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Local hoops: Week in review

15 January 2012 - ST. JOHN'S REDSTORM vs.

15 January 2012 - ST. JOHN'S REDSTORM vs. GEORGETOWN HOYAS -St. John's #11 D'Angelo Harrison (white jersey) drives downcourt during a Big East Conference NCAA Division I men's basketball game at Madison Square Garden Sunday January 15, 2012. (photo by Kevin P. Coughlin) Credit: Photo by Kevin P Coughlin

Stony Brook saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, Hofstra lost its fifth straight, while St. John’s has dropped two in a row. On the women’s side Hofstra is still riding high, St. John’s dropped a tough one to Marquette, while Stony Brook is having issues finding its groove on offense.

Hofstra (6-12, 0-6 CAA) just can’t seem to find itself late in games. The Pride had a strong first half in Saturday’s 69-61 loss to Old Dominion. Mike Moore had 19 of his 21 in the first half, but couldn’t find the range in the second half. But all isn’t lost. The Pride still has 12 conference games left and enough talent to win some of those games. Nathaniel Lester has scored in double figures in his last 10 games, providing enough of a second option to keep Hofstra close. The Pride’s frontcourt trio of David Imes, Moussa Kone and Stephen Nwaukoni are still working hard, despite being undersized. Schedule for the week: vs. Drexel, Wednesday, Jan 18; @ James Madison, Saturday, Jan. 21.

LIU Brooklyn (12-6, 6-0 NEC) is finally back to its winning ways like last year. The Blackbirds have won seven straight, including a 106-86 thrashing of Monmouth on Saturday. Junior forward Julian Boyd is averaging 20.5 points and 11 rebounds during that stretch. The 6-7 forward had 28 points and eight rebounds against Monmouth. Fellow forward Jamal Olasewere has been just as effective and is averaging 20.6 points over his last six games. Boyd and Olasewere’s emergence the last six weeks has made things easier on LIU’s backcourt trio of Jason Brickman (6.2 ast), C.J. Garner (11.1 pts) and Michael Culpo (39.4 3pt%). Schedule for the week: vs. Mt. St. Mary’s, Thursday, Jan. 19; @ Wagner, Sat. Jan. 21.

St. John’s (8-9, 2-4 Big East) lack of depth has definitely reared its ugly head recently. The Red Storm had been in position to win each of its last two games, but a bad second half in each contest proved to be a back-breaker. It’s worth noting that St. John’s has played four of its last five against ranked teams. Mo Harkless had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s 69-49 loss to No.11 Georgetown. Harkless had a six-point burst that got St. John’s within, 48-45, of the Hoyas with 6:36 left. The bottom fell out after that as Harkless fouled out. No one else could pick up the slack. The growing pains are going to continue for the Red Storm, but once the proper lessons are learned their freshmen core will lead the program to new heights. Schedule for the week: @ South Florida, Wed., Jan. 18; vs. Villanova, Sat. Jan. 21.

Stony Brook (9-7, 4-1 America East) lost a tough one at Boston University (61-55) on Saturday and saw its six-game winning streak snapped. The way the team has played recently will probably make that loss a blip on the radar. Dave Coley (21 points vs. BU) has really hit his stride offensively. The sophomore from Brooklyn is averaging 12.8 points on 51 percent shooting over his last seven games. Al Rapier has also made a huge difference in the Stony Brook offense. He’s reached double figures in five of his last six games. It’s no coincidence that Stony Brook’s offense has gotten much smoother since Coley and Rapier have emerged to help Bryan Dougher (13.7pts, 39% on threes). This has also opened up things for Dallis Joyner, who is having the best season of his career offensively. Schedule for the week: vs. New Hampshire, Mon., Jan 16; @ Maine, Sat., Jan. 21.
On the outskirts: Seton Hall (15-3, 4-2) is still the best team in the area despite losing at South Florida. Rutgers (10-8, 2-3) is still around after winning two of its last Big East games and Iona (14-4, 6-1 MAAC) is still on track to win its league in spite of a loss to Manhattan.


Hofstra (13-3, 5-0 CAA) has gotten back to its high-scoring ways and is averaging 84.2 points per game over its last four. The biggest win was at Old Dominion (81-68) on Sunday, a place the Pride has never won at. It was truly a crazy game as Hofstra featured three players with 20 or more points. Shante Evans (22 pts, 10 reb), Marie Malone (20 pts, 9 reb) and Nicole Capurso (20 pts) were just too hot to handle for the Monarchs. This is a Hofstra squad that can score from anywhere on the court. Pride coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey, like most coaches, doesn’t want her team to get ahead of things. After Sunday’s win, she won’t have to worry about that. Schedule for the week: vs. James Madison, Thu., Jan. 19; vs. Sun., Jan. 22.

St. John’s (11-7, 3-2 Big East) couldn’t get it going offensively in Sunday’s 63-55 loss to Marquette at the Garden. But that loss was closer to being a blip on the radar than something to be worried about. Da’Shena Stevens (8 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast) is still working herself back into shape, while freshman sensation Amber Thompson got into early foul trouble and only played 14 minutes. Nadirah McKenith (10 pts, 7 ast) seems to be back to 100 percent, though, which is great news for the Red Storm. Schedule for the week: vs. Rutgers, Tues. Jan 17; @ Cincinnati, Sat. Jan. 21.

Stony Brook (4-14, 1-4 America East) has really struggled mightily on offense. The Seawolves have been limited to 34 points or fewer in three of its last four games. With no one on the squad averaging more than 7.3 points per game, it will be hard for Stony Brook to mount second-half challenges if it is trailing at the half. But one thing that has changed a bit the last few games is Stony Brook’s defense. The Seawolves have given up 57, 73 and 69 points over their last three games. That is far from what they had done earlier this season. Beth O’Boyle’s crew needs to get back to playing the tough defense they played earlier. Schedule for the week: @ New Hampshire, Mon., Jan., 16; vs. Maine, Sat., Jan. 21.

On the outskirts: Princeton (13-4, 3-0 Ivy) is likely on its way back to the NCAA Tournament, while Sacred Heart (12-4, 5-0 NEC) has been playing lights out in the NEC.

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