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ST. FRANCIS (PA) Team Report


It would have been easy for this Saint Francis team to lay down.

The Red Flash seemingly had lost 1,000 games over the past two seasons. They had seen J.R. Enright, whose season ended last year because of a broken foot, suffer through the death of his girlfriend and then leave the team. What was left to play for?

Maybe it was pride. Maybe it was the future. Regardless, a team that was out of the NEC Tournament chase weeks before the end of the regular season won its last three games and four of its last five; all after a 15-game losing streak shattered another season.

"Bobby (Saint Francis coach Jones) is doing an incredible job," LIUY coach Jim Ferry said after his team fell to the Red Flash. "These kids from Saint Francis showed unbelievable character. They have been out of the playoffs since January and they're playing like this.

"They're playing better than some of the teams that are going to make it to the tournament."

They won four games in 2005-06. They doubled that this season. Now, with a kid like redshirt freshman Devin Sweetney leading the way, there can be more talent coming in 07-08.

"The future looks good for the team," said outgoing senior Jelani Lawrence. "I am happy for these guys."

For the first time in two years, perhaps he SHOULD be.


--Saint Francis won its last three games and four of its last five to finish at 8-21, 5-13 in the NEC.

--The winning streak included games that knocked LIU and Monmouth out of the postseason picture and another that dropped Quinnipiac from No. 2 to No. 3 seed in the league tournament.

--The Red Flash out-rebounded Monmouth, 64-42, in the two games the teams played this year.

THE RECORDS: 8-21, 5-13, 11th in NEC

HOW THE SEASON ENDED -- Long after being eliminated from the NEC Tournament picture, the Red Flash won their last three games of the season, four of their last five.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm really happy for the guys. They showed great heart and character all season long. This is a positive ending to a difficult season. I'm proud of our two seniors (Jelani Lawrence and J.R. Enright). They meant a great deal to this program. Our thoughts and prayers are with J.R. and his family. We are defining our character as a group, and learning to play with adversity. This team has grown through this adversity. I am proud that they continue to keep the faith and work hard." -- Saint Francis coach Bobby Jones after the final game.


THE GOOD NEWS: Saint Francis ended the season with three straight wins, four in its last five games and does bring back some important players next year, led by current freshman swingman Devin Sweetney, a four-time NEC rookie of the week this season. He is one of five players who combined to score 50 points per game and are returning.

THE BAD NEWS: Losing can be very contagious, and this program was 5-21 before winning three straight games at the end of this season, 4-24 last year. But things are actually looking up.

KEY RETURNEES: Swingman Devin Sweetney is going to be one of the best players in the league in the coming years.

--PG Cale Nelson came on as the season ran down.

--G Marquis Ford will be one of the better guards in the conference.

--F Chris Berry will be a force for this team.

--F Bassirou Dieng played better and better at the end of the year.

ROSTER REPORT: The career of F/C J.R. Enright is officially over after a broken foot ruined his junior year and the death of his girlfriend cost him what amounted to half his senior year.

--G/F Devin Sweetney was named NEC rookie of the week for the fourth time and then led his team to a season-ending win over Monmouth. He finished with a 13.0 scoring average and 7.7 rebounds per game.

--G Cale Nelson came on down the stretch, with 19 points in the win over LIU.

--F Jelani Lawrence went out in style, with his first double-double of the season on Senior Night -- 14 points, 10 rebounds.

--F Chris Berry had 16 points and nine rebounds in the finale and finished at 11.7 and 4.9.

Previous Report: 03/17/2007




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