Hofstra men's basketball breaks out of slump with blowout of UNC-Wilmington

The Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington men’s basketball programs have played in several classics including at least one overtime game every year since the 2006/07 season.  Wednesday night at the Mack Sports Complex was not one of these memorable close games however as the Pride jumped out to as big as a 28 point first half lead and rolled to a 93-54 win to snap a five game losing streak.

“We haven’t had one of those in it feels like 100 years,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora after the Pride picked up its first win since a 77-61 victory over Towson on Jan. 6 to improve to 10-7 and 3-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

After jumping to a 54-25 halftime lead Hofstra’s lead ballooned to as high as 42 in the second half with the Pride shooting 57 percent for the game. The 54 points in the game’s first 20 minutes was Hofstra’s highest scoring first half since Pecora took over as head coach in the 2001/02 season. 

Hofstra had five players in double-figures including four in the first half led by junior guard Charles Jenkins with 24. Junior power forward Greg Washington recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 blocks, which ties a Hofstra record for rejections set by Greg Springfield at New Mexico State to open the 1999/2000 season. Also in double figures for the Pride were Cornelius Vines, who broke out of his long-range shooting slump by going 3-6 from three-point range while tallying 15 points, Halil Kanacevic (14 points) and Chaz Williams (11 points).

“I was very pleased that [the offense] was distributed the way it was,” said Pecora. “If it was a game where one or two guys got 30 and 40 I don’t know if our confidence would rise as much as it will now by us sharing the wealth and by us playing unselfishly and by a number of guys feeling good about themselves coming out of this game.”

Hofstra’s first half scoring barrage even featured a rare equivalent of an eight point offensive trip. Leading 26-9 Charles Jenkins drove to the basket for a layup and drew an intentional foul call, with a technical then called on UNC-Wilmington head coach. Benny Moss. After Jenkins converted all four of his free throw attempts the junior shooting guard hit a jumper on the Pride’s ensuing procession to give the Pride a 34-9 lead.

Wednesday night’s win over the Seahawks means the Pride will be able to return to sporting their blue and gold practice gear for the first time in a week after Pecora banned his players from wearing anything with Hofstra on their chests until the team broke out of its slump. “It was starting to smell a little bit because they were wearing the same shirts,” joked Pecora of what his practice sessions had been like the last week. “Practice won’t stink tomorrow in one sense anyway.”

Hofstra will try and continue the momentum gained against UNC-Wilmington when it hosts Delaware on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. Hofstra has not last to Delaware at the Mack Sports Complex since Nov. 30, 2000.

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