Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2010

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – Coaches talk about separation. The ability to get stops, score on your end and open a lead on an opponent. In the NEC race Robert Morris is starting to gain that separation. The race is not over with Quinnipiac just a game behind,  but the Colonials, by virtue of a hot 9-1 January, are now on top of the NEC. Finishing in that spot would be a definite plus. The conference postseason tournament is at the higher seed’s home court throughout. Not having to leave ‘The Chuck’ (Charles Sewall Center) where Robert Morris is awfully tough to beat would be huge for Mike Rice’s club. Still, with three weeks remaining in NEC play, there is not enough time for Robert Morris to rest on its first place laurels.

Player of the Week: Devin Sweetney (SR), F, St. Francis (PA) – In a 2-0 week he averaged 25.5 PPG while collecting 8 rebounds an outing. Sweetney had 23 in the win over St. Francis (NY) and hit his third double-double of the season with a 28-point, 10-board effort in an overtime victory over LIU. Jones was instrumental in sparking a 12-2 Colonial second half run that turned the tide against the Blackbirds.

Rookie of the Week: Velton Jones (FR), G, Robert Morris – Jones became the third different Colonial in three weeks to earn this honor. Averaged 14.5 PPG while handing out 4 assists per game. Paced Robert Morris with a career high 21 points in the win over LIU.

Rivalry Week. The NEC Rivalry week called for a game February 4 and the two teams meeting at the other’s location two days later. Rivalries included FDU-Monmouth (Battle of New Jersey) , LIU-St. Francis (NY) (Battle of Brooklyn) and St. Francis (PA)- Robert Morris to name a few.

Codey Trophy. Two years ago Monmouth and FDU, recognizing their Garden State rivalry , instituted the Richard Codey Trophy. FDU won it the last two years. It goes to the school who has the best record in the head-to-head series for women’s and men’s games. In case of a tie, a total point aggregate settles the score. The trophy is named after the former Senate leader and twice acting New Jersey state governor who is an FDU (Class of ‘81) alum and has graced RTC in an article last year.

Milestones

  • Sacred Heart senior forward Corey Hassan became the sixth NEC player this year to hit the 1,000 point mark. Hassan also had ten three-pointers against Wagner which broke the school single game record of nine.
  • The Wagner-Sacred Heart matchup featured coaches with a combined 929 wins. Dave Bike of Sacred Heart has coached 32 seasons with 493 victories. Mike Deane of Wagner has 436 wins in 25 seasons. Make that 437 as the Seahawks edged Sacred Heart recently.
  • Jeremy Goode, a regular in this featured milestone category,  broke into the top ten in conference career steals. Goode, with 234 thefts, has a shot at the top five. Clear leader of the group is Robert Morris’ Chipper Harris ( 1981-84) with 382.  Goode is also fifth in NEC career assists at 560. Again, he could move up a few notches.  But the leader, Drafton Davis with 804, is quite safe. Davis played at Marist, an NEC school back then, in the early Eighties.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped home games to FDU and Monmouth last week. Senior captain Chris Birrell led the way averaging 13.5 PPG for the week. Shot selection? For the two games Birrell attempted 25 shots and 24 were from beyond the arc. A little closer to the basket, freshman forward Vlad Kondratyev averaged double figures for the week and sophomore center Papa Lo blocked two shots against Monmouth and is third in the NEC in blocked shots this season.
  • Central Connecticut State – Swept Monmouth and FDU last week to get back in the thick of things. Senior guard Joe Seymore sparked the Blue Devils hitting 17.5 PPG for the week. Junior guard Shemik Thompson scored 24 versus FDU. The visiting Knights were down 19 the first half and rallied to take a lead late in the game. Thompson took over scoring eight straight and got a steal as CCSU never looked back. Thompson buried four threes and was 8 of 11 from the line.
  • FDU – Defeated Bryant and lost at Central Connecticut. The Knights shot 56% the final half at Bryant and on the defensive end held the Bulldogs to 27% shooting. Senior guard Sean Baptiste led FDU with 21 points in the CCSU game. Baptiste is the leading scorer (14.7 PPG) for the Knights who have four players averaging double figures. Senior forward Alvin Mofunanya continues his strong inside play and is closing in on 100 career blocked shots.
  • LIU- Dropped road games to Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA). Blackbirds put up some impressive numbers in those two close losses. They had a +13 rebounding edge over RMU and shot 26 of 33 (79%) from the charity stripe in the overtime loss at St. Francis (PA). The problem at Robert Morris was LIU’s season low 27% shooting from the floor. Senior guard Jaytornah Wisseh had his seventh 20-point outing during the week.
  • Monmouth – Split on the road losing to Central Connecticut while defeating Bryant. Sophomore guard Will Campbell and freshman forward Ed Waite excelled offensively for the Hawks. Campbell hit four treys in the second half in the Bryant contest. Campbell’s shooting helped the Hawks rally from an 11 point first half deficit. Junior forward Nick DelTufo had a big hand in the Bryant game as well with a career high 15 points.
  • Mount St. Mary’s – It’s been a rough go but the Mount swept the week with much needed wins over Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. The games were at home where the Mount has now won 13 of its last 14 against NEC opposition. Junior guard Jean Cajous averaged 12 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the week. Cajous was instrumental on the defensive end as both times out he drew the opposition’s best scorer and did an admirable job. Senior guard Jeremy Goode has been lauded for his scoring and playmaking, and he is alsothe conference pace setter in steals.
  • Quinnipiac – Defeated Wagner and lost to Mount St. Mary’s. The loss at the Mount snapped the Bobcats’ eight game win streak and leaves them a game out of first. Junior forward Justin Rutty had a pair of double-doubles, giving him 21 for his career. Rutty had a 15 rebound effort, to go along with 18 points in a losing effort at the Mount. Senior guard James Feldeine paced Quinnipiac with 21 points in the win at Wagner. The Bobcats have outrebounded the opposition in every one of their 21games to date.
  • Robert Morris – Swept LIU and St. Francis (NY) to gain sole possession of first place in the conference race. The Colonials have captured seven straight and finished 9-1 for the month of January. A rookie and veteran mix, freshman guard Karon Abraham had a big week while another guard, senior Mezie Nwigwe averaged 15 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the two games. During the seven-game win streak the Colonials have surrendered only 60 points per game. A closer look shows the opposition hitting just 35% from the floor during that time. Overall, Robert Morris has an outstanding 89.0 defensive efficiency in NEC action.
  • Sacred Heart -  Dropped road games at Mount St. Mary’s and Wagner. Senior forward Corey Hassan exploded for a 28.5 PPG scoring week. Hassan added 5.5 RPG and shot 59% from the field. He scored a career high 36 points in the Wagner game. The three-point shot has been a major part of the Pioneer arsenal. They rank fourth in the country with 9.3 three pointers per game and are fifth nationally with a 40% mark from beyond the arc. Sacred Heart’s 52.6 eFG% is second in the NEC.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Dropped road games to St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris. The Terriers had a four-game NEC win streak stopped with the 0-2 ‘Western’ swing. Sophomore guard Justin Newton is second in the conference assist/turnover ratio (1.88). Newton exited the Robert Morris game with a knee injury. In his absence junior guard Akeem Bennett will handle the point guard duties. Terriers have yet to hit 70 points this season and have an offensive efficiency of 90 (tied for second lowest) in NEC play.
  • St. Francis (PA) - Swept games over St. Francis (NY) and LIU (in overtime). That gives the Red Flash seven wins on the season and exceeds the six-win total of each of the past two years. Defense did the job against the Terriers as SFPA had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers. Senior forward Devin Sweetney had a huge 28 point, 10 rebound performance in the win over LIU. The win over LIU was only the third this season that the Red Flash pulled out when trailing at halftime. Junior guard Sorena Orandi hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to capture the 74-73 win over LIU.
  • Wagner – Split two games, losing to Quinnipiac and edging Sacred Heart. Sophomore guard Chris Martin hit a runner in the lane with six seconds left to give the Seahawks the victory over SHU. Martin leads Wagner in scoring with 12.9 PPG. Senior center Michael Orock continues his fine inside play and leads the NEC with a 58% field goal percentage. The Seahawks have been hampered by a 26% TO RATE, the highest in the conference.  You don’t want to lead in this category.

Upcoming Games of Note

February 11

  • St. Francis (PA) at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at CCSU
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Monmouth
  • Wagner at FDU

February 13

  • Mount St. Mary’s at FDU
  • LIU at Quinnipiac
  • St. Francis (NY) at Sacred Heart
Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 25th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast Conference.

LYNDHURST, NJ – Action was a bit on the light side with exam week. The following week will see the end of non-conference action as conference play heats up in earnest following New Year‘s Day.

Standings

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

Turnover rate is the amount of turnovers divided by total possessions. A mark of 20% or higher is excessive. Stands to reason as a 20% TO rate team is watching one fifth, or more, of their possessions wasted. Expect these numbers to get better for two reasons. One, some of the out of conference opposition was tougher and in most cases away from home. Secondly, as the season progresses offenses improve and (should) run more efficiently.

NEC Notes

  • Mount St. Mary’s lead guard Jeremy Goode moved into 11th place on the NEC’s all-time assist ranking. Goode has 509 career assists and counting. Drafton Davis who played for Marist in the late 80s is the all time leader with 804. Goode incidentally is one of the candidates for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation’s top point guard.
  • Quinnipiac senior guard James Feldeine is approaching 1,000 points. Feldeine has 951 points and could hit the select circle by mid-January.
  • Sacred Heart senior guard Ryan Litke is also approaching 1,000 points. Litke has 904 but is a dangerous three-point shooter who can rack up points in a hurry.
  • Speaking of Sacred Heart, senior forward Corey Hassan’s middle name should be versatile. Hassan is second in conference rebounding with 8.7 boards per game, and he is also the NEC leader with 4.2 three pointers a game, a figure that places him second nationally. Since 2000, only four NEC players have finished in the conference top ten in rebounding and three point field goals.
  • The December 30th meeting with Vermont will be Mount St. Mary‘s first home game in 35 days.
  • Devin Sweetney has scored in double figures the last 30 games he has appeared in. The St.Francis( PA) senior forward has the longest streak among NEC active players. Immediately trailing Sweetney is Monmouth’s Travis Taylor with 14 and Sacred Heart’s Corey Hassan with a dozen.
  • The December 23rd loss to Iona left FDU 1-12. Despite the start, FDU interim coach Greg Vetrone is still hopeful. “We had a tough early schedule with a number of road games and injuries. Now the schedule favors us as our next three conference games are home. I really think we are getting better. One of the things we have to do however is cut down on turnovers.” A definite point (see the tempo free chart above).

Player of the Week.   Jaytornah Wisseh (G), LIU -Enjoyed a complete performance finishing with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Down the stretch he was the Blackbirds’ ‘go to’ guy and it was Wisseh’s fifth 20+ point performance on the season.

Rookie of the WeekUmar Shannon (G), St. Francis (PA) – Averaged a team best 15.0 PPG on the week. Shannon connected on 50% of his field goal attempts and hit 4-5 from three point range. Tallied a team high 16 points against Akron.

Team Breakdowns

  • Bryant – Dropped a 72-46 decision at Boston College last week. Bryant is currently 0-11. Senior captain Cecil Gresham led the way against BC with 18 points. Gresham’s performance was especially pleasing since he marked the return to the lineup after missing three of the last four games.
  • Central Connecticut State. – Lone game of the week, a loss at Northwestern. Blue Devils lead in scoring defense (60.6 PPG). In addition, CCSU and St. Francis (PA) are the only conference teams shooting better than 70% from the charity stripe.
  • FDU - Dropped games to in state rival St. Peter’s 83-68 and Iona 82-60. It was only the third game for FDU this season. Mike Scott paced the Knights with 21 points. The junior guard wasn’t limited to point production as he handed out five assists. FDU missed 19 free throws against St. Peter’s and 12 in the Iona contest.
  • LIU - Came up short in their only game to Manhattan, 71-61. The loss was the first at home for the Blackbirds in five outings. Senior Jaytorah Wisseh posted a double-double, earning Player of the Week accolades.
  • Monmouth- In-state losses to Princeton and Rider for the Hawks. In his first start of the season sophomore guard Will Campbell tied his career high with 27 points in the loss to Rider. Sophomore forward Travis Taylor has posted double figure scoring in each of Monmouth’s dozen games this season. Taylor his 15 of 19 (79%) in the two games last week. Taylor is not just a scorer as he averages 8 rebounds per game, good for fourth in the NEC.
  • Mount St. Mary’s - The only game was a 66-48 setback at Pitt. The Mount has lost five straight after a 3-2 start. They did get good news with the return of two players and the addition of a third. Senior forward Will Holland is back after missing seven games with a knee injury. Redshirt freshman forward Jacolby Wells sat out the first semester due to academics and freshman forward Raven Barber was approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center and joined the team.
  • Quinnipiac – Bobcats have three players averaging double figures. Senior guard James Feldeine (19.7 PPG), junior forward Justin Rutty (16.8) and sophomore guard James Johnson (10.7). An inside force, Rutty also paces the NEC with 9.8 rebounds a game.
  • Robert Morris – Defeated Cleveland State then had a 13-game home win streak snapped with a loss to Appalachian State. The Colonials seem to get contributions from different individuals every night out. Against Cleveland State, junior guard Gary Wallace came off the bench to score 14 points. The bench, in fact, had more points (45) than the starters (33) against Cleveland State. Icy 26% shooting from the floor doomed Mike Rice’s club against Appalachian State.
  • Sacred Heart - Pioneers are one of two NEC teams averaging better than 70 points (74.8) per game. Credit field goal percentage of 45% as largely responsible. Senior forward Corey Hassan leads the NEC in scoring (23 PPG) and has been lethal beyond the arc hitting four treys a game.
  • St. Francis (NY) - Guarded optimism. Brian Nash has a few backcourt performers earning conference distinction. Junior Ricky Cadell is seventh (15.1 PPG) in NEC scoring while classmate Akeem Bennett is eighth (14.2 PPG). Sophomore Justin Newton ranks eighth in the conference handing out three assists per game.
  • St. Francis (PA) – Dropped games to Youngstown State and Akron. Red Flash were without standout Devin Sweetney who sat out for ‘personal reasons.’  Junior forward Cedric Latimer picked up the slack averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Freshman guard Umar Shannon earned Rookie of the Week honors. Contributions also came from the backcourt as freshman guard Anthony Ervia had 9 points and 6 boards against Youngstown and junior guard Serena Orandi has a season high 12 points in that same meeting with Youngstown,
  • Wagner – Dropped competitive outings to BYU and Nevada in the Las Vegas Classic. Junior guard Chris Martin and senior center Michael Orock played well. Mike Deane is getting contributions from freshman guard Ryan Conrad and classmate Josh Thompson. Conrad had a team high 14 points against BYU while the 6’4 Thompson is averaging 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds.

On the Schedule

December 29

  • St. Francis (NY) at Fairfield

December 30

  • Brown at Sacred Heart
  • Wagner at Princeton
  • Vermont at Mount St.Mary’s

January 2

  • Bryant at Cornell
  • Ohio at Robert Morris
  • Central Connecticut State vs. Holy Cross (at Mohegan Sun)
  • Sacred Heart at FDU
  • Hartford at St. Francis (PA)
  • Quinnipiac at Monmouth
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Siena
Share this story

Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 11th, 2009

checkinginon

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

LYNDHURST, NJ – The latest news in the Northeast Conference centers around the start of conference play.  As it is for most conferences, the bulk of the action is after New Year’s. But the NEC members get a few games in the books prior to January 1st.

Standings

nec standings 12.11.09

The tempo free breakdown, with gratitude to Basketball State.

nec off eff 12.11.09

Top Storylines

Player of the Week. Devin Sweetney (G/F), SR, St. Francis (PA) – Sweetney recorded a pair of double-doubles in a 2-0 week for St.Francis. The Red Flash posted victories over Wagner and pre-season favorite Mount St. Mary’s.

Rookie of the WeekJamal Olasewere (F), FR, LIU- The LIU frosh averaged 11.5 points, a team-high 8 rebounds and shot over 70% from the floor as the Blackbirds got off to a 2-0 start in conference play.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story