From Mike Bello, Norfolk State University Assistant SID
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Norfolk State will finish out the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament with two games in two days at Monmouth. Up first, the Spartan men’s basketball team faces Caldwell University on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at OceanFirst Bank Center.
Monmouth and Radford will play right after. NSU will then take on Monmouth on Wednesday night at 7.
Fans can catch both games live on ESPN+, available through the ESPN app, with Matt Harmon and Eddy Occhipinti on the call for Caldwell and Eddy Occhipinti and Kevin Copp on the call for Monmouth. Live stats will also be available through StatBroadcast (Caldwell, Monmouth).
This will mark the first ever meeting between NSU and Caldwell, and NSU and Monmouth, the seventh and eighth teams, respectively, out of nine teams this year the Spartans will play for the first time ever.
Scouting Caldwell University
The Cougars stand 2-4 on the season, owning wins over Southern Connecticut State (78-67) and Saint Michael’s College (80-70). The NCAA Division II Cougars finished 17-12 a season ago, 13-6 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). They fell to D-I Saint Peter’s, 88-67, earlier this year as well.
Caldwell is averaging 77 points per game while giving up almost 87. Opponents are hitting 53 percent from the field, 46 percent from deep. The Cougars have the advantage at the free throw line, connecting on 74 percent while making 19 per game. They are -3.2 on the glass each game but +3.3 in turnover margin, forcing 19 turnovers per game.
A pair of players score in double figures for the Cougars. Anthony Cooper averages 14.7 points per game with a team-high 13 3-pointers on the season. Ruud Lutterman is second with 14.3 points while shooting 57 percent from the field. Eric Johnson-Alford connects on 54 percent form the floor while averaging 9.8 points. AJ Kittles (8.3 points, team-high 5.3 rebounds) and Vaughn Covington (8.0 points) also play a part on offense.
The Hawks carry a 2-5 record into their game on Tuesday against Radford, with victories over Lehigh (66-62) and Kennesaw State (71-40). Of their five losses, one was by just 13 points at Pittsburgh, 63-50.
They are only scoring 61 points per game while giving up 72. Monmouth is shooting just 38.5 percent from the field, 31 percent from deep, and is -7.0 in rebound margin. The Hawks are making 75 percent of their free throws, just not getting to the line very often. Opponents have made 18 per game from the charity stripe while hitting 44.5 percent from the field.
Only two players score at least seven points per game, and both are in double figures at that. Deion Hammond tallies 13.6 points, and Ray Salnave adds 12.4 points. They have combined for 31 3-pointers as well. The next best scorers are Mustapha Traore (6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds) and George Papas (6.4 points).
Last Time Out
The Spartans raced out to a 10-point lead, but Northwestern came back to take the lead at the half on the way to a 70-59 win over NSU last Friday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. NU (2-2), which shot just 34 percent from the field, led by as much as 19 in the second half before NSU closed the gap late.
The Wildcats made 27-of-30 from the free throw line and held the rebounding edge as well, 44-32. NSU shot 41 percent but was outscored by 17 points from the charity stripe. Ryan Young (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Pete Nance (17 points) led the way for the Wildcats.
NSU got 24 points from Jermaine Bishop, who shot 7-of-12 from the field, 5-of-9 from deep. Devante Carter added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting with six rebounds. Yoro Sidibe added nine points on 4-of-7 shooting with five rebounds, while no other player had more than three points.
The Spartans rank 1st in the MEAC in scoring offense (79.5), scoring defense (62.2), scoring margin (+17.3), field goal % defense (37.2), 3-point field goal defense (24.6), 3-pointers (9.2), assists (15.2), steals (10.0), turnover margin (+4.83), and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). They are also second in field goal % (45.4), 3-point field goal % (37.2), opponent rebounding (35.7), offensive rebounds (11.7) and offensive rebound % (31.5).
On a national level, Norfolk State stands 16th in 3-point field goal % defense (24.6), 28th in steals (10.0), 37th in turnovers forced (18.00), 40th in turnover margin (+5.0), 43rd in scoring margin (+17.3), 56th in field goal % defense (37.2), 57th in 3-point field goals (9.2), 62nd in 3-point field goal % (37.2), 72nd in scoring offense (79.5), and 80th in scoring defense (62.2).
• Ranks 7th all-time at NSU in assist average (4.21) and 12th in assists (307)
• Stands 5th in the MEAC in assist-turnover ratio (1.2), 7th in assists (3.0), 9th in steals (1.5), and 14th in defensive rebounds (4.0)
• In NCAA D-I active career leaders, ranks No. 31st in steals (137), 38th in assists (344), No. 87 in games played (104) and No. 119 in rebounds (449)
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in 3-point field goals (3.0) and assist-turnover ratio (2.6), 2nd in free throw % (87.5), 4th in scoring (16.0), 5th in 3-point field goal % (45.0), 7th in assists (3.0), 13th in field goal % (45.7) and steals (1.5), and 14th in minutes (30.0)
• Stands 44th in the nation in 3-point field goals (3.00), 48th in 3-point field goal % (45.0), No. 82 in assist-turnover ratio (2.57) and No. 191 in scoring (16.0)
• Tied career high with 5 3-pointers for season-best 24 points at Northwestern; 6th career 20-point game
Joe Bryant Jr.
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in 3-point field goal % (50.0), 5th in 3-point field goals (2.2) and field goal % (53.1), 6th in steals (1.8), and 13th in scoring (12.3)
• Stands No. 149 in the nation in steals (1.83), and No. 238 in 3-point field goals (2.17)
• Played in career high 32 minutes at Bradley with 17 points
• Ranks 1st in the MEAC in steals (2.7), 2nd in assists (4.2), assist-turnover ratio (1.7), and field goal % (60.0), 11th in defensive rebounds (4.3), and 14th in scoring (12.2)
• Stands 30th in the nation in steals (2.67), 57th in field goal % (60.0), No. 147 in assists (4.2), No. 152 in double-doubles (1) and No. 226 in assist-turnover ratio (1.67)
• Ranks 3rd in the MEAC in offensive rebounds (2.8), 11th in rebounding (5.6), and field goal % (47.1), and 28th in scoring (8.6)
• Stands No. 139 in the nation in offensive rebounds (2.80) and No. 152 in double-doubles (1)
• Ranks 4th in the MEAC in blocks (1.7)
• Stands No. 95 in the nation in blocks (1.67)
• Ranks 8th in the MEAC in 3-point field goal % (40.0)