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Local hoops: Week in review

Stony Brook guard Tommy Brenton shoots a foul

Stony Brook guard Tommy Brenton shoots a foul shot against Boston University. (Jan. 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Stony Brook is hot, LIU is still rolling despite a hiccup last week and St. John’s gave its fan base a reason to smile. The Hofstra women are back on track after losing at Delaware, while the St. John’s women try to regroup after a tough loss to Notre Dame.

There is little anyone can find fault with as far as Stony Brook (13-7, 8-1 America East) is concerned. The Seawolves won their fourth straight game against Boston University in front of a raucous crowd at Pritchard Gymnasium. That win came just two days after hammering Hartford, 60-37. The most important aspect of the Boston University win was that Steve Pikiell’s crew has sole possession of first place in the conference. It’s also worth noting that Stony Brook survived a 17-0 run in that game, which should give fans an idea of their resilience. Bryan Dougher, who had 20 points in the win, was named America East Player of the Week. Schedule for the week: vs. Binghamton, Wed., Feb 1; @ Albany, Sat., Feb 4.

LIU (15-7, 9-1 NEC) got right back to work, knocking off St. Francis (PA), 97-76, on Saturday after dropping its first NEC game to Robert Morris, 75-66, last Thursday. It’s hard to be critical of LIU for the loss. How many teams usually finish conference play undefeated? Few, if any, these days. With a two-game home stretch against Bryant and Central Connecticut State just before a home-at-home against Brooklyn rival St. Francis (NY), the Blackbirds have a chance to really take control of things. Schedule for the week: vs. Bryant, Thursday, Feb. 2; vs. Central Connecticut State, Sat., Feb. 4.

Despite dropping five of its last six games, St. John’s (9-12, 3-6 Big East) has some reason to smile. Last Wednesday’s 78-62 win over West Virginia was a huge confidence boost, while Saturday’s 83-76 loss at Duke stamped Mo Harkless (30 points, 13 rebounds) as a legit player to watch nationally. D’Angelo Harrison (21 points) also made his presence felt. Two players can’t carry en entire team, but two players can certainly inspire an entire team. Schedule for the week: @ DePaul, Wed. Feb. 1; vs. Syracuse, Sat., Feb 4.

Hofstra (7-16, 1-10 CAA) still can’t find any luck in the second half. The Pride losses to George Mason and Northeastern last week were by a combined 12 points. The Pride’s inability to score in the second half is a bit of a head-scratcher, especially when you consider the offensive ability Mike Moore and Nathaniel Lester posses. In spite of the mounting losses the Pride still plays hard every night, which is a testament to their resilience and courage. Schedule for the week: vs. Towson, Wed. Feb. 1; vs. Georgia State, Sat., Feb., 4.

On the outskirts: St. Francis, NY (11-10, 6-2 NEC) has put together a strong conference season, while Iona (17-5, 9-2 MAAC) rewarded Tim Cluess with a contract extension that runs through 2017.

WOMEN

Saturday’s loss to No.2 Notre Dame notwithstanding, St. John’s (13-8, 5-3 Big East) could still emerge as the team to beat in the tri-state area. Losing 71-56 to the Irish in a home game was a big deflating, but you can’t be too critical of the Red Storm, which has recent wins over Louisville and Rutgers. Kim Barnes Arico’s team has played stellar defense in recent weeks, holding seven of its last 10 opponents to 60 points or fewer. Schedule for the week: @ Pitt, Tuesday, January, 31; @ Seton Hall, Sat., Feb. 4.

Some have said Hofstra (15-5, 7-2 CAA) was humbled by Thursday’s 84-66 loss at No. 12 Delaware. We beg to differ. It’s always difficult getting road wins during conference play. And ESPN’s Bracketology experts agree as they included Hofstra in its second Bracketology of the season. That tells you the Pride has made an imprint on the national scene. The Pride continues to get scoring from players other than Shante Evans. Kate Loper led Hofstra with 21 points and Candice Bellocchio had 13 in its 68-61 win over Drexel on Sunday. Schedule for the week: vs. William & Mary, Thu., Feb 2; vs. Old Dominion, Sun, Feb. 5.

If Stony Brook (4-18, 1-8 America East) could score the ball, this season would be going in a completely different direction. The effort is there, but there just isn’t enough talent offensively to get the Seawolves over the hump consistently. Stony Brook has seven games left to crank out a couple of more wins. Schedule for the week: @ Binghamton, Wed. Feb., 1; @ Albany, Sat., Feb 8.

On the outskirts: Princeton (13-4, 3-0 Ivy) is still the team to beat in the Ivy. Marist (15-6, 10-0 MAAC) is in control of the MAAC, but Fairfield (16-5, 9-1) is right behind them.
 

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