Week four of the NEC season began to really separate who the teams that are going to be competing for the regular-season title and what teams will be fighting just to make it into the NEC tournament in March. This was a big week for teams like Sacred Heart, Bryant, LIU Brooklyn, St. Francis Brooklyn and Quinnipiac who had something to prove. Let’s take a look on how it all went down in week four.
Robert Morris 84 St. Francis (PA) 70: It was a laughter for RMU. The Colonials had a 16-point lead by halftime and was in cruise control in second half. RMU were led by Karvel Anderson’s 22 points. Four Colonials scored in double-digits including Lucky Jones’ 16 points and 9 boards. SFU got five players in double-digits with Ben Millaud-Meunier leading the way with 22. Both teams shot 55% in the game. Turnovers were the difference: RMU 5, SFPA 12.
Wagner 52 Mount St. Mary’s 50: Wagner got a Kenneth Ortiz steal and layup with :26 left to win on the road. Wagner trailed by as much as 8 midway through the second half before coming back. Wagner got 12 points apiece from Eric Fanning and Orlando Parker. Sam Prescott lead the Mount with 10 off the bench. Wagner finished with 0.92 points per possession (ppp), Mount St. Mary finished with 0.86 ppp. With the win, Wagner snapped a three-game losing streak.
LIU Brooklyn 78 St. Francis Brooklyn 68: LIU Brooklyn used a 57-point second half to erase a 12-point half time deficit and win going away to win their third consecutive Battle of Brooklyn game. Here is my game recap.
Fairleigh Dickinson 54 Monmouth 73: Monmouth got big games from their three starting guards to beat FDU at home. Dion Nesmith lead the way for the Hawks with 21 points. Freshman Christian White scored a career-high 18 and Jesse Steele finished with 12. For FDU, Melquan Bolding finished with 18. Yves Jules and Kinu Rochford each scored 10. Monmouth shot 50% from the floor and held FDU to 0.79 ppp. FDU committed 23 turnovers in the game. Ouch.
Central Connecticut 78 Quinnipiac 85: Quinnipiac got a desperately needed home-win. They took control of the game with a 16-6 run midway through the second half. Big game for Shaq Shannon off the bench leading the Bobcats with 18 points. Ike Azotam has a monster game with a double-double 13 points and 17 rebounds. Zaid Hearst had 17 points and Jamee Jackson had 14. For CCSU, the NEC leading scorer Kyle Vinales scored 32 on 20 shots in a losing effort. Matt Hunter scored 13. Offense was the name of the game in this one. Quinnipiac finished with 1.19 ppp, CCSU 1.05. This was CCSU’s second straight loss and third in four games.
Bryant 76, Sacred Heart 87: In Thursday’s game of the night. Sacred Heart got a big home win against previously 6-0 Bryant as they creeped closer to first place. SHU got 26 points from Shane Gibson who is officially back. The Pioneers also got 21 from sophomore Steve Glowiak and 16 from Louis Montes in the win. Phil Gaetano, the NEC #2 assist man had 11 assists and just 2 turnovers for SHU. Dyami Starks scored 28 for Bryant. Corey Maynard finished with 14. SHU shot 60% in the game and scored 1.46 ppp. SHU were also +14 in rebounds.
Fairleigh Dickinson 56 Quinnipiac 58: QU’s Jamee Jackson blocked a layup attempt from FDU’s Sidney Sanders Jr. in the final seconds to protect Quinnipiac’s two-point win and give the Bobcats a 2-0 week at home. Ike Azotam got his second-straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He now has nine double-doubles for the season and five double-doubles in his last six games. Shaq Shannon finished with 12 for QU. FDU got 14 from Kinu Rochford and 11 from Sanders Jr. Quinnipiac shot only 32% in the game but were +12 in rebounding.
St. Francis Brooklyn 70 Central Connecticut 72: Brent Jones missed a three at the end that would have won the game for SFC. CCSU nearly blew a 7-point lead with 3:30 to go. The Blue Devils got 19 points from Kyle Vinales and a career-high 15 off the bench from Terrell Allen. CCSU’s Adonis Burbage finished with a double-double 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. SFC’s got a double-double from who else, Jalen Cannon, 18 points and 14 rebounds. Ben Mockford finished with 16 and Travis Nichols scored 12 for the Terriers who went 0-2 for the week and have lost three of their last four. CCSU snapped a two-game losing streak.
Wagner 81 St. Francis (PA) 56: In a rare showing of offense from the Seahawks, they win going away. Wagner had a 14 point lead by halftime and sailed to a 25 point win. Jonathon Williams looks like he is over his hip injury, he scored 19 to lead Wagner as five Seahawks scored in double figures. SFU got 12 each from Ben Millaud-Meunier and Earl Brown. Wagner scored 1.19 ppp and held SFU to 35% shooting and 0.86 ppp.
Mount St. Mary’s 68 Robert Morris 76: RMU had as much as an 18 point lead in the second half and it took it easy in the final minutes. Karvel Anderson lead the way for RMU with 22 points, Russell Johnson scored 14. Lucky Jones hurt his left leg in the final minutes and will be evaluated probably today to the extent of his injury. MSM got 22 points each from Shivaughn Wiggins and Julian Norfleet. RMU shot 51% in the game. RMU increased their winning streak to six games as MSM has now lost five of their last six.
LIU Brooklyn 79 Bryant 78: Alex Francis missed a game-tying free throw that would have sent game into overtime in what might have been the best game in the NEC thus far this season. LIU once again used a big second half to overcome a seven point halftime deficit in front of a raucous sold-out crowd at Bryant. Here is my game recap.
Monmouth 68 Sacred Heart 82: Monmouth blew a 10-point second half lead as Sacred Heart finished the game on a 36-12 run to close out the game. SHU got monster games from Shane Gibson (there’s that name again!) and Louis Montes who scored 33 and 25 points respectively. Phil Gaetano who is trying to chase down LIU’s Jason Brickman for #1 in NEC assists, had 13 assists. Monmouth got 16 from Dion Nesmith and 11 from Stephen Spinella. The Hawks shot only 41% while SHU shot 50% for the field. There was a total of 56 free throws shot in this game. SHU got a huge week at home going 2-0.
Through four week of play in the NEC, here is a look at the current standings courtesy of northeastconference.org
Bryant, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart are now all tied at the top at 6-2. Sacred Heart now has the tiebreaker over Bryant thanks to their win this week against them. Wagner and LIU Brooklyn are right behind at one game back. Central Connecticut, St. Francis Brooklyn and Quinnipiac round out the top 8 teams who get in to the NEC tournament if the season ended today. Still, ten games to go so a whole lot can happen. On Thursday, we get to the halfway point of the NEC season.
Next week, there are some big games on the NEC slate. On Thursday, the two featured games are Sacred Heart traveling to Staten Island to face Wagner. Robert Morris travels to Brooklyn Heights to take on St. Francis Brooklyn in what will be a big game for the Terriers. On Saturday, Wagner host Quinnipiac and the what will likely be the NEC Game of the Week, Robert Morris at LIU Brooklyn. Where have we seen this game before? The game is so big, it will have a national TV audience as ESPNU will come to the Wellness Center to broadcast that one. Week five should be another good one as we get deeper and deeper into this NEC season.