Tuesday night concluded a grueling five-game in 10-day stretch to begin Colonial Athletic Association play for the Hofstra men’s basketball team and the task of defeating the defending conference champion Virginia Commonwealth was made even more challenging without the services of guard Chaz Williams and forward David Imes.
With only seven scholarship players available for Hofstra due to ankle injuries suffered by Williams and Imes in a loss at Old Dominion last Saturday, VCU’s up-tempo offense proved too much to handle in an 81-68 loss before 2,224 fans at the Mack Sports Complex. It was Hofstra’s fourth loss in five conference games to begin the new decade and drops the Pride to 9-9 and 2-4 in the CAA.
Despite playing so many games in a short period and being shorthanded, Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora said after the loss that those factors are no excuse for a performance that included committing 17 turnovers and only getting to the foul line 12 times. “We’re beyond excuses,” said Pecora. “We are what we are right now. We’re a .500 team, we’re 2-4 in the conference and we better find a way to win the next one.”
The Ram’s high powered offense shot 49 percent in the first half on 16-33 shooting to race to a 40-25 halftime lead aided by a 9-0 run in the final two minutes. VCU’s scoring came from both inside and out with point guard Joey Rodriguez scoring 21 points on 6-13 shooting and center Larry Sanders registering a career-high 31 points on 11-13 from the floor.
“[Rodriguez] dictated the tempo of the game,” said Pecora. “He dominated the game offensively and defensively.”
Pecora said when Williams and Imes will return to the lineup is uncertain. Hofstra is next in action on Saturday at William & Mary just two weeks removed from losing a 48-47 heartbreaker to the Tribe at home. William & Mary has been a high-powered offense for much of this season but in the first meeting with Hofstra the Pride limited the Tribe to only 19 percent from three-point range and 36 percent from the floor. “We’re going to have to go out and defend them the way we’re capable of defending them and get a good team effort,” said Pecora.