What a difference one game can make. In a 44-39 win over Manhattan Wednesday the Hofstra men’s basketball team’s offense was a cloud of dust but Saturday afternoon the Pride shooting was a ray of sunshine in a 75-58 triumph over New Hampshire at the Mack Sports Complex.
In the ugly offensive struggle against Manhattan Hofstra only shot 35%, but versus UNH the Pride connected on 47% of their shots including 67% from three-point range to post its fourth victory in a row and improve to 7-3 on the young season. Hofstra nearly equaled its entire scoring from the Manhattan game in the first half in taking a 43-31 lead into the locker room and were never seriously threatened in the second half with its lead growing to as many as 24.
“I think [UNH] is one of the best teams in the America East from what everyone has told me, so it is a good win,” said Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora in the post-game press conference. “We can definitely build off of it.”
Hofstra’s offensive improvement featured a bounce back game from junior guard Charles Jenkins, who led the Pride in scoring with 21 on 7-12 shooting after only registering nine against Manhattan. Jenkin’s solid performance came after taking a spill hard to the floor early in the game that knocked some of his teeth lose and spilled blood onto his number 22 jersey. “He set the tone for us going after that lose ball,” said Pecora of Jenkins’s intensity on the play that would prompt a trip to the dentist following the game. “That was an effort play.”
Vines broke out of a four-game shooting slump with 16 points including 5-6 from three-point range. “You can’t worry about missing if you’re a shooter,” said Vines of him continuing to have confidence in his outside shot despite going a combined 4-29 in his previous four games before Saturday. “Today I think I got in a groove.”
Hofstra will next be in action against local Big East foe St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon Dec. 20 in the Aeropostale Holiday Festival and then return to the “World’s Most Famous Arena” the next night to face either Cornell or Davidson. Hofstra has won four in a row against St. John’s but has not faced the Big East program in three years. The Red Storm are off to a 7-1 start including a 66-56 win over Georgia on Wednesday.
“It will be a New York street fight,” said Pecora of what he expects against St. John’s. “We’ll all be rolling around on the floor a couple minutes into it I’m sure.”