By Ed Morrone
STONY BROOK, N.Y.- On a night where Minnesota Twins All-Star closer and Stony Brook alum Joe Nathan was in the house to be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame, Hofstra guard Antoine Agudio stole the show.
Agudio buried four three-pointers to break Norman Richardson's (1997-2001) all-time school record and finished with a game-high 19 for the Pride, which routed the Seawolves -------73-57 at the SBU Sports Complex on Tuesday night. Agudio needed only two-plus seasons to break Richardson's record of 192 three-pointers, and the junior sharpshooter (196 three-balls and counting) is heating up at precisely the right time for Hofstra.
Stony Brook (3-5) had the atmosphere on its side (professional wrestler Mick Foley was in attendance as well), but a magical aura was no match for Hofstra (5-3), which won its fifth straight game after starting the season 0-3.
"It's a great accomplishment," said Agudio, who finished 6-for-10 (4-for-6 from beyond the arc) and also added a game-high five assists. "I wasn't really thinking about it because we had a game to win, but I'm happy to have it."
It didn't take long for the junior from nearby Huntington to make himself at home inside Stony Brook's gym. After his team fell into an early 7-2 hole, Agudio weaved through traffic in the lane and split two defenders before completing a nifty lay-up. On the next possession, he broke Richardson's record in style, getting fouled after burying a three-pointer from the right wing. He made the foul shot to finish the four-point play and after one more Stony Brook basket, the Pride re-captured the lead for good.
"That was a hard fought game from a good Stony Brook team," Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora said. "Last year we won pretty and we're not winning pretty so far this year. We've still got a lot of work to do."
That may be true, but this win over Stony Brook may have been the most complete game the Pride has played so far this season. After struggling over Georgia State in Saturday's CAA opener, Hofstra played as close to a full 40 minutes as it has through the season's first eight games. The Pride took a 31-21 lead into halftime and led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
"We've been practicing like we've lost our last five rather than having won the last five," Pecora said. "We have to get these guys playing at their highest level, especially with our baseline players and bench being inexperienced."
Speaking of consistency, the Pride has also gotten it a bad way-a lack of production from that inexperienced baseline. Chris Gadley, who was supposed to be the team's starting center coming into the season, continues to work slowly back from a concussion he suffered back on Nov. 7 and played only nine minutes against Stony Brook. However, one good thing to come from Gadley's disappearing act has been the gradual development of 6-7 fill-in center Mike Davis-Sabb, who followed Saturday's 14 point, eight rebound performance with four points and eight rebounds against the Seawolves. In addition, the Pride continued to receive torrid shooting from Zygis Sestokas (16 points on 4 of 6 from behind the arc), as well as contributions from Loren Stokes (14 points) and Carlos Rivera (13 points).
From here, Hofstra will have a much-needed couple of days off as it prepares for upcoming games against St. Francis (NY) and a Dec. 22 date at No. 21 Syracuse.
"It's going to feel good to have some days off," Agudio said. "It gives us a chance to rest and not think about basketball for a few days."
Despite the layoff, the success of the Pride will never be far from Agudio's mind, as he now is in a class all by himself.
"You have to sacrifice time and your social life to do what he's [Agudio] doing," Pecora said. "He's ready for it and he's one of the best I've ever coached."