With Bryant having moved to 5-1 in conference play with a win over Central Connecticut State on Saturday, St. Francis-Brooklyn and Saint Francis (PA) were playing for a share of first place Sunday afternoon in Loretto, Pennsylvania. And as expected the game went down to the wire, with the Red Flash erasing a nine-point second half deficit and leading by a point with 7.5 seconds remaining following two Greg Brown free throws.
But Glenn Braica’s Terriers weren’t done, even with Brent Jones’ floater missing the mark. Chris Hooper managed to corral the miss in traffic, and falling away from the basket managed to knock down the follow as time expired. Originally the shot was waved off by an official, but after video review it was ruled that Hooper’s bank shot did count.
Final score: Terriers 60, Red Flash 59.
Video credit: Northeast Conference
GAME OF THE NIGHT: St. Francis-Brooklyn at Robert Morris, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
There are only seven games on the schedule Friday night, and this matchup in Moon Township is the one of greatest importance. Both the Terriers, who were the preseason pick to win the NEC, and Colonials enter with 3-1 conference records and the winner will keep pace with Bryant (4-1) and Saint Francis (PA) (3-1) in the loss column. Seniors Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones are combining to average just over 28 points per game for St. Francis-Brooklyn, but the Terriers aren’t a team that has shot the ball particularly well (40.7% FG, 29.6% 3PT).
Will that change against Robert Morris, whose opponents are averaging 70.6 points per game while shooting 43.3% from the field? That will have to be the case for the Terriers if they’re to win at Robert Morris, which boasts three players averaging at least 13.0 ppg led by freshman guard Marcquise Reed (13.6 ppg).
THE REST OF FRIDAY’S ACTION
- MAAC leader Iona should take care of Niagara (7:00 p.m., ESPNU) in the first game of their two-game swing through western New York, especially with an offense that’s scoring nearly 84 points per game. Junior guard A.J. English (20.8 ppg) leads the way for a team with four of the MAAC’s top ten scorers.
- Siena and Canisius enter tonight’s game in Buffalo with matching 3-3 conference records, with the Saints also having to navigate a lack of depth thanks to health issues. The Saints are averaging 72.7 points per game, but they’re also allowing 75.7. That could be an issue against the Golden Griffins.
- Manhattan’s just a game out of first in the MAAC ahead of their game at Saint Peter’s (7:00 p.m., ESPN3), and two of the conference’s better forwards will be on display in Manhattan’s Emmy Andujar and SPC’s Marvin Dominique. Neither team is a high-scoring outfit, and the Peacocks will need to take care of the basketball against a team that’s forcing more than 17 turnovers per game.
- The fourth and final MAAC game matches a struggling Marist (1-15 overall, 0-6 MAAC) squad and Fairfield (7:00 p.m., ESPN3), with the Stags having lost six of their last seven. Fairfield, which is 3-3 in league play, is led by talented forward Marcus Gilbert (15.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
- St. Francis-Brooklyn/Robert Morris isn’t the only NEC game on the slate, with Sacred Heart visiting 3-1 Saint Francis (PA) (NEC FrontRow). The Red Flash haven’t started NEC play with a 4-1 record since the 1997-98 season, and senior forward Earl Brown (15.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) leads the way for a team that has four players averaging between 7.9 and 15.0 points per game.
- North Dakota State looks to move to 4-1 in Summit League play as they host Western Illinois. The visiting Leathernecks are shooting just 39.2% from the field this season, and they’re looking to snap a three-game losing streak against a team that is 8-0 at home this season.
With a 15-10 overall record and a 6-4 mark in the Northeast Conference, Glenn Braica’s St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers find themselves in a tie for third place in the NEC with hopes of at the very least hosting one game in the NEC tournament. But those hopes may have taken a hit on Wednesday night due to the reported suspension of four players.
According to News 12 Brooklyn, Anthony White, Wayne Martin, Brent Jones and P.J. Santavenere have all been suspended from the team with White and Martin having been arrested following allegations of sexual assault.
Anthony White was arrested on Feb. 4 after investigators say he slapped a 20-year-old female, choked her and broke her computer in a campus dorm. White was charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury. He was released on his own recognizance with a temporary order of protection against the victim. White is due back in court on March 24.
When reporting that incident, the victim made police aware of another incident from Dec. 2012. Police arrested Wayne Martin and charged him with forcible touching and sex abuse for reportedly attempting to kiss the victim without her consent. Police say the incident also occurred in a dorm room.
Authorities are still investigating the incident involving Martin, and according to News 12 Brooklyn police would like to discuss the matter with another member of the basketball team who was not identified.
Of the four players suspended Jones and White both have starting experience, but Martin’s been the most productive offensively as he’s averaging 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game off the bench. Jones is another key loss for the Terriers, as he’s averaging 6.9 points and a team-high 5.5 assists per game.
At this point in the season coaches like to have their rotation set in stone, with an eye towards the stretch run and conference tournament. That won’t be the case for St. Francis due to these four having to address these serious legal issues.