One exhilirating finish, and three laughers. Okay, Hofstra’s loss wasn’t all that bad, but it makes the title better, so I’m going with it.
All four games spanning Wednesday and Thursday were decided by double digits. Towson and William and Mary played an incredibly entertaining double overtime game, and final margin doesn’t show how close this game was.
This makes us even more thankful for Drexel and Northeastern’s thrilling game on Tuesday night.
Still, there were some interesting developments from the slightly-less entertaining games– How did Sherrod Wright and Jamelle Hagins produce one point in 60 minutes? Why were James Madison’s fans (yes, they exist) booing in the final seconds of a 28-point win? And who the hell is Daquan Brown?
One night after Northeastern and Drexel’s overtime clash, Towson and William and Mary produced arguably the most exciting finish to a CAA game this season. Towson battled back from a 13-point second half deficit to defeat William and Mary 99-86 on Wednesday in double overtime.
Players, coaches and fans of William and Mary can’t wait until Saturday’s game with Hofstra, just to get their minds off this stinging loss. Despite Marcus Thornton’s late-game heroics, the Tribe snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. On the flip side, it was another crucial pinpoint in Towson’s turnaround season. It is entirely possible that this could become a program-changing win for Towson. Not to disregard the comeback at Oregon State, but this was the first home win in an increasingly promising season – a win that should make every affiliate of the university proud.
Both teams struggled offensively to start the game. During one 12-plus minute stretch in the first half, the two teams combined for just 10 points, and it wasn’t as much of a testimony to great defense as it was to poor shooting. Each team struggled to get its stars going. Maryland-native Marcus Thornton managed just two points (via the charity stripe) in the first half. Jerrelle Benimon tallied just five points and four rebounds. The first half ended in a 28-28 stalemate.
The teams traded buckets in the early portions of the second half before the Tribe looked primed for a potential runaway win. The Tribe started to have a hot hand behind the arc and the Tigers were simply not closing out quickly enough. The lead swelled to double digits before topping out at a 13.
But the Tigers began to chip away, and refused to allow the Tribe to close them out. Down nine with 2:58 to play, the Tigers would not accept defeat. The Tribe had 10 long-range buckets in regulation (a superb 50% shooting) but Towson held important advantages in second-chance points, points off turnovers, and points in the paint. The Tigers tied the game with 18 seconds left, and forced overtime.
Much like the beginning of the second half, the overtime period was back-and-forth. Towson went up by four with 15 seconds remaining, but Marcus Thornton buried a three-pointer to cut the lead to one with 13 seconds to go. Freshman Jerome Hairston hit two free throws to push the Tigers’ lead back to three. Thornton pulled a Quincy, and buried another three with two seconds left to knot the game at 78-all.
If Towson had lost this game, many would have asked why Towson chose not to foul to prevent the Tribe from having a chance to tie the game. Well, the same thing could be said about the Iowa State-Kansas game-tying three that occurred just minutes before Thornton knocked his down. Luckily, Coach Skerry didn’t have to worry about that. The Tigers scored an astounding 21 points in the second overtime period, in large part due to the play of Benimon and Hairston. The Tribe struggled to find a shooting rhythm, and failed to keep pace with the Tigers over the last few minutes of the game, and the turnovers began to mount at the wrong time.
In the end each team had five players in double-figure scoring. The Tigers were led by Benimon who had 26 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks. The other Tigers in double figures were Marcus Damas (19), Mike Burwell (18), Rafriel Guthrie (15) and Jerome Hairston (13).
The Tribe was led by Marcus Thornton’s 24 points, three rebounds and two assists. The other Tribe players in double figures were Brandon Britt (17), Kyle Gaillard (14), Matt Rum (13) and #Beasthoven (12). It was a solid performance from Rum, a Baltimore native, who turned in one of his better shooting performances of the season. The senior has now scored in double figures in three of the Tribe’s last five games.
Here’s a nifty read on Towson’s four-game winning streak.
Hofstra stayed with Delaware in the first half, and trailed by only three at the half. Unfortunately for the Pride, Buie and Mejia shot 3-of-18 from the field, on a night where the rest of the team shot 50%. Hofstra’s leading scorer on the night? You probably didn’t guess it’d be Daquan Brown.
I don’t know much about Brown, a 6’10” Juco transfer who became eligible at the end of the fall semester (But considering Defiantly Dutch didn’t find the need to analyze him here, I don’t feel as bad). He scored a career-high 13 points in a career-high 21 minutes. It’s too early to say, but this guy looks like he could be a player. A summer in the weight room should do him wonders. Coming out of high school, the guy had interest from several Big East programs, and transferred to Hofstra from Fresno State. He only pulled in one rebound, but that can be attributed to Delaware shooting 50% for the game, Stephen Nwaukoni grabbing a game-high 11 boards, and that Hagins guy being on the other team.
On Wednesday night, Jamelle Hagins was held scoreless. He only took three shots, so it may be more about his deference, or an added focus on rebounding (he’s now eight away from becoming Delaware’s all-time leader). Regardless, it’s a good sign for Delaware that Hagins can go scoreless, and the Blue Hens can still win by 15. The goose egg in the points column is a complete anomaly – 20 bucks says he can’t do it again.
Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt combined for 42 points, but more importantly, they did it on 16-of-27 shooting. Those two guys like to shoot, but sometimes the end result is terribly inefficient. Threatt is averaging 16.6 points over his last five games.
Through the first four minutes of their Wednesday night shown with James Madison, the Dubmen looked well on their way to ending their 15-game losing skid on the road. The Seahawks started the game on an 8-0 run, to which JMU responded with a 15-1 run. After a Buzz Peterson timeout, the Seahawks answered with a 6-0 run of their own. JMU ended the first half on a 23-6 run. And in the second half, the Dukes were the only ones running.
The final score was 78-50. The Dukes converted 21 Seahawk turnovers into 29 points. The Dukes got 35 points of the bench, compared to just 14 for UNCW. Keith Rendleman (17 points, 5-of-14 shooting) was the only Seahawk with more than eight points and two field goals. Buzz Peterson said that UNCW never took advantage of transition opportunities, and never made the Dukes pay for their turnovers.
If there was any silver lining for the Seahawks, it was the opportunity to go a little deeper into the bench. Nate Anderson, Luke Hager, and Shane Reybold all saw the floor more than they normally would – which was cool for Reybold, who threw down a dunk for his family and friends in attendance. Peterson has harped on the fact that he needs to get more from his bench, and he got a chance to see who would play hard in the second half of a blowout game.
It was a fun night for JMU, as the Dukes press produced 11 steals. Matt Brady was also afforded the chance to give some minutes to guys that haven’t played as much. It was surprising to see Gene Swindle and Enoch Hood on the floor – simultaneously – in the first half.
Hood finished with nine points and four rebounds in 15 minutes, and Swindle was an immovable force under the basket (seriously, ask Tanner Milson, who was nearly swallowed in a rebounding sequence that ended in a technical foul for Swindle.) Coach Brady said both guys have probably earned some more playing time, and it will be needed with Andrey Semenov and Charles Cooke (who will miss 3-4 weeks with a fractured left wrist) unable to play.
Coach Brady admitted it was the Dukes’ “the most complete game” of the year. But after Monday’s disappointing loss to Hampton, it was easy to stay humble. When asked if this would give the team confidence down the stretch, Brady replied:
“Confidence is a funny word. What we lack sometimes is humility.”
Rayshawn Goins, AJ Davis, and Andre Nation did most of the scoring Wednesday, but Devon Moore continued to prove that he may be JMU’s most pivotal player at the moment. Moore finished with eight assists on Wednesday. Early this week in an unprompted visit to Brady’s office, Moore shouldered the blame for the Hampton loss : “We let you down, I let you down, and it won’t happen again.”
Despite the emphatic victory, JMU fans were still booing as Arman Marks (who played well off the bench) dribbled out the clock to end the game. The Dukes were one point away from the 79 points (I do not know the significance of this number) which would have given the crowd free Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets.
The Power of One has a few ambiguous meanings: It’s the title of a great novel, the indicator of an individual’s success, and thus far in George Mason’s basketball season, it is the story of Sherrod Wright.
The Power of One took on a whole new meaning in George Mason’s Thursday night throttling of Old Dominion. Wright shot 0-of-5 from the field, finished with one point, and George Mason still won by 25. In a sloppy game, Mason’s secondary offensive options came together and showed everyone that the Patriots aren’t just a one man army. The Patriots held an 18-2 advantage in fast-break points, which was key in their 76-41 beat down of Old Dominion.
Just in case you think I’m lying about Mason winning by 25 sans a productive Wright, here’s a box score. It wasn’t pretty: The Patriots turned the ball over 18 times. But turnovers don’t hurt as much when you shoot 75% (18-of-24) in the second half, which is exactly what the Patriots did to turn an eight-point halftime advantage into a full-on rout.
Aside from Johnny Williams (who was close at 3-of-7) each Patriot who made a field goal shot at least 50% from the field – that’s a chief ingredient for a win. Patrick Holloway scored a game-high 16 points in 23 minutes of play. Paris Bennett provided a model of efficiency, as he shot 6-of-6 and finished with 13 points in 16 minutes of play.
The Monarchs had twice as many turnovers (24) as field goals made (12). The only good thing you can say is that Nick Wright and Keenan Palmore both scored in double figures for the second consecutive outing. This is important for two players coming off injuries, and hopefully the Wright-DeShawn Painter duo can provide enough to power the Monarchs to victory against some of the undersized CAA teams. Still, when Donte Hill and Dmitri Batten both go scoreless, it’s probably going to be a night to forget for Old Dominion.