Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Looking at Wagner’s schedule, you had to figure coach Dan Hurley would have been happy if his team went 2-3 through its first five games.
After all, four of Wagner’s first five were on the road — including tilts at Princeton, at UConn and at The Palestra for Penn.
Instead, the surprising Seahawks are now 4-1 after Tuesday’s 71-65 victory at Penn.
“It’s early in the year,” Hurley told SNY.tv. “We’re ahead of where I thought we would be in Year 2.
“But we’re not exactly clicking on all cylinders right now.”
Still, they’ve been pretty impressive so far.
Wagner won its season opener at Princeton, 73-57, snapping the Tigers 16-game home winning streak.
The Seahawks then played at UConn, losing 78-66 to the defending national champs in a game that was closer than many expected.
After a home win over a good N.C. Central outfit and another road win at Lafayette, the Seahawks won at Penn Monday behind Latif Rivers‘ 18 points, Tyler Murray’s 14 and Chris Martin’s 11, including a clutch 3-pointer that broke a 55-all tie.
The game featured Hurley coaching against his former St. Benedict’s Prep protege Zack Rosen, Penn’s senior point guard who scored a game-high 23 points.
“He was as hard for us to deal with as [Shabazz] Napier,” Hurley said, comparing Rosen to the UConn point guard. “He’s playing as well as any point guard in the country right now. The way he’s shooting the ball, running their team.
“They’re a sleeper or a dark horse in the Ivy League because of his play.”
Penn had been 14-1 all-time against Northeast Conference teams.
Still, Hurley pointed out the early success of the NEC.
“We’re an emerging league and league that’s been good for a while,” he said. “That’s the truth.
“Robert Morris won at James Madison. Robert Morris beat Rider by  at the beginning of the year. Quinnipiac is really good. Central Connecticut State is really good. LIU is one of the best programs locally for Division 1.
“It’s a good league.”
Looking ahead, Wagner should get a series of good tests. After hosting Delaware State Saturday, they visit LIU (Dec. 1), host a St. Francis team that pushed Seton Hall to OT (Dec.3) and then host Hosftra (Dec. 6). The Pride fell to 2-2 Tuesday after a tough 62-60 home loss to Florida Atlantic.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.