Delaware free throw struggles help aid Hofstra win

With 4:32 left in Saturday’s Hofstra-Delaware men’s basketball game and the Pride clinging to a 58-56 lead after leading by as many as 13 in the second half, the Blue Hen's Jamelle Hagins stepped to the foul line with a chance to knot the score. He would only make one his two attempts, which summed up Delaware’s day from the charity stripe that included 14 misses and was a huge factor in a 77-67 Pride victory.

Hofstra (11-12, 4-7 in Colonial Athletic Association) led wire to wire before a large crowd of 4,019 at the Mack Sports Complex but had Delaware shot better than 24-38 (63 percent) from the free throw line the game would have been far different. The Blue Hens (6-16, 2-9 in CAA) also struggled shooting from the floor (35 percent) but managed to stick around for much of the game before the Pride iced the game in the final minute from the free throw line to make the 77-67 final score a bit misleading. Hofstra allowed Delaware to stay in the game due in large part to shooting 43 percent from the floor and being outrebounded 41-36, including giving up 19 offensive boards.

“The longer you let teams hang around, you know they are going to come up with a run at some point,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora of his team’s inability to put Delaware away earlier despite their shooting woes.

Hofstra led 33-26 at halftime despite star shooting guard Charles Jenkins only playing four minutes after he picked up two quick fouls. “My teammates did a good job, when I wasn’t out there, controlling the game,” said Jenkins, who went on to score 27 points on 8-14 shooting with 21 of those coming in the second half.

Pecora credited the enthusiasm of the home crowd, which included a raucous student section, for helping his team pull out the huge conference win. Hofstra has now won nine in a row over Delaware at the Mack Sports Complex since the two teams moved from the America East to the CAA for the 2001/02 season.

“It was great to see the place rocking a little bit,” said Pecora. “We need that home court advantage and I think it helped us get over the top.”

After pulling out two home wins this week the Pride hit the road for a big CAA game on Wednesday Feb. 3 at James Madison. Hofstra has won five in a row at James Madison with its last loss in Harrisonburg, Va. coming in 2003.

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