Lights . . . Camera . . . Win!
The Knights won the first game of an exclusive eight-game YES Network deal Wednesday night at home, defeating nonconference New Jersey rival St. Peter’s, 71-70.
Returning 6-7 sophomore forward Ansley Almonor scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Knights to 3-1, the best record in the Northeast Conference in the second week of the Division 1 men’s basketball season.
Billed as the “Battle of the Bracket Busters,” the game paired St. Peter’s, which overachieved in March Madness in 2022, upsetting Purdue and Kentucky on the way to the Elite Eight, earning a place in college basketball lore. The Knights, playing from a No. 16 seeding, followed with their now-legendary 2023 upset of No. 1 seeded Purdue before falling to Final Four finisher Florida Atlantic.
The matchup provided made-for-TV excitement as DeVante Jamison, a 5-8 graduate shooting 68 percent from the line this year, canned two free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining before a sellout crowd of 1,852 in Stratis Arena.
FDU opened up as much as a 15-point lead twice in the second half. But, the Peacocks rallied to a 70-69 lead on a three-pointer by Michael Houge with 9 seconds remaining.
The Knights got the ball across half court and Houge, who led the Peacocks with 19 points, fouled Jamison, who finished with 11 after the winning free throws.
Jo’el Emanuel, the NEC Player of the Week, scored 16 points for FDU while Joe Munden Jr. and Terrence Brown added eight each.
Saturday will be Fraternities and Sororities Day as FDU hosts Division III Penn State Schuylkill (0-1) at 2 p.m. live on NEC Front Row and the NEC on the Run App.
The YES Network is the regional pay TV broadcaster/streamer for the Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and NY Liberty. The network is available nationally and serves New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, reaching over 200,000 households for some Yankee games.
The deal gives FDU the opportunity to share its “Seize the moment and change your world,” marketing tag. For more on the deal, read the Nov. 7 article in the Sports Business Journal.
Earlier this week, Myron Medcalf of ESPN wrote that beside the TV deal, FDU also netted enough donations to fund a new film room, refurbishing the space that had been a communal shower for athletes as well as a film room.
Medcalf reported that the March Madness notoriety benefitted FDU measurably — “undergraduate applications have increased by 32% this year, and the school also had a 327% increase in online apparel sales following the win over Purdue compared to the same period last year,” he said in an article released on Nov. 14. The article said the information was provided exclusively to ESPN.
“We are getting nicer things and that’s what you want as a coaching staff, but we can’t forget that we were the team that was watching film in the showers last year,” Jack Castleberry told NJ.com last month.
Castleberry is in his first year leading FDU after he was promoted from assistant coach under Tobin Anderson, who departed FDU for Iona after the season ended last year.