Hofstra men's basketball season ends with first round CBI loss to IUPUI

Hofstra’s hot end to the 2009/2010 regular season that included winning 10 of 11 games before dropping a double overtime heartbreaker to Northeastern in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) quarterfinals fizzled Wednesday night in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) against IUPUI. The Pride were never able to recover from falling into an early 21-2 hole and saw its season end with a 74-60 loss in its first ever CBI game held before a tiny crowd of 952 fans at the Mack Sports Complex.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever come out that flat in all my time here,” said ninth year Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora. “Once the momentum is going in the other direction it’s hard to get it to stop.”

IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) held momentum for nearly the entire game with Hofstra (19-15) never getting any closer than six while shooting 36-percent including 2-19 from three-point range. The Pride were without the services of junior power forward Greg Washington due to an ankle injury.

IUPUI’s win over Hofstra moves the Jaguars onto the CBI quarterfinals to face Princeton on Monday March 22.

Despite the frustrating CBI first round loss Pecora does not want his team’s accomplishments during the season, including a 7-1 record in February to be forgotten. “This won’t define our season,” said Pecora. “We had a great run late in the year when we got healthy.”

The roller coaster 2009/2010 season started off promising for Hofstra with a near upset of then 14th ranked Connecticut in the pre-season NIT on Nov. 16 and a win over eventual NIT participant Fairfield on Nov. 29. However the season took a downturn in January during a brutal CAA schedule that saw the Pride start off 2-7 in conference play. Hofstra salvaged the season in February and the CBI berth was the Pride’s fourth postseason appearance in six seasons.

Wednesday night’s loss to IUPUI ends the Hofstra careers of seniors Miklos Szabo and Cornelius Vines. “I told them both…..this is not what I would have envisioned for you guys to go out,” said Pecora. “It is not a fairytale. It doesn’t always end the way you want.”

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