NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that St. Francis Brooklyn is getting by with its defense this season. A quick check of the numbers shows that the Terriers have been in the top three of defensive efficiency in NEC play in each of Glenn Braica’s first five seasons at the helm in Brooklyn Heights, which is also the biggest reason why the Terriers are 54-34 in that span, never missing the NEC Tournament and winning the regular-season crown in 2014-15.
Even without Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones, St. Francis Brooklyn is moving slowly toward the top of the NEC defensive ratings (if it weren’t for two poor games against Wagner, it would be past Mount St. Mary’s and long there already). As I’ve talked about before, Tyreek Jewell is a fantastic defender and held Central Connecticut’s biggest offensive threat, Austin Nehls, without a field goal until the game was decided in a 60-49 smothering win for the Terriers (9-14, 5-5) at Detrick Gym Saturday afternoon.
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – In an NEC race that seems to pretty clearly up for grabs this season, it’s nice to have a guy like Shane McLaughlin around. The Bryant senior captain leads the conference in assists, and although he averages just 7.4 points per game can almost always be counted on to do the right thing down the stretch.
And with seemingly every NEC game going to the wire in 2015-16, he’s a big reason why the Bulldogs have shaken off a frustrating non-conference campaign to sit atop the NEC at 4-1 thus far. Thursday night in a tie game with the clock running down, Tim O’Shea put the ball in McLaughlin’s hands and hoped he could find an open teammate. When the tough St. Francis Brooklyn defense wouldn’t let him, McLaughlin – despite being just 1-5 from the field for two points at the time – took it upon himself, draining a fade away 18-footer with 1.3 seconds left to give Bryant a hard-fought 61-59 win at the Chace Athletic Center.
St. Francis Brooklyn’s calling card used to be its defense, but when that fell apart against NJIT the Terriers tried to shoot themselves out of a jam. Unfortunately they came up just short, 92-86, in overtime on Thursday in Brooklyn. Continue reading →
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Glenn Braica had seen the season-opening movie he was watching Saturday afternoon at Boston College before. Fortunately, he knows it probably it’s quite as bad as it looked.
Defending NEC regular season champion St. Francis Brooklyn missed its first 13 shots from the field and went 8:28 without scoring a point to open the season, and never really recovered, getting blown out 75-49 at Conte Forum.
It was eerily similar to Glenn Braica’s first game in charge of the Terriers five years ago when Boston College raced to a 24-2 start and led 38-15 at the break en route to a 79-49 rout. St. Francis Brooklyn scored just 15 points and shot just 5-27 from the field that day. Saturday, after that opening drought, St. Francis finished 5-29 from the field in the first half and trailed 41-16 at the intermission.
A few weeks ago, I posted my Way Too Early NEC All-Conference Teams thoughts. Given the turnover and roster youth in the NEC, narrowing down my top 15 players of 2015-16 was rather difficult. In particular, one player heading into his senior season, St. Francis Brooklyn’s Tyreek Jewell, wasn’t really considered as a candidate by yours truly. But after interviewing head coach Glenn Braica nearly two weeks ago, I’m starting to have serious doubts. Continue reading →
As the NEC writer for the upcoming Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, I’ve started my deep analysis for each individual program. I still have several coaches to speak with throughout the summer, but I wanted to convey my current thoughts on the conference’s returning individual talent. Because 10 of 15 players have graduated or transferred from last year’s Big Apple Buckets all-NEC teams, this Way Too Early exercise would surely garner a ton of differing opinions. Continue reading →
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” – Andy Dufresne
Hope does spring eternal and all that, but many times rather than fully being allowed to blossom, we temper it, knowing that it may be a false alarm, a mirage, a ruse designed to play to our emotions before cruelly disappearing like a Snapchat photo (is supposed to at least).
With another rather convincing 83-66 win over Staten Island rival Wagner (its second in five days), St. Francis Brooklyn has cemented itself as the clear favorite in the NEC as we head down the homestretch. The Terriers have won 17 of 21 games, now have a two-game lead on the rest of the field (with an 11-2 NEC record), currently hold the tiebreaker on the nearest competitor Bryant, and have their next three games as heavy favorites at home.
Lucky Jones’ clutch three-pointer carried Robert Morris to a gritty road victory over St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday evening. The win brings the Colonials into a three-way tie with the Terriers and Bryant — who lost at home to Sacred Heart. Continue reading →