In a 73-66 loss at William & Mary on Saturday the Hofstra men’s basketball team were outscored 25-11 in the final 9:14. The defensive struggles continued for the Pride three nights later against George Mason with its Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival shooting 56 percent in a 90-72 win to send Hofstra further to the bottom of the standings near the midway part of the conference season.
With Tuesday night’s loss before 2,573 at the Mack Sports Complex., Hofstra (9-11, 2-6 in the CAA) has now lost six of seven games to start the new year and finds itself in10th place in the conference standings. “I obviously have not been getting through to these guys in regards to what I need them to do and the energy I need them to play with,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora. “I will not sleep with a team giving up 90 points.”
In the first half George Mason was lights out from three point range nailing six of 10 from behind the arc (60 percent) to take a 38-30 lead into the locker room. In the second half the Patriots were hot from all areas of the floor shooting 67 percent. It was the first the Pride had given up 90 points in regulation at home since a 93-75 loss to Manhattan on Dec. 23, 2002.
George Mason got to that 90 point threshold in part by Ryan Pearson nailing a three-pointer with 38 seconds left and the game already in hand that gave the Patriots an 87-68 lead. When asked in the post game press conference of George Mason taking a three-pointer that late in a game holding a 16 point lead Pecora said, “That’s Mason. Their reputation perceives them. I’m a big boy, I know how to take a beating and I know how to give one and it’s a round world.”
Pecora said with his team having such little depth due to injuries, practices have not been as intense as they should be of late, but that will be changing. When Hofstra has its next practice on Thursday morning Pecora plans to have his players open with a drill that involves driving to the basket from one end of the court to the other with a defender taking a charge and then sprinting the other basket and diving for a lose ball.
“We’ll start every practice with that drill the rest of the year,” said Pecora. “We’ll probably start with that and end with that and not worry about guys getting hurt…. because if we don’t play with that kind of energy and toughness, we’re not a talented enough group yet for these guys to just go out and make plays.”
Hofstra is next in action at Drexel on Saturday starting at Noon.