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