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January 29, 2013

Analysis: RMU by the numbers

As we approach the halfway mark of Northeast Conference play, it's once again time to dive into the raw numbers, and see who is playing at a high level, and who has not been so efficient.

The Colonials are on a six game win streak, tied for first in the NEC. At first glance, the team has been extremely efficient on the offensive end, but it is still looking to find its vaunted lockdown D that fans are so accustomed to seeing over the past few years.

(Note: All these mentioned numbers are from NEC play only, unless mentioned.)

GUARDS
As we get things started on the perimeter, it is important to note that that this unit is finally getting healthy. Velton Jones and Karvel Anderson have battled injuries since the calendar turned to 2013, and both missed a game at home versus Sacred Heart. It appears with their improved health has come improved play.

Since Anderson returned from foot injury, he's 18-for-26 (69%) from the field and 12-for-18 (66%) from beyond the arc. Anderson is averaging 13 points a game in NEC play, and has scored 22 in two straight games. He is shooting 56% from in field, and 44% from three point range. Anderson has a 12.4 efficiency rating, one of the best on the team.

Jones has been just as impressive since returning from a head injury. Jones has 5-plus assists (5, 6, 7) in three straight games and is averaging 5.5 a game, good for third in the NEC. Jones has a 12.9 efficiency rating, good for third on the team. The senior is shooting 44% from the field, and 38% from three in NEC play. With injuries, and a little more depth (when everyone is healthy) Jones is playing three minutes less per game, at 26, than the last two years.

For redshirt junior Coron Williams, it's all about consistency. He has played sensational, dropping 27 on the road at FDU and following that up with 14 on the road at Monmouth. Since then he has scored nine points in three total games. In two of those games, Williams has only attempted three shots or less. In the past three games, he has not taken one foul shot. If Williams is not aggressive, he will struggle to score. He has an 8.3 efficiency rating, something I'm sure coach Andy Toole would love to see trend upward. Williams' ppg is down one full point from 10.8 to 9.7, but his shooting percentages have risen (45% compared to 40% FG%, and 46% compared to 41% from three).

Off the bench, Anthony Myers-Pate and David Appolon are providing steady play. Appolon, who is relied on mostly for defense, is averaging almost a steal per game (0.9). He is shooting 32% from the field in league play, and averaging 3.5 ppg. Myers Pate has drastically improved his play since his cold start. He is averaging 6.75 ppg and 2.1 apg off the bench for RMU in conference play, and is shooting 40% from the field. The last time ColonialsCorner evaluated the team, Myers Pate was shooting just 24%.

FORWARDS
One word that has certainly plagued RMU all season: consistency. With that said, one Colonial that seems to always give a consistent performance has been sophomore forward Lucky Jones. All season long, Jones has led the Colonials in efficiency, and that has only improved since NEC play has started. His rating is up to 14, good for 12th in the NEC and best on the team. He is averaging 12.4 ppg, grabbing 6.6 boards per game in the NEC, and 6.1 on the season; both are team highs. The sophomore is also shooting 51% from the field, and 50% from three.

Jones hasn't been the only Colonial forward who has played at a high rate in NEC play. Senior Russell Johnson has picked his game up, and has been a huge factor in the six game win streak that the Colonials are currently riding. Johnson is second on the team in average efficiency at 13.8, and has played his best basketball in the past few weeks. He is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game, all while playing most of his minutes at the power forward position, where he is usually undersized. Johnson is shooting 49% from the field, and 45% from three, both vastly up from our last analytical analysis (he was at 23% from the field, and just 1-15 from three).

Junior Mike McFadden has been hampered by knee tendinitis throughout conference play, but has managed to post solid numbers while playing as the lone center for Toole. McFadden, a power forward at heart, is averaging 9.6 ppg and 4 rebounds per game. He has a 9.1 average efficiency rating. His shooting numbers are a bit down in conference play though, as he is shooting 56% from the floor for the year and 53% in conference play. He is also 66.7% from the charity stripe on the year, and just 56% in NEC play.

The player that has improved the most as the season has worn on has to be true freshman Stephan Hawkins. "Hawk" is averaging 4.6 ppg in conference play, including a career high 12 points at FDU. He is shooting 59% from the field, and 84.6% from the line since the start of NEC play. The freshman has a 6.9 average efficiency rating in conference play, compared to his 4.9 average on the season. He is averaging just over 3 rebounds per game, and seems to be getting "it" at the right time. Hawkins has played double digit minutes in every game on this current win streak (6), his longest such streak of the season.

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