The MAAC let three winnable games slip through its fingers and Sacred Heart surprised Hofstra in a busy night of college basketball.
Most Notable Game:
South Carolina 70, Monmouth 69 (OT)
PJ Dozier hit a mid-air floater as the buzzer sounded and South Carolina escaped with a home victory over Monmouth. The Hawks, who were darlings of the college basketball world last season after pulling early season upsets of UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown, almost pulled out another one in Columbia, SC.
Monmouth really only has itself to blame though, as it dug into early holes in both halves, first falling down 17-2 to start the game, and then allowing a 9-0 run to start the second. Still, Monmouth rallied to send the game to overtime and had a one-point lead and the ball. Unfortunately, Justin Robinson took a tough runner in the lane that didn’t go down—to be honest, it wasn’t the best look—and South Carolina was able to come up with the prayer on the other end. Josh Newman was there for the Asbury Park Press. Robinson finished with 11 points on 2-13 shooting from the floor. Chris Brady had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks.
New York Games:
Virginia 72, St. Francis Brooklyn 32
Yes, the 8th-ranked Cavaliers are extremely good, but I don’t know if anyone expected this. The Terriers scored just 13 points in the first half. They made just four shots and scored 0.39 points per possession in the opening 20 minutes. The final wasn’t much kinder, as they scored 0.52 points per possession. It was definitely the worst per-possession offensive performance in the KenPom era (since the 2001-02 season) for SFC. Glenn Sanabria led the Terriers with 10 points on 4-11 shooting. Virginia had a very balanced scoring night thanks to the blowout. Considering SFC’s lack of size this season there’s just no way for them to hang with Division I’s elite, especially when the Terriers shoot 5-26 from three. Things don’t get much easier, as the Terriers play at Providence on Monday.
Winthrop 94, Manhattan 81
The two teams combined for 68 fouls (34 apiece), which led to a lot of points, but an extremely slow game at 8:45 a.m. in the morning. Keon Johnson and Joshua Davenport both scored 22 points for the Eagles in the victory. Manhattan was led by Zavier Turner’s 16 points. I wrote more about the game. Here is persistent Manhattan chronicler Jaden Daly on the game as well.
Florida State 99, Iona 78
The Gaels were okay offensively, but they gave up 1.19 points per possession to the Seminoles. Jonathan Isaac had 20 points to lead six FSU players in double-figures. Iona really struggled defensively in the paint, allowing FSU to shoot 30-42 (71%) on two-point attempts and giving up 13 offensive rebounds (41% of their misses). On the plus side, the Gaels did force 20 turnovers, but this was an 83-possession game. Sam Cassell Jr. led Iona with 28 points, including 5-14 from three and 7-8 from the free throw line. Jordan Washington scored 16 points, partly due to his ability to get to the free throw line as well.
Sacred Heart 90, Hofstra 86
Hofstra was up nine points with under four to play, but the Pioneers came back on their home court and earned a big victory for the NEC. It was Sean Hoehn’s free throw with 24 seconds that ultimately gave SHU the lead for good. Eli Pemberton scored 23 points for the Pride, including 18 points in the first half, but Hofstra only led by two at the break. Brian Bernardi added 22 points on 7-11 shooting. My guess is that Jerry Beach will post something interesting about this game here eventually.
For Sacred Heart the story was balance, even as Quincy McKnight led the Pioneers with 28 points. Anthony Latina wants to see multiple players getting into the action and on Tuesday night five players scored in double-figures and eight players made a field goal. The idea is to replace the departed Cane Broome with the ultimate sum of the parts. SHU didn’t go to the free throw line much, attempting just 19, but they made them count with 17 makes.
The Rest of Division I:
Hartford 82, Niagara 78 (OT)
Hartford got up early, watched Niagara claw back, and then controlled the game in overtime to earn its first win of the season. The Purple Eagles are now 0-3 on the young season, while Harford is 1-1. Senior Jalen Ross scored 35 points for the Hawks, partly thanks to shooting 13-14 from the free throw line. Ross, a 6-foot-0 guard also shot 8-12 on two-point attempts. Jason Dunne added 20 points and nine boards for the Hawks. Matt Scott’s 26 points paced Niagara. The Purple Eagles have no lost to Buffalo, and at Brown and Hartford. Not exactly a murderer’s row. Early returns suggest that Chris Casey’s team might struggle in the MAAC again this season.
Cleveland St. 67, Canisius 64
Canisius outscored Cleveland State by five in the first half, but the Vikings caim back to take the lead with on a Kasheem Thomas three-pointer with 9:26 remaining and never looked back. Jermaine Crumpton led the Golden Griffins with 21 points. Phil Valenti had 10 points and six assists, but he shot just 5-14 from the field. Edwards scored 17 points to lead the Vikings. The loss was about what was to be expected for the Griffs. They now have one more game on the road, at Duquesne on Friday, before returning to upstate New York for a two-game slate against teams from the Volunteer state.
George Washington 77, Siena 75
Jaren Sina scored all 16 of his points in the final 8:17 in the win, including 4-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to help George Washington fend off Siena in D.C. With under six minutes remaining the game was tied at 58, but GW outscored Siena 19-17 down the stretch. Marquis Wright 21 points in 38 minute and Javion Ogunyemi added 19 points and seven rebounds. Siena allowed 16 offensive rebounds (44% OR%), which helped GW scored 1.12 points per possession offensively. Siena only grabbed nine offensive rebounds, but also committed just six turnovers.
Fairfield 79, Dartmouth 62
The Stags went to Hanover, NH and came away winners. At 76 possessions, the game was played close to the pace that this new version of Sydney Johnson’s team wants to play. They made those possessions count, scoring 1.04 points per possession thanks to 70% shooting on two-point attempts (26-37). Tyler Nelson scored 28 points in 37 minutes to lead the Stags. Sophomore Evan Boudreaux had a strong outing for Dartmouth, scoring 18 points, but no other Big Green player could get things going offensively. It has only been two games, but Fairfield is starting to look like a darkhorse contender in the MAAC this season.
Bryant 88, Salve Regina 61
The Bulldogs took care of business against their non-Division I opponent on Tuesday night. Tim O’Shea gave his bench some run, as it was a 20-point blowout at halftime. Sebastian Townes and Adam Grant each scored 16 points for Bryant in the win. Townes, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Norfolk, VA, is definitely a player to watch. He’s now scored 16 points in back-to-back games. Grant scored 13 points against ND before his 16 against Salve Regina. Along with Ikenna Ndugba, who Ryan Peters pegged as a potential standout before the season, the early returns are quite strong for the Bryant freshmen class.
Fairleigh Dickinson 96, Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham 48
FDU did exactly what it was supposed to do. Mike Holloway dominated inside and scored 25 points in 17 minutes on 12-14 shooting. Darian Anderson scored 19 points on 7-8 shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from three. Starting Friday the Knights play three games in three days against Fordham, Lipscomb and Saint Peter’s in the Bronx. We’ll know a lot more about FDU then.