Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 24th, 2011

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the Northeast and MAAC conferences.

A Look Back

The Northeast Conference is known for its parity and competitiveness. With the race virtually half over, there have been surprises. Favored Quinnipiac hit a few bumps in the road and is at mid-pack. Long Island has taken advantage of Quinnipiac’s struggles to spurt into first place. Robert Morris, Central Connecticut and Wagner are right on LIU’s heels. As noted, there is time and half a season to play. The only thing certainty is that nothing is guaranteed and you can expect the unexpected regarding the final standings.

Power Rankings

1. Long Island (14-5, 5-2) The Blackbirds continued their winning ways, dominating Wagner 85-54 before heading on the road and winning 83-67 at Robert Morris. An uptempo club, LIU averages 75 possessions per game and their respective paces were 70 and 69 in the two games. Both meetings saw the Blackbirds post an outstanding 120 offensive efficiency while the two opponents were under 100.

Notable: Freshman guard Jason Brickman had six assists without a turnover against Wagner. LIU shot 63% from the floor the second half against Wagner to turn a three-point lead at intermission into a 31 point win. Six LIU players hit double figures in that contest.

2. Wagner (9-10, 5-3) – An 84-54 drubbing at the hands of  LIU was cleansed with an impressive 90-80 home conquest of Quinnipiac. The Seahawks gave up a 108 efficiency to Quinnipiac, but its 122 offensive efficiency was a season-best for the team. In that game, an outstanding 71% eFG mark for Wagner negated a 50-21% Quinnipiac dominance in OREB percentage.

Notable: Junior guard Tyler Murray paced the Seahawks with averages of 19.5 points, three rebounds and three assists in a two-game stretch. Freshman forward Orlando Parker is emerging, as he averaged 11.5 scoring for the two games to compliment a team best 8.5 rebounds.

3. Quinnipiac (12-7, 5-3) The road was unkind as the Bobcats dropped games to Brown (87-78) and Wagner (90-80). Both games saw Quinnipiac register OE’s over 100 but on defense, the numbers were 116 and 122 respectively. The two opponents found shooting profitable with 57% and 71% eFG marks. On the season, the Bobcats’ defensive eFG rate is 48%.

Notable: Bobcats lead the nation with 43.8 rebounds per game despite having the 13th-shortest team in the country. Quinnipiac also paces the NEC and is ranked tenth nationally with a +8.6 rebound margin. Besides the boards, the Bobcats have another area of distinction as they have made at least one trey in 300 consecutive games.

4. Central Connecticut (12-7, 5-3) The Blue Devils split on the road, being edged73-68 at Quinnipiac before defeating Monmouth 66-47. A 96 defensive efficiency team, Central gave up a disappointing 111 to the Bobcats. Against Monmouth, the DE was an outstanding 75. The Blue Devils average 102 in offensive efficiency and were consistent with a 103 and 105 in the two respective games.

Notable: Senior guard Shemik Thompson had 12 points, six rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers against Quinnipiac. Thompson has 403 career assists, second among active NEC players and fifth in school history. In one three game stretch, Thompson had 22 assists against four turnovers, an outstanding 5.5 assist/turnover ratio.

5. Robert Morris (9-10, 5-3) Had a three-game NEC win streak snapped with an 83-67 loss at home to LIU. The previous game at the ‘Chuck’ saw the Colonials edge Monmouth 60-57. The Colonials’ defensive efficiency average is 98, but LIU ran up a 120 figure in that meeting. Robert Morris also allowed a 61% eFG mark but did force the Blackbirds into a 25% TO rate.

Notable: Sophomore guard Karon Abraham averaged 21 points, 3.5 rebounds and two steals in a three-game stretch to earn Player of the Week honors.

6. Bryant (6-14, 4-4) The Bulldogs are on a four-game conference win streak following a victory at Sacred Heart and a 74-71 home triumph over FDU. The two games saw impressive offensive displays by Bryant, with a season high 128 OE against FDU. The eFG mark was over 55% in the two contests and the TO rate, a note worthy 19% against FDU.

Notable: Freshman forward Alex Francis captured Rookie of the Week accolades by averaging 17.5 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the floor as the Bulldogs captured two road games.

7. Mount St. Mary’s (7-14, 5-3) Swept two games with a win at St. Francis (NY) 70-61 and at home against Sacred Heart (61-45). Both opponents were held under 100 in the offensive efficiency department. Other signs of stellar defense came in the Sacred Heat game as the Mount limited the Pioneers to 34% eFG percentage and forced them into a 29% TO rate.

Notable: MSM shot a season high 58% in the win at St. Francis (NY). Junior forward Danny Thompson scored a career-high 16 points while grabbing eight boards against the Terriers. Mount has won two NEC road meetings, after going 0-9 in non-conference play away from home.

8. St. Francis (NY) (8-11, 3-5) The Terriers are mired in a two-game slide, having lost at home to Mount St. Mary’s 70-61 and at St. Francis (PA) 75-56. The two games saw the Terriers held to a mark under 100 in offensive efficiency and over 100 on the defensive side. The game in Loretto was the extreme ,as the Terriers posted an OE of 86 and gave up a 115 defensive efficiency against St. Francis (PA).

Notable: St. Francis never led in the game against Mount St. Mary’s. It was their first loss at home after beginning with seven straight wins at their Pope Center. Junior guard Dre Callaway scored a team high 15 points in that meeting. St. Francis has just six games with scoring outputs over 70 under its belt this season. Last season, they did not hit that figure in any regulation length game.

9. St. Francis (PA) (6-13, 4-3) The Red Flash extended its win streak to three with home conquests of FDU (69-55) and St. Francis (NY) 75-56. Efficiency marks were outstanding in both games, with OE ratings of 111 and 115, respectively. On the defensive end, the marks were 89 and 86. The 115 OE rate against St. Francis (NY) came despite a 23% TO rate.

Notable: Sophomore guard Umar Shannon matched his career high with 24 points while adding four rebounds and five assists against FDU. Shannon went 8-12 from the floor and scored 18 points after halftime.

10. Sacred Heart (8-11, 3-5) – The Pioneers are reeling in the midst of a three-game conference tailspin. Sacred Heart dropped a 72-59 decision to Bryant at home before losing at Mount St. Mary’s. Both games were contested at a 62-possession pace. Bryant managed an impressive 116 offensive efficiency against the Pioneers largely due to a 57% eFG mark.

Notable: Sophomore guard Shane Gibson netted 18 points in the loss to Bryant. Junior forward Stan Dulaire turned in the top rebounding performance for Sacred Heart this season with 12 boards, including ten on the offensive glass, against Bryant.

11. FDU (4-14, 2-6) The Knights defeated Houston Baptist 75-64 in a home non-conference meeting. They then took to the road and dropped a 74-71 decision at Bryant. That game had some interesting numbers. It was a 58-possession affair, and FDU had their best offensive efficiency, 122, of the season but gave up a whopping 128 on the other end. Both eFG marks were lights out as FDU was 60% and the host Bulldogs 63%.

Notable: Senior guard Mike Scott ranks in the top ten in five of the NEC’s major categories. Senior forward Kamil Svrdlik is also among conference leaders, as he is second in blocks (1.5) and field goal percentage (54%) and seventh in rebounding (6.7).

12. Monmouth (6-14, 2-6) The Hawks were defeated 60-57 at Robert Morris before losing at home to Central Connecticut (66-47). Offensive efficiency was only 75 in the latter contest. Turnovers are a problem on both ends. The TO rate was 35 and 29%, respectively, in the two games. Defensively, Monmouth could not force either opponent over 19% in the same category.

Notable: The Hawks have lost four of 11 games decided by five points or less. Sophomore guard Jesse Steele tallied a career high 21 points at Robert Morris. Steele was 6-11 from the floor, including 4-8 beyond the arc.

A Look Ahead

We get closer to calling a conference winner with exciting matchups on tap for Thursday and Saturday.

January 27:

  • Wagner at Bryant
  • LIU at FDU
  • St. Francis (PA) at Quinnipiac
  • Robert Morris at Sacred Heart
  • St. Francis (NY) at Monmouth
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Central Connecticut

January 29:

  • LIU at Monmouth
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at Sacred Heart
  • St. Francis (PA) at Quinnipiac
  • Wagner at Central Connecticut
  • St. Francis (NY) at FDU
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 9th, 2011

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC.

(ed. note – this week’s check-in was penned before Friday night’s action.)

A Look Back

The week brought on the resumption of Northeast Conference play. Thursday saw the membership battling in conference meetings, which continue until late season.

Besides NEC play heating up again, there was a milestone to remember. Dave Bike of Sacred Heart won his 500th game, as the Pioneers downed Holy Cross 77-75 on January 2. Bike has been on the Sacred Heart sideline for 33 years and had an overall record of 500-451. Make that 501 as the Pioneers defeated FDU on the road in their first NEC get-ogether of the new year.

Power Rankings

1. Wagner (3-0, 7-7 overall) is enjoying a two game winning streak with home wins over Quinnipiac and Robert Morris. Both victories came after the new year. Danny Hurley’s club averages an offensive efficiency of 97. Against Qunnipiac, they were 116 and followed that up with a 117 in the recent win over Robert Morris.

Notable: The backcourt starred in a loss to Texas A&M. Junior guard Chris Martin scored 17 points, hitting four of nine attempts from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Latif Rivers added 13 points.

2. Central Connecticut (1-1, 8-3 overall). Central ran away from, UMass 92-63 in their first contest of the new year. Offensive efficiency was an outstanding 130 while the Minutemen were held to 89. CCSU also forced a 24% TO rate in a 71 possession contest. Later on, they defeated St. Francis (NY) 61-43, for a fifth straight win. The Blue Devils sported a season best defensive performance, holding the Terriers to 66 OE.

Notable: Junior forward Ken Horton hit the 1,000 point milestone. He hit the select circle faster than any player in the Blue Devils’ 25-year history.

3. FDU (2-0, 3-8 overall) The Knights dropped a fifth straight game, losing 98-92 to Lafayette in two overtimes on Sunday. An 88-possession game saw FDU post a 104 OE only to give up 111 on the other end. The score at the half was 29-26 in FDU’s favor. In the two overtimes, Lafayette outscored the Knights 31-25 as the points came fast and furious. In NEC action, FDU tied a season low, 75 OE in a 67-50 loss to Sacred Heart.

Notable: Senior guard Mike Scott had a ‘stat stuffer’ game against Lafayette. Scott tied his career high with 23 points while adding seven rebounds and eight assists. Senior forward Kamil Svrdlik has four double-doubles on the season.

4. LIU (2-1, 10-4 overall) Resumed conference play with a 75-55 victory at Bryant. The Blackbirds have won fourth straight and been over 100 offensive efficiency in each game. For the season, the uptempo (76 possessions per) LIU club averages an OE of 107.

Notable: Freshman guard Shane Brickman captured Co-Rookie of   the Week accolades with 14 points and eight assists per game performance in two road wins. Brickman shot 57% from the floor over those two contests.

5. Quinnipiac (2-1, 10-3 overall) A 70-possession pace team, the Bobcats were slowed into a 65-possession affair in their 72-70 win at Monmouth. Keys in this contest were Quinnipiac’s outstanding 19% TO rate and a fine 1.28 assist to turnover ratio. A 99 defensive efficiency team, the Bobcats gave up an abnormally high 108 efficiency but still managed a tough road win.

Notable: Senior forward Justin Rutty scored 26 points while grabbing ten rebounds in a win over Boston University. It was the 36th double-double of Rutty’s career.

6. St. Francis (NY) (2-1, 7-7 overall) The Terriers were dealt their first conference loss of the season, a 61-43 beating at Central Connecticut. St. Francis averages a 96 offensive efficiency clip, but was held to a season-low 66 by the Blue Devils. In a strange sequence, St. Francis forced Central into a 31% TO rate and had an excellent 16% in the same category. A forgettable 25% eFG mark by the Terriers goes a long way in telling the story of the outcome.

Notable: Senior guards Ricky Cadell and Akeem Bennett came close to outscoring the opposition. The pair combined for 38 points in a 72-47 rout of NJIT.

7. Mount St. Mary’s (2-1, 4-12 overall) Ended an eight-game losing streak with a 63-56 win over St. Francis (PA) at the Knotts Center. Despite a tough non-conference start, the Mount is in the NEC picture with their only loss being a tough two-point setback to pre-season favorite Quinnipiac.

Notable: Junior guard Lamar Trice averaged 1.9 points per game last season. Currently, Trice leads the Mountaineers in scoring at a 12.8 points per game clip. Trice led the Mount with 15 points on five treys in a loss to Virginia Tech.

8. Monmouth (1-1, 5-7 overall). Defeated Bryant 66-57 in a home game just after new years. Defensive efficiency was an outstanding 85 in that meeting. For the season, Monmouth’s DE is a dead-on average 100. Offensive efficiency was 99 against the Bulldogs, nine higher than their season norm. The Hawks then dropped a 72-70 home decision to Quinnipiac. A 25% TO rate largely contributed to the Hawks undoing.

Notable: Will Campbell hit for 17 points in a narrow loss to Harvard. The junior guard logged 27 minutes and shot 3-6 from three point range. Campbell, unfortunately, was one of four players recently suspended indefinitely by coach Dave Calloway due to academic reasons.

9. Robert Morris (1-2, 5-9 overall) Dropped an 83-78 contest at Wagner. The Colonials give up a 99 defensive efficiency mark but allowed an extremely high 117 in the loss to the Seahawks. All three of Robert Morris’ NEC contests have been away from the Sewell Center’s friendly confines.

Notable: Sophomore guard Karon Abraham averaged 16.7 points per game over a three game stretch. Abraham hit a career high 28 points in an OT win over Ohio University.

10. Sacred Heart (1-2, 6-8 overall) Scored a nice 67-50 road win at FDU. Sacred Heart had been winless in NEC action and FDU had taken both conference meetings at home. In a 67 possession game, FDU was forced into a 24% TO rate and held to an offensive efficiency of 75.

Notable: Shane Gibson, a sophomore guard, earned NEC Player of the Week honors with 26 and 21 points in respective outings against Providence and Holy Cross.

11. Bryant (0-3, 2-13 overall) The efficiency margin (offense – defense) is better than last year but still a -17 in need of improvement. This was reflected in a 75-55 home loss to LIU, where the Bulldogs were 80 on the offensive end and 109 defensively. To rate was an impressive 16% against the Blackbirds.

Notable: Freshman forward Alex Bryant averaged 20.3 points, 9.7 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Bryant earned NEC Co-Rookie of the Week honors.

12. St. Francis (PA) (0-3, 2-12 overall) Not an easy road for the Red Flash. Following non-league road losses at powerful Cincinnati and North Carolina, they resumed NEC play at Mount St. Mary’s. The result was closer but similar as the Flash suffered a 63-56 setback.

Notable: Sophomore forward Will Felder paced St. Francis with a 15-point, eight-rebound average in two games just prior to the resumption of NEC action. Felder had 18 points and seven boards in the loss at North Carolina.

A Look Ahead

January 13:

  • Bryant at Quinnipiac
  • FDU at Robert Morris
  • Monmouth at St. Francis(PA)
  • Wagner at St. Francis(NY)
  • Central Connecticut at Sacred Heart
  • Mount St. Mary’s at LIU

January 15:

  • Bryant at Sacred Heart
  • FDU at St. Francis (PA)
  • Monmouth at Robert Morris
  • Wagner at LIU
  • Central Connecticut at Quinnipiac
  • Mount St. Mary’s at St. Francis (NY)
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 2nd, 2011

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

A Look Back

The last of the non-conference games are being contested. Just after the ball drops at Times Square, well a few days after, the Northeast Conference gets into high gear. Given some of the road games and arduous early season schedules it is often difficult to get a totally accurate read on a club. One certainty is Quinnipiac seems to be a step ahead of the competition at this point. In the course of the weeks ahead things can, and often do, change.

Power Rankings

1. Quinnipiac: (1-0, 9-2 overall) Defeated Rhode Island at home and Niagara on the road. Bobcats enjoy a healthy +9 efficiency margin. OE is 105 while the defensive efficiency is a tidy 96.  OREB percentage is a major asset for Quinnipiac. Their OREB percentage is an outstanding 44% while the opposition checks in at 29%. Bobcats have been under 100 OE only three times this season, two of those games resulted in close losses to Vermont and UMass.

Notable: Bobcats receive a boost when 6’6 freshman Trevor Baskin gains eligibility this week. Senior forward Justin Rutty is the NEC’s active scoring leader with 1,305 points.

2. St. Francis (NY): (2-0, 7-5 overall) Dropped games to Northwestern and Davidson at the MSG Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. Terriers have a good defensive efficiency of 98 and are forcing opponents into a 25% TO rate. Moreover, they recorded only an 81 OE in the 92-61 loss to Northwestern, their second lowest of the season.

Notable: Senior guard Ricky Cadell earned all-tournament honors at the MSG Holiday Festival. Cadell had a game-high 21 points in the consolation loss to Davidson.

3. Fairleigh Dickinson: (2-0, 3-7) Lost in state contests at Rutgers and St. Peter’s. The Knights enjoy a 2-0 conference record. However, there is a need for improvement on both ends of the floor. OE is 92, a 43% eFG and 22% TO rate are main reasons. On the defensive end, the DE mark is 105. The tough non-conference slate is part of the reason for these numbers. In the two NEC games, FDU’s efficiency numbers are 102 on offense and 93 on defense.

Notable: Senior guard Mike Scott tied a career high with 23 points against Rutgers. Scott went 11-11 from the line against Mike Rice’s team.

4. Wagner: (1-0, 5-7 overall) Dropped games with Princeton and at Texas A&M. OE is 92, but the main problem is the offensive boards. Seahawks’ OREB percentage is 20% while opponents dominate with a 36% showing in the same category. Against the Aggies, an 86-51 setback, Wagner posted a season-low 73 OE.

Notable: Naofall Folahan – The 6’11 freshman center, scored a career high 19 points and rejected seven shots in the loss to Princeton. Folahan captured NEC Rookie of the Week honors.

5. LIU: (1-1, 7-4 overall) Split two games, losing at Northwestern before heading home to defeat Army. Blackbirds’ ‘NASCAR’ pace of 75 possessions suits their personnel fine. OE is a gaudy 107. DE a fair mark of 99. LIU is shooting a 51eFG mark. The only area begging for improvement offensively is the 22% TO rate.

Notable: LIU had seven players in double figures against Army. Jason Brickman, a freshman guard, scored a career high 11 points while equaling his collegiate best of seven assists.

6. Robert Morris: (1-1, 4-8 overall) Mired in a three-game skid after dropping games on the road to Appalachian State and Arizona. Colonials continue to defend with a creditable 98 DE. Offense has sputtered. OE is 94 and in 11 games, the mark has been over 100 only twice. A 45% eFG mark on offense is a major setback.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore forward Russell Johnson hit for 26 points at Appalachian State. Johnson was 11-18 from the floor and 4-8 beyond the arc.

7. Central Connecticut: (1-1, 7-5 overall) Dropped a heartbreaker at Albany before defeating Niagara at home. Defense forced the Great Danes into a 33% TO rate and Niagara into 25% in the same category. On their own end, Central is committing turnovers at a 22% rate but showed only 16% in that win over Niagara. Offensive efficiency of 104 against Niagara, was the Blue Devils third best all season.

Notable: Ken Horton posted a 25 points and ten boards in the win against Niagara. It was Horton’s third 20-point game of the season.

8. Mount St. Mary’s: (1-1, 3-11 overall) Dropped a home game to American and road meetings with Northwestern and Vermont. Efficiency margin is a -11. OE is 92 but the defense is an above average 103. Mount is committing turnovers, 21 % TO rate and not forcing enough on defense as the opposition rate is 19%. Boards are a concern as well. The OREB percentage is 29% compared to opponents’ 39%.

Notable: Sophomore forward Raven Barber shot 9-10 in a loss to Albany. Barber scored 20 points and leads in the NEC with a 66% field goal percentage.

9. Monmouth: (0-1, 4-9) Dropped games to Rutgers and Rider. The Hawks’ offensive efficiency is 91 for the season, but against Rider (77) and Rutgers (85) came a pair of sub par offensive performances. Pace is still one of the most deliberate rates around, at 65 per game. A 46% eFG percentage and 23% TO rate are the main problems with the offense.

Notable: Senior swingman R.J. Rutlegde scored a team-best 17 points with a career high five treys in the loss to Rutgers.

10. Bryant: (0-1, 2-11) Dropped a tough one at Columbia before losing another road game at Boston College. Offensive efficiency is a season high 115 at BC. On the flip side, they gave up a season high efficiency of 139 to the Eagles. Turnovers were a big story in the 93-77 loss at BC. Bryant’s TO rate was 25% while the Eagles were at only 8%. Bulldogs enjoyed a 46% offensive rebounding percentage against BC, their best showing in that category to date.

Notable: Freshman guard Matt Lee scored a career high 15 points against Boston College in his first career start.

11. Sacred Heart: (0-2, 4-8 overall) Split road games winning at Yale and losing at Providence. Last three games the OE has been over 100. On the season the efficiency is 91,. A 45% eFG percentage and 24% TO rate are largely responsible. DE is a respectable 99. Pioneers are forcing opposing offenses into a 23% TO rate.

Notable: Shane Gibson – The 6’2 sophomore guard scored a career high 23 points while adding eight rebounds in the win over Yale. Gibson earned NEC Player of the Week honors. Gibson sank five treys in the win at Yale.

12. St. Francis (PA): (0-1, 2-10 overall) Dropped a close (61-57) one to Drexel but were routed at Cincinnati. The Red Flash have had four games over 100 OE, but on the season, they check in at a rather subpar 89.  A 25% TO rate is a glaring problem. Defensively, the 108 (only three opponents were held under 100 OE) surrendered needs improving as conference play unfolds.

Notable: Senior forward Mislaw Jukic tied a season high with 21 points in the loss to Lehigh.

A Look Ahead

January 2

  • Robert Morris at Ohio University
  • Mount St. Mary’s at Virginia Tech

January 3

  • UMass at Central Connecticut
  • Bryant at Monmouth
  • Wagner at Quinnipiac

January 6

  • Quinnipiac at Monmouth
  • St. Francis (PA) at Mount St. Mary’s
  • LIU at Bryant
  • Robert Morris at Wagner
  • St. Francis (NY) at Central Connecticut
  • Sacred Heart at FDU
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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 10th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Close games and dramatic finishes are normally the order in the NEC. The first weekend of conference play provided just that and hinted that the conference race will be an interesting affair.  Quinnipiac rallied from four down in the final minute at home to defeat Mount St.Mary’s. Bobcat junior James Johnson scored eight points in the final minute, including the game winner just before the buzzer.  A few hours later, St. Francis (NY) came from four down to edge defending NEC champion Robert Morris in Brooklyn. Senior guard Akeem Bennett hit two free throws with four seconds left to put the Terriers on top. Bennett then raced down court and blocked a potential game winning three-point attempt to seal the verdict.

It is going to be that type of year….

1. St.Francis (NY): (4-3) (2-0) – The Terriers are off to a fast start in conference play, beating St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris before capping off the week with a non-conference conquest of Colgate. St. Francis plays at a moderate 65-possession pace, but their defense has managed to force opponents into a 27% TO rate. Overall defensive efficiency is at an impressive 95.

Notable: Akeem Bennett, the Co-Player of the Week in the NEC, averaged 24.6 points and 6.5 rebounds to earn the honors. A senior guard, Bennett was instrumental in conference wins over Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA).

2. Fairleigh Dickinson: (3-4) (2-0): The Knights proved their readiness for conference by toppling Bryant and Central Connecticut at home. They then went on the road, losing at Connecticut, an outcome to be expected. The offense has been the issue with an efficiency of 93 and eFG mark of 43%.

Notable : Junior forward Kamil Svdrlik earned Co-Player of the Week honors averaging 18.9 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Svdrlik has given coach Greg Vetrone the inside presence he needed.

3. Quinnipiac: (6-2) (1-0)– The Bobcats came up just short to UMass, and went on to take it out on Mount St. Mary’s and Lehigh in a pair of wins. A wild team, Quinnipiac went from giving up an efficiency of 97 to the Minutemen to 117 against the Mount. In that latter game, the Bobcats enjoyed a 120 OE of their own to pull off the win. A decisive offensive rebounding core has a major strength.

Notable: junior guard James Johnson had a well rounded week of 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

4. Wagner (4-4) (1-0): The Seahawks sandwiched a win over Sacred Heart in NEC play between losses to St. John’s and Columbia. Defense has been an above average trait for the Seahawks as they hold opposition to 99 OE and force a turnover rate of 21%.  Offensive efficiency of 96 begs for improvement.

Notable: Freshman guard Latif Rivers earned NEC Rookie of the Week honors with a 17.3 points, 4.7 rebound per game week for the Seahawks. Junior guard Tyler Murray continues to do it all for Wagner. He enjoyed another excellent week, with 20 points per game in three games.

5. Long Island (5-3) (1-1): The Blackbirds bean conference play, dropping a tough one to Robert Morris at home before rebounding to defeat St.Francis (PA). LIU then went on the road, losing to Iona, to close out the week. Efficiency was outstanding offensively at 113 in the Robert Morris game. Unfortunately, they gave up a 115 rate to the visiting Colonials. Jim Ferry’s club is playing at a quick 75 possession pace, which is to their advantage.

Notable: Sophomore guard C.J.Garner averaged 17 points 3.5 assists and shot 50% from the floor for the week.

6. Central Connecticut (4-4) (1-1): CCSU had a rough go of it, losing three straight games. The last two, against Fairleigh Dickinson and Dayton, were heartbreakers, with a combined losing margin of four. The Blue Devils sported an outstanding 86 defensive efficiency at FDU, but the offense, struggling of late, produced a paltry 82 rating. Shooting, with an eFG percentage of 47%, is a major culprit.

Notable: Junior forward Ken Horton paced the offense, scoring 12.5 points and adding 6.5 rebounds per game.

7. Robert Morris (3-5) (1-1): RMU salvaged a split in Brooklyn, defeating LIU before dropping a close one to the Terriers. The Colonials were soundly defeated at West Virginia to close out the week 1-2. A defensively stout group, RMU forces a 24% turnover rate, which nets them extra possessions. Robert Morris was without the services of junior forward Lawrence Bridges (concussion) and sophomore guard Karon Abraham (suspension) on the Brooklyn trip.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore forward Russell Johnson averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds on the week.

8. Mount St. Mary’s (3-6) (1-1): Road games saw the Mount win at Sacred Heart before dropping tough ones to Quinnipiac and Penn State. Defense has been acceptable, with a DE mark of 99. Quinnipiac, though, was an aberration as the Mount ‘generously’ gave up a 120 OE to the Bobcats. Cutting down on the TO rate of 22% will raise the Mount’s below par OE of 96.

Notable: Junior guard Lamar Trice averaged an impressive all-around 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

9. Monmouth (3-5) (0-1): Three close calls – The Hawks defeated Eastern Michigan at home and North Dakota on the road. The lone loss was to the Vandals of Idaho, also on the road. The offense enjoyed a breakout 114 offensive efficiency rat at Idaho..

Notable: A pair of juniors, guard Will Campbell and forward Mike Myers-Keitt were named to the Basketball Travelers Classic all-Tournament team. The Hawks went 2-1 in the Idaho-based event.

10. Bryant (0-1) (1-7): Life in D-I is still a challenge. The 102 OE rating at FDU was the second highest of the season. The eight opponents this season have not cracked a 50% eFG percentage, which largely explains Bryant’s outrageously high 113 defensive efficiency.

Notable: Cecil Gresham had an outstanding 28-point, 6-rebound performance in a competitive conference loss at FDU. He shot 9-17 (53%) from the floor, including 6-14 from three-point range.

11. St.Francis (PA) (2-6) (0-2): A tough stretch for the Red Flash included losses at Youngstown State, LIU and St. Francis (NY). Opposing shooters are having a field day with a 51% eFG percentage. Depth is a major concern.

Notable: Sophomore guard Umar Shannon paced the team with 17 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on the week. Shannon led the Red Flash with 15 points at St. Francis (NY) and 19 at LIU.

12. Sacred Heart (2-7) (0-2): Snapped a three-game losing streak with a 56-55 win over Hartford in which they came back from a 51-31 deficit. Offensive efficiency is lacking, and a TO rate of 24% is not helping the cause. Their defensive efficiency of 99 could improve but not bad overall. It’s the offense, over 100 in OE only twice in nine games thus far.

Notable: Redshirt sophomore guard Shane Gibson scored a career high 21 points in the loss to the Mount. Gibson was 8-15 from the field (3 of 6 from three point range).

A Look Ahead:

The NEC takes a load off to attend to final exams, but the conference will hope to make a splash with games against Rhode Island (Quinnipiac), Rutgers (Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth) and Northwestern (St. Francis – NY).

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Checking in on… the NEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 27th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent or the MAAC and NEC.

A Look Back

The NEC conference schedule actually tips off before Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Due to a scheduling quirk, Central Connecticut hosts Monmouth on November in the NEC opener. It all finishes an interesting November which saw a few surprises and strong showings by NEC clubs. Not to mention a 6 and 8 AM contest.

Player of the Week

Ken Horton, Central Connecticut – Averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and shot 66% from the floor for the two contests. Horton scored a career high 34 points while adding 9 boards in the win at Army.

Co-Rookies of the Week

Alex Francis, Bryant – Scored 19 points with 8 rebounds in a loss to Army.

Julian Norfleet, Mount St. Mary’s – The 6’1 guard averaged 11.5 PPG, 3.5 APG and committed just one turnover in 75 minutes of action. His three treys sparked the Mount’s first win of the season.

Power Rankings

  1. LIU (4-0) – Has hopes of an NEC title this season and the Blackbirds got off on a positive note. They defeated Texas State (91-67) and Manhattan (91-80) to finish with a perfect first week. Senior guard Kyle Johnson, a key figure in the LIU attack, averaged 18 PPG for the two games. Sophomore forward Kenny Onyechi had an impressive 18 point 11 rebound (both career highs) effort at Manhattan.
  2. CCSU (3-1) – Earned a pair of road wins over Army (101-87) and UMBC (82-74) to advance to 3-0. It marks Central’s best start since 1998-99 and it was the first time in three years the Blue Devils scored over 80 points in back to back contests. Shemik Thompson scored his 1,000th career point against UMBC. Ken Horton is back in the groove as a key contributor after missing last season with an injury.
  3. Quinnipiac (3-1) – Defeated Harvard (66-64) before dropping a 79-75 squeaker to Vermont. James Johnson, a junior guard, led the way with 20 PPG for the week. Senior forward Justin Rutty was a major contributor as well with a double-double average for the two contests.  Rutty averaged 14.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG and has 32 career double-doubles.
  4. Wagner (2-1) – Embarked on an NBA-style seven game road trip with a split. Seahawks lost (73-57) at Lehigh, the defending Patriot League champions before earning a 58-54 decision at Stony Brook. Junior guard Tyler Murray has been an early season revelation. He leads the Seahawks in scoring (19 PPG) and he shot seven of nine from beyond the arc in the win at Stony Brook.
  5. Monmouth (1-1) – Earned a split dropping a 51-49 decision to Stony Brook in the 6 AM game, part of ESPN’s Marathon. The Hawks came back to edge Lehigh 69-68. Sophomore forward Ed Waite had a pair of strong performances with 13 rebounds in the opener and 20 points against Lehigh. Freshman guard Jordan Davis had a noteworthy six assist/no turnover outing against Lehigh.
  6. Robert Morris (2-2) – The Colonials a tough one (62-59) to Kent State as part of the ESPN Marathon before coming back to defeat Duquesne 69-63. Sophomore guard Karon Abraham continues his fine scoring.  He averaged 14 PPG for the week highlighted by 15 over Duquesne. Robert Morris is giving up a stingy 51.7 PPG.
  7. St. Francis (PA) (2-2) – Faced three Patriot League squads. The Red Flash defeated Colgate and Bucknell while losing to Lafayette. Sophomore guard Umar Shannon with a career high 23 points, ignited a late run to defeat Colgate. St. Francis trailed by seven with three minutes to play before rallying for a 69-66 victory. Sophomore forward Will Felder had a solid and consistent week highlighted by a career high 21 points and nine boards against the Bison.
  8. St. Francis (NY) (1-2) – Dropped a three point game to South Florida before defeating Howard 70-52. Senior guard Akeem Bennett scored the first 11 points of the Howard game, finishing with 19. Fellow senior guard Ricky Cadell was on fire in Tampa. Against USF, he scored 28 points (six of nine from three) as the Terriers battled South Florida to the wire.
  9. Bryant (1-3) – Lost the lone game of the week, 76-66 to Army. Bryant led with five minutes to play before the Cadets made a late run to pull away. Young players made the mark as Freshman forward Alex Francis and sophomore guard Frankie Dobbs had 19 points apiece against Army. Already one win is already in the books, a last-second triumph over Iona at the World Vision Classic in Cleveland.
  10. Mount St. Mary’s (1-3) – Defeated Savannah State (68-62 in OT) for the first win under new coach Robert Burke. Senior forward Shawn Atupen has hit double figures in scoring all three games. Mount received clutch outside shooting from NEC Co-Rookie of the Week Julian Norfleet in the win over Savannah State.
  11. Sacred Heart (1-4) – Defeated New Hampshire 50-42 to snap a four game losing streak and post win number one of the season. Guard play has been the Pioneers’ main source of offense to date. Redshirt sophomore guard Shane Gibson and senior Jerrell Thompson are both averaging double figures. Freshman guard Evan Kelley shooting 55% (6-11) from three has provided significant minutes in relief.
  12. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-2) – Dropped the first two games of the season to Stony Brook (66-59) and Albany (72-46) both at home. The Knights’ problems centered on a basic fundamental – Shooting. Over the two games their combined field goal percentage was 31%. Senior guard Mike Scott, an all-NEC pick pre-season, was the lone marksman of note for FDU. Scott averaged 21.5 PPG on 49% shooting from the floor.




Tempo Free

  • The note that Robert Morris is playing great defense because they surrender  just 51.7 PPG almost had this correspondent salivating. Stats like this require a quick visit to or for a closer look. On Stat Sheet, it was revealed the Colonials’ defensive efficiency was 85, an excellent mark. The Robert Morris pace is 67 possessions per game, not exactly walking it up the floor. The offense needs to be addressed a bit, as the efficiency on that side is a bit subpar at 88. An eFG% mark of 38.7 seems to be the major culprit.
  • Last year, Bryant was 1-29. This year, the Bulldogs are 1-3. They still give up too much defensively (113.6 Defensive Efficiency to date). On the other hand, points are coming a little easier. A year ago, Bryant had an 81 offensive efficiency rating in NEC play. To date, no conference games have been contested, but the Bulldogs show an OE of 90, A significant improvement.

A Look Ahead

The NEC gets an early start on conference play, while some teams continue the pursuit of strong turns in the non-con.


November 27 – LIU at St.Peter’s

November 28- Bryant at Lehigh

November 29 – Wagner at Bucknell; Robert Morris at Cleveland State; Central Connecticut at Providence; Monmouth at Davidson; Navy at Mount St. Mary’s

December 1 – UMass at Quinnipiac; Bryant at Fairleigh Dickinson; Robert Morris at LIU

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