Opening Weekend NEC Men’s Basketball Recap

Three days of the 2014-15 college basketball season are in the books. Nine of the ten NEC have launch their season with the only expection being LIU Brooklyn who get things going on Wednesday. The NEC though took their lumps as many would expect on opening weekend as they went 2-8 while facing very formidable competition. One team though beat the long odds and got an upset win on the road while another who was a very decent favorite got blown out at home.

Here’s a look at how it all shook down on opening week for the NEC:

Fairfield 71 Central Connecticut 63

CCSU got a career-high 30 points from sophomore guard Matt Mobley but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Devils fall to Fairfield at the Connecticut 6 at Quinnipiac University. Mobley hit 8 of 17 shot attempts and made 11 of 12 free throws. CCSU were within two at 55-53 with 3:46 left to play but Fairfield would go on a 9-0 run down the stretch to take control of the game. All five CCSU starters played at least 30 minutes in this one. Faronte Drakeford finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.

Lafayette 77 Robert Morris 50

In what I thought was the most surprising result of opening night, Lafayette went into the Sewall Center and put a good whooping on the host Robert Morris. The Colonials never led in this one and were down as much as 40 points in the second half. Three RMU players finished with a team-high ten points. Senior Lucky Jones had a terrible shooting night going 2 for 14 from the field. RMU as a whole shot 25% from the field and had a woeful 0.78 points per possession in the game. KenPom had RMU a six-point favorite before the game.

Saint Francis U. 37 Cincinnati 52

SFU only manage to score 37 points against the Bearcats’ defense. Advert your eyes but SFU score just 0.57 ppp in 65 possessions. The Red Flash didn’t have a single player score in double digits. Ronnie Drinnon led SFU with just 9 points and 6 rebounds. Ben Millaud-Meunier score eight off the bench but was just 2 of 8 shooting. The Red Flash shot just 30% from the field and went 50% from the charity stripe.

Bryant 53 Connecticut 66

In a game that was closer than the final score indicated, Bryant went toe-to-toe with the defending national champions…for a good 30 minutes. The game was tied at 45 with 9:43 remaining but UConn used a 12-2 run over the next 6:30 to take control of the game. Bryant scored just 8 points over that final ten minutes. Dyami Starks scored 18 to led the Bulldogs but was just 6 for 19 shooting. Dan Garvin finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Ryan Boatwright was a terror for UConn who finished with a game-high 24 points and was the star of the night.

Fairleigh Dickinson 58 Saint Joseph’s 57

In what was the upset win of the night for the NEC, Mustafaa Jones hit a game-winning three with 3.3 seconds left to beat Saint Joseph’s on the road. FDU scored the final five points of the game and overcame a four-point deficit with 1:13 left to play. Three players finished in double-figures for FDU with Jones leading the way with 13 points. Sophomore Matt McDonald had 12 points and 8 rebounds. KenPom gave FDU just a 6% chance of winning going into the game and had them as a 17-point underdog.

Wagner 48 Maryland 82

In what was a tall order for the Wagner, they went to College Park and were throughly beaten by the hands of the Terps. Maryland never trailed in this one. Wagner only mustered six points through the first ten minutes of the game. They were down 26 by the half on their way to a 34 point loss. Nolan Long led Wagner with 13 points off the bench. Marcus Burton who will be heavily relied on with the loss of Dwaun Anderson for the next couple of months went 3 for 12 shooting and scored just seven points. Wagner shot just 26% from the floor and 13% from three while giving up 54% shooting to the Terps.

Mount St. Mary’s 55 Arizona 78

This game was just a seven-point game with just over 11 minutes left to play before a 12-0 run by Arizona put the game away. Similar to Bryant against UConn, the Mount only scored 11 points over the final 11 minutes as Arizona put the game into overdrive and pulled away. Sixth-year senior Kristijan Krajina scored a team-high 13 points. Bryon Ashe scored 12. The Mount scored 0.78 ppp in a 71 possession game for them. The three-point reliant Mayhem offense went 7 for 21 from downtown. Arizona shot 57% against the smaller Mountaineers.

Hartford 53 Sacred Heart 71

Sacred Heart made it win number two for the NEC on opening night with a rather convincing win against Hartford in the final game of the Connecticut 6 tripleheader. Reigning NEC Rookie of the Year De’von Barnett started his sophomore campaign in style with 18 points and 7 rebounds, hitting 8 of 11 shots. Evan Kelley and Hofstra transfer Jordan Allen each scored 13 for the winning Pioneers. SHU shot a sizzling 58% from the floor versus the Hawks and score 1.02 ppp in a 70 possession game.

St. Francis Brooklyn 62 Georgetown 83 

In the only NEC contest on Saturday, Georgetown used a dominating second half to put away St. Francis Brooklyn after having just a six-point halftime lead. Brent Jones led the Terriers with 13 points and six assists but also had eight turnovers. Jalen Cannon scored 10 points. JuCo transfer Antonio Jenifer scored 11 points off the bench in his Terriers debut. Junior Amdy Fall scored just two points but recorded four blocks in the loss. SFBK scored 0.84 ppp in 72 possessions.

Robert Morris 59 North Carolina 103

In the final NEC game of the opening weekend on Sunday, RMU went to Chapel Hill for their first road game of the season and were throughly handled by the 6-ranked Tar Heels. RMU got a game-high 24 points from freshman Marcquise Reed off the bench in his second collegiate game. He connected on 10 of 15 shots. Unfortunately, the rest of the team made just 12 field goals. North Carolina scored 1.32 ppp in a 74 possession game and made 58% of their two-pointers. Lucky Jones for the second straight game struggled with just six points and six turnovers in 19 minutes before fouling out. RMU, who kicked off a four-game road swing with this game, is off to an 0-2 start.

Games to watch out for this week:

Wagner at Columbia – Tuesday
Army at St. Francis Brooklyn – Wednesday
LIU Brooklyn at St. John’s – Wednesday
Fairleigh Dickinson at Rutgers – Wednesday
Central Connecticut at Monmouth – Saturday
Wagner at Hofstra – Sunday
St. Francis Brooklyn at Rutgers – Sunday

The NEC News Wire – October 1

The hunt for October is over as the calendar now turns the page to the tenth month of the year and we are now three short days until all NCAA teams can begin actual practices with their 2014-15 roster of players in preparation for the new college basketball season. The actual season gets underway in under 50 days from today. Please, just let the season get here already!!! I’m craving for college hoops!

Here is this week’s NEC News Wire:

– A few weeks ago on the NEC News Wire, I gave you the schedule for almost every NEC teams opening game of the season. This time, I now have a complete list of season-opening games with TV/Online streaming information.

Bryant at UConn – Friday, November 14, 7pm – TV: SNY
Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Joseph’s – Friday, November 14, 7pm – Online: A10 Network Digital Network ($)
Mount St. Mary’s at Arizona – Friday, November 14, 8pm – TV: PAC-12 Network
Lafayette at Robert Morris – Friday, November 14, 7pm – Online: NEC Front Row
St. Francis U. at Cincinnati – Friday, November 14, 8pm – TV/Online: ESPN3
Wagner at Maryland – Friday, November 14, 7:30pm – TV: ESPN3
St. Francis Brooklyn
at Georgetown – Saturday, November 15, 12pm – TV: FOX Sports Network
LIU Brooklyn
at St. John’s – Wednesday, November 19, 7:30pm – TV/Online: ESPN3
Central Connecticut
vs Fairfield at the Connecticut 6 at Quinnipiac University – Friday, November 14, 3pm – TBA
Sacred Heart
vs Hartford at the Connecticut 6 at Quinnipiac University – Friday, November 14 – TBA

That means that three season-opening games will be televised while five will be streaming live online. The two Connecticut 6 games viewing information has yet to be determined.

Also, in the coming weeks, the NEC will announce their 2014-15 Television Package which will feature conference games on multiple television and online outlets.

– The renovations at Saint Francis U. DeGol Arena seems to now be complete. Over the summer, the home of Red Flash got a new paint job as well as brand-new digital video board. DeGol is also getting upgrades on their audio and video lines as well as adding some studio space to their facilities. SFU’s Director of “Infotainment” Services Ben Mitchell has been putting pictures up on his Twitter feed, keeping the public aware of the progress.

Lots of upgrades happening in Loretto as basketball season approaches.

– A couple of weeks, Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball put out a YouTube video of sophomore forward Will Miller hitting 100 three-pointers in five minutes from various spots around the three-point perimeter in a shooting drill.

Miller made 55 of 138 three-point attempts last season in his freshman year. He finished eighth in NEC in three-point shooting at 39.9%.

Miller’s shooting display got other NEC shooters thinking they can do the same. LIU Brooklyn sharpshooting guard Gerrell Martin thinks he can get it done.

The Mount also released their 2014-15 team photo.

– St. Francis Brooklyn will be conducting their annual Terrier Tip-Off Reception which benefits their men’s basketball program on Tuesday, October 21 (the same day as the NEC Social Media Day) from 6pm to 9pm. If you a fan and/or supporter of Terriers men’s basketball, this is likely a must-attend event every year. SFC men’s basketball head coach Glenn Briaca among others will be in attendance. It costs $100 per person to attend but it includes the all-important open bar as well as hors d’oeuvres and a hot buffet. If you would like more information, go to sfcathletics.com or send an e-mail to SFC’s Director of Athletic Marketing/Senior Woman Administrator Meghan O’Brien at mobrien@sfc.edu.

The NEC News Wire – September 23

Ten days now until teams can begin practicing in preparation for the 2014-15 college basketball season. Things are starting to ramp up a bit more and more every week now. Almost all the schedules are out and preseason planning is taking shape. Folks, the wait is almost over.

Here is this week’s NEC News Wire:

– On Monday, the NEC announced that they will be holding their third annual NEC Basketball Social Media Day back at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Tuesday, October 21st. As usual, the event will be streamed live on NEC Front Row starting at 11am. Also for the first time, the event will also air live on ESPN3.

The format will be the same as last year where all ten NEC men’s and women’s head basketball coaches will be in attendance as well as one player from each team. Fans can send in questions and tweets via Twitter and the NEC will once again give out prizes to the day’s best tweeters.

It is also a great event. I’ve been fortunate to attend the first two and I’m greatly looking forward to attending once again this season. It is always fun to catch up with the players and coaches prior to the season.

– Congratulations are in order to Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball head coach Jamion Christian who received a contract extension that will have him under contract until the 2018-19 season. Christian has been the head coach at the Mount for the last two seasons in which he has compiled a 34-31 (.523) record. This extension comes on the heels of Christian taking the Mount to their first NEC championship and NCAA tournament appearance since the 2007-08 season.

Christian and his Mount St. Mary’s squad begins defense of their NEC championship on Friday, November 14th at Arizona.

– A third 2014-15 college basketball preview magazine has hit newsstands as Athlon Sports has released their preview magazine. Here is how they see the 2014-15 NEC men’s basketball season shaping out:

The Athlon Sports College Basketball 2014-15 Preview Magazine (Photo: athlonsports.com)

1. St. Francis Brooklyn
2. Robert Morris
3. Central Connecticut
4. Bryant
5. Mount St. Mary’s
6. Saint Francis PA
7. Wagner
8. LIU Brooklyn
9. Fairleigh Dickinson
10. Sacred Heart

NEC Player of the Year: Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
All-NEC First Team:
Jalen Cannon – St. Francis Brooklyn
Earl Brown – Saint Francis PA
Lucky Jones – Robert Morris
Dyami Starks – Bryant
Kyle Vinales – CCSU

Through three magazine previews here is how they all together see the NEC finishing up (Sporting News/Lindy’s/Athlon):

1. Central Connecticut 2/1/3
2. St. Francis Brooklyn 1/5/1
3. Robert Morris 3/4/2
4. Bryant 6/2/4
5. Saint Francis PA 5/3/6
6. Mount St. Mary’s 4/7/5
7. Wagner 7/6/7
8. LIU Brooklyn 8/8/8
9. Fairleigh Dickinson 9/9/9
10. Sacred Heart 10/10/10

Although two of the mags picked St. Francis Brooklyn to win the NEC, due to Lindy’s giving them a 5th-place finish, it actually gives CCSU a magazine consensus first-place finish with St. Francis Brooklyn finishing second. In my opinion, I believe the mags going with CCSU to have a top-three finish is a bit of a reach and I don’t think anyone who follows the NEC day-in and day-out are going to pick CCSU to win the NEC this season but we shall see as more predictions begin filtering out over the next few weeks.

– There is even more NEC prediction news as Big Apple Buckets’ Ryan Peters on Twitter revealed his picks he submitted to ESPN for their annual conference previews. Here is how Peters sees the NEC going this season, at least for right now.

Last season, Peters picked Wagner (as did I) to win the NEC. Wagner finished second with Robert Morris finishing in first.

– LIU Brooklyn became the ninth NEC team to release their men’s basketball schedule on Monday. Only Saint Francis U. remains as the last hold out to not yet release their 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule. It should be coming out in the very near future.

 

The NEC News Wire: The Catching Up Edition

Hey, what do you know. It is July! It has been more than 3 months now since the college basketball season ended and nearly 4 months since we saw the Mount’s Big Three rise the NEC championship trophy at Robert Morris to finish the NEC season. Time to get back into the swing of things and get caught up on stuff we might have missed over the last few months as we check out what came across the what I would like to call The NEC News Wire.

– This was the first offseason in quite a while where there was no head coaching changes in the NEC. Although, Robert Morris’ Andy Toole was a candidate for the Marshall job, he stayed put at RMU and will return for his fifth season at the helm of the Colonials.

– Back on June 12, the Robert Morris Colonials become the first NEC team and so far only team to release their full men’s basketball schedule. They will play six non-conference home games beginning with their season opener against Lafayette on November 14th. They will also play at powerhouses North Carolina in Chapel Hill on November 16th, at Georgetown in DC on November 22nd and at Clemson to cap off their non-conference schedule on December 30th. Their first NEC game is a rematch of last season’s NEC final as they will host Mount St. Mary’s on January 3rd.

– On Monday, we saw the return of Ryan Peters to Big Apple Buckets after a brief hiatus as him and his wife recently had a baby girl as well. (Congrats Ryan!) Ryan broke down the up-to-the-moment 2014 NEC transfers. There were names we knew about, obviously the two LIU transfers in E.J. Reed and D.J. Griggs, as well as Wagner’s Mario Moody and Jay Harris. Also, you can forget the three suspended St. Francis Brooklyn players who weren’t reinstated in Sheldon Hagigal, P.J. Santavenere and Anthony White as well as the two RMU players suspended mid-season in Jeremiah Worthem and Britton Lee. There were also a couple of names that may have slipped by such as SFU’s Stephon Mosley, Bryant’s Declan Soukup, and Sacred Heart’s Leo Vincent.

– The NEC quietly announced in their 2013-14 NEC Year-In-Review that their ever-popular, free web streaming service, NEC Front Row, next season will stream all their events included men’s and women’s basketball in true high-definition.

“Last summer, the Conference provided broadcast quality HD equipment for each institution. With this long-term upgrade, all games are now taped in HD and highlights from Front Row broadcasts have been fed to local news stations, regional sports networks and ESPN (SportsCenter Top-10), and used during NEC-TV games on NEC Front Row. The equipment also allowed games to be streamed in a higher quality for those watching on their computer or mobile device. The Conference plans to upgrade to true HD streaming of NEC Front Row webcasts for the 2014-15 season.”

Next season, NEC Front Row along with its new mobile app NEC On The Run will put high-quality NEC games at our fingertips, on any device, at any time and any place. Awesome!! Thank you NEC!

Check in regularly as our NEC News Wire will be out periodically all summer long keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and notes going on around the NEC.