A nightmarish ending in Tampa, FL destroyed what should have been a 3-0 week for Hofstra. The Pride were the better team on the floor for 117 of 120 minutes of game time this week. Let’s dive a little deeper into each game.
Sunday November 23, 2014: Hofstra 93, Wagner 71
Hofstra dominated play for most of this game. There was a stretch about eight minutes into the second half where Hofstra turnovers allowed Wagner to cut the lead, however the Pride’s three-point shooting helped spur the offense during a 14-0 run that ballooned the lead to 30 points and Wagner never got close again. The Pride once again had issues with taking care of the ball. Having 16 turnovers will come back to haunt a team against better competition, as we saw later in the week.
Turnovers were the lone dark spot of this game as Hofstra dominated every other aspect of the game. They shot 55% from the field including an astounding 59% from three on 10-17 shooting. They were 71% from the line, a number that must improve as the season goes on. Due to turnovers, the Pride only had a 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio; however, 19 assists on 24 made field goals is an incredible 79% assisted basket percentage. Juan’ya Green was an incredible leader finishing with 11 assists (tied his career high) and only two turnovers. Once again, the Pride were incredibly efficient with five players finishing with double-digit efficiency numbers: Green (32), Ameen Tanksley (16), Jamall Robinson (14), Dion Nesmith (12), and Andre Walker (10).
Tuesday November 25, 2014: South Florida 71, Hofstra 70
Hofstra first took the lead with 7:56 left in the first half on a Nesmith jumper. They didn’t relinquish that lead until there was 50 seconds left in the game. The Pride led by as much as 13 in this contest but were unable to blow it open far enough to be out of reach. Free throw shooting and ball security down the stretch was the story in this one.
If you want to see how truly frustrating this loss was go check out the play-by-play starting with about 7:24 remaining in the game.
I don’t think words alone properly demonstrate how bad this loss was. This was frustrating because it should have been a win, a quality win against a major conference team away from home. Hofstra shot 41% from the field and 42% from three. The Pride had 15 assists on 21 field goals, however they had 14 turnovers, some very costly. The Pride also shot 61% from the free throw line. They must get better from the line if they want any chance of making the NCAA tournament.
The Pride’s next game was Friday in Jackson, Mississippi.
Friday November 28, 2014: Hofstra 86, Jackson State 56
Jackson State was the perfect opponent for Hofstra after the tough loss at South Florida. Jackson State is a terrible team in arguably the worst conference in college basketball, the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC). As of this writing, the ten teams of the SWAC are a combined 10-52.
Hofstra got out to an early lead and led by 12 at halftime, 37-25. Jackson State didn’t go down without a fight, as they closed the gap to six points with just under 13 minutes left to play. Coach Joe Mihalich gave the team an earful after that Jackson State run and the Pride came out firing after a timeout. Tanksley almost immediately nailed a three to start a 31-6 run to bury the Tigers.
Hofstra’s great shooting was on display again, as they were 55% from the field and an incredible 57% from three on 13-23 shooting. Brian Bernardi led the way with 26 points and Tanksley contributed 21. Free throw shooting was an issue once again as Hofstra was only 61% from the line. Four players finished with double-digit efficiency numbers: Bernardi (21), Tanksley (20), Robinson (17), Green (16). Even if those four players had an efficient night; the numbers show that the team was not as sharp as usual. This is the second game where turnovers outnumbered assists, 16 turnovers to 13 assists. This also marks the second game where Hofstra didn’t assist on at least 50% of their field goals. The other game where both of these issues occurred was against a good North Carolina State team.
Terrible team or not, I’m sure Mihalich was not happy the way the offense ran in this game and he will be even more upset about the turnovers and poor free throw shooting. The pride will need to clean this up in order to make waves in the CAA.
Stats For The Week:
Here are the compiled stats the three games played from November 23 to November 28 for all players that averaged 10+ minutes per game. The chart is sorted by Points per game (PPG).
That’s all until next week. Feel free to send me questions and comments @purebooyah.