, MAAC record, overall record:
|Central Connecticut||6-1, 9-8|
|Robert Morris||5-2, 14-6|
|St. Francis (NY)||5-2, 8-10|
|Sacred Heart||3-4, 9-11|
|St. Francis (PA)||3-4, 4-14|
|Mount St. Mary’s||2-5, 4-14|
|Fairleigh Dickinson||0-7, 1-17|
- LIU Brooklyn – Earned a sweep over FDU and Monmouth. Blackbirds have won 16 consecutive conference games dating back to last season and have captured 22 of their last 23 in the NEC. Julian Boyd had an outstanding week earning Co-Player of the Week honors. C.J. Garner, a junior guard, set career highs with nine rebounds against FDU and eight assists versus Monmouth.
- Wagner – Defeated Bryant and Central Connecticut at home. Not even February and Wagner now has 14 wins. Last season, the Seahawks finished with 13. Freshman Mario Moody had an excellent 16-point, 11-rebound effort against Bryant. Latif Rivers had a game-high 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting. Jonathan Williams led the way against CCSU with a team high 18 points, 15 coming in the first half. Wagner is 7-2 in games decided by 10 points or less.
- Central Connecticut- Won at Mount St. Mary’s before losing at Wagner. Ken Horton was held to a season-low seven points in the Wagner loss. That stopped the Blue Devil senior’s double figure streak at 40 consecutive games. Senior Bobby Ptacek averaged 21 points for the week while frosh standout Kyle Vinales struggled shooting, as Vinales hit just 7 of 30 (23%) from the field for the two games.
- Robert Morris – On a homestand, lost to Quinnipiac before defeating Sacred Heart. Three of the Colonials’ five games in 2012 have been decided by five points or less. Robert Morris is 2-1 in those contests. Junior guard Velton Jones continued his fine play averaging 20 points and 3.5 assists. Jones had a streak of 70 consecutive starts ended as he came off the bench against Sacred Heart. He had 18 points and five assists in that meeting. Sophomore forward Mike McFadden, who became eligible in December, was another solid contributor averaging 10 points for the two games.
- St. Francis (NY) - Swept Monmouth and FDU to improve to 5-1 in the NEC. The win over Monmouth saw five Terriers notch double figures in scoring. Freshman forward Jalen Cannon produced double-doubles in both games en route to earning Rookie of the Week honors. When senior guard Justin Newton exited the FDU game with an ankle injury, Brent Jones responded. The sophomore point guard hit a career-high 15 points, going a perfect 6 of 6 from the line.
- Sacred Heart – Won at St. Francis (PA) before dropping the back end of the road trip at Robert Morris. Pioneers had their best shooting performance (23 of 41 for 56%) of the season at St. Francis. Shane Gibson hit for 26 at St. Francis and 29 at Robert Morris to earn Co-Player of the Week accolades. Freshman point guard Phil Gaetano’s nine points and nine assists at St. Francis were both career-high marks.
- St. Francis (PA) – Split at home with a loss to Sacred Heart and a victory over Quinnipiac. In the latter victory the Red Flash posted a 12-to-4 assist/turnover ratio in the first half. They finished with a 21-to-15 mark in that category. Junior guard Kameron Ritter was outstanding with 24 points and five assists. Scott Eatherton continues to stand out. The 6’8″ sophomore forward is the only player beside CCSU’s Ken Horton to rank in the NEC top five in points, rebounds and blocks.
- Quinnipiac - On the road, the Bobcats defeated Robert Morris before losing a close one at St. Francis (PA). A red hot 67% field goal percentage in the second half allowed Quinnipiac to overcome the Colonials. James Johnson and Ike Izotam continue to excel. Bobcats got a solid performance at Robert Morris from junior guard Dave Johnson with a career-high 18 points. Johnson added six rebounds and five assists in that game.
- Mount St. Mary’s – Lost to Central Connecticut and defeated Bryant. Julian Norfleet averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 assists and four rebounds on the week. In the past six games Norfleet has hit double figures and is shooting 43% from beyond the arc. Raven Barber came back from a two game absence due to injury to average 10 points for the two contests. Mount is on the road for the next four games before coming home to play five of six at Knott Arena.
- Monmouth – Three losses for the Hawks. They battled Harvard tough before losing at home. Back in conference play the Hawks were swept by LIU and St. Francis (NY) in Brooklyn. The 106-86 loss at LIU marked the second time Monmouth has given up 106 points this season (Villanova in the opener was the other). Senior Mike Myers Keitt hit a career-high 27 points at LIU, including 6 of 9 from three point range.
- Bryant – Dropped games at Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s. Sophomore Alex Francis recorded his fourth double-double of the season, a 16-point, 13-rebound effort in the loss at Wagner. Freshman center Ben Altit had a solid week averaging 10.5 points. Despite the losses, the Bulldogs had a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures for the two outings.
- FDU – Trip to Brooklyn saw the Knights defeated by LIU and St. Francis (NY). Junior Lonnie Robinson scored a career-high 25 points at LIU. Robinson canned five three-pointers and added 12 boards, another career best. Robinson, George Goode (17 points, 16 rebounds) and Melquan Bolding(14 points) all logged 40 minutes against LIU. FDU has used 10 different starting lineups and is 0-6 in NEC play for the first time.
On the Schedule
Some of the more notable NEC games to keep an eye out for:
- Sunday, January 21: St. Francis (PA) at FDU, Quinnipiac at Bryant, Central Connecticut at Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary’s at St. Francis (NY), Robert Morris at Monmouth, LIU Brooklyn at Wagner.
- Monday, January 23: Brown at Bryant.
- Thursday, January 26: FDU at Bryant, Monmouth at Central Connecticut, Wagner at Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY) at St. Francis (PA), LIU Brooklyn at Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary’s at Quinnipiac.