The NEC MBB Week in Review

With all the news surrounding LIU Brooklyn and Julian Boyd over the weekend, I didn’t get to pay as much attention to the rest of the NEC as I normally would. So let’s get a recap of the week of action in the NEC as some teams return back to the court from finals while a couple of other are winding down their non-conference seasons.

It was a relatively light week of games in the NEC this week. Last Sunday, December 9, the NEC went 0-2 with Sacred Heart losing at Lafayette and FDU losing at home to Hartford. Sacred Heart has underwhelmed this non-conference season and it looks like with the multitude of injures to their roster, SHU may not fare too well once NEC play starts. SHU has a rematch game vs Stony Brook at home on Tuesday. Stony Brook will be looking for payback after SHU beat SBU on their home court, coming back from a 14-point deficit with under 8 minutes to go. This will be SHU’s final non-conference home game of the season. FDU is currently in midst of a long 13-day finals layoff. Their next game is this Saturday at Vermont.

On Monday, Bryant in a bit of a surprise considering how well they’ve play this season, came back down to Earth a bit with a 10-point loss at Navy. Bryant’s Dyami Starks struggled going 3 for 15 with 8 points in 39 minutes. Joe O’Shea picked up the slack with 15 points but it wasn’t enough. Bryant has lost two out of three since winning four straight. They too are in the midst of a long 12-day finals layoff. They return back to action on Saturday vs Dartmouth.

On Tuesday, St. Francis Brooklyn lost at home to Stony Brook. Stony Brook turned what some people thought would be a good matchup to a rout. Stony Brook won by 16 on the road. The emerging tag-team of Jalen Cannon and Kevin Douglas did their part with 14 points each but Akeem Johnson and Brent Jones struggled going for 20 points combined while shooting a combined 8 for 25. SFC is now 0-2 at the Pope Center so far this season.

On Wednesday, the NEC went 1-1 as LIU Brooklyn beat Rice in a costly victory while Maryland destroyed outgoing NEC member Monmouth by 33. The Hawks’ two seniors, Jesse Steele and Dion Nesmith, had a game to forget. Both players struggled mightily against the longer, athletic Terrapins. They went a combined 6 for 25 shooting, scoring 14 combined points. To be fair, every Hawks player struggled as no Hawk shot 50% in the game. The team shot 21% from the floor. Ouch!

No games on Thursday or Friday which brings us to this weekend’s action. There were four games on Saturday. The NEC had a 2-2 day with wins by Wagner and Robert Morris and losses by St. Francis Brooklyn and Mount St. Mary’s. Wagner needed overtime to take care of lowly Coppin State at home by 12. Jonathon Williams had himself a monster game with 33 points and 17 rebounds. He did it efficiently too going 13 for 18 from the field. Marcus Burton also chipped in 17 points for Wagner. I noticed that Dwaun Anderson has lost his starting spot to Marcus Burton. Anderson has struggled to start his college career. He has just 25 points total through his first eight games. His season-high is only 8 points. Wagner has a tough one coming up in California vs SMU on Friday night. St. Francis Brooklyn lost to St. John’s at the Barclays Center. Akeem Johnson and Jalen Cannon finished with double-doubles and Kevin Douglas chipped in with 10 and 6  but Douglas and Johnson didn’t have great shooting days (8 for 25 combined) plus little else from the rest of the team as SFC shot 31% from the floor. SFC is now 2-7 and have lost five straight. SFC return home to take on Colgate on Saturday. In a bit of a surprise, RMU destroyed Duquesne 91-69. Not surprising that RMU won but the way they won and by how much. RMU had four players in double-figures lead by Velton Jones and his 22 points, his highest scoring output of the season. RMU has now won four straight and six of seven after their rocky 0-2 start. RMU plays their last two non-conference games this week as they go on the road to play Louisiana Lafayette on Tuesday and at Arkansas on Thursday before taking the rest of December off. Finally, Loyola (MD) beat the Mount by 22. Kristijan Krajina had a nice game for MSM, scoring 14 points in 15 minutes on 7 for 8 shooting. This loss broke the Mount’s three-game winning streak. A really tough spot is coming up for the Mount, they go to #6 Indiana on Wednesday who is coming off a tough overtime loss to Butler over the weekend and will likely unleash some frustration out on the Mount.

On Sunday, there were two NEC games. LIU Brooklyn beat Manhattan handily and Quinnipiac lost to Boston U. in overtime on the road. People are beginning to wonder if Tom Moore is starting to feel the heat a bit now that Quinnipiac will be moving to the MAAC next season and Quinnipiac who on paper has a Top 4 NEC team but has yet to really play well with the expection of two or three games. Quinnipiac has now lost two straight and five of six. Ike Azotam had a double-double for the Bobcats (19 and 10) and Zaid Heart put in 18 points on 50% shooting yet they got little help elsewhere. Their problem continues to be scoring and shooting. At 44% FG percentage on Sunday, this was their 3rd best shooting day of the season.

St. Francis (PA) returns to action tonight after a nine-day layoff. They host Bucknell. Central Connecticut is on a 13-day layoff and returns Friday to host Northeastern.

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