It wasn’t the greatest of weeks for the locals as most took critical losses. Stony Brook and the St. John’s women continued their winning ways, along with the LIU Brooklyn men.
Stony Brook (15-7, 10-1 America East) is beginning really click on offense. Earlier in the season scoring more than 60 points was a struggle at times. Recently that hasn’t been the case. Stony Brook was on fire in its two wins last week, beating Binghamton, 82-48 and Albany, 76-69. Binghamton has been down all season, but the Seawolves shot 53 percent from the field against Albany. Four players finished in double figures, including Dave Coley, who scored 17 on 8-for-9 shooting. Anthony Jackson has become a machine from the outside and has hit 11 of his last 20 three-point attempts. Schedule for the week: @ New Hampshire, Monday, February 6; vs. UMBC, Thursday, Feb. 9; @ Vermont, Sunday, Feb. 12.
LIU (17-7, 11-1 NEC) has been one of the hottest teams in the country offensively. The Blackbirds had little trouble scoring in a 95-80 win over Central Connecticut State on Saturday. Sophomore point guard Jason Brickman had a combined 29 points and 12 assists in LIU’s wins over Bryant and CCSU. In fact, he’s been the key to the offense for much of the season. Brickman (9.2 pts, 6.3 assists) has done a great job making sure super forwards Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere get the ball at the right place and time on the court. Brickman has had eight or more assists eight times and has eclipsed double figures in assists four times. Schedule for the week: @ St. Francis NY, Wednesday, Feb. 8; vs. St. Francis, Sunday, Feb. 12.
St. John’s (10-13, 4-7 Big East) has been steady for the most part, winning one and then losing one. The Red Storm has gotten some huge performances out of its freshmen combo of Mo Harkless and D’Angelo Harrison. The problem is the Red Storm has struggled to get scoring from other places, although Phil Greene had 14 points in St. John’s 87-81 win over DePaul and 14 in the 95-70 loss to Syracuse. Believe it or not the Red Storm has as good a chance as nearly every team in the Big East to make a few waves in the conference tournament. If the offense can find some more consistency, it will be more than waves that St. John’s will make. Schedule for the week: vs. Cincinnati, Wed. Feb. 8; @ Georgetown, Sundy, Feb. 12.
Hofstra (8-17, 2-11 CAA) flamed out in a big way in Saturday’s 59-43 loss to Georgia State. It was a far cry from Wednesday’s 74-49 dominating win over Towson. Like we have stated several times this season, Hofstra has been in most of their games but just can’t get over the hump in the second half. The loss to Georgia State was a bit different as the Pride fell behind, 33-18, at the half. They never recovered, although they did get double-digit scoring from Nathaniel Lester (14) and Mike Moore (13). No one else did much to help out, though. Hofstra is still hanging in there despite the losses. Schedule for the week: @ George Mason, Wed. Feb 8; @ Drexel, Sat. Feb 11.
On the outskirts: Iona (19-5, 11-2 MAAC) and Manhattan (17-8, 10-2) seem poised to make some serious noise in the MAAC tournament, while Seton Hall (15-8, 4-7 Big East) has remained in a free fall. St. Francis NY (13-10, 10-2 NEC) is having its best season in years and faces LIU in a home-at-home series next week.
St. John’s (15-8, 7-3 Big East) shook off a tough loss to Notre Dame and won in impressive fashion over Pittsburgh and Seton Hall. Granted the Panthers and the Pirates reside at the bottom of the conference standings, the Red Storm put them away early. In fact, St. John’s set a school record in points allowed in its 55-25 win at Seton Hall on Saturday. The Red Storm has truly had an impressive defensive run, limiting seven of its last 10 opponents to 58 points or fewer. Schedule for the week: vs. South Florida, Wed. Feb 8; @ Rutgers, Sun. Feb 12.
Hofstra (16-6, 8-3 CAA) hit a roadblock in Sunday’s 81-79 loss to Old Dominion. The loss dropped them into a tie for second place in the CAA with James Madison. The loss could turn out to be critical if the Pride fails to learn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That notwithstanding, the Pride is still on pace to finish with 20-plus wins. Hofstra is also on pace to finish in the top four of the conference standings. It’s a significant achievement that would give the Pride a bye into the second round. There’s no reason to think Shante Evans, Kate Loper, Nicole Capuro and Candice Bellocchio and company can’t recover from losing to the Monarchs. Schedule for the week: @ VCU, Thurs. Feb 9; @ George Mason, Sun. Feb 12.
Stony Brook (4-20, 1-10 America East) has really hit a slide. The Seawolves haven’t found an answer on offense and eclipsed the 50-point plateau just once during its 10-game losing streak. The Seawolves only allowed one team to score over 70 points during the streak, but their lack of offense has made that number a moot point at times. There are still a couple of winnable games on the schedule, but Stony Brook really needs at least one of its players to have a career night at some point. Schedule for the week: vs. UMBC, Wed. Feb 9; @ Boston University, Sat. Feb. 11.
On the outskirts: Fairfield (18-5, 11-1 MAAC) will not let Marist (15-7, 10-1) run away with the conference regular season title and will get a chance to take a one-game lead over the Red Foxes when they travel to Dutchess County on February 10. Manhattan (12-11, 6-5) showed its mettle in its 48-44 upset of Marist on Saturday. We also need to give a shoutout to St. Bonaventure (22-2, 9-0) which made its first appearance in the AP Top 25.