It is not everyday that one gets to chance to knock off a team ranked sixth in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index but that is just what Hofstra had in front of them Saturday afternoon against William & Mary. The Pride never trailed until the waning seconds off what would turn out to be a heartbreaking 48-47 loss in what was not only a key early-season Colonial Athletic Association game but also a major missed opportunity for a signature win that could have enhanced Hofstra’s post-season chances come March.
“It sure does sting because you only get so many opportunities in life and when you’re young sometimes you don’t realize that, but when you’re old like me you realize it,” said Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora of how his team had a chance to knock off a team as highly ranked as William & Mary.” You realize that when you get a chance to win a big game like this you better take advantage of it because they may not come along that often.”
Hofstra (8-6, 1-1 in CAA) never trailed until Kendrix Brown converted a three-point play with 17 seconds remaining for his only points of the game to give William & Mary a 48-47 lead. Hofstra had a chance to win on its final procession but Nathaniel Lester was unable to get a shot off in time when he pulled down a weak-side rebound from a missed long-range three pointer by Halil Kanacevic. Lester appeared to get fouled at the buzzer and Pecora screamed for a call but the referees instead said the game was over and so was Hofstra’s chance to knock off a top 10 RPI team.
“This would have been an opportunity for [my players] to leave a mark in the history books by beating a team that is as highly-touted as William & Mary,” said Pecora.
William & Mary (10-2, 2-0 in CAA) entered the game having won nine in a row including impressive road wins over Atlantic Coast Conference powers Wake Forest and Maryland driven in large part to shooting a 41% clip from three-point range. The Pride however managed to slow down William & Mary’s hot long-range shooting with the Tribe only converting 19% from beyond the arc including 1-11 in the first half. William & Mary shot 36% from the floor for the game but the Pride were unable to take advantage due to shooting only 32% of their own and committing 17 turnovers.
“We wasted a great defensive effort,” said Pecora.
Hofstra will not have much time to shake off Saturday’s heartbreaker as it will quickly travel to metropolitan Washington D.C. to face George Mason in Fairfax, Va. on Monday night at 7 p.m. Hofstra then continues its busy start to the CAA schedule with a home game versus Towson on Wednesday, a road tilt at Old Dominion on Saturday and home against Virginia Commonwealth next Tuesday Jan. 12.
10-years since Mack Sports Complex opened
The Mack Sports Complex (formerly Hofstra Arena) opened exactly 10-years ago on Jan. 2, 2000 when the then Flying Dutchmen defeated America East rival Boston University 74-46. Since opening the arena a decade ago Hofstra is 99-31 in front of its home fans. Two key players from Hofstra Arena’s first tip-off, Craig “Speedy” Claxton and Jason Hernandez were both in attendance at the William & Mary game rooting on their alma mater.