Highlighting the 2018 #NECMBB non-conference season

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019. Didn’t Y2K feel like just yesterday? I know, I’m dating myself.

Come this Thursday, if you can believe it, we finally begin the exciting and fast-moving nine weeks that is the 38th Northeast Conference men’s basketball regular season.

As usually the case, and it looks like no exception this season, it looks like another wild, unpredictable and likely a tight regular season is in store for us all and that is what makes the NEC season so much fun year in and year out.

But before, we dive into the new year and the new NEC season, let’s take a quick look back at some of the accomplishments and highlights of the non-conference season for NEC teams in 2018.

– St. Francis Brooklyn tops all with eight wins

Back in October at NEC Social Media Day, the NEC released their NEC preseason coaches poll and St. Francis Brooklyn was picked to finish seventh.  That preseason prognostication didn’t daunt the Terriers, who came out of non-conference play with eight wins to lead all NEC teams. Three of their non-conference wins came on the road that was also a league-high with wins at Lafayette, Niagara, and Presbyterian.

– Robert Morris’ Josh Williams drops 49 points

In just his third game playing for Robert Morris, senior guard Josh Williams scored an RMU record 49 points against Division III side Mount Aloysius in the team’s home opener at the North Athletic Complex on November 14th.  Williams tied an NCAA Division I single-game record for three-pointers made in a game with fifteen.

Robert Morris as a whole broke the NEC record for three-pointers made in a game by a team with 22.

– New coaches in the NEC get their first wins

A pair of first-year NEC head coaches got their first win with their new teams in non-conference play.

Bryant’s Jared Grasso got his first-ever head coaching win in Bryant’s third game of the season against Saint Peter’s in a 71-63 win in Bryant’s home opener on November 14th.

Mount St. Mary’s Dan Englestad had to wait a little longer than his counterpart to get his first win as head coach of the Mountaineers but the breakthrough finally came on December 15th as the Mount defeated Division III side Wilson College 74-59 at Knott Arena.

– 1,000-point scorers galore

It is likely fair to say that the NEC had never seen a run of players reach the 1,000-point milestone within days of each other than what we saw recently during non-conference action.

It all started on the first week of the college basketball season when Saint Francis U.’s junior guard Keith Braxton reached 1,000 points on November 9th against Morgan State ironically on the same night SFU was honoring his teammate senior guard Jamaal King for the 1,000-point milestone he reached back in March in their CIT postseason game.

The NEC 1,000-point scoring list continued to grow on November 24th when St. Francis Brooklyn grad student point guard Glenn Sanabria reach the 1,000-point milestone against Niagara.

Then on December 12th, LIU Brooklyn’s senior guard/forward Raiquan Clark scored number 1,000 against Stony Brook.

Three nights later, Fairleigh Dickinson’s senior Darnell Edge hit the milestone at home against NJIT.

Four nights later, Sacred Heart’s senior Sean Hoehn scored his 1,000-point against Seton Hall.

Two nights later, Bryant’s junior guard Adam Grant hit the mark at home versus Dartmouth.

The next day, Wagner’s Romone Saunders become the latest member into the NEC’s 1,000-point club at home against Hartford.

In a span of six weeks, seven new players enter themselves in the NEC’s 1,000-point scoring list with five of them coming in a ten-day span.

The list will only continue to grow as LIU’s Jashaun Agosto, RMU’s Matty McConnell,  and CCSU’s Tyler Kohl could all potentially reach the milestone during conference play this season.

– Plays of November and December

Finally, we end with of course with some of the best plays from non-conference action.

Now that with the appetizer of non-conference play out of the way, it is time to get to the main course of the season with conference play and begin the road to the NEC tournament in March.

Enjoy the next nine weeks of fun hoops!

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