Next week, there will be no more than one NEC unbeaten remaining.
Defending champion Robert Morris and NEC preseason favorite Saint Francis U are tied atop the conference standings with 4-0 records and the two Route 22 rivals will meet in Moon on January 13 for the first of two regular season head-to-head meetings.
Alternating victories, the two teams have split a total of six meetings over the past three seasons.
The latest chapter in the long-running rivalry features the NEC top-ranked scoring defense against the league’s highest-scoring squad.
For the third year in a row, Robert Morris is allowing the fewest points per game (54.1) in the conference. Meanwhile, having built a reputation of fast-paced play under head coach Joe Haigh, SFU averages a league-leading 80.5 points per contest.
Under second-year head coach Charlie Buscaglia, the Colonials have held their opponent under the 50-point mark in seven of 15 games this season. On four occasions, opponents have managed only 42 points or fewer against the RMU.
Buscaglia’s crew is responsible for the NEC’s top-two opponent single-game scoring lows. Most recently, RMU limited St. Francis Brooklyn to 36 points in a 23-point triumph. During the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Colonials posted a 56-38 win over MAAC member Monmouth (Dec. 3).
Robert Morris paces the circuit in team field goal percentage defense (.354) and has held NEC foes to a 28.6 percent success rate from the field.
Saint Francis U is the lone NEC team to reach the century mark in a game this season and the Flash have already achieved the feat twice. Last time out, SFU shot 48.1 percent from the floor en-route to a 101-71 win over LIU Brooklyn.
Two days earlier, Saint Francis U scored 90 points in a victory over St. Francis Brooklyn. The Red Flash have scored no fewer than 80 points in each of their first four NEC contests.
Long-range shooting has been a key part of the SFU arsenal. The Flash sank 33 triples against the NEC’s Brooklyn-based contingent last week and rank eighth overall on the NCAA DI team leader board in three-pointers per game (9.9).
KEY TEAM STATS
RMU Scoring Defense: 54.1 ppg (1st)
SFU Scoring Offense: 80.5 ppg (1st)
RMU FG Pct. Defense: .354 (1st)
SFU 3FGM: 9.9/g (1st)
🏀 MARQUEE MATCHUP 🏀
— NEC Front Row (@NECFrontRow) January 12, 2018