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Nova Southeastern shatters school records in 154-85 thumping of Clayton State

Second-ranked Nova Southeastern University (4-0) set a new school record for points scored in a 154-85 rout of visiting Clayton State (2-5) last night before a crowd of 275 at Rice Case Arena — aka the “Shark Tank” — in Fort Lauderdale. 

The previous record was established in a 133-96 rout of Florida National last season.

The undefeated Sharks also put a record 96 points on the board in the first half, setting another program record.  Nova led 96-50 at the break.

Led by Nick Smith’s 29 points, seven players scored in double figures for Nova Southeastern.  Smith, a 6-1 junior guard from Pittsburgh, made 10 of 11 shots from the floor, including a blistering 7 of 8 from beyond the arc, in eighteen minutes of action. 

Redshirt freshman R. J. Sunahara and 6-7 forward Lukas Speidel added 24 points apiece for the Sharks, who average 122 points per game through their first four contests.

The Sharks shot a blistering 61.1 percent from the field, including tying a school record by burying an impressive 19 of 38 from 3-point range.

Nova Southeastern used an eleven-man rotation to wear down the opposition.

Leading fast-paced Glenville State, which currently averages 111.2 points per game, by nearly eleven points per outing, Nova Southeastern is the highest-scoring team in the country.

Playing at a breathtaking speed, of course, is nothing new for third-year head coach Dave Crutchfield. 

He likes his teams to run and gun, but — more importantly — to win. 

It seems through the early going that this year’s squad has mastered both.

During his 13-year tenure as the head coach at West Liberty University, Crutchfield amassed an incredible 359-61 record while turning the Wheeling-area school, which had only experienced two 20-win seasons in its long history, into a perennial NCAA Division II powerhouse. 

His teams posted thirteen 20-plus win seasons and no fewer than five in which his high-scoring Hilltoppers — they averaged 111.3 points per game in 2010-11 — won more than thirty games while advancing to the NCAA Div. II Sweet Sixteen seven consecutive years, including three Final Four appearances and one national championship game.

The fact of the matter is that the relatively little-known Crutchfield is the most successful coach in terms of winning percentage in college basketball history at any level, winning a far greater percentage of games than such legendary coaches as Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp, UCLA’s “Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. 

With a 409-75 career record, Crutchfield’s teams have won a staggering 84.5 percent of their games.

Last year — his second season at the helm of Nova Southeastern — his squad posted an impressive 29-4 record while advancing to the NCAA Div. II “Elite Eight” before falling to Saint Anselm 91-81. 

The Sharks also averaged 96.6 points per game.

Nova Southeastern will have a week off to catch its breath before playing at Saint Leo (6-2) next Saturday.

Darcy G. Richardson is a historian and the author of more than a dozen books. His latest is Loyola's Improbable Ramblers: 55 Years in the Making, available now on Amazon.

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