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Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
Things You Really Need To Know...We’re Up To 63!
1. The Northeast Conference will employ a campus site playoff format for the eighth year in a row after an eight-year absence that saw the league’s annual postseason tournament contested at one campus site (1999), at a municipal arena (2000-01) and at a single campus site for the quarterfinals and semifinals, followed by the highest remaining seed hosting the championship game (1998, 2002-04). The conference had previously employed a high-seed hosting format from 1991-97, though teams were not reseeded after the quarterfinals as the tournament is currently constructed.
2. Of the eight teams that qualified for the 2010 NEC Tournament, six return again this season. The absentees are Mount St. Mary’s and Saint Francis (PA). The newcomers are Monmouth and Sacred Heart.
3. Central Connecticut State has earned an NEC Tournament berth 14 straight years, the longest current run in the conference. Fairleigh Dickinson holds the league record with 18 straight appearances from 1984-01.
4. There have been five back-to-back NEC Tournament winners. Robert Morris has turned the trick three times (1982-83, 1989-90 and 2009-10), along with Marist (1986-87) and Rider (1993-94). The NEC has never had a school win three straight tournament championships.
5. Quarterfinal round play has been a rather predictable affair in recent years. The #1, #2 and #3 seeds are a perfect 18-0 in the quarterfinals over the last six seasons.
6. Likewise, home teams have posted an 15-1 record in the quarterfinals over the last four years and a 24-4 mark since the switch to campus sites in 2005.
7. LIU Brooklyn and Wagner have won 17 of their last 19 games. Robert Morris has won six-of-seven, Monmouth five-of-six, CCSU three-of-four and Quinnipiac six-of-eight.
8. This year's playoffs could hold some surprises. #7 seed CCSU beat #2 seed Wagner on the final day of the regular season. #8 Sacred Heart took #1 LIU Brooklyn to overtime and #6 Monmouth did the same to #3 Robert Morris in February games. Though #5 Quinnipiac was swept by #4 St. Francis (NY) the two teams played to a one-point game in Brooklyn back in early January.
9. Should both teams advance and one of the top two seeds is upset in the quarterfinals, Quinnipiac and Robert Morris could meet for a fourth consecutive year in NEC Tournament play. The Colonials have eliminated the Bobcats in each of the past three years (2009 and 2011 semifinals, 2010 championship game).
10. Defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn’s regular season title is its second in a row and sixth overall. The Blackbirds, who have earned an automatic berth to the Postseason NIT, will be shooting for their fourth tournament crown.
11. The 2011-12 season will go down as a landmark campaign for the Northeast Conference. For just the second time in its history, the NEC sports three teams with 20+ wins on the season. Wagner leads the way with 24 victories, followed by LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris with 22 apiece. In 1995-96, Marist (22-7), Mount St. Mary's (21-8) and Monmouth (20-10) all reached the 20-win plateau and went on to compete in the postseason. The Hawks won the NEC championship that year, while the Mount and Red Foxes earned NIT bids. The Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CAA, Mountain West and WCC are the other leagues with three 22-win teams this season.
12. Robert Morris, which won back-to-back NEC titles in 2009 and 2010, has posted an 8-1 record in NEC Tournament play over the last three years.
13. On the season, the four teams hosting quarterfinal games - LIU Brooklyn (12-0), Wagner (11-2), Robert Morris (10-3) and St. Francis (NY) (8-4) and are a combined 41-9 (.820) at home.
14. The three NYC-Metro schools, LIU Brooklyn (12-2), Wagner (13-1) and St. Francis (NY) (12-2), went a combined 37-5 against the remaining nine teams in the NEC during the regular season and 19-4 against the other five teams in the tournament field.
15. Since the league scrapped a divisional format in 1984, #1 seeds are a perfect 28-0 in their opening game of the NEC Tournament.
16. Despite the legacy of first round success #1 seeds have enjoyed in the NEC Tournament, #8 seed Sacred Heart may have a puncher’s chance at stopping top-seeded LIU Brooklyn. The Pioneers took the host Blackbirds to overtime on February 16, before falling 103-91. In their other meeting, Sacred Heart led with under four minutes to play before suffering an 87-81 setback.
17. As the top seed, LIU Brooklyn will host games as long as it remains alive in the tournament. That’s a good thing for the Blackbirds, who have found the magic formula for winning in the WRAC, with 24 straight home victories entering the postseason. The streak is the second-longest in the nation behind Kentucky (51). LIU was last tripped up at the WRAC on December 8, 2010 in an 88-82 setback to Iona.
18. Should Wagner and Robert Morris have to play any NEC Tournament games on the road, they may feel right at home. Wagner has won eight of its last nine on the road, and its 12 road triumphs is tied with Murray State for the most in the nation this season. Likewise, the Seahawks' .800 road win percentage ranks sixth in Division I. Robert Morris is now 11-6 on the year away from the Sewall Center. The 11 road wins are tied for third in Division I.
19. Robert Morris has become the first program in NEC history to post four 20-win campaigns in a five-year span. In that time, RMU has won 113 games, the most wins by an NEC program over a five-year stretch. It also marked the seventh 20-win campaign in school history.
20. If the seeds hold up and Wagner meets LIU Brooklyn for the title at the WRAC, the Blackbirds will be going for a three-game sweep of the Seahawks. LIU defeated Wagner, 78-73, in Brooklyn on December 1, then won the rematch in Staten Island on January 21 by a 73-66 final score.
21. Three of the four quarterfinal games are first-time postseason matchups. The only teams to have met before in the postseason are Monmouth and Robert Morris, who have split four playoff games, the most notable being RMU’s 71-66 win over MU in the 1989 NEC title game.
22. Monmouth’s King Rice will be making his NEC Tournament debut on Thursday as he looks to lead the Hawks to their first playoff victory since winning the NEC title for the third time in six years back in 2006. The Hawks doubled their NEC victory total from five to ten under the first-year head coach.
23. Under head coach Tom Moore, Quinnipiac has reached the NEC semifinals in each of the last three seasons and advanced to the title game in 2010 where the Bobcats fell to Robert Morris, 52-50. Quinnipiac played in the Postseason NIT in 2010 and the CIT in 2011.
24. Sacred Heart is back in the playoffs following a two-year absence. The Pioneers reached the NEC title game in both 2007 (losing to CCSU) and 2008 (losing to Mount St. Mary’s).
25. St. Francis (NY) enters the tournament with its highest seed (#4) since 2004 when the Terriers earned a share of the NEC regular season title and were seeded second. The Terriers are in the hunt for their first NEC Tournament win since reaching the NEC title game in 2003. Ironically, St. Francis (NY) head coach Glenn Braica was an assistant on that team.
26. The head coaches of the #2 (Dan Hurley), #3 (Andrew Toole) and #4 (Glenn Braica) seeds have only six years of head coaching experience between them. Each coach is in his second year on the job.
27. Since moving to the eight-team tourney format in 1998 (seven qualified in 2001 only), Central Connecticut State has qualified for the NEC Tournament 14 out of 15 times, with Robert Morris one behind with 13. St. Francis (NY) and Wagner have made it 12 of those years, followed by 11 for LIU Brooklyn and Monmouth, ten for Fairleigh Dickinson and Mount St. Mary’s, nine for Quinnipiac (first eligible in 2001) and Saint Francis (PA), and six for Sacred Heart (first eligible in 2002).
28. Bryant becomes eligible for NEC postseason competition in 2013 after the completion of its five-year reclassification period.
29. Robert Morris owns the most NEC tournament wins at home with 17. Prior to the seven wins in Moon Township the last four years, the other 10 home victories for the Colonials all came between 1982 and 1994. LIU Brooklyn is second with 13, followed by Fairleigh Dickinson with 11 and Monmouth and Mount St. Mary’s tied with nine.
30. Robert Morris and Central Connecticut have recorded the second and third-best winning percentages in NEC Tournament history. The Colonials are 31-20 (.608) and the Blue Devils are 15-10 (.600) in the postseason.
31. CCSU head coach Howie Dickenman has posted 15 NEC Tournament wins, most among active NEC head coaches and second all-time to NEC Hall of Famer Tom Green, who had 26 at FDU from 1983-09.
32. It has been some time since a #8 seed has threatened to pull off the first-ever upset of a #1 seed in NEC quarterfinal round play. In 2005, Monmouth’s Marques Alston hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Hawks a 54-53 win over #8 CCSU. In 2006, Fairleigh Dickinson’s Gordon Klaiber hit a bucket with ten seconds left on the clock as the Knights avoided the upset with a 66-65 triumph over #8 Quinnipiac.
33. While only five #7 seeds have ousted a #2 seed in the NEC Tournament, four of these upsets have come since 2000. In 2004, Central Connecticut State knocked out St. Francis (NY) (81-68) a year after Fairleigh Dickinson defeated Monmouth (63-61) in 2003. Quinnipiac topped Wagner (87-78) in 2002 and Mount St. Mary’s booted Fairleigh Dickinson (73-68) in 2000. Marist also beat Monmouth (75-60) in 1992.
34. Only three NEC Tournaments - in 1987, 1991 and 1994 - have gone exactly according to seeding.
35. There have been three NEC championship games that have gone to overtime, including LIU Brooklyn’s 85-82 win over Robert Morris in the 2011 title tilt. Also going past regulation were FDU’s 63-59 win over Loyola (MD) in 1985 and Marist’s 57-56 triumph over FDU in 1986.
36. Conference teams have posted an 95-33 record (.742) when hosting NEC Tournament games throughout the league’s history (current NEC teams only).
37. There are 14 players in this year’s tournament who have competed on NEC championship teams. For LIU Brooklyn (2011): Jamal Olasewere, C.J. Garner, Jason Brickman, Booker Hucks, Arnold Mayorga, Robinson Odoch Opong, Michael Culpo, Kenny Onyechi, Kurt Joseph and Julian Boyd. For Robert Morris (2009-10): Velton Jones, Russell Johnson, Lijah Thompson and Treadwell Lewis.
38. Central Connecticut has won three NEC titles, but only when seeded first in the field (2000, 2002 and 2007).
39. LIU Brooklyn has a 13-2 record when playing as the top seed and won all three of its NEC titles when seeded first in the field.
40. Monmouth’s rally from a 20-point second half deficit to win the 2001 NEC crown marked the biggest championship game comeback in league history.
41. Fairleigh Dickinson holds the league record for consecutive NEC semifinal appearances with nine in a row from 1983-91. St. Francis (NY) (1999-03) and Rider (1993-97) reached the semis five consecutive years.
42. Robert Morris’ Jeremy Chappell (2009), CCSU’s Javier Mojica (2007), Wagner’s Jermaine Hall (2003), Monmouth’s Rahsaan Johnson (2001), CCSU’s Rick Mickens (2000), LIU Brooklyn's Charles Jones (1997), Rider’s Darrick Suber (1993), Robert Morris’ Myron Walker (1992), St. Francis (PA)’s Mike Iuzzolino (1991), Robert Morris’ Vaughn Luton (1989) and LIU Brooklyn’s Carey Scurry (1984) all were named NEC regular season and tournament Most Valuable Player. Incidentally, three of these players (Jones, Iuzzolino and Scurry) were named to the NEC’s 10-man 25th Anniversary team in January, 2006.
43. In what will forever be known as “The Shot,” Rider’s Darrick Suber earned a place in NEC annals and ESPN Championship Week history in 1993. The Broncs and Seahawks battled tooth-and-nail for 39-plus minutes as Suber and Wagner’s Bobby Hopson waged their own individual dual. With the Broncs trailing by a point in the game’s waning seconds, Suber went coast-to-coast and hit an off-balance leaner just inside the free-throw line as time expired. The victory sent the Broncs Zoo into a frenzy and for a short time, brought the NEC into the forefront of the college basketball world.
44. The longest win streak in NEC Tournament history is eight, shared by Robert Morris (1982-84 and 2009-11) and Rider (1993-95).
45. In 2008, Mount St. Mary’s became just the second team in NEC annals to claim the league championship after winning on the road in both the semifinals (over Robert Morris) and title contest (over Sacred Heart). Monmouth also turned the trick in 2006, beating CCSU in the semis and FDU for the championship. No NEC team has ever won three straight games on the road to win the league championship. Teams that have won NEC title games on the road (not including neutral sites): Robert Morris (2010), Mount St. Mary’s (2008), Monmouth (2006), FDU (1998), Mount St. Mary’s (1995), FDU (1985) and Robert Morris (1983).
46. NEC Championship games have historically been tightly contested affairs. Six games have been decided by exactly one point, including Monmouth’s 49-48 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in 2006. A total of 15 have been decided by five points or less and 21 by ten or fewer points.
47. The last three NEC title games have been decided by a combined total of seven points. The 2009 and 2010 title games were each two-point affairs and the 2011 title tilt was just the third in league history to go to overtime.
48. The 2011 NEC Tournament semifinals and championship games were decided by a combined total of seven points. The only tournament more closely contested was the 1996 event, in which six points separated the winners and losers.
49. The 2009 NEC title game between Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s was the lowest scoring finale in league history. The two teams combined for 94 points as the Colonials won 48-46, on a last second shot by RMU folk hero Dallas Green.
50. The 31 points scored by LIU Brooklyn’s Jamal Olasewere in the 2011 NEC championship game were the most in a final since FDU’s Rahshon Turner scored 37 in the 1998 title tilt.
51. Robert Morris has qualified for 28 of the league’s 31 postseason tournaments - the most in league history - since the inception of the conference in 1982. Fairleigh Dickinson is second with 26 appearances. The Colonials missed out on the festivities in 1991, 2001 and 2003, while the Knights failed to qualify in 2002, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
52. CCSU’s Howie Dickenman and LIU Brooklyn’s Jim Ferry are the only head coaches in this year’s NEC Tournament field to have won a league championship. Dickenman’s Blue Devils won the title in 2000, 2002 and 2007. Ferry won it all last season with the Blackbirds.
53. Mount St. Mary’s (1999) is the lone NEC school to win the conference title without having both a winning overall and conference record prior to entering the tournament.
54. Mount St. Mary’s became the lowest seeded team (#6) to win the NEC Tournament back in 1999. In 2008, the Mount became the second lowest seeded team (#4) to win it all.
55. Monmouth’s Alex Blackwell (1990), Rider’s Charles Smith (1994) and Robert Morris’ Karon Abraham (2010) are the only three players to win both NEC Rookie of the Year and NEC Tournament MVP in the same season.
56. St. Francis (NY) is the lone NEC charter member - a group that also includes Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris, Saint Francis (PA) and Wagner - that has yet to win an NEC title. The Terriers have also played the most games in NEC Tournament history (33) without winning a championship.
57. Fairleigh Dickinson’s Tom Green and Marist’s Dave Magarity are the only head coaches in league history to capture the NEC Tournament in their first season with their clubs. The only coach in this year’s event without prior NEC tourney experience is Monmouth’s King Rice.
58. The largest margin of victory in an NEC Tournament game is 35 points. That came on March 1, 1996 when Mount St. Mary’s defeated LIU Brooklyn, 93-58.
59. Robert Morris set a new NEC Tournament record on March 6, 2004, holding St. Francis (PA) to just 43 points in a quarterfinal victory.
60. Robert Morris has won the most NEC Tournament titles with seven and has posted 31 NEC Tournament wins, the highest total in league history and two ahead of Fairleigh Dickinson.
61. Monmouth’s Rahsaan Johnson holds the NEC Tournament single-game scoring mark with 40 points in an 86-70 loss to St. Francis (NY) on March 3, 2000.
62. LIU Brooklyn’s Carey Scurry once blocked 14 (!) shots in an NEC Tournament game against Baltimore on February 28, 1983.
63. This year’s event marks the 31st NEC Tournament. The first was contested in and was won by Robert Morris.
#1 Long Island (22-8, 16-2 NEC)
• The defending champion Blackbirds won their second straight NEC regular season championship and sixth overall on Saturday and have posted back-to-back 16-2 records in league play.
• The 16 NEC wins matched the program record set last season.
• LIU’s has established a new NEC record for conference winning percentage (.889 over a two-year period.
• The Blackbirds have won 17 of their last 19 games.
• LIU has earned the NEC’s automatic bid to the Postseason NIT.
• Dating back to last season LIU has won 24 consecutive home games. That streak is the second-longest active one in the country behind only Kentucky (51 games).
• LIU has won three NEC championships in 1984, 1997 and 2011.
• The Blackbirds are ranked 24th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll.
• LIU had eight and nine-game win streaks this season.
• The Blackbirds’ 49 wins over a two-year period is one off the record of 50 held by RMU.
• The Blackbirds are 24-21 all-time in NEC play and 13-2 as the top seed.
• LIU has qualified for the NEC Tournament five straight years and eight times in Jim Ferry’s ten seasons as head coach. The Blackbirds are 7-6 in tourney play under Ferry.
• LIU and Sacred Heart have never met in the NEC Tournament.
• The Blackbirds swept Sacred Heart in the regular season. LIU won in Fairfield, 87-81, then needed overtime to down the Pioneers, 103-91, at the WRAC.
• LIU ranks first in the nation in FTs made (20.8 per game) and second in trips to the line (28.4 per game). The Blackbirds have made 623 FTs, 168 more than their opponents have attempted (455).
• The Blackbirds leads the NEC with 81.8 ppg, which ranks fourth in the country.
• The Hawks are second in the country with 77.1 possessions per 40 minutes.
• Junior forward Julian Boyd (San Antonio, TX/William H. Taft) was named the unanimous NEC Player of the Year on Tuesday. Boyd leads the NEC in rebounding (9.5/game) and double-doubles (13), and ranks fifth in scoring (17.3/game) and seventh in field goal percentage (.542).
• Boyd had a 21-point, 20-rebound performance last Thursday against FDU. In doing so, he became the first LIU player since Freddie Burton in 1989 to pull down 20 boards in a game.
• Junior forward Jamal Olasewere (Silver Spring, MD/Springbrook) and sophomore guard Jason Brickman (San Antonio, TX/Clark) were named first and second team All-NEC.
• Olasewere, the 2011 NEC Tournament MVP, ranks in the NEC top-five in scoring (17.0 ppg, sixth), rebounding (7.6 rpg, fifth) and FG accuracy (.571, fourth).
• Brickman is the NEC’s top distributor and ranks fifth in the country with 7.1 per game. His 29 assists in back-to-back games last week was the most by an NEC player since Wagner’s Mick Wheeler recorded 30 in February, 1998. He has seven games of 10+ assists on the year.
• Brickman’s 213 assists ranks second on the LIU single-season chart and eighth in league history.
• Boyd & Olasewere are two-time NEC Player of the Week award winners. Brickman won the award once.
#2 Wagner (24-5, 15-3 NEC)
• Wagner claimed the #2 seed in the NEC Tournament after finishing the regular season 15-3 in league play. The 15 wins equaled the school record set in 2001-02 and matched in 2007-08.
• The team’s 24 victories established a program record, bettering the 23 wins from 2007-08.
• In two years under Dan Hurley, Wagner increased its victory total from five in 2009-10 to 13 in 2010-11 to 24 this season.
• The Green & White’s 24 victories is tied with Iona for the most among NYC Metro area programs.
• Wagner is tied with Murray State for the most road wins in the nation this season. The Seahawks are 12-3 away from home.
• The Seahawks fell one win shy of the NEC record of 25 regular season wins set by Robert Morris in 2007-08.
• Wagner has won 17 of its last 19 games. The Seahawks had a nine-game win streak snapped by quarterfinal opponent CCSU on Saturday.
• The Seahawks are ranked 25th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll.
• The Seahawks and Blue Devils have never faced each other in the postseason.
• This marks the second straight year the Seahawks will play its quarterfinal game against the same team they finished the regular season. A year ago, Wagner played back-to-back games against Robert Morris.
• Wagner will be the #2 seed for the fourth time in its history, going 3-3 those years. The last time the Seahawks were the #2 seed was during the 2007-08 season when the Green & White won their quarterfinal game against LIU Brooklyn before dropping a semifinal contest to Sacred Heart.
• The Seahawks last won an NEC Tournament game during that 2007-08 season and have lost three straight and five-of-six in postseason play.
• Wagner is 15-23 all-time in the NEC Tournament.
• The Seahawks have appeared in the NEC Tournament in 10 of the last 12 seasons.
• Wagner won its lone NEC championship in 2002-03.
• Senior guard Tyler Murray (Toronto, Ontario/Eastern Commerce) and sophomore guard Latif Rivers (Elizabeth, NJ/Avon Old Farms (CT)) were both tabbed to the All-NEC second team.
• Junior forward Jonathon Williams (Richmond, VA/Kennedy (CC of San Francisco)) averaged 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last week. In NEC play, he leads the team with 14.6 ppg.
• Murray and Chris Martin (Sicklerville, NJ/Apex Academies) have both eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in their respective careers. Murray has amassed 1,186 points and Martin 1,010 points.
• Rivers is averaging a team-best 14.4 ppg and ranks second in the NEC in FT percentage (.880).
• Murray is hitting a league-leading 49.3 percent of his shots from three-point territory.
• Sophomore forward Naofall Folahan (Benin Republic, West Africa/Wilbraham and Monson Academy) is the league leader with 1.7 blocks per game.
#3 Robert Morris (22-9, 13-5 NEC)
• The Colonials are making their ninth straight appearance in the NEC Tournament and 28th overall.
• Robert Morris has posted seven straight winning seasons, extending a school record.
• The Colonials have won six of their last seven games heading into March.
• Robert Morris holds the NEC record for wins over a five-year span, with 113 victories since the beginning of the 2007-08 campaign. Likewise, RMU’s 118 wins in league play over the last decade are the most in the conference.
• Robert Morris became the first program in NEC history to post four 20-win campaigns in a five-year span.
• Robert Morris owns an all-time record of 31-20 (.608) in the NEC Tournament. The 31 wins are the most in conference history.
• The Colonials also hold the league record with seven NEC Tournament championships.
• The Colonials are 21-6 in NEC Tournament games held in MoonTownship.
• The longest win streak in NEC Tournament history is eight, shared by Robert Morris (1982-84 and 2009-11) and Rider (1993-95).
• Robert Morris has appeared in the NEC Tournament in each of the past eight seasons, advancing to the semifinals six times and the NEC Championship game on three occasions (2009, 2010 and 2011).
• Robert Morris is the only current team in the NEC to have won back-to-back league titles, having accomplished the feat three times (1982-83, 1989-90 and 2009-10).
• The Colonials have advanced to the semifinals of the tourney four straight years and 15 times in school history, the second most of any NEC program behind only Fairleigh Dickinson (17).
• Robert Morris has won at least 10 games at the Sewall Center in each of the last seven seasons and owns a record of 79-20 (.798) at home since the beginning of the 2005-06 campaign.
• The Colonials are 2-2 all-time against Monmouth in the NEC Tournament, including a 71-66 win over the Hawks in the 1989 title game. RMU also beat the Hawks in the 2008 quarterfinals, 64-50.
• Combined, the 2011-12 RMU roster enters the NEC Tournament with 27 career games of experience in the postseason.
• Junior guard Velton Jones (Philadelphia, PA/Northeast) was tabbed to the All-NEC first team on Tuesday. He was also named to the 2011 NEC All-Tournament team.
• Jones, who averaged 22.5 ppg last week and buried a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Sacred Heart on Thursday, leads the team and ranks eighth in the NEC with 16.5 ppg.
• Freshman guard Lucky Jones (Newark, NJ/St. Anthony) collected NEC All-Rookie plaudits and was a two-time NEC Rookie of the Week.
• Velton Jones and sophomore guard Coron Williams (Midlothian, VA/Christchurch) both earned NEC Player of the Week honors this season.
• The Colonials pace the NEC in scoring defense (62.8 ppg) and steals (8.5/game).
• RMU hold wins over three top-100 RPI programs this season - La Salle, Ohio and LIU Brooklyn.
#4 St. Francis (NY) (15-14, 12-6 NEC)
• Picked 11th in the NEC preseason poll after losing a pair of league all-stars to graduation, St. Francis (NY) went 12-6 in the NEC, its best year in conference play since winning 12 back in 2003-04.
• The #4 seed for the Terriers is the program’s highest since entering the playoffs at #2 in 2004.
• The Terriers, who are seeking their first NEC title, have qualifed for the NEC Tournament in each of the last two years.
• St. Francis will be hosting the first postseason game at the Pope Center since 1997 when it takes on #5 seed Quinnipiac on Thursday. The two schools have never met in the NEC Tournament.
• The Terriers have lost six consecutive NEC quarterfinal contests. St. Francis last won in March during the 2002-03 season with victories over CCSU and FDU before losing in the finals against Wagner.
• St. Francis has lost four of its last six games entering the postseason.
• St. Francis (NY) has posted its first back-to-back winning records in NEC play since going 16-4 in 2000-01 and 13-7 in 2001-02.
• From 1991-2005, St. Francis (NY) qualified for 15 straight NEC Tournaments.
• The Terriers reached the NEC semifinals five straight seasons from 1999-03.
• St. Francis reached the league championship game in 2001 (losing to Monmouth, 67-64) and 2003 (losing to Wagner, 78-61).
• The Terriers swept Quinnipiac in the regular season with a 73-72 win at home and a 64-56 victory in Hamden.
• St. Francis is 10-23 all-time in the NEC Tournament.
• Glenn Braica was voted the NEC Coach of the Year on Tuesday.
• Freshman forward Jalen Cannon (Allentown, PA/ William Allen), named to the NEC All-Rookie team, is on a rebounding tear over the past four contests. Cannon, who matched the NEC single-game season-high with 20 rebounds against FDU on Saturday, is pulling down 15.8 caroms during the stretch. Cannon is fourth in the NEC with 8.8 rpg and is fifth in the nation in rebounds per 40 minutes (14.4). He is also the second-leading freshman rebounder in DI. Against conference opposition, his 9.4 rpg is the second-best mark on the circuit.
• Cannon’s 20 rebounds on Saturday was the most by an NEC freshman since CCSU’s Ron Robinson pulled down 21 in on February 5, 2001.
• Cannon won the NEC Rookie of the Week award on January 16.
• Junior forward Akeem Johnson (Brooklyn, NY/Food & Finance) is second in the NEC in field goal percentage (.577) and leads the Terriers in scoring at 11.6 ppg.
• Senior forward Stefan Perunicic’s (Belgrade, Serbia/Dimitrije Tucovic) 277 career three-pointers is tied for fifth on the NEC’s all-time list. He ranks third in trifectas made (2.5/game) and fourth in 3PFG percentage (.424).
• St. Francis (NY) leads the NEC in three-point percentage defense (.297).
#5 Quinnipiac (17-12, 10-8 NEC)
• Quinnipiac will participate in the NEC playoffs for the seventh straight year. The Bobcats have reached at least the NEC semifinals in four of the last five seasons.
• Following a 2-5 start in NEC play, Quinnipiac won eight of its last 11 league games.
• The Bobcats have now finished over .500 in NEC play in each of the last six seasons.
• The Bobcats have held opponents to under 60 points in six of their last nine games.
• The Bobcats reached the NEC title game in 2010, losing to Robert Morris, 52-50.
• Quinnipiac is 8-8 in NEC Tournament competition (4-2 at home, 2-6 on the road, 2-0 at neutral sites), including a run to the 2002 title game after entering the tourney as the #7 seed. That year, Quinnipiac knocked off #2 Wagner and #3 UMBC before falling to top-seeded CCSU, 78-71, in the championship.
• Quinnipiac has won 62 games over the last three seasons.
• The Bobcats are 38-16 in NEC play over the last three years.
• This will mark the first NEC Tournament matchup between St. Francis (NY) and Quinnipiac. The Terriers won both regular season meetings, including a one-point decicion in Brooklyn Heights on January 5.
• Senior guard James Johnson (Queens, NY/Bishop Loughlin) and sophomore forward Ike Azotam (Boston, MA/John D. O’Bryant (Marianpolis Prep)) were named second team All-NEC on Tuesday. It marked the second straight all-star nod for Johnson, who was tabbed to the first team a year ago.
• Freshman forward Ousmane Drame (Boston, MA/New Mission (Marianapolis Prep)) earned All-Rookie recognition as well and was a three-time NEC Rookie of the Week. His 7.4 rpg ranks him second in the conference.
• Johnson averaged 23.5 ppg last week, including 28 in a 73-69 win over Robert Morris on Saturday in Hamden.
• Johnson is 28th on the NEC career scoring list with 1,674 points.
• Johnson ranks ninth in the NEC in scoring with 16.3 ppg. He is also eighth with 2.2 three-pointers per game.
• Johnson has hit 210 career three-pointers.
• Azotam leads the NEC with 13 double-doubles. He is the league’s second-leading rebounder (9.5 per game), and also ranks in the NEC top-10 in scoring (15.9 ppg, tenth) and field goal percentage (.565, fifth).
• Quinnipiac ranks second in the nation in rebound margin (+10.8) and rebounds per game (43.4).
• The Bobcats average 16.9 offensive rebounds per game, the most by an NEC team since the 1997-98 season.
#6 Monmouth (12-19, 10-8 NEC)
• Monmouth is back in the NEC playoffs after missing out on the festivities last season. The Hawks ended the regular season with a flourish, beating #4 seed St. Francis (NY) (79-73) and top-seed LIU Brooklyn (106-78) last week to make it nine wins in their last 12 games.
• Under first year head coach King Rice, the Hawks doubled their NEC victory total from a year ago and finished with their best record in league play since posting a 12-6 mark en-route to the NEC title in 2006.
• The Hawks were selected 10th in the NEC preseason coaches’ poll.
• The 106 points scored in the season finale against LIU marked the first time MU topped the century mark since the February, 1997.
• The Hawks are 21-16 all-time in the NEC Tournament.
• Monmouth is 2-2 all-time against Robert Morris in the NEC Tournament. The Hawks beat the Colonials in the 1993 and 2004 semifinals.
• This is the first time Monmouth has been seeded sixth in the NEC playoffs.
• Monmouth’s last NEC Tournament win came back in 2006 when Chris Kenny went coast to coast to beat FDU at the buzzer, 49-48, and claim the Hawks’ fourth league title.
• RMU swept the Hawks in the regular season, but the Hawks came close in an 81-73 home overtime setback to the Colonials on January 21.
• Junior guard Dion Nesmith (Union, NJ/Union (Northeastern)) earned NEC All-Rookie recognition on Tuesday.
• Senior forward Mike Myers Keitt (Waterbury, CT/Fairfield Prep (Marianapolis Prep)) is tied for 11th with 115 career games played for the Hawks. He is Monmouth’s leading active scorer with 915 points.
• Junior guard Jesse Steele (Milford, NJ/Oak Hill Academy (Army)) scored 16.0 ppg last week and leads the team with 12.6 ppg, 4.2 apg and 62 shots from three-point range.
• Steele was tabbed the NEC Player of the Week back on December 12.
• Junior forward Ed Waite (Fort Lauderdale, FL/Pine Crest) eclipsed the 500-rebound mark for his career last week.
• Nesmith and Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, PA/Eastern York) are tied for second on the Hawks with 9.0 ppg. Nicholas contributed 16.5 ppg in two wins last week.
• Nesmith was named the NEC Rookie of the Week on February 20.
• The Hawks rank second in the NEC in turnover margin (+3.2/game).
#7 Central Connecticut (13-15, 10-8 NEC)
• The Blue Devils have qualified for 14 straight NEC Tournaments, the longest current streak in the league.
• Howie Dickenman and CCSU are 15-10 (.600) all-time in NEC Tournament play. Dickenman’s 15 postseason wins are the most among active NEC coaches and second most in league history.
• The Blue Devils have won three NEC titles under Dickenman (2000, 2002 and 2007).
• The Blue Devils are 7-6 in NEC quarterfinal games, 5-2 in semifinal games and 3-2 in the finals.
• CCSU has never played Wagner in the NEC Tournament. The Blue Devils beat the second-seeded Seahawks on Saturday, 78-61. Wagner won the earlier meeting between the two programs, 67-58.
• CCSU is 11-8 all-time in NEC Tournament play versus the teams that make up the 2012 bracket. The Blue Devils have never faced Wagner, but have played the other six teams.
• The Blue Devils are 2-2 all-time as the #7 seed. In 2009-10, they lost in the first round on the road at Robert Morris. In 2003-04, CCSU advanced all the way to the finals by defeating #2 St. Francis (NY) and #3 Fairleigh Dickinson before losing to top seeded Monmouth, 67-55.
• CCSU is 2-1 all-time against the #2 seed in the Tournament. They lost to Robert Morris in 2009-10, but defeated #2 St. Francis (NY) in 2003-04 and #2 Sacred Heart in 2006-07.
• CCSU has never played Wagner there, but is 6-2 in neutral site games held at the Spiro Center.
• The Blue Devils have never won a true road game in the NEC Tournament. They are 0-6 as the road team in conference tournament action.
• CCSU senior forward Ken Horton (Ossining, NY/Ossining), who was the 2010-11 NEC Player of the Year, earned first team All-NEC honors on Tuesday. The three-time all-league player ranks seventh on the NEC career scoring list with 1,941 points.
• Freshman guard Kyle Vinales (Detroit, MI/Phelps School) was named the NEC Rookie of the Year after he tied a league record with eight NEC Rookie of the Week honors.
• Horton was named NEC Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday after he averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 5.0 steals and 2.5 blocks in two CCSU victories. When he finished with 39 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and five assists vs. Mount St. Mary’s on Thursday, it marked the first 30-10-5-5 game for an NEC player since at least the 1997-98 season.
• Horton leads the NEC with 2.1 steals per game, and ranks second in scoring (18.7 ppg), third in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and blocks (1.4 bpg) and eighth in free throw percentage (.812).
• Horton has boosted his career scoring total to 1,941 points, which ranks seventh on the NEC’s all-time list, and he sits 14th on the conference rebounding chart with 833 boards
• Vinales leads all NCAA freshman performers with 18.0 ppg. He ranks third in the NEC in scoring, fourth in free throw percentage (.837), fourth in 3PFG made (2.5/game) and seventh in 3PFG accuracy (.390).
• Senior guard Robby Ptacek (Bayport, NY/Blue Point) has upped his career total to 1,521 points. He is fourth in the NEC with 17.6 ppg.
• Ptacek leads the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 91.6 percent of his attempts.
• Horton, Vinales and Ptacek rank two-three-four in the NEC in scoring and have accounted for 77.0 percent of CCSU’s points this season.
#8 Sacred Heart (14-17, 8-10 NEC)
• Sacred Heart returns to the postseason following a two-year absence. The Pioneers will be making their sixth NEC Tournament appearance and are 5-5 all-time in the potseason.
• This will be just the second time Sacred Heart enters the field as the #8 seed. The program’s first ever appearance in the conference tournament had the Pioneers as the #8 seed in 2002. SHU lost to eventual champion CCSU, 65-54, in the opening round at Wagner.
• The Pioneers were the #7 seed in the 2006 playoffs, falling in the first round to CCSU once again. In 2007, SHU was a #2 seed and in 2008, the #3 seed, both seasons ending with an apperance in the NEC Championship game. SHU’s last trip in 2009 was as the #3 seed and ended with a semifinal loss to Mount St. Mary’s.
• The only two players on the Sacred Heart roster with NEC Tournament experience are senior forward Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT/Watkinson School) and junior guard Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT/Killingly). Dulaire played 10 minutes off the bench and had two rebounds in a quarterfinal win over CCSU and played just a minute in the loss at the Mount. As a rookie, Gibson scored eight points off the bench in his playoff debut against CCSU and missed two shots and had two turnovers at the Mount.
• The Pioneers have never faced LIU Brooklyn in the post season. This season, they lost to the Blackbirds, 87-81, at home and forced overtime before falling 103-91 in Brooklyn. SHU has dropped three-straight to the Blackbirds and four of the last five meetings.
• Sacred Heart dropped two-point decisions to both #3 seed Robert Morris and #4 seed St. Francis (NY) in the last two weeks in NEC play.
• Gibson, who was named to the All-NEC first team on Tuesday, is the NEC’s leading scorer and ranks fourth in the nation with 22.0 ppg. In league play, Gibson averaged 24.9 ppg.
• Gibson leads the NEC in made three-pointers (85) and three-pointers per game (2.7), and ranks second in three-point accuracy (.436) and third in free throw percentage (.857).
• Gibson’s 21 games of 20+ points is the most by an NEC player since Saint Francis (PA)’s Darshan Luckey had 22 in 2002-03.
• The Pioneers rank second in the league in both field goal (.459) and free throw (.745) percentage.
• Freshman guard Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT/Sheehan (Choate Rosemary)) leads all NEC freshman with 4.1 apg.
• Junior forward Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ/Holy Cross) is second on the Pioneers with 11.1 ppg and ranks ninth in the league in field goal percentage (.531).
• Dave Bike, now in his 34th year at Sacred Heart, leads all current NEC coaches with 520 career victories.
• If the Pioneers reach the semis, Bike will coach his 1,000th career game, all at Sacred Heart.
NEC TOURNAMENT TITLES AND RECORDS
SCHOOL TITLES LAST TOURNEY RECORD
Robert Morris 7 2010 31-20
Monmouth 4 2006 21-16
Fairleigh Dickinson 4 2005 27-22
Central Connecticut State 3 2007 15-10
Mount St. Mary’s 3 2008 18-13
LIU Brooklyn 3 2011 24-21
Wagner 1 2003 15-23
Saint Francis (PA) 1 1991 7-19
Quinnipiac 0 8-8
Sacred Heart 0 5-5
St. Francis (NY) 0 10-23
PAST NEC TOURNAMENT WINNERS AND MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS
2011 -- #1 LIU Brooklyn def. #3 Robert Morris, 85-82 (OT) (Jamal Olasewere, LIU)
2010 -- #2 Robert Morris def. #1 Quinnipiac, 52-50 (Karon Abraham, RMU)
2009 -- #1 Robert Morris def. #2 Mount St. Mary’s, 48-46 (Jeremy Chappell, RMU)
2008 -- #4 Mount St. Mary’s def. #3 Sacred Heart, 68-55 (Jean Cajou, MSM)
2007 -- #1 Central Connecticut def. #2 Sacred Heart, 74-70 (Javier Mojica, CCSU)
2006 -- #3 Monmouth def. #1 Fairleigh Dickinson, 49-48 (Marques Alston, MU)
2005 -- #2 Fairleigh Dickinson def. #6 Wagner, 58-52 (Tamien Trent, FDU)
2004 -- #1 Monmouth def. #7 Central Connecticut State, 67-55 (Blake Hamilton, MU)
2003 -- #1 Wagner def. #6 St. Francis (NY), 78-61 (Jermaine Hall, WC)
2002 -- #1 Central Connecticut def. #7 Quinnipiac, 78-71 (Damian Battles, CCSU)
2001 -- #2 Monmouth def. #1 St. Francis (NY), 67-64 (Rahsaan Johnson, MU)
2000 -- #1 Central Connecticut def. #3 Robert Morris, 63-46 (Rick Mickens, CCSU)
1999 -- #6 Mount St. Mary’s def. #4 Central Connecticut , 72-56 (Gregory Harris, MSM)
1998 -- #2 Fairleigh Dickinson def. #1 LIU Brooklyn, 105-91 (Rahshon Turner, FDU)
1997 -- #1 LIU Brooklyn def. #3 Monmouth, 72-67 (Charles Jones, LIU)
1996 -- #3 Monmouth def. #4 Rider, 60-59 (Corey Albano, MU)
1995 -- #2 Mount St. Mary’s def. #1 Rider, 69-62 (Silas Cheung, MSM)
1994 -- #1 Rider def. #2 Monmouth, 62-56 (Charles Smith, RID)
1993 -- #1 Rider def. #2 Wagner, 65-64 (Darrick Suber, RID)
1992 -- #1 Robert Morris def. #7 Marist, 85-81 (Myron Walker, RMU)
1991 -- #1 St. Francis (PA) def. #2 Fairleigh Dickinson, 97-82 (Mike Iuzzolino, SFPA)
1990 -- #1 Robert Morris def. #2 Monmouth, 71-66 (Alex Blackwell, MU)
1989 -- #1 Robert Morris def. #2 Fairleigh Dickinson, 67-66 (Vaughn Luton, RMU)
1988 -- #1 Fairleigh Dickinson def. #2 Monmouth, 90-75 (Jaime Latney, FDU)
1987 -- #1 Marist def. #2 Fairleigh Dickinson, 64-55 (OT) (Drafton Davis, MAR)
1986 -- #2 Marist def. #1 Fairleigh Dickinson, 57-56 (OT) (Rik Smits, MAR)
1985 -- #2 Fairleigh Dickinson def. #4 Loyola (MD), 63-59 (Larry Hampton, FDU)
1984 -- #1 LIU Brooklyn def. #2 Robert Morris, 87-81 (Carey Scurry, LIU)
1983 -- #1S Robert Morris def. #1N LIU Brooklyn, 79-67 (Chipper Harris, RMU)
1982 -- #1S Robert Morris def. #2N LIU Brooklyn, 85-84 (Tom Parks, RMU)