MEAC / Spartan Men / Sports

NSU, Bucknell clash in sin city on Thanksgiving

NSU will then face either Sacred Heart or Northern Colorado at 2:30 or 5 p.m. EST on Friday during the second day of the tournament.

NSU will then face either Sacred Heart or Northern Colorado at 2:30 or 5 p.m. EST on Friday during the second day of the tournament.

Norfolk State Men’s Basketball

NSU vs. Bucknell Thurs., Nov. 24 2:30 p.m. EST Orleans Arena
Live Stats Game Notes

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Norfolk State will spend its Thanksgiving break in Las Vegas as NSU gets set to play a pair of teams in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic this Thursday and Friday. The Spartan men’s basketball team takes on Bucknell on Thanksgiving Day at 2:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m. local time) at Orleans Arena.

NSU will then face either Sacred Heart or Northern Colorado at 2:30 or 5 p.m. EST on Friday during the second day of the tournament. The winners of the NSU-Bucknell and Sacred Heart-Nothern Colorado games will play at 5 on Friday with the losers facing each other at 2:30.

The Spartans already competed at Vanderbilt last Friday and at Butler on Monday in campus games there were also part of the tournament. Those two programs make up the other half of the tournament along with Arizona and Santa Clara.

Media Coverage
Fans can follow along with the live stats on both Thursday and Friday through the StatBroadcast webiste. There will not be live video for NSU’s half of the tournament.

Series History
Norfolk State has faced Bucknell and Sacred Heart once each. Bucknell earned a 68-52 win over NSU on Dec. 29, 2003 in the Charleston Shootout. The Spartans and Pioneers met in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight on March 15, 1986, an 84-74 win for Sacred Heart when both programs were at the D-II level. The Spartans have never faced Northern Colorado.

About Bucknell
The Bison are riding high after a 75-72 win at Vanderbilt on Monday night. Zach Thomas scored 17, and Nana Foulland added 15 points and 12 rebounds. The two are Bucknell’s leading scorers on the year, with Thomas tallying 17.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Foulland adds 14.4 points and team bests of 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Stephen Brown totaled 15 points in the upset at Vanderbilt and is one of three other players scoring at least seven per game (7.6 points, 3.2 assists), along with Nate Sestina (7.4) and Kimbal Mackenzie (7.2). Bucknell is shooting 47 percent from the field, although opponents are also hitting at the same clip as well as nearly 44 percent from beyond the arc with eight made treys per game. The Bison have been outrebounded by nearly four boards a game, although they do average close to seven steals per contest, led by Brown and Mackenzie with eight each on the year.

Northern Colorado and Sacred Heart each stand 1-3 on the year, with Sacred Heart having defeated Hofstra by four and Northern Colorado owning a victory over a non-Division I program.

Last Time Out
Butler outscored the Spartans 31-3 during a nearly 10-minute span between the first and second halves on the way to a 91-55 win over NSU on Monday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs shot 58 percent overall and made 13 3-pointers while holding Norfolk State to 31 percent shooting. NSU did hit 5-of-13 from long range and 18-of-25 from the free throw line. Jonathan Wade and Micah Gosseach had 13 points to lead the Spartans. NSU also got double-digit scoring efforts from Alex Long (11) and Stavian Allen (10), as those four players combined for all but eight of the team’s points on the night. Butler was led by Nate Fowler with 17 points, one of five players in double figures for the Bulldogs.

Player Tidbits
Jonathan Wade
• Has averaged 22.3 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 20-of-41 from the field the last 3 games, including 20 points at Vanderbilt in a career-high 36 minutes; Led the team in scoring each of those 3 games
• Shot 8-of-9 from the free throw line at Butler
• Ranks 3rd in the MEAC in scoring (20.0), 4th in 3-point field goal percentage (50.0), 5th in defensive rebounds (5.2), 6th in rebounding (7.2), 9th in offensive rebounds (2.0) and 13th in free throw percentage (76.2)
• Ranks 84th in the nation in scoring (20.0), No. 95 in double doubles (1), No. 217 in defensive rebounds (5.20) and No. 229 in rebounds (7.2)

Zaynah Robinson
• Nearly did not play at Butler (flu-like symptoms)
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in free throw percentage (90.9) and assist-turnover ratio (3.8), 10th in minutes (31.6), 13th in assists (3.0) and steals (1.4) and 28th in scoring (10.2)
• Ranks 59th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (3.75)

Alex Long
• Ranks 10th in the MEAC in blocks (1.0) and defensive rebounds (4.6) and 11th in rebounding (6.2)

Jordan Butler
• Ranks 3rd all-time at NSU in blocks (110)
• Also stands 24th in NCAA Division I career records with a 1.59 blocks-per-game average, 33rd with 110 total blocks and 243rd in rebounds (334)

Dan Robinson
• Ranks 2nd in the MEAC and 88th in the nation in blocks (1.80)

Kyle Williams
• Ranks 14th in the MEAC in 3-point field goal percentage (46.7)

Micah Goss
• Scored career-high 13 points at Butler

Alex Brown
• Led team with 3 assists at Butler

Stavian Allen
• Sat out 1st 3 games of season (concussion) but added 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in second game back at Butler

Predictable Numbers
As is usually the case in basketball, NSU has posted a better shooting percentage than the opposition in its two wins and been worse than the other team in its three losses this season. In fact, NSU has been outshot in each of its last 20 losses, dating back to the end of the 2014-15 season. The last time the Spartans lost a game despite hitting better from the field came against Eastern Kentucky on March 17, 2015.

The opposite also holds true. The Spartans have had a better shooting percentage than the other team in their last 35 wins. The last time NSU won a game despite getting outshot percentage-wise from the field came in a victory over Saint Peter’s on Nov. 29, 2014.

Getting Back on Track
NSU shot slightly better than 50 percent overall and 41 percent from 3-point range in the first three games of the season. In the past two games, though, NSU has connected on just 31 percent overall and 29 percent from beyond the arc. One area the Spartans have improved in is at the free throw line, where NSU has shot better than 70 percent the last two games.

NSU was also a collective +11 on the glass during those first three contests but a combined -17 in the last two contests.

Win the Turnover Battle
So far this year, NSU has had fewer or the same amount of turnovers as the opposition in four of five games. On the season, the Spartans have one more turnover than the opposition.

Scorers Needed
Coming into the season, NSU players had combined for just two games in which they had led the team in scoring, and both of those came from Jordan Butler last year.

MEAC Rankings
The Spartans rank second in the MEAC in field goal percentage defense (40.8) and free throw percentage (68.9) as well as third in scoring defense (71.4) and scoring margin (-1.4).

Nationally Ranked
As a team, NSU stands 96th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (37.8) and No. 99 in blocks (4.6). The Spartans also find themselves 126th in field goal percentage defense (40.8).

Winning the State
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, NSU has the third-most wins (105) among the 14 Division I schools in the state of Virginia. The Spartans trail Virginia (138) and VCU (136).

O’Quinn’s NBA Season
Former Spartan Kyle O’Quinn is now in his fifth year in the NBA and the second with the New York Knicks. He became NSU’s first NBA player in 25 years after getting drafted in the second round in 2012 by the Orlando Magic. So far this year, O’Quinn is averaging 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

Professional Spartans
Aside from O’Quinn, NSU has several other former players competing professionally. Michael Deloach is currently with Eurobasket Roma in the Italian Serie A2 league, where he is averaging 19.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Jeff Short is competing with Arcos Albacete Basket in Spain, where he has posted 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

In addition, former Spartan D’Shon Taylor is playing for Al Mina of the Iraq Superleague, Aleek Pauline is with Sampaense Basketball of the Portuguese Basketball League, and Anell Alexis is competing with Caballos de Cocle Aguadulce of the Panamanian Basketball League.

Another former NSU player, Pendarvis Williams, competed in Italy the last two years but is currently with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.

 

Originally published at nsuspartans.com