The Hofstra men’s basketball team’s 2-7 start to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play last month seems like a distant memory after the Pride completed the regular season Saturday with its eighth win in nine games over Georgia State 87-74. Hofstra finished its red hot February with its fourth 80 plus performance of the month and enters next weekends CAA Tournament Richmond clicking on all cylinders.
Hofstra (18-13, 10-8 in CAA) will enter the CAA Tournament as the seventh seed and play Friday night at 6 p.m. versus Georgia State, with a win pitting the Pride against second-seeded Northeastern in the quarterfinals Saturday. In order for Hofstra to capture the CAA title and get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001 it will need to win four games in four days, something that has never been done in the history of the conference.
“No one has ever won all four but hey, I’ve never had a team go nine out of 10 down the stretch before so maybe this is kismet,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora after the Pride defeated Georgia State in front of 3,964 fans at the Mack Sports Complex.
A major reason for Hofstra’s February turnaround has been the three-point shooting of senior Cornelius Vines. The shooting guard capped his Hofstra home career with 18 points on five three-pointers and has connected on 22 long-range shots in his last five games after struggling for much of the season prior to that. Vines’s explosive shooting touch opened up the offense for junior guard Charles Jenkins, who put his final stamp on trying to win CAA Player of the Year with a 29 point performance.
“If I’m making shots early on in a game it opens up the floor for Charles,” said Vines, who after the game went into the well-attended student section to salute the loyal fans that helped give the Pride a sixth man.
In preparation for the CAA Tournament Pecora is giving his players Sunday and Monday off to heal before practicing Tuesday and Wednesday mornings prior to heading to Richmond. Pecora said he will travel to Richmond with four suits and he surely hopes to utilize all of them.